On Monday, the council approved money for the car, which has seen cost overruns. PI editorial board did not like that, feeling they were taking money away from buses.

Personally I feel like the streetcar is nothing-ventured-nothing gained project. The streetcar in Portland has attracted a lot of development, and it is preferable to buses because it is so much more comfortable and somehow seems more reliable (whether it is or not). South Lake Union already seems to be attracting tenants. Since much of the money for the streetcar (even with cost over runs) came from private property owners, I think it’s a good deal that for the city, and a nice chance to see if these kinds of streetcars will work here. Unfortunately the line is too short to be really useful (it would have to go at least to UW to be), but it could be the start of something great, or a mildy inexpensive boondoggle.

6 Replies to “City to help pay for SLU Streetcar”

  1. The same can be said of the Portland streetcar, but it works.

    There’s this overall problem with thinking about transportation. People see cars as able to go to A, B, C, or D, and trains as only able to go to A or B. Cars are very fickle things – they can indeed go to A, B, C, or D easily, but at great expense and with limited capacity. We’re hitting both of those walls in this region – they’re really density-limited.

    Trains can only go to A and B, but C and D move to be where A and B already are – so you end up with the same resulting mobility, and the people who live near A and B then don’t even have to take vehicle trips to get to C and D.

    In terms of the SLU streetcar, it will help people get from Westlake (all you do is cross the street…) to work in SLU. Later, it can be extended through downtown and up to the U-district, but we have to build what we’re building today to do that anyway.

    It’s really weird to look at something that lasts a long time only in terms of today. You don’t do it with houses – you pay higher mortgages than an equivalent home’s rent because it’s a long term investment. You can later add to it if you need to, as well. Failing to look at transportation infrastructure the same way just leads to inaccuracy and confusion.

  2. It really does go somewhere. It connects downtown to SLU. There are more and more people moving into SLU. How they can afford it is another blog, but it is becoming more populated. I’d be interested in finding some recent vs. not-so-recent figures. The streetcar in my opinion represents Seattle taking a responsible approach to transportation. Obviously as ben pointed out, the line can easily be added to extend to the UW. I think it would be fairly easy to extend through the Retail Core, Financial District, and end up in Chinatown. Now that is serious connectivity there. I don’t know that I would run that particular route. It seems the ST Light rail will duplicate it. Not sure about that. I will leave that up to the experts. Multiple modes is the key I believe, because it will ease the tranfers from mode to mode provided they are coordinated. The streetcar will be a good investment for Seattle, it will take some getting used to at first like all new things. However once in place, it will give Seattle opportunity to expand.

  3. Well, as much as I will not use this street car, I do have to have some faith in the elected officials having done some sort of research on traffic.

    However, if we could get a few extra cars to run that line and push it up over Denny, down Broadway down James to reconnect downtown; that I’d use.

    Personally, I don’t see a use for street cars instead of a regular Light Rail or Monorail (R.I.P.) unless it goes up hill.

    Can we get something to go up the three major hills please? Pretty please? And while QA has good bus service, they friggin’ deserve a street car. Right past the Seattle Center… oh wait. That’s too touristy, huh?

  4. Speaking of touristy spots, I never understand why some people are against transit in these areas? I mean there are locals that go to these areas as well right? I mean we have buses and rail to the trains, buses and rail to the key. There is more to Lower Queen Anne than just Key Arena.

  5. Mr. 206,

    Completely agree with you. Personally, not a big fan of Queen Anne, lower or upper. But people live there. Tens of thousands, to be exact. They should probably be able to easily get around on something other than a bus.

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