Move Over Cars

December 16, 2008

Portland’s commitment to mass transit and bicycling is no secret. Bus and train ridership continue to increase significantly. Bike traffic is becoming positively European, accounting for 13 percent of all traffic across the main four downtown bridges spanning the Willamette River.

And even though the city freaks out during its few encounters with snow and ice, the weather doesn’t deter some cyclists despite the treacherous conditions. Two in particular reveled in the weekend snowfall:

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Then comes news today that the average Portland motorist drove far fewer miles than the national average in 2006 — 4,403 compared to more than 9,000. If more recent numbers were available, they would show a wider gap.

Planned are many more street car lines, further reviving a widespread transportation mode from the city’s past. Today I interviewed a man who has compiled historical walking tours of a neighborhood not far from mine, one along a streetcar route discontinued sixty years ago.

As always happens, the past returns.