Spending nearly a half of a billion dollars to build a streetcar system from Portland to Lake Oswego is, at best, expected to remove, during commute times, approximately 100 cars by 2035.
This project is ludicrous, ill conceived, not supported by facts and not reasonable. The streetcar is expected to reduce Lake Oswego transit time by 7 minutes or less and increase transit time 15-20 minutes for West Linn and Oregon City ridership. One former mayor of Lake Oswego said that this project has been talked about for the past 10 years.
Why did the project surface now and why the rush to quickly authorize it? The city council held a meeting to allow citizens the opportunity to voice their opinions. A large number of citizens attended. A very large number were against the proposed plan. No other citizen-input meetings are scheduled.
Meanwhile the proposed Foothills development project intersects Highway 43, which has three sets of traffic lights and a railroad crossing, will certainly contribute more traffic. Foothills is designated a wet land and supports a variety of wildlife. Development of Foothills will directly affect traffic congestion and is expected to take about 2 years to complete. These projects provide more congestion and make the impacts worse. Selection of the streetcar as the Local Preferred Alternative involved minimal citizen input.
What happens when the deciding agencies 'somehow' discover the underutilization of ridership and use that excuse to extend this system to West Linn? Obviously, there are project benefactors to develop the project but no one talks about ongoing operating expenses that will go on your utility bill forever.
This process is similar to the recent sensitive lands proposal in Lake Oswego where the citizenry were overwhelmingly against the highly charged and biased process used to adopt and implement land rights grab. The city council established 'boards' to evaluate various impacts to the home owners affected by the proposal. You guessed it. These boards were packed with people in favor of the project. This sounds uncannily similar to the street car project - don't you think?
Robert Eidson is a resident of Lake Oswego.