The Seattle Streetcar – the hidden stepchild very few know about. It hides in South Lake Union, known commonly and jokingly as the S.L.U.T by some. The question many wonder – How do we make the Streetcar more viable and popular among the residents of Seattle. There are a lot of ideas, many which the City of Seattle has already taken a firm stand on. Everyone has their opinion on where they would love the route to go and I agree with all of them, however there is an important segment that would benefit greatly – Serving the Central Business Core of Downtown Seattle.
While I understand that the City of Seattle would like the SLU Streetcar to continue down First Avenue, this is a route that should be avoided. It would make the connection to the 1st Avenue Streetcar but that is where it ends. There hasn’t been a lot of forethought by the City of Seattle in this regards of making the connections much more seamless than painful and cumbersome.
These are my ideas for the Seattle Streetcar network;
Downtown Core routing;
This route will be an extension of the SLU route by continuing Southbound on Westlake in the Right-hand lane. The stop for the Southbound will be at 5th and Pine, next to the Seattle Monorail Station. The route will continue South with stops at University Street, Marion Street, James Street, and Jackson Street. The route will then turn Right onto Airport Way and Right again onto 4th Avenue South. The route will return North on 4th Avenue with stops at Weller Street (Sounder Connection), Main Street, James Street, Marion Street, Seneca Street, and Pine Street. The route will turn Right onto Olive Way followed by the shallow Left to reconnect to the SLU line.
This routing would bring in the best possible ridership, it would capture passengers from Sounder or Amtrak, provide connections and easy walk to Qwest or Safeco Field. It would provide a transfer to the Waterfront Streetcar (Ahem), First Hill Streetcar, and a short walk to the First Avenue Streetcar. The cost would be about the same as the initial segment – The reason for this being the additional 4-5 streetcars needed to cover the gap of the route. This routing could increase ridership upwards of 4,000-6,500 a day at 12 minute intervals.
Jackson Street Streetcar;
The routing for this Streetcar is perfect for the most part but I would make some changes in the International District. The line should continue West to Occidental Avenue where it would turn left. The line would continue down Occidental until 1st Avenue then turn Right on First Avenue back to Jackson Street for it’s continuing run. This will allow the new development at Qwest Field to populate more and serve the stadiums, King Street Station, and the future condos and apartments going in soon. I would also propose the Streetcar going as far as 31st Ave/Frink Park. This would serve some of the Leschi/Mt. Baker residences. This routing would provide at least 2 school connections (Leschi and Washington Middle School) – Ultimately, this should go all the way out to the High School and eliminate the KC Metro # 14 and those buses redirected to the 1, 2, 3, 4.
That is all that I have on this subject for now…What are your thoughts on this? Would most of this be prohibitive enough that the city should ignore it? How would you feel about a line going through Downtown?