Tag Archives: lincoln

Lincoln construction

intersection time lapseMore or less in the same location.
Top left: September 2011; Top right: October 2011
Bottom left: January 2013; Bottom right: June 2013

As I’d said back in September 2011 when construction for the Orange Line was about to begin on Lincoln Street, I wanted to get progress pics because it just hadn’t really occurred to me with other MAX extensions. But that hasn’t happened with any real regularity or with pictures taken in the same locations to show progress (such as the above picture, which I think is the only location I’ve gotten 4 times). So without much organization beyond when the photos were taken, here’s everything. All pictures can be clicked on for a larger size.

Fall 2011


Sep 2011

I’m not going to repost all of the oldest pictures from 2011 here since I’ve already gotten them in previous posts, but September 2011 showed Lincoln before construction began, when people in nearby apartments protested the clearcutting of all the trees in this block.

before after 02

By early October 2011, all the trees in the median were cut down, as were most of the trees lining the street (eventually they would all be cut).

February 2012

Feb 2012a

Several months after the previous set, now all the stumps are gone and the median is being removed.

October 2012

Headed out there briefly, but saw limited pedestrian access and a lot of workers doing things, so I didn’t stick around.

January 2013

It took me several months to get back over there again. I think the first rails started going in around November 2012. I also don’t know when these buildings at the eastern end of the street were demolished, I didn’t see any of that happening. Not sure what specifically those businesses had been, where they relocated, or if they just closed up without moving elsewhere.

lincoln5Pic from Sep 2011, notice the building in the back

Google Maps Street ViewGoogle Street Maps view, same location

Jan 2013q

By January those buildings were demolished, the land cleared out, and rail was already laid down through here for the harbor structure.

Nothing yet shown about the vegetated track (linked picture is European I think, not TriMet)… that part is going to be limited to the platform area. I’m curious and somewhat pessimistic how that’s going to play out. Vegetation on rails makes for an extremely poor stopping surface since leaves are as bad as ice when it comes to traction, so with the vegetation for runoff between the rails plus TriMet saying they intend to replace the London Plane trees that had grown here, it sounds like there’s going to be a lot of leaf buildup in this area. I DID like seeing t-rail being used on Lincoln (see picture gallery below, the cross-section of the rails are T-shaped), embedded similar to the alignment on Interstate. Although leaf buildup on t-rail is still slippery, it’s better than girder rail where the debris can fill in the channel in the rails which can be extremely dangerous – not only is that slippery but that can cause a derailment or a loss of shunt where the leaves insulate the rail and the train won’t be detected in that circuit.

girderrailsludgeRecently scraped girder rail – all of that leaf debris gets compacted into the rail

The rest of the January pictures:

April 2013

Apr 2013Okay, this isn’t technically from Lincoln Street, but this picture was taken underneath the Harbor Structure that connects from Lincoln.

June 2013

And the pictures from June, which show more of the rail installed than there had been in January.

Jun 2013e

Impact on other MAX lines

I know a lot of people have asked how the Orange Line will connect with existing lines. The new alignment starts at the southern end of the transit mall at the Jackson turnaround, currently used by the connected Yellow and Green lines – for those not familiar, Yellow Line trains become Green at PSU, and vice versa. The current word (though not yet set in stone) is that Green will then run by itself and Yellow and Orange will be run together. There are also talks of changing the Blue and Red lines, with Blue running west from Cleveland Ave in Gresham only as far as Beaverton TC (though with rush hour service to Hatfield Gov Center in Hillsboro), and running the Red Line from the airport to Hatfield, a change that might happen sooner than the scheduled 2015 opening of the Orange Line.

What a difference a few weeks makes

Before is on the left, after is on the right.

Well now that certainly looks different

Not much in the way of commentary, just a series of pictures showing SW Lincoln St before and after the tree-cutting began as part of the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project / Orange Line construction, more or less taken from the same perspectives. As always, click for larger. If anyone really wants to see the full-sized versions I can provide them; I just did a quick and dirty 25% reduction here to match them to the “before” pictures without having obscenely large file sizes.

These next two sets are of that pedestrian path halfway down the street, where I think the platform is going to be:

And these didn’t have matching “before” pictures:

The bushes lining the aforementioned pedestrian path weren’t spared

Click for full-size if you feel like counting the rings

All things considered, “knowledgeable care for trees” is quite the euphemism for the recent work on Lincoln Street…

A last look at Lincoln

It’s only relatively recently that I’ve made a concerted effort to take rail photos (and nowadays it’s usually the result of seeing something and thinking “this would be a good thing to write about”). But I used to just take pictures when I happened to think of it and had a camera with me, and now in retrospect I wish I’d gotten a lot more pictures during past rail construction projects- Interstate, the transit mall, the I-205 tie-in at Gateway, etc. So I figured I’d make it a point to take pictures of Milwaukie/Orange Line related work.

I decided to start with Lincoln Street.

SW Lincoln Street has achieved a certain level of notoriety of late, due to plans to remove 50-60 of the trees lining Lincoln, which is pretty shocking for tree-hugging Portland. John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute took up this cause recently, which is unsurprising considering CPI’s anti-public transit stance, though admittedly it was a well-executed move for them as they want to drum up opposition to the Orange Line. As an overall rule, we love public transit in Portland so CPI never got much of a following for being against the Orange Line in general, but they rallied quite a bit of support in their opposition to cutting down the trees on Lincoln. Know how to play to your audience, I suppose.

The street was quiet save a few pedestrians when I was out there, so I don’t know if these were CPI signs or if anyone else had protested here

On a personal level, I feel strange agreeing with CPI on something. I mean, I don’t know John Charles, and he doesn’t know me, but I’m pretty sure based on his speeches and writings that we would not get along (e.g. he feels operator benefits are gratuitous; meanwhile as long as my friends and coworkers keep dying from job-related illnesses before the age of 60, I am going to disagree with him that operator health benefits are overly generous.) Still, à la “even a broken clock is right twice a day”, I agree with his apprehension at clearing out all of the trees on Lincoln. No, Lincoln isn’t exactly on par with the Park Blocks, but clearing out 60 trees is still pretty significant. On top of that I still have a hard time reconciling TriMet’s capital project spending when operations and maintenance are taking such severe cuts because of no money, so I’m not personally excited about this particular project.

While walking up and down Lincoln, I made the assumption that trees with a painted white dot and the green/black ties were tagged for removal. One thing that CPI didn’t mention is that TriMet will be replacing some of these trees as part of the rail project. According to the Oregonian, these are all London Plane trees currently on Lincoln, and evidently TriMet wants to avoid a “monoculture of one tree species” when replacing them.  The Oregonian lists the new varieties of trees that were selected and provided a statement from TriMet as to why those new varieties were chosen (including that they are drought resistant… was that really a concern for Portland?) Personally, at no point have I ever thought that Lincoln would be better if only the trees were more varied, but then again, I’m no arborist.

Even though the London Plane trees are going to be replaced, I doubt the new Lincoln Street is going to have the same leafy overhang of the current one. Leaves and rail are not friends, so intentionally planting trees that will drop their leaves directly in the ROW isn’t going to work, and I’m assuming that’s been taken into consideration.

Picture of streetcar tracks from last fall, being cleaned of leaf debris

From an operational perspective, I think a bigger concern than making sure the trees are drought resistant is planning how to mitigate the slippery rail/leaf problem. I admit I haven’t gone to any of the open houses or public meetings so I don’t know if it has come up, or if by design the trees will overhang just sidewalks or bike paths and be clear of the ROW altogether. This just sticks out to me as a safety hazard since leaves can potentially impair a train’s braking ability, lift a train’s wheel out of the track, or form an insulating barrier in the rail that can make the train become undetected in that circuit.

Borrowed photo – Lincoln Street is apparently going to have track like this

On a related note, I’m interested to see how the vegetated track is going to play out. I don’t think these are very common in the US – all of the pictures I can find are European. It looks like girder rail running through there in several of the linked pictures (as opposed to something like the embedded t-rail on Interstate), which I think is interesting – I would have guessed that surrounding girder rail with grass/leaves would make it more likely to fill the groove in the rail with debris, such as when cutting the grass. I’m assuming that Lincoln is going to have girder rail since that’s what’s used in downtown and other low-speed areas (it’s cheaper than t-rail and generally effective for low speeds) so I’m curious to see how this is going to work. And I really, really hope people don’t take the grassy track as an invitation to walk on it…

Anyway, back to Lincoln… I noticed a couple of things that seemed strange – first was this pedestrian path and the trees that were marked for removal back here. I’m assuming this is where the platform is going to be. I can’t figure any other reason why trees situated fairly far back from Lincoln would be cleared out, or why the pavement is marked the way it is.

The other thing was how the pavement here in this pedestrian path off of SW 4th just south of SW College was also marked up. I guess this is where the ROW is going to go from the Jackson turnaround? If that’s the case, I’m not sure of the path it’s going to take because there’s not a lot of space between buildings at the eastern end of this path, and it didn’t look like the trees near where this joins Lincoln were slated for removal.

Anyway, I wasn’t really going anywhere in particular with this post, just documenting some pictures of Lincoln pre-construction. If I have time on my days off I’d like to add some during-construction and completion pictures.

SW Lincoln Street, mid-September 2011