With two streetcars on the way, our two mayoral candidates’ views on the topic deserve some scrutiny. Neither McGinn nor Mallahan appear to be pro-streetcar, but their level of dislike seems quite different.
The First Avenue streetcar is to be funded by the city through an as yet undetermined source. It provides transit mitigation for intra-city trips displaced by the removal of the Viaduct, and would serve to connect the South Lake Union Trolley with the First Hill streetcar.
The First Hill streetcar is a Sound Transit project, approved and funded as part of Sound Transit 2, to connect International District station and Capitol Hill station. It will serve the First Hill employment center that didn’t get a light rail station in Sound Move – the $350 million station would have increased University Link’s risk dramatically, likely losing us our $800 million federal grant – $1.1 billion is too much for one stop!
McGinn would fund more bus service in the city instead of the First Avenue streetcar, trading a capital investment that causes lower operations costs per passenger mile for all three streetcar lines for a few years of bus hours. This could put us in a bad situation later, depending on how these bus hours are funded – if we fund hours for five years, for example, users will demand continued service, requiring us to find a new source of money. If we fund them with a longer term funding source, we’ll be doing it instead of continuing to build the streetcar network.
Mallahan, however, is even worse. He not only wouldn’t build the First Avenue streetcar, he’d try to consider interfering with construction of the First Hill streetcar, cancelling it if possible. This is not just irresponsible, but goes against last year’s vote. The last thing we want is Mallahan on the Sound Transit board.
What concerns me the most here is that there’s even a question of funding these two projects for either candidate. Seventy years ago, the streetcars were ripped up and replaced with buses to kill transit use – and the reverse holds true. It’s much easier to fight for signal priority and dedicated right of way for a streetcar than for a bus, it gets higher ridership, it can spur development. In the long run, it serves more people for less money, especially the First Avenue line – it not only serves tourist central, it also connects the other two.
McGinn is so close to being a good transit advocate – but he seems stuck on buses based on their apparent short-term cost. We need to put pressure on him to change this attitude.
166 Replies to “The Mayor and the Streetcars”
Too bad the voters got rid of Nickles -if he had survived the primary, you wouldn’t be in this predicament.
Indeed, but despite our support, he didn’t. Now we have work to do!
Transit advocates- and the political action committee of ATU Local 587- need to put a permanent presence on Mike McGinn’s campaign.
Have seen this often over the years: politicians who honestly believe in public transit, but haven’t got a clue how it works.
Seems to me a big problem in Seattle is that civic leadership here really is mechanically illiterate. Aircraft engineering- let alone software engineering- is quite literally a different world from streetcars. In a storage tunnel under Boston thirty years ago, a mechanic on the “T” ran down a list of problems with the Boeing Vertol light railcar we were sitting aboard, and told me:
“This car would be just fine if it could cruise at 30,000 feet. Right now, it works as well as if the Brill Car Company or the Baldwin Locomotive Works built a helicopter.”
What about the Capitol Hill Streetcar and Pioneer Square Streetcar? Just don’t make it the West Edge Streetcar…
It’s technically called the Central Streetcar.
In the end, we get what we deserve – thanks Seattle voters for blindly protesting…well, you’re not even sure what you’re protesting, are you? You voted against Nickels because you don’t like, um, stuff.
One of those streetcars needs to be renamed – I get too confused about two lines, both named First Something Streetcar!
Looking ahead, it makes on nervous to think about the mayoral support for Ballard-West Seattle Link and/or ST3 that we will soon lack. In order to get people in the city thinking transit, I think one thing to do is to get our friends and family out on Link for a ride before November.
Hopefully once some more lines are built we’ll give them numbers or colours. It would also prevent future awkward acronyms.
Seattle Streetcar lines already get a Metro route number like 98 South Lake Union and 99 Waterfront. I would love numbers and letters in colored circles like New York or Paris.
I wouldn’t assume lack of support for light rail = lack of support of streetcars. I strongly support light rail, due to it’s mostly dedicated right of way makes them a fast way to get around. I’m not as big of a fan of streetcars though, because they get stuck in traffic with cars, so they aren’t able to make up the time lost waiting at stations when you could have hopped in your car and driven.
The thing is, once you have 3000-5000/day or more on your streetcar, you can say “hey, look how many more people we’d move if we gave this thing its own lane” – and often, in European cities, that’s what happens. Notice we aren’t having that discussion about buses…
Ben is spot-on here, and you don’t even have to go as far as Europe. Check out San Francisco’s muni and notice how dedicated lanes have been built after the original track was laid down.
Muni is sweet, a lot of it for its sort of old-schoolness. I don’t think we’d get those tiny little street island stops, which rule. Maybe we’d get something better, though.
Dedicated lanes for MUNI? Um, where? Just in the new lines on the waterfront? Last time I rode the Church, Zoo, and Judah lines they were hideously slow on the street. Although the Church line does have a speedy section along the side of a hill, but it looked like it was built decades ago.
Mike, you hit the nail on the head – the new lines. We’re also building new lines.
Matt, we likely will get tiny little island stops, look at the streetcar PDFs!
I believe the island stops the other Matt is referring to are very small islands in between traffic lanes which allow buses and the historic F-line streetcars to pick up passengers from the left lane even though they only have doors on the right side. I don’t think we’ll see that here since those islands weren’t wheelchair-accessible as far as I remember.
Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed how much of a height difference there is between the SLUT floor and some of the platforms? At least at Pacific Place it looks to be about three inches. They didn’t do nearly as good a job as Sound Transit in providing a good level-boarding experience.
I see – okay, not *tiny*, but small!
The SLUT isn’t that great in terms of ADA usability. When First Hill is built, ST will likely pay more attention to that, and the distinction between the streetcars will be more clear so others notice it and put pressure on the city.
There will never be streetcars to West Seattle. It is simply far too expensive to duplicate the West Seattle High Bridge, even for a pair of tracks. Crossing the Duwamish on the opening bridge is a non-starter for schedule reliability. So how are you going to get to West Seattle? A TUNNEL?
You have the same issue with the Ballard streetcar idea as currently presented. The route crosses the Ship Canal using the Fremont Bridge with the traffic jams that occur throughout the day at the north end of it. Not only that but the planners intend to route the streetcar on Westlake instead of Dexter where the riders live. Sheesh.
If there is to be a Ballard streetcar it should diverge from the SLUT line over to Dexter using Harrison or Republican or both in a couplet. They’re pretty flat from between Terry and Dexter. Then bridge over the intersection at Dexter and Westlake to the old railroad right of way between Ewing and the south side of the Ship Channel. Then continue west o the high point of the hill east of the Ballard Bridge (about 12th West), cross the Ship Channel on a high bridge and come down in 14th NW up to NW 56th, then west to 24th. You could include a spur up 14th to 65th if you wanted and maybe even have a one-way local loop circulator on 24th, 14th, 65th and 56th.
Dexter is wide enough and has little enough traffic to dedicate the two center lanes to the streetcar and west of the Fremont Bridge would be separate ROW all the way to the end of the line.
Now the high bridge is expensive, no doubt about it. But this route serves Seattle Pacific and a corridor in Ballard that could support intensive development.
If West Seattle ever gets rail it is most likely to be light-rail ala-Link due to the cost of crossing the Duwamish. It is likely possible to put streetcar or light-rail tracks elevated over the roadway on the high bridge similar to how the monorail project was planning. However the cost of the approach structure and modifying the bridge puts the costs up in Link territory. For various reasons it might make more sense to bring Link to West Seattle via a tunnel or a new high-level bridge.
As for streetcars crossing drawbridges we did this before we tore up the old streetcar network in the 1930’s. The Ballard, Fremont, University, Montlake, West Seattle, and 1st Ave S. Bridges all used to have streetcar tracks over them. I don’t think the bridge will be a big source of delays most of the time, even the mess in Fremont North of the bridge isn’t that big a deal. As someone who has lived on both the 28 in Ballard and the 26 in Wallingford the big delays on those routes are mostly elsewhere.
I will agree with you that Dexter is probably a better alignment for a streetcar than Westlake. It could probably even cut over to Dexter on Aloha which if I recall is still not too steep for streetcars.
I’ll admit I’m relatively newly obsessed with transit (have always supported & used, rarely followed as an issue). Forgive me if I ask basic questions.
I’m still confused how something that is already approved, with funding already in place, can be at risk. How could either McGinn or Mallahan kill or promise/threaten to kill the streetcar?
How do we tackle this? What is the strategy for convincing McGinn that the transit community demands a streetcar system? I registered and voted in support of streetcars on the ideasforseattle.org website. Do you think he takes that project seriously? What if Seattle Transit Blog readers flooded the issue with support?
We need to mobilize on this. Any ideas?
Well the First Hill Streetcar is funded, but they could pull the funding that the city was going to give to speed that up by 4 years. The First Ave Streetcar isn’t funded (it’s part of the city’s viaduct replacement package) so they could easily do away with that.
Also McGinn or Mallahan will more then likely sit on the sound transit board of directors, and since ST 2 (what we approved last November) is already facing a budget short fall either or of them could pull it to save money.
No, they will not “more than likely” site on the board. Whoever is elected is required by state law to sit on the board.
No, we’ve been through that. The law requires a representative from the largest city in the county to sit on the board. For example in the case of Tacoma it’s the Deputy Mayor. A City Council person would be the most likely if the Mayor didn’t want the job.
Ok my bad.
But an anti-ST mayor would really, really want that job, unfortunately.
That is up to the next King County Executive. Constantine would keep Mallahan off the ST board if he is dumb enough to come out against ST projects during the campaign and would likely select a pro ST council member in his place. On the other hand Hutchison would likely pass over McGinn for someone like Licata (though if Licata loses and McGinn wins she doesn’t really have anyone who is a ST skeptic to go with).
BTW this is one of the reasons the KCE race is so critically important. If you support transit donate to Constantine today and sign up to volunteer.
Hi Melissa and welcome to discussing transportation.
There are a lot of things that some of us consider to have been decided on. ST2 has a funding shortfall right now because of the recession which will mean either deleting some projects, prioritizing or extending the timeframe for getting things done. With Sound Move approved in 1996, ST decided to both extend the time frame on building light rail and to shorten it, but for the most part, this was because of logistical delays and concerns and huge delays on starting the project thanks to opposition from some communities. Who knows at this point what they will do with ST2 projects as with the exception of adding some buses to some routes, they have not really begun to tackle anything approved last November. We see our role on the Seattle Transit Blog as keeping their feet to the flames of the fire and trying to keep them on message with voter approved projects. Any hesitancy is treated by the naysayers as a sign of weakness so we have to keep enthusiasm going as much as possible so that we are not sidelined by always having to play a defensive role. If McGinn or Mallahan are against streetcars on principle, our job is made all the harder if the voices for streetcars become excesssively engulfed by those opposing them.
There really isn’t much at this point for ST to do on ST2 as much of it either has to wait for the money to be available or for Sound Move projects to finish. However ST is moving forward with the East Link EIS process and design work on North Link.
Now I’m not sure how the budget for design and engineering work is scheduled, however I do think Sound Transit should do at least the minimum amount of work to have all ST2 Link segments ready for FTA grant applications. This way if there is a sudden windfall with a new transportation bill or stimulus type bill ST will be in a position to take advantage of it.
For example the segment from the Airport to Federal Way could be built very quickly if there was funding to do so. Right now I don’t believe this is scheduled to open until 2023. While going North is a priority there aren’t too many ways to speed this up much more. Expanding South would be a way of doing a quick system expansion.
Thanks for explaining. Here’s what I understand so far: projects are underfunded because previously committed funding was based on market projections and the overall amount available is much lower because the economy tanked. Right so far?
Please correct any part of this that isn’t right–I’m trying to understand.
Funding for streetcars is supposed to come from a combination of sources–Federal, State, County and City. Any one of these could pull out of the project for any reason, delaying and/or canceling the project. Doing so would have political consequences (potentially negative or–in the case of McGinn’s anti-tunnel position–potentially very positive).
What is the recourse for the other funders? What recourse do the voters have? If money is promised to streetcars, can it be redirected to buses?
If I give my nephew $5 to go in and pay for gas and he comes out with a candy bar & a lottery ticket, I’m not going to be happy. There will be consequences for him. I’m still out the $5. I can try to get the money back later, but in the short/medium term I still can’t leave the station–and he’s enjoying a candy bar. If he shares it with his brother, his brother is going to side with him. Now I’m out $5 and have lost an ally.
Is this how it works?
I have a gut feeling that McGinn is influenced by the poor design of the Fairview bike lanes interaction with the SLU Streetcar rails.
So he should be working to make it better, not kill it.
I agree. The SLU streetcar was poorly designed and some people point at this and stay, see streetcars are bad for bicycles and are slow. Future streetcars will be center running and probably won’t take circuitous jogs in the middle of the alignment that takes the streetcar through intersections with stop signs.
I also think that a First Ave streetcar must have its own running way. The think the picture above shows exactly why. If this running way was shared with Rapidride and other metro buses this would improve all transit speeds along the corridor.
There definitely should be an exclusive transit running way for trains and buses on 1st Ave, kind of like Portland’s renovated transit mall. The challenge is the limited street width available. We may have to reduce car through lanes to one per direction.
I would strongly support reducing car through lanes on 1st.
We’ll need to work very closely and carefully with the First Ave merchants to get parking off the avenue all the way from Mercer to Royal Brougham.
Or getting rid of parking!!
We could get rid of merchants!… they are hurting now, and a little extra tax burden could push them right out of the way!
I dunno, the bagel shop on first seems to be doing well. Sales at the market are pretty up there.
Gary, the five thousand plus people on the streetcar every day MORE THAN make up for a small loss of on-street parking.
Only at the stations. Basically, if you remove the parking you have changed the nature of the neighborhood businesses to local resident walking access only. Now you might believe that is a good thing and I wouldn’t challenge it, but the merchants like the furniture and antique stores around Virgina and Lenora will not like it one bit.
I’m curious what they do in other countries to make bicycles and trams not conflict with each other? Perhaps there is a tested solution that can be used here?
Portland had compiled a good report on streetcar and bicycle interactions based on best practices from around Europe. Unfortunately I can’t find the link anymore. Basically it boils down to center-running streetcars and dedicated bike lanes, or dedicated bike lanes running on streets parallel to the streetcar alignment. In most European cities the streetcar networks existed before cycling became so popular, so the cycling infrastructure had to be molded around the streetcar infrastructure. Maybe here we can do both concurrently.
Also most bicycles in Europe have “fat” tires that essentially makes this a non issue.
For the most part, simply running the tram in the centre lanes will take care of this. Bicycles have no trouble crossing tracks at 45-90 degrees, but crossing at smaller angles is dangerous, so it’s riding parallel to the tracks that creates a problem.
So here’s a wacky idea. Say they put in a streetcar on 3rd (just suppose)and they run it in the center lanes. Now streetcars come with doors on both sides so no problem loading/unloading center lanes downtown and curb side elsewhere. But buses generally will only have doors on the right. So (here’s the wacky part) on 3rd through downtown switch the buses to British style drive on the left. Obviously this would require transition lanes at each end and preclude anyone but trained transit drivers from using 3rd.
I have a feeling from looking at McGinn’s gut that figuring out how to cross streetcar lines could be a real deal-breaker for him as a bicycle rider.
For more experienced and alert riders, not so much.
I’m a very experienced bike rider and I’ve been felled by tracks. But really, if this were only a problem for inexperienced bike riders would that make it somehow not matter?
What about Ed Murray? Wasn’t he considering a write-in candidacy?
Thankfully, he will be among the leaders in the fight in favour of R71.
Has Mallahan given any indication how he feels about Link light rail?
We could start by slamming his “ideas for seattle” site with our support for streetcars-
errr… here is transportation specific
You have to sign up to post on that. How open.
It’s annoying, but also should reduce anonymous trolls.
If McGinn promises to leave the SR-99 tunnel alone, he’ll get my vote. Otherwise I’ll be voting for anyone but him.
So building the tunnel is seriously the most important thing to you? So much so that transit, land use, competency, etc, etc are irrelevant?
Haven’t we firmly established that the thing only serves to keep us addicted to cars?
We haven’t firmly established that at all – it has a different function. Whether we like it or not, cars are not going to go away – they will hopefully become way more efficient and environmentally friendly, but beyond that, the tunnel has two functions – to move traffic through Seattle as a north-south alternate to the I-5 and secondly to get rid of the hideously unattractive and dangerous existing viaduct and thereby allowing us to get our waterfront back again for some good tlc again.
Neither candidate for mayor seems to talk much sense about mass transportation which means that the voters of Seattle will have an extremely poor choice in November. They are both terrible candidates with little to offer most readers of this blog and not much elsewhere by most accounts so far
The tunnel is in no way necessary for either north-south traffic or to get rid of the elevated structure. I’d say there’s a burden of proof you’re not meeting here.
your motives are laudable in wanting to reclaim the waterfront, but the surface option will work fine in this regard. there is no need to overcomplicate the situation with a tunnel. in san francisco they replaced their waterfront freeway with a surface option and this has been almost universally accepted as having been a good decision in that city. we don’t necessarily need to replace freeways with similar infrastructure simply because we’re used to the way the city currently “works” – it can work differently.
why do we need an “alternate to the I-5” anyway? why not make I-5 the exclusive high speed N/S corridor, and then run light rail along that corridor to serve the same infrastructure and ease the congestion?
the current viaduct and proposed tunnel all end up spewing their traffic onto surface roads anyway. instead of doing that all in one place and creating a rat’s nest of congestion, use the surface option to distribute the traffic more efficiently.
“why do we need an “alternate to the I-5″ anyway? why not make I-5 the exclusive high speed N/S corridor, and then run light rail along that corridor to serve the same infrastructure and ease the congestion?”
I-5 is already barely functional during large portions of the day (not to mention the difficulty of folks in western neighborhoods like Ballard reaching it). Rail needs to run more than “along that (I-5) corridor” to be useful in replacing SR 99’s functionality. I think it is quite understandable that people who have been reliant on SR 99 in its current form are not finding suggestions to “use I-5” to be helpful — they know from current experience that I-5 is not a good solution for them already.
There would have been a monorail along that corridor, open by now. Though flawed in many ways, it would have been awfully useful right about now.
Tearing down the Embarcadero was a good decision, but the comparison isn’t entirely appropriate because San Francisco isn’t a major port.
That said, my biggest fear is that if the tunnel option dies, we will end up with another elevated structure on the waterfront. I can live with the tunnel, I can’t live with another viaduct on the waterfront.
The legislature has been consistently hostile to any sort of out of the box transportation solution, or to transit. Why should I have confidence that they’ll support a surface solution? If the tunnel option dies, I think its likely that they’ll pursue the option that many of them have wanted along — an elevated rebuild.
i’m not suggesting people “use I-5”. my wife commutes by car along I-5 every weekday and doesn’t much like it. when it gets congested she’ll usually switch to taking roosevelt and being a little bit later in coming home than normal. when I-5 fails [as it often does] it fails relatively gracefully and adding light rail to the equation will improve the situation.
the suggestion isn’t to abandon 99 wholesale. it is very useful for getting into and out of the core, and it serves other uses in the north and south that are unrelated to getting into the city. the surface option doesn’t diminish any of these uses, but establishes the 99 as a major arterial road, instead of a “second freeway”, when it runs downtown. since the 99 is really only a major arterial everywhere else it runs *except* downtown, i don’t see why this is controversial.
the surface solution isn’t really “out-of-the-box”. it is inexpensive and has been proven in other cities.
Justin, there is little to no chance the state would be able to build an elevated highway on the waterfront over the City of Seattle’s objections.
I figure the various lawsuits alone would take years to sort out. Not to mention a number of private parties would likely have standing to file their own suits.
“I-5 is already barely functional during large portions of the day”
I take it you’ve never really driven in other cities have you. Seattle traffic is a walk in the park compared to rush hour in dozens of other American cities, especially on I-5. I-5 is nowhere near the most congested corridor in the region.
Besides, rush hour traffic happens. It doesn’t matter how many freeways or rail lines you build – rush hour traffic will always exist.
“I take it you’ve never really driven in other cities have you.”
You would be wrong.
“Seattle traffic is a walk in the park compared to rush hour in dozens of other American cities, especially on I-5. I-5 is nowhere near the most congested corridor in the region.”
And none of that negates anything I said (though I sure wouldn’t say our traffic is a walk in the park). Seriously, just because some other place might have worse traffic than we do, our traffic is not bad? No, ours is still bad. My point was that I-5 already sucks, and unless some real alternatives (not just “the traffic will disperse! really! we promise!” because it’s pretty clear a lot of people are skeptical of that) are put forward, people who are already using 99 because I-5 already doesn’t work for them are not going to support a solution which just seems as if it will force them back to a route they’ve already rejected while adding to its congestion.
People want to see that they will be able to get where they want to go in a reasonable amount of time. I don’t think the surface/transit supporters have been able to put forward a convincing solution yet — mostly because I don’t think we really have a decent transit solution in the near-term for the Ballard/Greenwood to West Seattle corridor. The high speed bus route on Elliott is not enough to fill the need there, in my opinion, though of course it’s better than nothing.
Of course, money is part of the problem here. The system we need is probably unaffordable in the near-term.
And to clarify, I am not a tunnel supporter. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a surface/transit supporter yet, though — too much surface, not enough transit. But, really, we are sort of getting into a situation where every possible solution has some level of suckage. (The tunnel, because it sucks in almost every way that is possible to suck. Surface/transit, because there isn’t enough transit for it to be truly good. Leaving the viaduct up, because it is a deathtrap. Building a new one, because people find it ugly and it will be sprawl-inducing. This means that, at this moment, surface/transit is probably the least sucky option, but… it needs to be better, dammit. )
You’re right and I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to get personal.
My point is, the old rule ‘if you build it, they will come’ really rings especially true when it comes to infrastructure. If I-5 is bad now, it will always be bad. It doesn’t matter how many lanes we add to it. We’ve spent the last hundred years building this region almost exclusively behind highway projects and we’ve still got some bad traffic.
Barman – that’s because adding lanes makes traffic worse, NOT better.
I’m with Tim on this one. I’ve heard nothing from Mallahan that I like, but the surface option is going to kill downtown access, as through traffic will clog streets, making iw worse for transit and bikes as well as cars. McGinn needs some education on transit, but he kind of gets it. What he doesn’t get at all is that the entire system has to work. What is daily traffic on the Viaduct right now? put all that into the surface streets, even if you shift 1 or 2 percent to bike and transit, and you will kill the system.
As a city, we could be really screwed by either of these choices.
Almost forgot, first thing that will go when they try to decide what to do with the traffic is the seni-exclusive 3rd Ave. having talked to Metro folks about that, it took a lot of courrage and fanageling to get even what we have now.
In comparing the surface/transit option to the tunnel, remember the tunnel only serves 20% of the current trips on the Viaduct, the rest are either starting/ending downtown or to/from Ballard/Interbay. All 88,000 of those trips will be on surface streets even with the tunnel.
If the tunnel is built as designed, most of the Ballard trips will re-route via 39th and Leary Way. That won’t be nice for Fremont, and it doesn’t work for the Interbay and South Queen Anne trips. I don’t see why the design for the tunnel doesn’t provide a branch coming to the surface around the west end of Denny. Obviously that would add hundreds of millions to the price, but it would put the waterfront and Interbay trips question to rest. And keep the utility of 15th West for Ballard trips.
This is a reply to Stratic,
The Embarcadero Freeway was a mile and a half elevated structure that ended in ramps down to city streets. It never went where it was originally designed to reach, the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s because it would have wrecked the Marina and Los Marinitos son muy fuerzos.
The important thing is IT DIDN’T GO ANYWHERE. It was essentially a long off-ramp from I-80 that extended up the side of downtown. There was no through traffic on it, just local access. People going to the GGB went west to the Central Skyway and used Franklin/Gough or went through the Haight on Oak/Fell.
The Alaskan Way Viaduct is small beer compared to I-5, but at least it’s drinkable. Trying to force the traffic that uses it as a bypass around downtown through downtown will bring the I-5 Clydesdales to a screeching halt. And Seattle will be sadder Bud Weiser.
I agree with you, but McGinn is also hopeless on the subject of streetcars and the role of light rail.
More buses adds yet more to the problem he is trying to alleviate in the first place. Why do so many people seem to think that buses have their own rights of way and corridors? For the most part, they fight traffic with other vehicles they happento share the road with. Occasionally, they have an avenue to themsleves for some or all of the day(like 3rd in Seattle) or an exclusive lane, but for the most part, they do not. I love buses and they are great for striding through neighborhoods that could not be well served by other modes of transportation, but the issue before us is not about buses in the smaller neighborhoods, but about high density areas such as downtown Seattle and there, buses are definitely not as competitive as streetcars or light rail in my opinion. Apart from that, more jobs will be created by building the streetcars etc.
but since downtown is really the only area with existing dedicated right of way for transit, shouldn’t it be the last place we’d want to put in a street car? 3rd is awfully close to 1st, so people can just use the existing transit corridor on 3rd and walk.
unlike most other areas of the city, downtown is pretty dense and once you get to a transit hub via light rail or by bus [like one of the tunnel stops or somewhere on the 3rd ave ROW] it isn’t a big deal just to walk.
i support a strong streetcar system, but i think 1st ave is where it is needed least.
Walk from 1st and Battery to 3rd and what?
That’s an interesting proposition. 3rd is a transit center and the fight for dedicated ROW has largely been fought. It would extend nicely to the Seattle Center and tie in better with the 1st Hill line and SLUT.
Yes, but can electric trolley-bus wires and streetcar pantographs co-exist on the same street? 3rd Ave. is the major ETB corridor.
Yes they can. Zurich, and several other European cities, have extensive streetcar and trolley bus networks. Our own South Lake Union streetcar shares Fairview Avenue with Metro route 70, which is an electric trolley bus. It just takes a bit of clever engineering.
Anyway, First Avenue has wire south of Pine, so the problem exists there too.
There is the problem of there being a quite steep hill between 1st and 3rd between Pike and S. Washington. If you don’t believe me try walking up Marion from 1st to 3rd, especially if it is dark, raining, and you are tired.
i did that earlier this week.
the weird thing about seattle is that despite seeming to want public transit infrastructure, there seems to be a bit of denial about the pedestrian culture that invariably comes with it. yes, downtown seattle is built on a hill. seattleites can walk up hills. marion even has a staircase built into it.
is walking up and down a hill for a mere two city blocks really such an ordeal for most seattleites that we should be building redundant transportation infrastructure a couple blocks apart? we could spring to install covered stairways on the sidewalks on every street from Pike to S. Washington if it was really a serious problem.
That’s why I keep a copy of the accessible guide to downtown Seattle. It shows me which buildings I can use to move from 1st to 2nd to 3rd using escalators and elevators.
Why does NYC need a Second Avenue Subway? It’d be so close to the Lexington Avenue Line! People can walk.
Apples and kumquats – NYC moves millions of people each day in the subways from a ton of different destinations and to a ton of different destinations. The Lexington line is demonstrably overcrowded and desperate for additional capacity.
You’d really be saying “does it make sense to build a new LINK tunnel under 1st Avenue when we already have one under 3rd” if you wanted to draw a more accurate analogy IMO.
3rd avenue isn’t running with overflowing buses? Whoa, since when?
John, if a Ballard/West Seattle Link line is built there will be a second Link tunnel downtown. The DSTT under third will be maxed out with Central, East, and North/U Link.
Belltown and Lower Queen Anne are exactly the type of places we want streetcars. The fact the streetcar connects to downtown is a good thing, but this definitely isn’t a streetcar for that business district neighborhood.
As someone who is extremely pro living without a car, which means being pro whatever sort of transit is most efficient. MIke McGinn clearly has a commitment to transit on that level. Bashing him for not being massively in favor of you guys’s toy trainset is extremely irresponsible if you really care about transit as a whole rather than particular projects.
If there are things about Mike McGinn that would make him a bad mayor I want to know about them, but having opinions about how to balance among a set of laudable priorities should speak in his favor, not against him.
John, if you’re pro-efficient transit, you’re pro-streetcars. I’ll understand if you want that streetcar to be in its own lane, but that’s something we can do later.
Here’s an analogy: You can either climb a 5000′ mountain now and another 5000′ mountain later, or you can turn your nose up at ONLY a 5000 foot mountain and wait for the 10,000′ mountain later – which all your friends will say is too tall and stay home for.
That’s a great analogy.
A better analogy would be the WSF system buying an engine because it couldn’t afford the whole boat and then have it sit useless because it doesn’t fit the future requirements.
Actually didn’t WSF do exactly that? And wasn’t it 4 engines?
Yes, they did. I don’t recall the exact number. I don’t think it was as many as four I could be wrong. But the point is half ass building something with the idea that it will “draw” future funding to bail it out is a piss poor way to fund transit.
No one is proposing building streetcars without rails. The streetcars work for the entire time they aren’t given their own right-of-way — so your proposed analogy simply doesn’t fit. If ridership demands increased capacity in a decade, then you build fences and maybe get rid of street parking. And now it’s a “tram” instead of a streetcar.
I think it’d be nice to have one of those in the first place, but that’s not where we’re at. So you’re saying we’re half assing a project, while I’d point out you’re making the perfect the enemy of the necessary.
They bought 12 engines… (4 per vessel)
John, Light Rail is not a “toy trainset” – sorry about that – perhaps you were thinking of the one we get for the Seattle Center at Christmas time. From small acorns, mighty oaks do grow – perhaps you were thinking of the trainset in these terms. Have you been on it yet?
I haven’t seen a lot of things McGinn supports–just more things he opposes. It’s easy to criticize things other people have done. McGinn is running because he was endorsed by people who thought it would be fun to have a green progressive campaigning against Nickels. Now we have a green progressive campaigning against a corporate conservative.
I’m going to vote for McGinn because I think he’s smart and he’s surrounding himself with good people. I’d like to whole-heartedly support him–but I need to know more. I need to hear his stance on social issues, and I need more than “bikes good, cars bad”.
John, if I thought you really wanted to know “things about Mike McGinn that would make him a bad mayor” I’d be happy to tell you. I’m pretty sure you don’t.
But your sentence “Bashing him for not being massively in favor of you guys’s toy trainset is extremely irresponsible if you really care about transit as a whole rather than particular projects” is a good example. Nobody is bashing McGinn, and certainly not for “not being massively in favor”. The question is whether he knows anything at all about the subject, and everyone here is giving him the benefit of the doubt by thinking that, although he apparently doesn’t, he might be able to learn.
Passing lightly over your reference to LINK as a “toy trainset” we next earn that we are “extremely irresponsible” if we don’t favor raiding capital funding to pander to riders with unsupportable services at discounted prices.
This is you talking, not McGinn, but I sure wouldn’t need to look far to find an example of McGinn talking like that. You expect that kind of talk from a used-car salesman, but when it comes from a lawyer, be afraid- be very afraid.
The post was clearly saying that McGinn’s a lot better than Mallahan, but could be much better. Your post is the one lacking the balance. You advocate having a constructive discussion of transit priorities right after mocking streetcars as “toy trainsets”? Right.
Mallahan clearly seems like a moron, but is McGinn not aware that there’s huge amounts of federal funding for streetcars?
Portland got a $75 million small starts grant for their streetcar, and if Seattle got a similar amount for the First Ave Streetcar (I see no reason why it wouldn’t) then the price tag goes down by nearly 60%.
Dang, if streetcars really were toys, $75 million would be a sweet “small start.”
I don’t understand the appeal of streetcars at all. Could someone enlighten me?
They get stuck in same traffic jams as bus, they are less nimble, and there will be fewer of them. Where’s the advantage?
I see in the thread above that folks think they will have lower operating costs over the long run. How so? Is this borne out with current S Lake Union line? I’ve heard that it’s actually quite a bit more expensive to run compared to bus system, but perhaps that’s due to very small scale of operation (can’t spread fixed and admin costs as efficiently).
Even allowing that there may be advantages, how in the world is the cash-strapped city going to pay for ’em? The capital cost is actually small compared to the annual O&M over time.
Streetcars can have lower operating costs per passenger due to: higher passenger capacity per vehicle compared to buses, and longer vehicle lifespan. And of course the more miles of track and cars you can operate from one base, the more effecient the system becomes.
But then a lightly-used streetcar could have higher operating costs per passenger than a bursting-at-the-seams bus route.
much of the streetcar support is not so much cost efficiency, but rather social, urban environment urguements. Namely, the streetcar better reenforces a pedestrian friendly environment, encouragement development along their lines, because the track make them seem permament, that being warm, fuzzy and fun; people that won’t ride buses will ride them, etc. In sort, there is a sort of religious beleif that they will make for a better city–improved pedestrian, urban, dense environment.
Rail attracts more riders for a number of reasons including the fact that routes are more obvious and that rail is generally much smoother than bus service.
Take the 49 up to Seattle Central CC after classes. Watch as the entire bus jammed full of people queue in line to pay their fair. Why does it take so long to load/unload a bus? You can only pay the fair through a single door wide enough for one person. Now take the street car. There are, what, four doors on each side? Each big enough to move two or three at a time?
Street cars are no faster than buses while moving on the street, but they hold more people and load/unload a heck of a lot faster. They are for short routes like the 49 or anything to and from queen Anne. Ones where people board and unboard frequently.
Plus they are cheap and quick to build. How long did it take to build that street car? Seemed like half a year–a year tops. What did it cost, like 50 million? That is nothing compared to most public projects.
The trick that confuses people is they think it is like a different version of the light rail. It is not. They are two separate things that serve different needs. Light rail connects large areas and the streetcar moves people around their neighborhoods.
As someone who lives outside Seattle I usuially do not advocate anyone for the cities Mayor. However, I have to encourage Seattle voters to support Mallahan. Mcginn makes me nervous. the Mayor of Seattle has a lot of infulance in State and County goverments. I think Mcginn will try and stop road construction and expansions in areas outside the city. Even if it makes sence for more roads localy. I could be wrong. This is just how I see it.
I am constantly amazed by the number of people who say McGinn is anti-trains. He regularly rides light rail to get to campaign events. One time when I expressed doubts to him about the usefulness of the SLUT because it is no faster than a bus he immediately said that it was much better than a bus because it is so much more comfortable to ride. But on this site I often read that he doesn’t understand the value of light rail and that he is opposed to streetcars on principle. Where do people get these ideas?
I don’t think we’ve explained away his positions on light rail as him not understanding the value. He wrote to us:
So, does that mean expansion of these modes are undesirable without that pre-condition?
Is he opposed to streetcars? I don’t know. But he has said that bus service is more cost-effective, and that he couldn’t see a funding source for the First Ave line while depleting that very funding source in his own surface/transit plans. He has not come out and said they are a waste of money, but he’s clearly not pushing for expansion of the system beyond the fully-funded First Hill line.
(This is in contrast to Nickels who said he supported the First Ave line, identified funding for it, and said he’d start construction within the next four years. Not much to wonder there.)
Could just be a difference in how they play politics. We shall see.
It is the commenters who go on about how McGinn is against rail. The authors talk about how getting temporary funding for buses is bad because when it runs out people will be demanding that we find new revenue sources for transit. I can see the potential problem of being locked into a worse system because it has lower short term costs. The authors of this blog never seem to acknowledge their is a possible upside (for buses and rail) to getting people on buses now and then having them demand more money for transit in the future.
what? the S.L.U.T. faster than the 70? No f’n way. I rode both of these last week and the bus was more frequent and faster even with the zillion stops.
Yes the streetcar is faster than the 70. I did this commute for a year. I would always see the streetcar go past me right when I got on the bus and the streetcar just about always beet us by a few minutes. In fact if I just missed the bus I would just use the streetcar and I could sometimes beat the 70 to Fred Hutch.
I started riding the streetcar to work instead of the 70 as soon as the streetcar service began. The streetcar is faster and way more reliable than the 70 during rush hour.
Gary, the streetcar is definitely faster – and we can make it even faster in the future, too.
Add one wheelchair lift using passenger requesting a stop/pick up and the 70 automatically loses. Even with a low-floor ramp, it still takes longer to deploy than the streetcar mini-ramp plus tie down time. And it’s not too difficult to make it level boarding.
Well, if you know anything about transit, and then read the position pieces McGinn has posted at his website, it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t know much and in particular does not support streetcars. As for what politicians believe in ‘principle’, could there possibly be a less valuable offering on the alter of public opinion?
If the street cars were more efficient use of our transportation dollars I would agree with putting in more of them. As it is, they are worse than buses by a long shot.
*) Street cars, can’t go around parked/wrecked cars, trucks, delivery vehicles, broken street cars.
*) Street car tracks remove roads from being bicycle friendly to becoming bicycle disasters.
*) Street cars can’t stop as fast as buses, so more accidents.
*) Street cars are more expensive to install and run.
If the S.L.U.T. is the example of the future, it needs to be ripped out and replaced with a lower cost bus.
1) So put parked cars and delivery trucks somewhere else. This problem doesn’t seem to be an issue for the SLUT anymore.
2) Provide bicycle infrastructure on parallel streets. Europe manages this just fine.
3) Hasn’t borne out in reality.
4) Not in cost per passenger mile. Look at the Seattle Streetcar plan. Even in the short term, a bunch of those corridors see an annual cost savings. Future service increases improve that even more.
Ben, re your “Seventy years ago, the streetcars were ripped up and replaced with buses to kill transit use – “. Not really accurate in Seattle. The Seattle Municipal Railway had been deteriorating throughout the Great Depression, since the ’20’s really, when the City assumed control of the entire system.
By 1939, with war clearly on the horizon, it also clear that the existing system could not be kept functional throughout a war of several years’ duration, and with no resources available to rebuild the trackways, transit commissioners chose to abandon streetcars and substitute a system based largely on electric trolleybuses -thus preserving and reusing portions of the streetcars’ electrification system. They opened bids and awarded contracts to install trolleybus overhead on September 2nd — one day before the outbreak of WWII in Europe.
It’s an interesting history. Check the works of Warren Wing, and HistoryLink probably has some good stuff also. I think you will find no basis for concluding that streetcars were abandoned in Seattle to kill transit ridership.
Yes, but, in fairness to the streetcar conspiracy buffs, nobody thought the streetcars or buses would be there forever. The buses were just an interim step towards the day when everybody drove their own car.
I won’t go into a chapter-and-verse demonstration of this, but keep your eyes open while you drive around town (or walk or bicycle) and notice where and when it became customary to include a garage or carport when the house was built.
Whatever the mega-trends were in Sept. 1939, it’s not fair to attribute the transit commissioners’ decision to some long-term vision that they surely didn’t have. Study your history! There were far greater and more immediate things happening in the world
An article from Transportion Quarterly, General Motors and the Demise of Streetcars”.
Transit Voter – there were two big reasons for this. One, we were building car infrastructure, subsidizing the auto. Two, the streetcars were saddled with debt that they couldn’t pay off, because we were spending city money on cars and prohibited by the WA supreme court from spending it to pay off the debt that came with the SMR purchase.
Naturally this is all very sad for the city of Seattle, but you have to admit it’s also incredibly funny.
McGinn said Nickels was going to tax the people of Seattle $1.9 billion for surface plan improvements associated with the tunnel. Don’t build the tunnel, McGinn said, and we’ll spend $1.9 billion building improved streets and sidewalks (but no streetcars), and we can do it with the money we saved by not building the tunnel- no taxes needed!
What seems equally likely is that if McGinn slowed down the tunnel sufficiently, the state will say, “Fine, you can have your surface option”, spend a $100 million beefing up some urban arterials to take truck traffic, tear down the Viaduct, and leave Seattle to deal with the Viaduct traffic on Seattle streets. The day I step off the ferry and have to deal with crossing an eight-lane “urban arterial” on the surface to get to First, I’ll be ready to wonder if tearing down the Viaduct was really such a good idea- in a city as small-minded as Seattle.
But, of course, that day may never come! There are lots of things that could happen instead, like…uh…um….well, maybe some McGinn supporter could explain what they are. I just can’t think of any right now.
There’s already a road down there that you have to cross that qualifies as an Urban Arterial. And your argument blatantly ignores things like pedestrian over- and under-crossings.
The road you cross at Colman Dock is effectively three lanes (parked buses occupy the curb lane at Colman Dock). Take half the traffic on the Viaduct overhead and put it on a new set of roads at street level and you must have at least six lanes, maybe more. Don’t worry, there’ll be lots more space when the Viaduct has been taken down.
I didn’t know there were already plans showing pedestrian bridges and subways to cross the new roads. Have you actually seen these things, or did you just add that because you thought it would sound good, and it might happen?
Besides there isn’t room to run an eight lane road down on the Alaska way by the ferry.
Much more likely is that the waterfront street car will be back in service.
Again, the Waterfront Streetcar (at leas as we knew it) will not be back.
There will be room for an eight-lane road when the Viaduct comes down. And the traffic that is most interested in bypassing downtown Seattle- especially the commercial truck traffic- cannot simply board a streetcar.
The tunnel was designed to handle the 60% of Viaduct traffic that has no interest in stopping in downtown Seattle. A streetcar shuttling back and forth will be of no interest to that traffic.
60%? try more like 20%. A majority of the Viaduct traffic is basicly using it as an on and off ramp downtown. The rest is going to or from Ballard/Interbay only 20% is through traffic staying on 99.
Your figures disagree with WSDOT’s. Do you have a source for your figures?
I wonder if WSDOT even knows what the numbers are. The only one that seems to stay consistent is the figure of 110,000 vehicles per day. I’ve seen at least 4 different sets of numbers from official sources on how many actual through trips there are.
I can’t seem to find a URL for the figures I’m using, but I’ll post it as soon as I find it.
Report on viaduct traffic from the Congress for New Urbanism
Thanks for that link. That led me to Appendix C of the DEIS, which has the actual survey results. I’m still mulling this data, but it does seem closer to Chris’ numbers than what WSDOT has on their website.
BTW 99 is only 6 lanes wide North and South of Downtown, why would it need to be 8 lanes wide on the waterfront?
catowner, cut it out. You know damn well tearing down the viaduct doesn’t necessitate anything like what you suggest. And you already cross, what, five lanes? Oh, wait, you don’t, because you use the pedestrian overpass, which wouldn’t go anywhere.
No, you don’t cross five lanes. There are four lanes adjacent Colman Dock (I don’t use the overpass because it doesn’t go where I want to go) and one of those lanes always has two buses parked there, effectively making it three lanes of active traffic to pass. Then you pass a one lane street with stop signs at every block that people use to access parking.
And don’t blame me- just look up the drawings for any of the surface treatments that have been suggested. All of them have more and wider lanes at the surface for higher speed traffic than you find there now.
I’ll admit to some blinkered vision. North and south of Colman Dock the street is four live lanes. However, north of the dock the one-lane access road peters out, and south the flat area gets broader, so it seems most accurate to describe the road as four lane.
As for what tearing down the Viaduct will necessitate, tell me where you’d put 50% of that traffic, which is going straight through Seattle (I’m spotting you a 20% reduction in trips right off the bat), and I think you’ll agree it would be a major new load on the street you chose.
Again, a majority of the current trips on the viaduct start or end downtown. A fair chunk of the remainder are going to/from Ballard/Interbay which isn’t going to be served by the tunnel. This leaves only 20% of the current trips which the tunnel will be good for.
Well, that’s news to me. You really should supply a citation for a new pronouncement with radically different figures from what the agencies have described.
Wait, you’re complaining on one hand about a faster street on the waterfront, and then complaining about more congested streets in downtown?
We WANT the streets to be more congested to cars. That makes more people take transit, walk, or change their options.
That pretty much explains everything. The reason for a 1st Ave Streetcar is to increase congestion. Of course it’s bad for the environment, bad for the economy but it’s a way to get back at those evil people driving their cars. It’s not surprising neither mayoral candidate is getting strong support; a pro congestion position wouldn’t go far in gaining votes.
Oh brother… Ben, statements like this just feed into the paranoia of many car-centric voters like my dad. If you start telling them they HAVE to get out of their car, they start turning against transit. Tell them (and really mean it!) that increased transit is about adding choices and making the whole transportation system more efficient and they start to become convinced. (I think I even got him to vote for ST2 which would have been a major feat, although I will have to verify that)
Of course, there may be times where there is no other solution than taking away streets from cars. Any such takeaways need to be minimized and very carefully considered. Otherwise, you’ll lose the middle of the road voters.
The waterfront roadway should be as narrow, congested, and constricted as possible- really, just an access road. I see more joggers and bicyclists along the waterfront than I do on Third.
Naturally, you don’t want lots of cars stuck in traffic jams on Third and Fourth, but it’s still better than making the waterfront a six or eight-lane “urban arterial”.
McGinn stands up for First Hill Streetcar:
Genuine or clever political move?
All I know is that I want my streetcars back, plus some. I want my waterfront streetcar for tourism and I want the Jackson Street line for people who WILL use it. I am blah about First Ave. I also support a loop for the ID to Cap Hill route.
Buses can come, buses can go, Metro will take them away. But, they basically follow development instead of shaping and supporting development. Too bad that everyone is just technology focused and not looking at transportation as a system. Technology is not bad or good per se, and people need to get over their feelings about the SLUT. Of course, I am die hard about wanting fixed rail infrastructure myself, even knowing it is not the solution everywhere.
Would have been better if the technology allowed going up steeper grades, tho…
The Times article said Mallahan would ‘study and maybe oppose’. That is a reasonable admission that these guys have not been briefed by SDOT, ST, Metro, etc. He should also ‘listen’ to the communities that are affected. Still, it is better than pontificating.
“All I know is that I want my streetcars back, plus some. I want my waterfront streetcar for tourism and I want the Jackson Street line for people who WILL use it. I am blah about First Ave. I also support a loop for the ID to Cap Hill route.”
Heh. I could have written that paragraph.
“Would have been better if the technology allowed going up steeper grades, tho…”
I also want the Counterbalance trolley back.
I want the cable cars back! :)
Let’s be perfectly clear. A waterfront streetcar would traverse a perfectly level route, all of it with existing rail ROW that could be converted to transit use, serving a linear community of limited width and rapidly increasing density, from a cruise ship terminal at the north end to landmark, historical, and nightclub districts at the south end, and connecting with other transit, the ferry dock, and Amtrak.
Only a city as bumblingly stupid as Seattle would not have this line in operation already.
But the funny thing about prosperity is that you can afford to be stupid. And Seattle is a prosperous town.
This is why we’re atheists. If there were a God, He would move us in mysterious ways to build the waterfront streetcar- that would be intelligent design. That He has not done so is the surest proof He does not exist.
CriticalWonk – the Jackson Street line IS the first avenue streetcar.
Why are they saying 1st?
That’s an old report. Look here instead.
Bummer, I wanted waterfront and I want Jackson St. But the technology eh? Anyway, it is still ‘conceptual’. Why the city doesn’t update their website is also strange.
Anyone who has followed the work of McGinn over the last few years and thinks he’s somehow anti-transit or anti-rail has to take a walk through some old news archives online, stop by the websites of the local Sierra Club and Great City, and talk to the man.
I also don’t understand why folks keep saying McGinn knows nothing about streetcars or is anti-streetcar. All he has said is that he wants to solve the funding crisis facing our transit agencies first before embarking on new projects.
You can’t sell new capital spending on infrastructure just by saying O&M will be cheaper over time. You still have to have the money on hand to build (which we don’t) and you can’t just take the money away from existing users (by cutting bus hours).
Finally, the fact that many people on this blog love the 1st Avenue Streetcar idea doesn’t mean that everyone else thinks so. Except for a couple commenters on the blog who live on 1st Ave, I have yet to meet any resident or business owner there who wants rail on 1st Ave — and I spent a couple of years of my life speaking to folks in Belltown and Downtown and Pioneer Square about where they wanted to see transit running through their neighborhoods. It wasn’t on 1st Ave. And Oran’s great photo up there should tell you why.
If you put a streetcar in traffic, it will be stuck just like those buses are. If you dedicate a lane, you’re going to have to remove parking. That’s one of your tough sells for the merchants currently down there.
This is just silly. McGinn showed exactly zero- or even less than zero- support for streetcars in his campaigning. And frankly, this shifting sands of history you always meet with McGinn and his supporters is reason enough to reject him. As many of his supporters will soon learn.
Now, I would be most interested in exactly what you were doing when you spent “a couple of years…speaking to folks in Belltown and Downtown and Pioneer Square about where they wanted to see transit running through their neighborhoods.” If you were a professional surveyor working for a consulting firm or the city to determine neighborhood viewpoints, I’m sure we would all like to see the study that resulted.
The fact would remain, of course, that First Avenue is not the property of the people occupying frontage on it, but of the people of Seattle. Which is only fair, considering how little that property would be worth if it weren’t in the center of Seattle. And I’m real sure the people who lived there in 1970 were just as disinterested in seeing the present occupants arrive as some of the present residents may be about a streetcar. I know I was.
Well, goes around, comes around.
I don’t know what makes you think Mallahan is going to be any better. His positions are “perfectly vague” in most cases and when he does choose to get specific I tend to not like what I hear.
Take streetcars for example, Mallahan has made much stronger anti-streetcar statements than McGinn to the point of threatening to stop Sound Transit from building the First Hill streetcar. Since Mallahan really hasn’t said much about transit so far I’m worried his anti-streetcar views extend to all rail. I’d sure hate to find out after the election that Seattle has a Mayor who might as well be a spokesman for John Stanton and Kemper Freeman when it comes to transportation issues.
I personally don’t think Mallahan is any better- in fact, he’s probably worse. As for reading the tea leaves, I’m doing it, and I think things could get….interesting……
Mallahan just said on the King 5 news that he’s not against the First Hill Streetcar, but if it goes one cent over budget he’ll scrap the whole thing.
Everyone is forgetting that First Avenue is a parking lot, not a right of way.
There’s a Streetcar Facebook Group here for folks to check out and join http://j.mp/3Jb4vB. Let’s not lose sight of streetcar’s unique strengths. You all know that streetcars shape cities in a positive ways and are place-making tools that encourage the development of compact, walkable neighborhoods. The First Hill Streetcar is no exception. We’re encouraging the City to explore the 12th Avenue/Broadway Loop alignment. A streetcar Loop would give the hospital workforce another way to connect to Light Rail (besides bus transit, shuttle and walking options) while also advancing other important, long-term, public goals.
Comments are closed.