One of the ongoing discussions about the Portland Streetcar is whether it is faster to walk or take the streetcar. When I want to travel along the streetcar's route downtown, I trot briskly along the route until a streetcar catches up with me, or until I catch up with the streetcar, or until I get to my destination. Usually I beat the streetcar. Every time I follow the tracks, I notice others also jogging or walking briskly along the route, apparently with the same purpose.
Twenty years ago I visited the Multnomah Kennel Club and watched the greyhounds run around the circuit, chasing a mechanical rabbit that's pulled along a channel next to the track. It struck me today as I noticed people trotting along the rail line that the Portland Streetcar is not primarily a means of transportation, nor is it mainly a subsidy to lucky if inept contractors and suppliers.
It's a public health measure, designed to not to move people from Point A to Point B, but to improve the cardiovascular fitness of downtown workers and residents who strive to outpace the trolleycar.
It's the rabbit, and we're the greyhounds.