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Beginning Feb. 1, Portland Streetcar officials will close five stops on the city's west side as part of a trial to determine whether consolidation of stations can improve safety and service.The stations are located at points along the streetcar lines that pose collision risks, contribute to the slowing of the streetcar or traffic, or where there are other stops nearby, according to an announcement on Portland Streetcar's website.Some of the stops are on a slope, which makes it difficult for streetcars to start and stop.When the city's streetcars entered service in 2001, stations were placed every two to three blocks. As the system has grown, ridership has increased threefold, making speed and reliability "even more important," Portland Streetcar officials said. Additionally, much of the rider feedback over the years has centered on the need to increase speed, frequency and reliability, they said.For the trial, only stations located within two blocks of another station will be closed.On newer streetcar lines, stations are being placed every three to five blocks to increase system speed.
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