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Oregon university has high hopes for new commuter tramhttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/01/29/MNGUBNQP0F1.DTLPortland Aerial Tramhttp://www.portlandtram.org/OHSU Tram Special Report [pdf]http://www.oregonlive.com/special/tram/The Twinky Tram Song [QuickTime]http://www.thesubcons.com/mp3/tram.mp3Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)http://web.presby.edu/~jtbell/transit/Morgantown/The Light Rail Transit Association [pdf]http://www.lrta.org/The city of New Orleans had a streetcar named desire. New York still has the "A" train. Portland, Oregon now has its "Jean" and "Walt". These happen to be the names of the two cabins that comprise the city's newly opened tram line. In a city that embraces public transportation like many other places embrace the opening of a new four-lane highway, even this project encountered resistance. Nevertheless, this past week the Portland Aerial Tram opened this past week amid much excitement as civic leaders, urban aesthetes, and the generally curious gathered to watch the first official trip of the tram. Rising up from the Willamette River to the campus of the Oregon Health and Science University, the tram moved along at speeds of up to 22 miles per hour. The entire trip takes less than five minutes, and along its route, the gleaming oblong pods pass over redeveloped industrial areas, single-family homes, and Interstate 5. Despite the initial praise by transportation advocates and planning types, there are some who remain skeptical of the project due to its rather substantial cost overruns.The first link is from this Monday's San Francisco Chronicle, and it offers a portrait of the tram and the response from local residents. At the second link, visitors can look over the Portland Aerial Tram homepage. Here they can learn about riding the tram and upcoming free ridership days. The third link will take users to a very comprehensive site from The Oregonian which provides a video tour of the tram as it glides along its route, a report on the cost overruns of the tram, and links to a number of relevant weblogs. The fourth link leads to a recording of a "The Twinky Tram Song", which was penned and performed by the local group The Subcons to celebrate this new addition to the Portland transportation scene. The fifth link will take visitors to a website created by Jon Bell which provides information and photographs about Morgantown, West Virginia's own personal rapid transit system. Unusual for a town of that size, this transit system connects the two campuses of West Virginia University with the downtown area. The last link leads to the delightful homepage of the Light Rail Transit Association, which has been advocating for better public transport since 1937. Based in the United Kingdom, the Association's homepage includes a number of photo galleries that document different systems around the world, along with discussion documents and an online shop.
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