If you do, and you want me to ask SDOT for answers, leave the questions in the comments below. I’ll be posing them to the SDOT folks tomorrow, and will give you answers here shortly thereafter.

15 Replies to “Do You Have Streetcar Questions?”

  1. I want to know what the designs for the West Seattle-Ballard line are, and whether that’s meant ot be a replacement for proper rapid transit.

  2. Would the streetcar lines be constructed one at a time? If so, is there any idea which line/lines are likely to be constructed first? Also, when is the earliest a new streetcar line/extension would be ready for use?

  3. If I’m cycling on the street (between the rails, on the nice new smooth concrete) and a streetcar comes up behind me, what should I do?

    Typically streetcar and I are in the right lane, where we both belong. I typically can’t move to the right, as there’s no room between the curb and the streetcar (or between streetcar and parked cars), and I surely don’t want to move out into the left lane of fast auto traffic that’s passing the streetcar on the left. My only safe option seems to be to carry on cycling at my regular speed in the right lane….

    If the streetcar were a “trackless trolley”, it could pass me, or if it were in a dedicated lane there would be no issue.

    It’s unclear to me how Seattle can promote both on-street streetcars and bicycle commuting at the same time (yes, I’ve heard of plans for separate bike routes, but have yet to see them).


  4. I echo Michael’s concern. Street cars are great and all, especially for dense urban neighborhoods, but my concern is also that they will become a poor replacement for real rapid transit (light rail), not by design, but merely because they will be used as a weapon against us by transit opponents (“You want light rail? We already gave you streetcars, what’s the difference?”). The streetcars within the neighborhoods seems fine, but a line from Downtown all the way to Ballard or Downtown to West Seattle, that is an ineffective solution.

    I look forward to hearing your report!

  5. Yes, streetcars and light rail are two different applications, for two different locations with two different needs.

    The brief way of describing this difference is that streetcars go within cities, and light rail connects one city with another.

    You might use a streetcar to connect one neighborhood with another, but once you get over 5 miles, you talking about light rail applications there.

  6. I don’t understand the hate streetcars get as ‘improper’ rapid transit. Two coupled Skoda cars have plenty of capacity when operated in their own ROW and with decent stop spacing. Will the city be considering this sort of rapid streetcar operation, or just the Portland Circulator model?

  7. Questions…

    Why are there no cameras on the streetcars?

    Why is there not at least an initial strong police emphasis on improperly parked vehicles (mostly delivery), that frequently block the streetcar?

  8. I want to know how the trip time on the streetcar will compare with analogous bus routes. Say, West Seattle Junction to Downtown, compared with route 54 and the ‘rapid’ ride bus.

  9. A random and especially nerdy question: Have they talked to the developer looking to redevelop the parking lot south of ZymoGenetics about running the streetcar through that building (maybe with its own stop) and over to Eastlake in order to avoid a Fairview Bridge rebuild? Seems like a possible win-win…

  10. Will the streetcars have dedicated lanes (i.e. NO autos allowed at any time) in order to facilitate a quick, true rapid transit route?

  11. What are the plans to avoid the negative interactions like the trains have been having with cars?

  12. What resources would it take to commit to more dedicated right-of-way for buses and to ensure off-bus fare purchases?

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