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Streetcar options pondered

One idea would send it down Macadam in Johns Landing
by: Jonathan House, A stretch of Southwest  Macadam Avenue could be used for a proposed Portland to Lake Oswego streetcar, under recommendations from two groups.

An advisory group recently recommended a Portland to Lake Oswego streetcar as an option for relieving rush-hour gridlock between the cities.

But, rather than running the streetcar along the entire Willamette Shoreline Trolley right-of-way, the group had another idea: Run one section down Macadam Avenue through Johns Landing.

The recommendation by the Lake Oswego Portland Advisory Commit-tee would involve running the streetcar through the heart of Johns Landing, between Southwest Bancroft Street at the north end, and Southwest Nevada Street at the south end.

A second group, known as the Project Management Group, also recommended further study of the 'in-Macadam' alignment.

The alignment, according to the Project Management Group report, would 'leverage the most potential transit-supportive development, approximately 2.2 million square feet of total new development in Johns Landing.'

It would also 'mitigate some of the potential property impacts associated with the use of the Shoreline Trolley right-of-way,' the group said.

The Project Management Group consists of project managers from cities and government groups participating in the mass transit project, including Lake Oswego, Portland and Metro.

LOPAC is comprised of citizens, business people and interest groups along the corridor between Portland's South Waterfront and Lake Oswego.

The Project Management Group recommended the Lake Oswego streetcar terminus be at the Albertson's on South State Street or the Safeway on A Avenue.

The Albertson's terminus would allow for extension further south to West Linn or Oregon City. The Safeway terminus would allow extension of the streetcar to the west, while the parking lot could work as a park-and-ride, according to the group's report.

LOPAC's recommendations include running the streetcar down Macadam through Johns Landing and re-connecting it to the Shoreline Trolley alignment near Willamette Park. A second option would be to run it down Macadam to Southwest Nevada Street, then terminating the streetcar and having it connect to a bus line to Lake Oswego and West Linn. The group was split between which option it preferred, so it recommended studying each option.

The bus line would be enhanced, with more frequent service, improved bus shelters, peak hour express service and passing queues where possible.

LOPAC said the alternative should:

* Minimize the impact on homes along the alignment and encourage appropriate redevelopment in Lake Oswego and Portland.

* Be constructed to permit future expansion south and west of downtown Lake Oswego.

* Provide enhanced transportation options for people living south of Lake Oswego, including the continuation and improvement of local and through bus service.

* Be constructed to allow coordination with transportation alternatives across the Sellwood Bridge or its replacement.

* Include an effort to establish a safe and attractive pedestrian and bicycle route from Lake Oswego to Portland. The route must minimize any negative impact on homes along the trail.

George Marandas, co-owner of the Water Tower, an office and retail building in the heart of Johns Landing, said the 'in-Macadam' streetcar alignment would spur apartment and condo development along the corridor and make it easier for commuters to reach downtown.

It would also 'open it up more' to greater commercial development and a wider range of businesses, he said.

Under the enhanced-bus scenario, LOPAC said that the portion of the rail right-of-way between Nevada Street and downtown Lake Oswego could be converted into a bike and pedestrian trail.

Under the second scenario, which would divert the streetcar along Macadam between Bancroft and Nevada streets, a pedestrian/bike trail could be built along the rail right-of-way.

LOPAC's recommendations next go to a steering committee, which meets from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 10 at Metro, 600 N.E. Grand Ave. The meeting is open to the public.

Metro will review The Project Management Group's recommendations. Ultimately, Metro will select the preferred alternative and conduct an environmental impact statement. The EIS will take about a year and a half.

Early cost estimates are about $205 million for the streetcar and trail, with more than half coming from the federal government.