February 28


Portland Streetcar 2I enjoyed the NCITE Section meeting this Wednesday where Luke Olson with HDR, Michelle Beaulieu with the City of St. Paul, and Charleen Zimmer with ZAN Associates talked about implementing streetcar programs.

Michelle talked about the process St. Paul went through to identify 7th Street as their preferred corridor. Charleen talked about the Minneapolis Nicollet Avenue-Central Avenue corridor (from Lake Street on the south, through downtown, across Hennepin Avenue, to 5th Street NE on the north). The St. Paul project is still at the preliminary planning level where the Minneapolis project is in the Environmental Assessment/Preliminary Design phase and already has some funding tied to it.

Luke talked more about streetcar planning projects around the US and good planning procedures. Luke and David Vozzolo put together an excellent primer – A Step-by-Step Look at Streetcar Program Development. I pulled the following “must do’s” from primer and Luke covered these in his presentation.

Top 12 Must Do’s for Implementing a Successful Streetcar Program

  1. Put streetcars where pedestrians will be.
  2. Connect maximum number of existing destinations.
  3. Uncork development potential.
  4. Fit into street network.
  5. Follow an easily understood route.
  6. Conduct preliminary utility investigation.
  7. Identify maintenance site.
  8. Address issues affecting feasibility and cost.
  9. Develop a reliable cost estimate.
  10. Identify right-of-way needs.
  11. Identify sites for substations and maintenance site facility.
  12. Develop a reasonable time estimate.
    • Assume utility relocation will take 4 to 8 weeks per 600 to 800 feet
    • Assume placing track  will take 3 to 4 weeks per 600 to 800 feet
    • Installing overhead wires, traffic signal modifications, and resolving punch list – varies greatly
    • Assume testing and start-up will take 4 to 6 months


Photo Source of Portland Streetcar:  www.StPaul.gov

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Mike Spack

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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