The Federal Transit Administration announced this week the award of $440,000 to Portland Streetcar as part of the Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program. Portland Streetcar and the Portland Bureau of Transportation submitted a proposal in Fall 2020 to fund measures to keep streetcars safer and provide better communication of public health guidelines to riders.
The proposal comprised three main elements:
Replace cloth seat covers with nonporous, easy-to-sanitize vinyl;
Install new, more variable message boards at streetcar stops to allow for more information to be communicated to riders; and
Hire additional staff trained in current public health guidance to ensure vehicles are properly sanitized and staff are adhering to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Funding totaling $15.8 million was allocated to 37 projects across the country to support strategies that develop, deploy and demonstrate solutions that improve the operational efficiency of transit agencies and enhance rider mobility during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The federal award announcement comes as Oregonians await widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccination and must remain vigilant in social distancing, wearing face coverings and otherwise working to prevent the spread of illness. Portland Streetcar riders are still required to wear masks on board and are asked to limit travel to only essential trips.
Portland Streetcar's tour app has a new feature, and it's helping riders support local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The "We're Open!" feature provides Streetcar riders with an interactive map of restaurants and service/retail shops located within a three-block radius of Portland Streetcar's three lines (A-Loop, B-Loop and NS Line) that are open for business during these challenging economic times.
The listings may be viewed on a map or in an alphabetical list. Portland Streetcar and all businesses listed are following CDC guidelines, requiring masks and social distancing. The app will be updated as guidelines change. Businesses may place and update listings for no cost by contacting us.
The app is also “location aware,” which means that as a user rides on Streetcar with the app open, their screen will update on its own to show all relevant attractions around them, with a simple touch of the screen providing more detailed information.
Portland Streetcar has wrapped one of its vehicles with art by local Black artist Edmund Holmes in an effort to showcase Black art and contribute to the national conversation about racial justice. The exterior wrap displays original work from Holmes’ “Black Shield: Love Over Hate and Equality” collection.
“As a community partner, we are thrilled to display local art that supports our racial justice mission,” said Portland Streetcar, Inc. Executive Director Dan Bower. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to partner with Edmund to make one of our vehicles a mobile art exhibit.”
Portland Streetcar has previously wrapped only one other vehicle, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team in the fall of 2019. The new vehicle wrap is intended to support Portland’s Black community and illustrate Portland Streetcar’s support for racial justice. A 2019 survey found that 32% of Portland Streetcar riders identify as non-white, compared with 23% of Portlanders as a whole.
Edmund "Mundo" Holmes born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and has now been a Portland, Oregon resident for ten years. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Product Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. As a kid, Mundo dreamed about being an illustrator and designer, and explored both avenues for the majority early on. After interning at Nike, Edmund returned to Portland after graduating from CCS to attend Pensole Academy. Shortly after, he moved to Portland permanently to pursue a career in the footwear industry.
Designing footwear for Jordan Brand Training & Lifestyle, Nike Golf, Nike Baseball and currently Nike Training, and staying actively embedded in the art world is what continues to feed Mundo’s creative and cognitive passions. When he’s not creating, he also curates artistic experiences and activations with his group Aesthete Society. Beyond the traditional canvas, his art has translated to footwear, apparel, stickers, buildings, interactive experiences and transportation.
Mundo’s drive was instilled in him early in life by his parents, who taught him and his four brothers the importance of hard work, education, hustle, presentation, and perseverance. These core values ring true with him as north stars for life in his day to day. As art and illustration captured his imagination early in his life, Mundo explored his talents by drawing everything that he saw or loved: Garfield, Ninja Turtles, and Looney Toons characters. He also explored other creative outlets such as dance, graffiti, sculpture and sports.
Mundo's current works command attention for their subject matter, as his pieces speak through the lens of representation, empowerment and life as a Black person. Bold colors, textures, dimensions and blend to create his signature jazz, funk, graffiti inspired style. His hope is that his works evoke fun feelings of self-expression, but with a message to the world about who he is, where he stands and his thoughts on society. Mundo focuses on finding happiness, positivity and new ways to package messages to open eyes, minds, and hearts to balance the often heavy topics his subjects often handle. His aim is to leave his audience inspired, encouraging them to reflect on what they have learned from his work and how they feel after digesting his art. Mundo primarily works in acrylics, digital and ink. He also stretches his imagination by trying new mediums such as clay, collage, pencil, and mixed media.
"Black Shield: Love Over Hate and Equality" are part of a new collection that I have been developing to address the way Black people have to show up to the world: protected. Protected from the hate, unfair treatment, injustices, stereotypes and systems in place, which exist and Black people are forced to overcome. The characters are surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes and vibrant colors.
“The Black Shield: Love Over Hate” is created to protect against all of the negativity and hate towards Black people. The color is bright to represent our energy, which we projected to be seen as equals to others, and treated with respect. The character is holding the heart to express love, positivity and encouragement, while the angry / hate / negative face is falling down because this way of life will not be tolerated.
"Black Shield: Equality" is part of a new collection of characters that I have been developing to address the way Black people have to show up to the world: protected. Protected from the hate, unfair treatment, injustices, stereotypes and systemic issues that exist which Black people are forced to overcome. The characters are surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes and with pallets of black and white. The Black Shield is surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes to absorb all of the negativity and hate towards Black people. Black and white represent all the known and unknown rules that need to be reevaluated. The Black Shield holds money, a gavel, a pencil, a house, and a heart. This symbolizes that equality is desired and deserved by all no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, economic or social status. The system needs to be rewritten so that laws apply to everyone, and that everyone is treated equally.
As a sudden, severe wind event hit Portland on Labor Day, thousands of Portlanders lost power and tree limbs were torn down across the region. Portland Streetcar service was interrupted throughout the day by limbs down across our Overhead Catenary System--the wires that provide power to streetcars in service--but significant damage was sustained by the wires along Grand Avenue, completely shutting down the B Loop for two days.
Portland Streetcar maintenance crews worked tirelessly to repair damage, inspect the system and get the B Loop up and running again by Wednesday afternoon. Below are some photos of the repair effort.
Should the City extend Portland Streetcar or new transit in NW or NE Portland? What kind of new development do you envision in these places? Affordable Housing? Commercial and Retail? Industrial Uses? New Offices? Something else?
The Montgomery Park to Hollywood Transit and Land Use Development Strategy (MP2H) is considering equitable development plans for transit-oriented districts in NW Portland and NE Portland. The MP2H Urban Design Concepts provide information on possible land use Development Scenarios for the NW study area, and possible streetcar/transit Alignment Alternatives for the NE study area.
Help us shape the future of land use and transit that better serves these major destinations!
Virtual Open House – share your thoughts through August 9, 2020
Please visit the Urban Design Concept Virtual Open Houses during July to learn more, then tell us what you think by completing the Open House Survey! Click the links below to visit.
This Pride Month--and in conjunction with the celebration of Juneteenth--Portland Streetcar has added a Progress Pride Flag to Car 023 as a moving symbol of our commitment to inclusion and supporting both Portland's queer community and communities of color.
The flag, which sports the traditional six colors of the Pride Flag, was designed by Portland artist Daniel Quasar and adds a hoist of five half-sized stripes representing trans and non-binary individuals (light blue, light pink, white), marginalized POC communities (brown, black), as well as those living with AIDS and the stigma and prejudice surrounding them, and those who have been lost to the disease (black).
As a result of Governor Kate Brown's statewide "Stay Home, Save Lives" order issued Monday, March 23, Portland Streetcar will reduce regular weekday service to every 20 minutes between about 5:30 a.m. through about 11:30 p.m.
This change reflects a natural drop in ridership following guidelines around social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the adjusted schedule will allow us to provide adequate sick leave and protective measures for our operators, mechanics and other employees while ensuring reliable service without gaps in staffing.
We continue to ask that riders practice social distancing while riding, meaning providing at least six feet between riders at stops and on board. For continuing updates on Oregon's response to COVID-19, visit the Oregon Health Authority.
We are encouraging all of our riders and employees to do what they can to stay safe during the continued period of recommended "stay home, stay healthy" practices. We also serve multiple hospitals and many vital businesses and services in Portland, so we will continue to operate regular service.
Governor Kate Brown has issued a statewide "stay at home" order to prevent further spread of COVID-19, so we ask that riders avoid unnecessary trips to help give others the space they need to ride safely.
Right now, social distancing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On transit and in public, please keep at least six feet between you and other riders. Our operators will be driving with their cab doors closed to help maximize the benefits of distancing.
As COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) spreads in Oregon, we are closely monitoring the situation and keeping the health and safety of our riders, operators and staff as our highest priority.
We will continue operating regular service, but we ask that riders continue to heed the advice of public health agencies to stay home whenever possible, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, cough into a sleeve and practice social distancing--even while riding transit. When riding the streetcar, please do your best to distance yourself from other riders to help prevent the spread of illness to our most vulnerable neighbors.
Our customer service office will be closed beginning Monday, March 16, but riders can load value to Hop cards via myhopcard.com or at Safeway, Fred Meyer, Plaid Pantry, and several other retail locations. To limit the use of additional touchpoints on board the streetcar, we will be deactivating the onboard cash fare machines for the foreseeable future.
The situation is changing rapidly, so we will continue to provide updates through our Twitter account and the Alerts portion of the front page of our website.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will hold an open house Monday evening to receive public input on a potential streetcar extension between Montgomery Park in Northwest Portland and Hollywood Town Center.
The proposed extensions are projects in the City of Portland's Transportation System Plan and the Regional Transportation Plan, but planners need public input on potential routes and land use changes to maximize the benefits of any transit improvement in those areas.
The open house will be held in the Council Chamber at Metro, 600 NE Grand Avenue, between 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. Members of the public are invited to learn about the projects and weigh in on potential options being studied.
Portland's annual Winter Light Festival is upon us, bringing light-centric art installations to the central city the evenings of February 6-8. As in previous years, Portland Streetcar will be free to ride after 5:00 p.m. on those evenings to ensure members of our community have an affordable, reliable travel option to enjoy the festival.
Presented by Portland General Electric, the Winter Light Festival is celebrating its fifth year of invigorating Portland's dark winter days with a collaboration of art and technology.
With winter weather upon us and below-freezing temperatures in the forecast, Portland Streetcar and the Portland Bureau of Transportation developed a map and listing of shelters and extreme weather shelters near the streetcar system. See the map below and view the whole list as a PDF here.
The business access and transit (BAT) lane installed last spring on a segment of Northeast Grand Avenue has improved afternoon peak travel times by 25%, according to Portland Streetcar's analysis.
New striping, signage and a transit priority signal help the B Loop streetcar and TriMet Line 6 bus avoid congestion resulting from backups on the eastbound on-ramp to I-84, which have previously meant the streetcar would sometimes take as long as 15 minutes to move between the stops at Southeast Stark and Northeast Hoyt. The project was installed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) as part of a suite of transit priority projects in the central city.
On average, weekday streetcar travel times went down 25% between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m., with a dramatic 47% reduction at 5:30 p.m. This improvement in reliability means less time spent commuting and more time home with family and friends for Portland transit riders.
Portland Streetcar will continue to monitor the performance of this BAT lane and look for other opportunities to reduce delay and improve travel time reliability across the system.
The 10th annual Portland Streetcar Mobile Music Fest will happen the afternoon of Saturday, November 2, bringing local bands live on the streetcar.
Between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m., local artists will entertain and delight streetcar riders on the NS Line between Portland State University and NW 23rd Avenue. New and returning acts will provide live music as the streetcar moves through town, for the cost of a regular streetcar fare.
Bands will board at the PSU Urban Center Plaza (SW 6th and Mill) and play until finishing their sets at SW 5th and Montgomery. See below for a list of artists and when they'll start playing.
No, the rails aren't going anywhere--but the Portland Streetcar customer service office will be moving on October 18 to 930 NW 14th Avenue, Suite 280. Located in Lovejoy Square, the new office is easily accessible through Nossa Familia Coffee from the streetcar stop at NW 13th and Lovejoy.
All the services and public functions will remain the same but in a new--yet still nearby--location. The office at 1031 NW 11th Avenue will be closed on Friday, October 18, and will reopen at 930 NW 14th Avenue the following week. Our phone number will remain the same, 503-222-4200 and you can still reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
Portland Streetcar's revised schedules will enter service on Sunday, September 1, 2019. The new schedules will be similar to current service but regular riders should check to make sure they can catch an expected streetcar at the correct time.
The revised schedules will provide a service improvement through restoring frequent service on the A and B Loops and starting frequent service earlier in the morning.
In response to lost economic activity due to protests by right-wing demonstrators on August 17, Portland Streetcar is partnering with Travel Portland and many others to Support Downtown by making it easier than ever to discover Downtown Portland on Saturday, August 24.
Free streetcar rides--in addition to promotions from BikeTown, multiple e-scooter companies and more--will help Portlanders and visitors shop, eat and explore at local businesses. So take a free ride and let us help you get where you're going!