I have been proposing a trolley-bus system in Portland, Oregon. 3 trolley-bus
studies have been done by Tri-Met in last 25 years, all favorable, but not
implemented. My proposal is called, The LOTi, (Loop Oriented Transit-mall,
Intermodal). LOTi is a "Circulator-Loop-Trunkline", (my definition), serving
our downtown Transit Mall, instead of lightrail. I am finding that the LOTi
trolley-bus has advantages for the Mall. LOTi proposes leaving the South/North
lightrail (2.3 Billion) on the UPRR corridor, from the Rose Quarter to Oregon
City. The savings (400-600 mil) are applied to the LOTi & to 3 additional,
practical, streetcar-scale lightrail lines, serving Portland, Milwaukie &
Clackamastown. LOTi almost doubles the new electric rail trackage, building 4
lightrail lines, AND builds the LOTi circulator for about the same capital
costs. LOTi simply diverts funds away from excessive bridges, underpasses &
property displacements into the more extensive, separate but interconnected,
(intermodal) systems. A very good growth pattern also develops.
LOTi started very small idea as a solution to a serious set of problems.
Alignment decisions for the planned South/North lightrail were not reflecting
public desires. The Oregon City destination was abandoned & replaced with a
shopping center; a "preferred" Williamette River crossing would not serve the
OMSI cultural/entertainment district & existing neighborhoods, instead serve
an entirely new neighborhood development, exclusively; the Transit mall
alignment received failing grades on many counts, by the states citizen-led
transit advocacy organizations. More problems followed: housing displacements
much greater than on our 1st & 2nd MAX lines; significant environmental
impacts to parks & wetlands; final ridership number predictions very much in
doubt. Basically, not a pretty picture. Which is too bad because Portlands'
westside extension of MAX to be inaugurated this September, is a very fine
Somehow practicality got thrown out the window.
In 1995 I suggested leaving the lightrail on the least expensive route: UPRR
corridor, Rose Quarter to Oregon City. It turns out, this route was the 1st to
be supported,studied & briefly rejected, in 1993. But, I had added to this
alignment a streetcar connection to cross the Williamette via the Hawthorne
Bridge, (Portlands' antique streetcars needed a place to operate separate from
existing MAX lines), and service for the Transit Mall with a set of Trolley
buses. These additions should have affected the consideration of the UPRR,
alignment. No alignment decision had as yet been made. No alignment option has
been significanly altered in the following 3 years. LOTi has never been
thoroughly analyzed despite my ongoing efforts to convince the city & regional
agencies of the merits of the LOTi configuration.
So, with this germ of an idea, I set out to prove my point by doing the
entire, regions' transportation "growth pattern" plans based upon the LOTi
proposal. LOTi has evolved into 6 LRT lines, 8 Streetcar lines & 10 Trolley-
bus lines, all on previously studied, or historical routes with some
modifications. This was lengthy & began with streetcar expansion that went
from ambitious to practical, complimenting future track extension plans of
Portland Streetcar enthusiasts who have laid out the Central City Streetcar
plan. Finally, the trolley-bus line growth pattern revealed the unique design
that I call the LOTi "Loop Circulator Trunkline", (an inner loop of 2-4 minute
frequency with outer extensions of 5 minute frequencies). I conclude that the
LOTi Loop can remove 4X the number of diesel buses from the Mall as lightrail,
or, for every trolley-bus, 3 diesel are removed.
I've developed a lengthy list of benefits that include tripling the area of
"preservative" redevelopment potential while minimizing displacements of homes
& businesses & construction of over-zealous bridges & underpasses. The LOTi
Loop is a low-cost, ideal application of trolley-bus technology, or so I am
convinced. And the LOTi proposal, may indeed be one of the finest transit
proposals we've ever seen.
LOTi is an acronym: "Loop Oriented Transit-mall, Intermodal", (or "Loop
Oriented Transit, Intermodal". Loti has a lotta loops). LOTi was,
unfortunately, not able to win the confidence of the citizen-led, transit
advocacy organizations, led by AORTA, (Asso Oregon Rail & Transit Advocates).
They have a "viable" alternate alignment proposal, but it does not offer
improvements to Portland's Transit Mall, does less for the East Portland,
where 75% of the residents live, & nothing to assure the success of the
Central City Streetcar, (which, I think, is a very remarkable project,
important & historic in its' own right).
Art Lewellan (503) 238-4075
3205 SE 8th #9
Portland, Oregon 97202