Few would argue against the proposition that Americans love their cars, and those in the Portland metropolitan region are no exception. True, we’re more multi-modal than a lot of American cities, but many envision a future with substantially fewer cars on the road than we have today and, from that perspective we have a long way to go. Patrick Condon is a smart growth/New Urbanism proponent who will be presenting concepts from his new book, Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post-Carbon World, at a Metro council work session on March 29, 2011. For a look at his list of the seven rules, see the Metro work session agenda. What’s first on the list? “Restore the Streetcar City.” Given the region’s newfound love for streetcars, this will likely be well-received by the Metro Council. The $458 million dollar question, however, will be whether the region can afford it. Consider a recent article in the Oregonian noting that the proposed streetcar from Portland to Lake Oswego will cost just that much, but is only projected to have about 11,930 riders in 2035. According to the Oregonian, the existing four-mile system from Northwest 23rd to the tram cost $103 million, and over 12,000 people ride that system today. The cost-per-rider and congestion benefit numbers don’t seem to pencil out, but, of course, some would argue that there are other benefits, such as cleaner air. Public hearings in Lake Oswego and Portland are scheduled for April 2011.