Thought needs to be given to streetcar plan
- Charles Ormsby
- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
The streetcar alternative is not a 'no brainer' as stated in the letter of Mike Litt published in the Lake Oswego Review of June 14.
There are $149.3 million reasons and a share thereof, why careful thought needs to be given to the streetcar alternative in the Metro / LOPTTAAS project. It purportedly will relieve congestion on State Street. In reality it is a 'development tool' for land in the Foothills area that otherwise would not be redeveloped without substantial public funds in an identified flood plane. No one buys a penthouse condo with a Mount Hood view overlooking the Willamette River at State Street level next to an operating sewer plant.
I guess residents of the Lake Oswego School District (LOSD) are not smart enough to consider the pros and cons of the potential $3 million annual operating cost of the streetcar. Note LOSD is 95 percent of the Lake Oswego Urban Growth Management Area (LO UGMA) which includes both city and adjacent unincorporated county territory.
Look at the Lake Oswego City Street Atlas in the Lake Oswego Public Library. It is apparent the streetcar might benefit only those in LO UGMA who live within a half mile or about 2,600 ft of the Willamette Shore Line right-of-way. This is about a one half-square mile area. For the remaining residents in the 14 square miles of the LO UGMA we will be likely subject to new taxes and fees. This is to support streetcar operation without benefit. Unless you want to transfer once or twice to get to the central area of the Portland Transit Mall.
As for the sustainable/green attributes of the streetcar. I have a pie chart from PGE that shows 23 percent of its electricity is generated from coal. Consider the air pollution of the Columbia Gorge. This problem with the coal-fired Boardman plant owned and operated by PGE was reported in an Oregonian article on March 15, 2005, 'Coal, cows a hazy combination.' The Portland Streetcar and Tri-Met MAX Light Rail Transit lines do not run on wind power alone.
No Lake Oswego City Council member has yet responded to my wager for an ice cream cone. This was about using public transit to, from, and in the Washington, D.C. area at a government conference this past spring. Do they use public transit?
Mike Litt, let's meet at the Metro / LOPTTAAS 'Open House' at the US Bank Building, second floor, 120 N. State St., on Wednesday, June 27, 6 p.m. and discuss these issues. Maybe better transit service might be obtained for Mountain Park and the rest of west and south Lake Oswego without Tri-Met at much less cost to all Lake Oswegans.
Charles 'Skip' Ormsby resides in the Birdshill Area of Clackamas County outside of Lake Oswego.