City Of Transit Adds Aerial Tram

<p>Portland, Oregon, boasts one of the most extensive uses of public transit in American cities. The addition of its newly-opened aerial tram adds to transit options, but some still feel the project is not worth the price.</p>
January 29, 2007, 2pm PST | Nate Berg
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"So enamored with public transportation is this city of 560,000 (the population of the metropolitan region is almost two million) that it is laced with electric streetcars, light rail and buses. TriMet, the regionwide system that unites most of the various modes, boasts that it has more riders than public transit systems in bigger cities like Seattle, Denver and Miami. It says ridership over the last decade has risen faster than both the population and the average number of miles people drive. More than one-fourth of afternoon commuters on some major routes out of Portland use light rail."

"Still, some critics have called the tram a folly. As its construction budget soared from early projections of $15 million to nearly four times as much as that, disputes between the city and the university arose amid calls to rethink the whole idea. The fare announced last week - $4 round-trip unless riders are visiting the hospital, work there or have a transit pass - is more than twice initial estimates."

"Some residents beneath the tram route are not pleased to have people floating past their back decks and bathroom windows. The tram cabins have few handholds, and at the open-air waiting platform on Marquam Hill, only modest barriers protect passengers from foul weather and a steep drop. Officials said such concerns would be addressed."

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Published on Sunday, January 28, 2007 in The New York Times
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