Each weekday morning, I leave the house at 7:23am to catch the streetcar at 7:39am. I walk from my apartment at 23rd and Glisan to 10th and Glisan so I can ride in the fareless zone. The ride to PSU takes about 10 minutes. If I miss the streetcar, it’s faster for me to walk the rest of the way to work instead of waiting for the next streetcar to arrive.
I like my morning tradition and I enjoy riding the streetcar. However, the streetcar is closed for the next couple weeks as a part of the expansion over to the se side of Portland. While closed, a shuttle bus is running more or less the same route. And this morning, the shuttle bus went quite a bit faster than the streetcar. So why do we have a streetcar?
I’ve spoken with a few people about this and the best answer I’ve heard thus far is that it significantly increased property values along it’s path when it was first installed. This seems like a dubious explanation for a multi-million dollar project. Most people agree that the streetcar is only slightly faster than walking. Without digging deeper, that’s all I’ve got on this.