Pearl District Real Estate Insider: Streets in the Pearl Reopen With New Direction

Portland’s neighborhood system is known for its enclaves of walkable retail areas, centered around restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and boutiques, and some of the most successful areas are popular because of the ease of access via public transportation and bike. The Pearl District, Nob Hill, Hollywood, Hawthorne, Clinton, and Belmont districts are all walkable and accessible for all Portland residents, thanks to our amazing transportation systems. One of the most popular modes of transportation for residents and visitors alike is the Portland Streetcar, launched in 2001. In the almost ten years since the opening of the Streetcar lines, ever area serviced by the Streetcar loop has boomed in popularity.

A study in 2008 found that Portland’s light rail and Streetcar system generated $3.5 billion in investments and resulted in over 10,210 housing units around the streetcar line. The boom in Portland Real Estate, economic growth, and neighborhood cohesiveness can be traced to the maximization of transit funding and ingenuity.

Several streets in Portland’s Northwest Pearl District that have been closed for almost two months for new construction of tracks for the Portland Streetcar Loop Project are being reopened today. Some of these formerly two-way streets will now be one-way streets, allowing for the new Streetcar passage and smooth commuter flow. If you’re looking for homes or condos for sale in the Pearl District real estate market, be sure to pay attention to this new traffic flow – we wouldn’t want anyone getting stuck while on a tour for new homes in the area! The good news is that these changes facilitate a 3.3 mile extension of the existing Portland streetcar system, which will eventually connect major commercial and entertainment centers on the Eastside to the existing westside Portland loop.

Traffic changes in the area include:

  • Northwest Lovejoy Street between 13th and 10th avenues is a one-way eastbound street that is closed to vehicles traveling westbound from the Broadway Bridge
  • Northwest Northrup Street between 10th and 16th avenues is a one-way westbound street
  • Northwest Marshall Street between 9th and 16th avenues is a two-way street with a new bikeway that is the preferred route for cyclists accessing the west end of the bridge.
  • Northwest Lovejoy Street between 9th and 10th avenues has multiple streetcar tracks that present obstacles to cyclists.
  • A new “Copenhagen Left” turn box on Northwest Lovejoy Street and 9th Avenue has been added for cyclists traveling westbound from the Broadway Bridge turning southbound on 9th Avenue.
  • Bicycle lanes on Northwest Lovejoy Street between 9th and 13th avenues have been removed.
  • Northwest Johnson Street between 14th and 9th avenues will have shared lane markings for cyclists installed in the near future.

Portland has proven that streetcars serve to connect communities, and also connect urban citizens to the history of their regions, as many American metropolises once featured light rail transit in their early years of development. Streetcars are also a great boon for sustainability, as residents can choose to ride the electric streetcar instead of using their cars. It’s an elegant win/win solution to a growing disconnect in American cities, bringing neighbors together, drawing in and encouraging tourism, supporting local businesses, and encouraging resource preservation. The streetcar system is one way to ensure economic stability in an area, as businesses close far less frequently when they are supported by a high-volume walking district and streetcar line. Keep an eye out for signs that signal these changes, and look for the new Streetcar service to begin running in 2012.

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