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RIDE END-TO-END AND EVERY MODE


Portland Transit Challenge


BY ALEXANDER B. CRAGHEAD/PHOTOS AS NOTED


PORTLAND, OREGON: THEROSECITY.A city famous for its rain (37.5 inches/year), its coffee consumption (one in five Portlanders regularly pa- tronizes a specialty coffee shop), its beer (41 breweries, more than any oth- er city in the world), and its quirkiness. The city is equally famous for its rail transit. A metro area of 2.2 million, Portland has over 70 miles of lines in service, using three different modes. What is more amazing: none of it is “legacy” track. Starting from a single light rail line in 1986, the system has


grown rapidly, and with two more routes under construction, its trajecto- ry seems ever upwards. Few cities have better symbolized the renaissance of rail transit in North America Numbers alone, however, don’t mean


much by themselves, and that’s where the Light Rail Challenge fits in. In- vented by local transit enthusiast Dan Haneckow, the challenge is similar to rare mileage collection: ride every mile of rail transit and every type of rail ve- hicle in service in the Portland metro area, all in one service day. Although


called the “light rail” challenge, any rail transit in the region is included. “The goal is to measure the extent of Portland’s rail transit from a rider’s perspective,” says Haneckow. “At what point does the system get so big that it can’t all be ridden in a day?” With two recently added routes and


two more under construction, I decided to join Dan on the first organized LRC event since 2007.


6:30 a.m.


We begin our day in the


OPPOSITE: Portland Streetcar 006, an Inekon Skoda design, approaches the Oregon Health Sciences University stop in the South Waterfront area. OHSU has been instrumental to the redevelopment of this area. ABOVE: Expo Center is the northern terminus of the TriMet MAX Yellow Line. Long term plans are to extend this route over a new Interstate 5 bridge and into Vancouver, Washington. DAN HANECKOW PHOTOS


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