The official line for the streetcar tour:
This delegation is composed of officials, transit planners, developers and businesses that all have significant roles in shaping Salt Lake City’s new streetcar redevelopment efforts. They are interested in riding the line, talking with developers and experts about Portland’s experiences and stories. They have also asked to meet with financial institutions that had a role in the underwriting of some of the projects.
The real story:
Every town has its local export, and Portland has has become expert in pitching its urban transit solutions. They do have something to talk about however, and the role that the privately funded streetcar system played in the build out of the Pearl District is a very compelling story. Developers paid tax increments based on proximity to the streetcar system & zoning ordinances, preservation guidelines & small area plans developed based on a walkable neighborhood model where residents had access to goods & services by foot and transportation options include a mix of bus, streetcar, light rail and cars in addition to bike & pedestrian routes.
Despite a vastly different blockface & street scale of SLC & Portland, due to the current political priorities and the overwhelming success of TRAX in Salt Lake City, the city is moving to expand to next steps of streetcars as “walk extenders” with the first line (2100S TRAX stop to Sugarhouse) awaiting final Federal funding within the month.
Expect to continue to hear more about streetcars from the Becker administration in the months to come.
Warren K Lloyd, AIA LEED AP