Streetcar Planning and Projects

Since beginning service in 2001, Portland Streetcar has grown steadily into the largest modern streetcar system in the United States. Today, Portland Streetcar provides over 15,000 rides each weekday; that's nearly 5 million rides each year, and over 50 million rides since the system opened.

As our ridership increases, we continue to look for opportunities to improve and expand service.

Better service means changes in three important areas:

  1. Service Improvements: Additional trains and more frequent service
  2. Trackway Changes: New switches, turnbacks or relocation of Streetcar tracks
  3. Expansion to New Neighborhoods: Streetcar tracks in new communities to support growth in key corridors, consistent with adopted plans

Service Improvements

Improving the frequency of trains is the top priority for managing expected growth in ridership and overcrowding on the system today. In addition to more frequent trains, we're working to add service in the early morning hours to better support the growing number of users who rely on Streetcar to get to and from work.

Expected service improvements over the next few years include:

  1. Added AM Peak service on the NS Line to support commuters in NW Portland and the South Waterfront (scheduled for September 2017).
  2. Improved frequency of trains on all lines from 15 minutes, to 12 minutes by 2020, and 10 minutes by 2025.  

Each step will require investment in new streetcars, operators and mechanics, and eventually the construction of a new maintenance facility to support the growing fleet.

Portland Streetcar is working to buy five additional streetcars in Fall 2017, with the goal of adding the streetcars to the existing fleet by late 2019 or early 2020.

Trackway Changes

A few minor changes to our existing track are planned to better serve riders. Many of the changes are related to projects occurring around our system as roads are rebuilt, buildings are constructed, or other opportunities for more efficient routes arise.

Some known changes on the horizon include:

  • Construction of a new turnback at NE Grand & NE Weidler, allowing B Loop streetcars to turn around and continue service as A Loop streetcars during Broadway Bridge lifts, closures, or other special events.
  • Traffic control changes on NE Grand from E Burnside to NE Davis to improve the reliability on the #6 bus and the B Loop during PM Peak hours.
  • Reconstruction of the OHSU Plaza station and relocation of tracks at the base of the Aerial Tram during construction of the new SW Bond Ave, planned for 2019 or 2020.
  • Extension of streetcar tracks on SW Moody Ave to SW Hamilton Ct., coinciding with the construction of Moody south of SW Bancroft on Willamette Shoreline Trolley property.
  • Replacement of aging shelters and stations with more modern design and customer amenities.

Expansion to New Neighborhoods

Streetcar makes our city a better place to live by complementing transit options like buses and light rail and connecting Portlanders to centers of employment, education, and housing.

City Plans include several possibilities for new lines in areas likely to experience significant growth over the next 20 years. New routes will tie-in to the existing streetcar system and provide direct access to essential services such as education, health care, and jobs.

The priority expansions for Streetcar include new connections to Montgomery Park in NW Portland and to Hollywood Town Center in NE Portland. Streetcar is currently working with neighborhood and community groups to better understand how to meet community needs and address critical issues such as impacts to bus service, parking, housing supply, and affordability.

To request a presentation for your community, or to learn more about the projects please email or call Dan Bower, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar, Inc. at dan.bower@portlandstreetcar.org or 503-869-0820.