East End of Broadway Bridge: 1950s

Most of my posts are centered around pics from this 70s, but after finding this gem mis-filed in my slides, I couldn’t resist sharing.

If the photographer would turn a bit you would see a super strange pedestrian island in the middle of Broadway designed to serve passengers of trolleys and later, these electric trolleybuses. I am not an expert in anything, let alone Portland transportation, but from what I understand, riders accessed this island via stairs and a tunnel which permitted safe (if urine stank) passage to the sidewalk. Here is some film footage of the island in action.

This arrangement would be impossible today due to the requirements of the 1990 ADA and the general expectations among the transit riding public which renders such silly workarounds unacceptable. We do, however, see renewed interest in transit islands in Portland, most recently on NE Broadway near 21st where in May of 2016 a small test project realigned the street with one less travel lane and addition of a bikeway and islands. It will be interesting to see if PBOT adopts this arrangement when they move forward with their massive rebuild of this streetscape in the coming year. Perhaps one of my readers will know.

For more on the sad and short-lived electric trolleybus in Portland, check out Cafe Unknown‘s awesome page. Dan’s page also has a pic of a bus in the same lively with another witty slogan “You Dont Have To Park A Bus” -so true! The one here reads: “How Far Away Did You Park Today” both hinting at the major frustration of commuters finding parking downtown.

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