Inspired by the big opening of the new eastside Streetcar loop this Saturday, Portland writer Sam Churchill – the man behind dailywireless.org – has created a mobile-friendly, ad-free website all about the history and surroundings of all 28 stops along the MLK-Grand streetcar line.
Churchill, who’s a longtime streetcar fan, didn’t run into any trouble until he talked to Portland Streetcar about hanging his QR codes – those 2-D barcodes that let smartphones easily pull up a website – near their stops.
In his press release today, Churchill says he might find a way to hang up the QR codes anyway.
Whether or not he gets away with it, you’ll find Churchill hanging out at OMSI during Saturday’s 10 a.m. launch event, probably handing QR codes to anybody who’s interested.
Full release below the jump:
Mobile App for Eastside Streetcar Created
A free, non-commercial mobile website has been designed to explore the new Portland Eastside Loop, which opens this Saturday.
The webside (http://pdxstreetcar.wordpress.com), is not intended to be a commercial venture, claims 64 year old developer, Sam Churchill.
"It’s designed to be non-commercial and free, providing an informative and entertaining look at the neighborhood," said Churchill, who says he’s not affiliated with any business organization. "It highlights the history of the area, including vintage photos, follows the process of building the streetcar line, and links to current neighborhood attractions on each stop."
The project was hatched two weeks ago at Beer and Blog, a weekly meetup of bloggers at a SE tavern.
"I said we ought to create a QR code (mobile bar code) tour of the neighborhood. Mobile phone users could snap a picture of the bar code to be automatically directed to a website about that stop. I decided to do it myself, using all free resources. I used WordPress.com for free webhosting, Soundcloud.com for embedded music, and Archive.org for public domain "flapper" music from the 20s and 30s."
The website took two weeks to develop and works on both PCs and mobile devices. It is not a downloadable app. A free downloadable version that would work off-line (without an internet connection) is planned but not currently available.
"I have no particular skills, other than basic HTML," said Churchill. "I think anyone can do this".
Portland Streetcar is underwhelmed.
"I would appreciate your not installing any QR codes anywhere – the City has a very strict policy on any signage on City right-of-way," said Kay Dannen, Community Relations Manager for the Portland Streetcar Project ( 503-823-7137).
Churchill may hang his business card-size QR codes near Portland Streetcar property, despite Dannen’s objections.
"I understand and acknowledge the Streetcar organization needs a policy on this kind of thing, as does the city," said Churchill. "But it doesn’t seem like that big a deal."
Sam Churchill will be at the Streetcar Grand Opening at OMSI, Saturday, promoting his QR code and his website. He is available at (503) 228-6459, email: firstname.lastname@example.org website:
Creative Commons streetcar photo by Sam Beebe.