Multnomah Falls

Due east along the Columbia River Highway outside of Portland, Oregon is one of the most photographed waterfalls.  Being only a 40 minute drive from downtown Portland, Multnomah Falls is easily accessible for Stumptown residents and visitors.

I had first read about Multnomah Falls in The Shack, a Christian themed novel that takes place in Oregon and features the Falls in its early pages.  The author, William Paul Young, writes about an Indian princess who hurled herself over the falls in order to save her people.  It’s a foreshadowing parallel to The Shack’s main story of the protagonist’s daughter being kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer in the wilds of Oregon.  Although The Shack has a dark centre, it has an ending full of spiritual redemption and discovery.  This story was my first experience with Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls may be very much a tourist trap of sorts, but that doesn’t take away from the majesty of the slender falls.  The falls flow year round thanks to its source of spring water from nearby Larch Mountain.  One can easily find photos of Multnomah Falls to match in winter, spring, summer or fall.

I just had to see Multnomah Falls for myself.  Although the summer is not the recommended time of year for photographers to go, that’s the only time I really had available.  My wife and I mingled with the busy summer crowds.  I decided to drive up the old narrow highway and park right by the lodge at the foot of the falls.  One could also easily just park in the parking lot in the middle of the highway and walk up to the lodge and falls.

Multnomah Falls did not disappoint and I was glad that we visited.  It may have been the middle of a warm summer day with all the crowds, but it was still a great treat.  If you want a quieter view of the falls away from the summer crowds, then the spring and fall would be best and the lighting should be better for photographers.

Keep Portland Weird!

One of Portland’s mottos is “Keep Portland Weird.”  It’s a fun and funky slogan. It’s even painted all over one wall in Old Town.  It sums up part of the Portland experience.  (I’m not sure if the Benz really fits with the motto, though).

In Old Town, you can find one of Portland’s weird, fun, and funky eateries – Voodoo Doughnut.  It’s been featured on many a Food Network show, I’m sure.  I don’t have access to that, but I found a travelportland.com video on YouTube you can savour.

We had to venture for ourselves to see what it was about. So drove over to Old Town.  We followed Burnside all the way to 3rd Avenue.  Old Town just butts up against Chinatown here along Burnside.  Voodoo Doughnut is actually along 3rd Avenue though.  When you arrive, you will notice that there are some areas set up around the shop for people to line up.  My coworker had been here and she said that line up was really long on a Saturday. Luckily for us, it was a Tuesday afternoon.

We entered the shop with little trouble.  There was a small line of about a dozen people inside the place.  So we were lucky.  There’s a lot on the menu and a lot on display.  It’s almost overwhelming.  It was so overwhelming for me that I actually ended up ordering something safe.  I just wasn’t in the mood for some reason.  What a shame.  I really should have tried the Bacon Doughnut at least.  Next time.

the voodoo chandelier

Another fun, and possibly weird in some people’s eyes, is a giant statue of Paul Bunyan.  We made a wrong turn coming from our hotel and instead of going onto the freeway, we ended up on Interstate Avenue in north Portland.  We came across a giant statue of Paul Bunyan at the intersection of Denver Avenue and Interstate Avenue.  It was a very pleasant surprise to see giant Paul just standing there with axe in hand just staring over cars in the intersection and the MAX light rail pass in front of him from time to time.

Historic Paul Bunyan statue in north Portland (photo by Cacophony on Wikipedia)

Keeping with weirdness in Portland, this apartment building on Hawthorne Boulevard looks like the mason didn’t care anymore and just threw the bricks together in a mic-mash. Or maybe he asked his elementary school children to work on the front while he was doing the rest of the building.

Oh, and what did I eat from Voodoo Doughnut?  We took our doughnuts to go because we weren’t very hungry.  We ate them later that night back at the hotel.  Mine got the squashed treatment in the bag.  Wifey got a crueller and I got a McMinville Cream (similar to a Boston Cream).  Yes, I know.  Very safe and boring.  Oh well.  Like I said.  Next time. Just have to leave something to do the next time we visit Portland.

My McMinville Cream from Voodoo Doughnut

Portland’s Brewery Blocks

We left the central part of Portland’s Downtown. It was still too early to search for dinner and we just had our “unhappy hour” meal. Originally, I thought we’d walk around Powell’s City of Books for a while. As we circled around the block for parking, we came across the Brewery Blocks.

The Brewery Blocks are on the southern edge of the the ever-gentrified Pearl District. It’s a five-block section of the Pearl District which used to be the Blitz-Weinhard Brewery. The stores are mostly higher-end retail such as Whole Foods Market and Anthropologie. Even though, we weren’t likely to buy anything in the stores, we still decided to explore some of these funky shops.

We did venture into Anthropologie. It always feels like an upscale Urban Outfitters when I walk into Anthropologie. We didn’t really find much in there. Two stores really got our interest, though.

West Elm is a stylish, high-quality furnishing store. There was a lot of furniture, which wasn’t exorbitantly priced, but it would still make your wallet a lot lighter. It’s a part of the Williams-Sonoma/Pottery Barn family of stores, so you’d expect a certain price tag to be attached to it. One of the displays near the entrance was how to create your own indoor garden of succulents (cactii and friends) which made for interesting perusal. My wife didn’t want to buy any since she had managed to kill an aloe vera plant in our care. Then there alphabet art scattered throughout the store. It must be the trend to decorate one’s place with one’s own initials these days. If you are looking to find your initials in as many different font styles possible, then West Elm may just be your answer.

Another store we really enjoyed (and actually bought stuff) was Storables. The Storables store is not actually part of the Brewery Blocks, but it is right across the street from one of the Blocks where you can find a Chase Bank branch. It doesn’t look like much of a store from the outside; however, we loved how it was a home organization store with everything. Most places you go into, there’s a small section of shelving and a small section of bathroom organizers and so on. It was a simple, no nonsense warehouse of home organization goodness. We bought a nice Umbra behind-the-door clothing hangar and a kitchen sink pad amongst our purchases. Wifey kept asking why we don’t have this kind of store in Vancouver as we made our way through the aisles. Good question. Hey Storables! Open a store in Vancouver, BC.

We had only put about an hour in the meter thinking it would be enough, but it wasn’t. So we went back to the car. The rain really started to pick up again and it wasn’t so fun to walk around in this weather. So we didn’t linger any more in the Brewery Blocks. However, the Brewery Blocks and the rest of the Pearl District would be a great place to explore if the weather was better.

I have one lingering question, though. Is there no longer an operating brewery in the Brewery Blocks? That’s quite a shame if that’s true. At least Portland has no shortage of microbreweries in town.

P.S. As I’m typing this, I realize I did visit the Brewery Blocks 3 years ago when I first visited Portland. We had dinner at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern. It was a great place for steak. Yum yum. We had stumbled across it when we were stranded by a streetcar going out of service.

Downtown Portland and Our Happy Hour Disappointment

As I am typing this, I realize that I didn’t take many photos as we were in Downtown Portland.  We had finished riding the Portland Aerial Tram and had come downtown.  This is when the weather turned.  We had turned our car into one parking lot to see if there were any spots and then came back out to a downpour.  Egads!  Save the camera!

Portland SmartPark Garage Locations

If you must drive and park in Downtown Portland, my suggestion is to park in a SmartPark parking lot.  The rates for the first 4 hours is the same as on-street parking at $1.50/hour.  After that, the rate rockets up to $5/hour until a max of $7-12 depending on the location.  Also, you can take advantage of the signs outside the garage that tell you how many spots are still available.  We ended paying $6 for 4 hours and were relatively satisfied that we weren’t ripped off.  Because Smart Park garages are owned by the City of Portland, then part of your money is going back to the city.  That’s a concept I really like.

We had been to Downtown Portland previously, so we didn’t explore as much as last time.  We went to the Nordstrom Rack for a brief stint and walked around the shops surrounding Pioneer Courthouse Square.  We were killing time so that we could partake in Happy Hour.  Happy Hour in Portland is great and there are deals for food and drinks in the late afternoon.

When three o’clock rolled around, we went up to the lobby of The Nines Hotel where you find Urban Farmer, the hotel restaurant.  We had stayed at this posh hotel the last time we were in Portland.  There was a grand opening deal of $99/night back then.  Now, a room runs easily for $249/night.  Yikes!

In any case, we had come to partake in the Urban Farmer happy hour menu.  We had fond gastronomic memories of their Wagu Beef Sliders, their raw oysters, and their souffle dessert.  We had very high hopes and expectations coming into the restaurant.  However, we arrived and discovered they had scrubbed their happy hour menu for the day.  It was Valentine’s Day.  Oh the disappointment.  They only had the lounge menu left and it did not have what we were looking for, so we left.

We roamed around the streets for another half hour looking for a restaurant that would suit our mood, but we didn’t.  We must have been way put off by the lack of our highly expected happy hour meal.  I thought we might walk over to the block with all the food carts lined up along the sidewalk.  We didn’t find anything to our liking there.  So we did the unthinkable.

We were so hungry that we gave up and headed to the food court of Pioneer Place Mall.  Valentine’s Day meal in the mall.  Grr.  I was definitely beat.  My feet were aching and I was really hungry and getting irritated.  So I had some Cajun food that tasted eerily like Asian food.  “Ca-sian” food?

So the food was really sub-par, but at least I was less hungry and less irritated.  We went back to the SmartPark garage because our first 4 hours was about to expire and we didn’t want to pay an extra $5/hour just for being a few minutes late.  In the end, we only paid $6 for 4 hours. Yes!

Portland Aerial Tram

The first time I visited Portland, I arrived at the aerial tram on a statutory holiday. That meant the tram was not running. I even purposely took the streetcar all the way from downtown to ride the aerial tram. So after being disappointed on my first visit to the tram, I was not about to be disappointed this time.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the tram. We were heading east along Hawthorne Boulevard and drove right across the Hawthorne Bridge. Sounds simple. However, the Hawthorne Bridge is a drawbridge. Lucky us. We had to wait 10 minutes as a tugboat approached from downstream and had to make its way up the Williamette River.

waiting on the Hawthorne Bridge

So after this little delay, we drove over to the Portland Aerial Tram. If you are driving from downtown, it’s best to follow the signs that say South Waterfront. One good sign that you are going in the right direction is that you will be following the streetcar tracks. Keep following the tracks and you will come across the lower station for the aerial tram.

We found a lot of on-street paid parking in the area. I paid too much thinking I needed a lot of time to explore, but an hour is more than enough. So don’t overpay. Also, when you collect your ticket/receipt, remember to stick it to the window closest to the sidewalk, not on your dashboard. I remember I had to do this with my parking tickets in downtown Seattle as well.

We followed the signs to the tram. The signs are not in great abundance, but you should easily see the tram line hanging high in the sky. Just go to where the line meets the ground. Or if you are taking the streetcar, just get off at the very last stop and you will be right there at the lower tram station.

If you are interested, you can also walk around the South Waterfront neighbourhood. It’s a large steel and glass tower neighbourhood. On the ground, it isn’t all that animated. Perhaps because it’s a new neighbourhood that is separated from most of Portland by Interstate 5. However, the Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) building that is directly beside the tram station is fairly busy on the inside.

A round trip on the aerial tram is $4 per person. Tickets are dispensed at a ticket vending machine. I thought we would be able to keep the ticket after boarding, but the attendant collected all the tickets. So take a photo of your ticket if you want a little memento of your ride. Or you could pay $4 to keep a ticket for yourself, if you really wanted to.

Currently, as you ascend the hill, you quickly see the construction of a pedestrian overpass. I overhear a local explaining to a friend that the overpass is meant to connect the new South Waterfront neighbourhood with the neighbourhood on the other side of I-5. It also gives residents on the other side of I-5 a chance to visit the waterfront without having to drive over.

There are only two cars that operate on this short tram ride. As we made our way up the hill, we passed the other one that was making its way down. With the two trams, service is roughly every 10 minutes. An advisory on the website says service slows to a tram every 15 minutes when winds are high.

high above I-5 in the Portland Aerial Tram

One thing I noticed as we rode the tram is the lack of towers. There’s the two termini on either end and one tower near the lower station. However, it’s completely free hanging from the one tower to the top. That’s a pretty far way to string these giant cables.

Also, these aerial trams are very different from other aerial gondola I’ve ridden. I’m used to seeing the small gondolas that carry a few people at a time. Those are the gondolas common at major ski resorts, like Whistler. This gondola can easily carry two dozen people and a few bikes.

At the very top of Marquam Hill, is the upper tram tower plus the campus of OHSU. We had disembarked at the top and wanted to walk around to see what was there. We quickly noticed that we were in a hospital. A nice hospital, too. Doctors, nurses, and other staff were busy zipping about. Patients were patiently waiting for their appointments. I assume this is a private university given how upscale everything felt. I could be wrong, though. I just felt that there was money here. Wifey quickly quipped, “Who ever willingly goes to a hospital as part of their vacation.”

After using the restrooms, we went back to the tram station. The tram station offers a great view of the city. If it were a clearer day, we could see the mountains further off. Today was very cloudy and rainy at times, so we were just happy to be able to see the city.

So we made our way back down on the tram. There are no attendants to collect tickets on the way down. Payment is only ever made on the way up. Apparently, staff and students of OHSU ride for free. Nice perk.

On the way down, I had a clear shot north of downtown Portland. So make sure to keep to the left of the tram if you want a clear view of downtown on the way down. I would stay on the right side if I were heading up. Again, it was a very cloudy day and the grey skies obscured any and all mountains.

Back at the bottom at South Waterfront. A streetcar had just arrived and the driver was taking a break. Good time for more transit photography. However, we wouldn’t be taking the streetcar this time around. It was back to our car and off to downtown.

PDX – Hawthorne Boulevard

We got back into our car and drove over a few blocks to Hawthorne Street.  I thought Belmont Street was a little small, quiet and empty, but Hawthorne was filled with stores for a few blocks and was starting to buzz with activity in the late morning.  I really like the feel of Hawthorne.  It feels like a bigger street than Belmont with more shops and all, but it definitely had a hipster feel to it with many a unique shop dotted along each side.  There was a giant Fred Meyer down by Hawthorne and 39th Avenue, but that definitely hold any interest for me.  We drove into the middle of Hawthorne Street near the Umpqua Bank (I just love saying that name) and Ben N’ Jerry’s, parked the car and walked around.

One of the first things I encountered on the side street was a bicycle shelter fancily labelled as a Bicycle Parking Oasis.  The “oasis” consisted of a metal frame with glass roof to protect precious bicycle saddles from the elements.  A neighbourhood map was splashed on one side to orient cyclists to where they were and to where they could go.  I must say that Portland has some neat bicycle parking ideas.  We just need a pond of water for the oasis.

Bicycle Parking Oasis

The biggest and most noticeable landmark on Hawthorne is the Bagdad Theater.  The tall sign topped with an outline of an onion dome dominates the front of the building and the streetscape.  It’s apparently a part of the McMenamins group of pubs, hotels, breweries and more.  We didn’t step in, but apparently the interior is quite a treat.  I’d check out the website for the photo gallery.  I may have to add this onto my next Portland to-do list.  Apart from being a theater, there is also a pub on-site. That’s something that we’ve struggled with in Vancouver with liquor laws prohibiting movie theatres from serving alcohol.  The Rio Theatre being the case-in-point in Vancouver.

Radiating out from the Bagdad Theater are an array of shops ranging from quirky to trendy.  I love the feel of the street because it’s filled with small, local, independent businesses.  Some are small individual buildings with a lot of charm.  Others are within larger brick buildings, but equally as enticing to visit.  It’s also a real mix of different styles all along the street.

There were two particularly off-beat shops. There was Naked City.  If that names doesn’t get your attention, then what will?  The window display also grabs your attention complete with mannequins talking via speech balloons.  It’s basically a clothing and accessories store.

Another attention grabbing store is the Red Light.  A poster in the window advertised a Naked Shopping Spree.  It’s a vintage clothing store.  It’s blog proclaims it sells wacky, wild and wonderful vintage clothing.

And no Portland street is complete without its selection of eateries and coffee shops.  There’s shortage here in this part of Stumptown.  All of them looked completely comfy and delectably delish.  My coworker had recommended a Mexican restaurant called Cha, Cha, Cha! (Sorry, no pic). It was too early in the day to be open, though.  However, walking around cafes and restaurants with a full stomach is not recommended.  I couldn’t try anything.  I must plan meal times better next time.

So we didn’t grab a bite along Hawthorne, but we did come across a neat stationary and gift store called Memento.  It had a fun collection of Portland goodies to buy.  There was square wooden tile with a circle, neighbourhood map of Portland.  I thought that was cool.  The price was $40.  The coolness quickly faded with the price tag. And because it was Valentine’s Day, there was plenty of red and pink nifties to purchase for loved ones.

So if you’re travelling through Portland and want to find a local neighbourhood street to explore, Hawthorne Boulevard would be a great choice.  Drive over the Hawthorne Bridge from downtown and keep plodding along Hawthorne Boulevard until you see the giant Bagdad Theater sign and you’ll know you’re in the right spot. As with all travel, you never know what you might come across.

PDX – Belmont Street

The last time we were in Portland, Oregon, we never did any street exploration outside of downtown.  So I had no idea how Portland really felt on the ground apart from the city centre, the Interstate, and the malls.  However, the feel of a city is always more than just its downtown and highways.

The Travel Portland magazine (available for PDF download from their website) recommended a few neighbourhoods for tourists to explore.  I didn’t have time to go to all of them so I picked a couple of streets very close together.  In the magazine, they feature Belmont and Hawthorne streets together.  I’ll talk about them separately for the purposes of my blog.

We made our way down Portland’s streets on the east side of the Williamette River.  We noted that a lot of these main arterials don’t feel like the big streets in Vancouver.  They felt like small streets with traffic.  It reminded me of how some of the busy streets in Toronto are like in terms of width, but with a lot less traffic and a smaller city feel.

Google Map of Belmont Street in SE Portland

Belmont Street is in the Southeast quadrant of Portland.  It didn’t seem like a very busy street when we drove down it. Belmont is a very unassuming street between 33rd and 38th Avenues.  There are quite a few eateries and coffee shops along this stretch, but they are dotted in between a lot of homes.

Belmont Street house

Stumptown Coffee Roasters


One of the big landmarks along this stretch is the Avalon Theatre.  It looks like it’s been around for a long time.  It’s an art deco front and is still operating.  According to the Wikipedia entry, the Avalon is believed to Oregon’s oldest movie theatre and the first with multiple screens.

Avalon Theater

In front of a few of the coffee shops, there was something I had never seen before – on-street bicycle parking.  Portland is famous for being America’s most bicycle-friendly city and I can see why.  There was no shortage of bikes locked up in the bike parking and there were plenty of car parking spots around too.

on-street bicycle parking

There is a real mix of older brick buildings along this street.  In Vancouver, we don’t see much brick.  It’s not the material of choice here.  It almost has an East Coast feel with the brick.  It must have been the material of choice at the time this neighbourhood was built.

As with any city, there is a mix of old with new.  Directly across from the Avalon Theater is a very West Coast modern 4-storey apartment building.  It stands in direct contrast to the art deco theater across the street and the brick face of the Historic Belmont Firehouse.  This kind of juxtaposition of buildings is what makes urban exploration fun. Unfortunately, the fourth corner is a very uninteresting sound and lighting shop with a parking lot right on the corner.

new 4-storey apartment building

Historic Belmont Firehouse

Another reason we came down to Belmont Street was to see Pine State Biscuits.  It was recommended by one of my wife’s friends from Seattle.  She said I should definitely take her to Pine State.  Unfortunately, we made the mistake of having breakfast (because it’s free at the hotel) and didn’t have space for these famous biscuits. All we did is walk past it.  Next time, I will have to show my wife this video to get her all fired up to go.

Pine State Biscuits

PDX – Suburban Shopping

This post is not the most urban shopping you can do in Portland, but it is a common shopping experience for most Americans and for many Canadians who decide to drive south of the 49.

Oh the allure of no sales tax.  Alberta has it.  How those of in BC envy our neighbours on the other side of the Rockies.  Well, Oregon enjoys the lack of sales tax too.  What you see is what you get (wysiwyg).  So what is the favourite Canadian pastime when visting the US?  Cross-border shopping.

Most people go to outlets when they cross the border.  Seattle Premium Outlets in the big off of Exit 202.  It’s so big that most Vancouverites know about Exit 202 off the top of their head when going south down I-5.

In Oregon, Woodburn Company Stores in Woodburn, OR is the big daddy of outlets in the state.  Woodburn is a 45 minute drive south of Portland.  On our trip this time, we crossed the Columbia River into Portland just before 2pm.  We checked into our hotel, dropped off our stuff and headed back down I-5 to Woodburn.

Google satellite map of Woodburn Company Stores

We were down there on a weekday, so there were no crowds or line ups, but there weren’t any big sales to speak of.  The last time we visited this outlet, the cars were lined up along the off-ramp onto the highway.  We almost shot passed the end of the line of cars that time because all the cars were lined up along the shoulder.  None of that this time.  There were some deals, but I find the outlets have less and less stuff that I actually want to buy.  If you’re looking for something specific, you might find it.  We got a little something from Le Creuset, but not one of their famous iron cast pots.

After about an hour and half at Woodburn, we decided to head back north towards Portland, but we made a couple of stops in Tigard, a suburb just south of Portland along I-5.  We stopped off at another mall called Bridgeport Village.  This was one high-scale mall.  It made me think of Park Royal Village in West Vancouver, but with stores of a higher scale.  So this is where all the money in suburban Portland is.  We didn’t stay very long here because we weren’t going to buy anything here.

So our next mall stop was Washington Square, also in Tigard, but along Highway 217 (the Beaverton-Tigard Highway).  This is a very large mall with a very large parking lot surrounding it.  By the time we reached this mall, it was almost 7pm and we were getting hungry.  Not wanting to hunt around for food, we decided to grab dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.  Bearing in mind that American portions are much larger than Canadian portions, we order two appetizers, one main dish, and one decadent cheesecake.

Ahi Tartare

Spanish Fries (I can't remember the name of this)

Shrimp Scampi and Diane Steak Factory Combination

Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake

After stuffing down dinner, we proceeded to walk around Washington Square.  It always strikes me how much more cavernous American malls are than Canadian malls.  Our shopping centres tend not to have the high, high ceilings and wide, wide promenades like our American cousins.  The only mall in Metro Vancouver that comes close to Washington Square would be parts of Coquitlam Centre where the ceiling is about 4 storeys high.

There were the more typical stores in Washington Square such as Sephora, Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters, and even a Sanrio.  So we did some window shopping until the mall closed at 9pm.  That’s when we drove back to the hotel in Portland.  That was a small adventure in taking one wrong turn after another.

Just back from PDX

view of downtown Portland from aerial tram

I just came back from a short getaway to Portland, Oregon.  It was my second time down there.  I found a deal on travelportland.com.  We got $72 off on our second night’s stay.  I think it’s worth checking out for a short road trip.  It’s roughly a 6-hour drive from Vancouver, BC if you get a short line-up at the border and if you don’t have to stop too much.

If you haven’t been to Portland, Oregon, I think it is definitely worth checking out.  As an urbanist and transit fan, Portland has some neat things going for it.  It’s America’s most bicycle friendly city and has an LRT system that reaches most parts of the city and the inner suburbs.  Portland is also the first American city to start the modern streetcar trend that seems to be catching on across the USA.

If you are a Canadian looking for some good deals, then Oregon is a good destination because what you see on the price tag is what you pay.  With no sales tax, it makes it easier to give up your hard-earned cash.  Currently the Canadian and US dollars are quite even, so it’s a good time for Canadians to go south of the border for shopping.

Apart from shopping, we explored a little bit of the city that missed the last time around.  We didn’t walk around any of the neighbourhoods outside of downtown last time, so that was on my list of things to do.  I also totally missed my chance to ride the Portland Aerial Tram last time because it was closed for a statutory holiday.  I’ll post some stuff about my recent road trip once the photos are ready.

Opening and Construction Starts Planned for 2012 « The Transport Politic

Opening and Construction Starts Planned for 2012 « The Transport Politic.

The Transport Politic is one of my favourite blogs to follow.  Most of what he covers is about the United States since he’s based there.  Also, he provides what seems to be an inside look at the financing side of transportation projects across North America.  He’s just released his newest graphic/map for 2012.  It’s a map showing where all the major transit projects in North America are and what stage they are at.

Vancouver is on the top of my personal interest list.  We can see that construction is starting on a metro rail system.  That would be the Evergreen Line from Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby to Coquitlam Town Centre.  It starts this year and opens in 2016.  Another city of interest is Seattle.  Seattle has a few projects on the go.  A new Bus Rapid Transit line is due to open this year.  Construction continues on the Link LRT and a new streetcar line.  Then further down the I-5 in Portland, the Portland Streetcar Loop will open this fall and bring streetcar service east of the Williamette River.

Up here in Canada, Edmonton and Calgary continue their LRT expansions.  Toronto is building the extension to the Spadina Line to Vaughn.  Then Montreal is opening more commuter rail.

Now I’d love to see a map of projects on other continents as well.