75 Replies to “News Round-Up: Never-Ending Tunnel”

  1. OK, additional stuff I picked up at the trolley open house:

    * The 11 million 2011 Link ridership number that Norman and John Niles like to bang on about is not the actual estimate from ST. For various reasons, the numbers from the 2010 SIP were carried over into the 2011 SIP unchanged. The actual estimates based on last year’s data are here. Basically, prediction for this year is 25k daily boardings, up from 21k, a 19% improvement on last year.

    * Current wisdom on future Link headways is as follows: two eight-minute lines (Overlake, S 200th), interlined for four minute headways through at least Northgate, possibly Lynnwood. SnoCo-Seattle is the biggest long-haul commute corridor in the state.

    * East Link and North Link will be submitted to New Starts, even though they don’t actually depend on federal money for completion and East Link (to me, as least) seems like a very long shot.

    * Metro is very unlikely to reshuffle service on Capitol Hill due to the opening of the First Hill Streetcar, but very likely to when University Link opens. That public process won’t start until 2014 at the earliest.

    * ST will pay for the operation of the CHS-IDS section of the First
    Hill Streetcar before U-Link’s opening, however, the funding mix for
    the potential Aloha extension O&M has not been discussed yet.

    * Metro staff are painfully familiar with almost every complaint about bus service that is frequently mentioned here. In every case I mentioned, it eventually boiled down to either a lack of money or an excess of politics. The best thing to do to fix these things is to make complaints about the service to Metro. If enough of those pile up, it might get fixed; some of the ones I discussed with them follow.

    * The situation with the 42 is well known. Less well known is that some routes exist on their current alignments solely due to one King County Council Member; the 46 and 45 are two such. Those routes are dubbed “political routes.”

    * There seems to be an informal sub-sub-area equity between the different areas of Seattle. When I suggested axing the 42 and extending the hours of the 70, I was told that wouldn’t fly; thus any solution to the Downtown-UW bus issues will have to come from cuts elsewhere in the northwest of the city.

    * Metro is well aware of the overloads and slowness of the 7x in the evening. The best hope to fix it, given that constraint in addition to the lack of money, is to axe the 66 and the 25 and put those hours on the 70/7xX and the 67. While axing the 25 would probably generate relatively little opposition, the 66 provides lots of one-seat rides
    from Eastlake and parts of SLU to Northgate, and that would be a problem.

    * Metro knows about the rush-hour crowding on the 1/2/13, and some planners are pushing to make the 2-South and 3/4-North every 15 minutes in the evenings — they know the ridership is there and can grow. Comes down to a lack of $.

    * Many of the platooning problems with the 3/4 are due to congestion on James near Harborview cascading through 3rd Ave; the idea of moving that wire to Yestler hasn’t gone away.

    * Many of Metro’s staff spoke of switching from a “boutique route” system of one-seat-rides everywhere to a high-frequency trunk/transfer system, and spoke of RapidRide as a catalyst for changes like that. West Seattle, in particular, could be in line for more transfers at the Junction, once RapidRide C starts. Less likely with RapidRide D for Ballard.

    * Metro staff recommended the 120 over 55+54 for RapidRide C for all the reasons that have been discussed on STB, but were overruled by management. I couldn’t get any more info about why.

    1. How is Metro planning on dealing with the 43 trolley wire and First Hill streetcar wire at Broadway and Olive?

      1. The same way they deal with the 70 trolley wire and South Lake Union Streetcar wire at Fairview and Harrison?

      2. Streetcars will have off-wire capability (H/T Zed):

        The vehicle shall incorporate an onboard energy storage system (OESS) which shall be capable of providing propulsion and auxiliary power during wireless operation to meet the following requirements and conditions:
        • Initiating the below wireless operation with an OESS that is no more than 80% fully charged
        • Providing a maximum acceleration rate of at least 1.0 m/s2 at AW2
        • Achieving a maximum speed of at least 32 km/h
        • Operating over the SDOT First Hill Streetcar alignment, 20 trips per day, with the following wireless segments:
        Outbound – Pioneer Square Terminus (10+00) to the Station at Jackson and 5th, (23+00), approximately 0.4 km
        Outbound – Station at Broadway and Pine (127+00) to the Capitol Hill Terminus (141+00), approximately 0.43 km
        Inbound – Station at Jackson and 7th (33+00) to the Pioneer Square Terminus, (10+00), approximately 0.7 km

        http://www.seattle.gov/purchasing/docs/bids/RFPTRN2801TS.pdf

      3. I thought I read somewhere that intially the streetcar would only be going as far as Broadway and Denny until the Capitol Hill station is completed, and barring an Aloha extension.

        Besides, I’d be more interested in how they’re going to deal with the wire along Broadway. It runs in parallel with the streetcar for quite awhile. As Bruce points out, the streetcar will have off-wire capability to go from Broadway & Pine to the terminus (and back, I assume), but that trolley wire runs all the way down Broadway to Yesler.

      4. David, I would think that it’s possible for the trolley wire and the streetcar wire to run parallel. But I guess the streetcar is going to be the more flexible vehicle (makes sense, considering it hasn’t been built yet) to accommodate crossings.

        But is the off-wire capability really necessary at all? I thought the cars had two pantographs. It’s not like this is an unsolved problem on EMUs.

      5. The streetcar will be center-running, so there’s no reason the trolley wire couldn’t parallel it and have SLUT-style crossings like Matt mentions at Boren and other places with simple intersections. Or they could rejig the trolley wire to have one wire a few inches lower than the other and have them share wire, but that sounds harder and would cause interference.

      6. Am I the only one who finds it amusing that streetcars (which are stuck on their tracks) will have off-wire capability, when our current trolley buses (which could detour around obstacles if not for the wires) don’t?

      7. I don’t find it amusing so much as a reflection of when the trolleys and the streetcar were built. It’s not like we had to worry about other overhead when we bought the trolleys.

      8. Also, I’m curious about why they’re speccing offwire capability for those segments. Are they thinking those terminuses are temporary, and the rails might be removed pending further expansion of the system?

      9. The First Hill line is being engineered for compatibility with future expansion, although that mainly relates to the location of the barn, making sure the lot has room for growth.

        The reason they went with off-wire is that while it’s pretty easy for streetcar wire to cross trolley wire or run parallel or be shared with trolleys, it’s not easy to run pantograph-equipped streetcar through special work like switches, of which there are a lot in the I.D. and Pioneer Square.

        The solution the city initially considered (in the feasibility study SDOT initially performed for the streetcar network) was to convert the cars to run on streetcar poles. The problem with that is that you’re either forced to have each terminus be loop, or have the operator disconnect the poles and walk them around at each end. In addition to being a PITA, this means you can’t terminate the streetcar in the street, such as the center-platform termini currently planned.

        Since then, battery APU streetcars have become off-the-shelf technology and convey a number of other minor benefits, like regen braking and peak shaving that improve efficiency. It also reduces downtown due to construction on the route: As I mentioned in the trolleybus thread, most dieselization is not due to wire being down, but simply that it has to be turned off so that work crews can use diggers and dump trucks without the risk of accidentally frying themselves; the same might apply to streetcar wire.

      10. I wonder, does that mean that they would allow work that requires the wire to be de-energized to happen during the week? I imagine it is costly to have to schedule that work only on weekends.

      11. You know, that’s a good point. The more I think about it, the more I’m wildly keen about the prospect of new trolleys.

    2. East Link and North Link will be submitted to New Starts, even though they don’t actually depend on federal money for completion and East Link (to me, as least) seems like a very long shot.

      North Link is probably a slam-dunk it will probably have the strongest numbers of any application before the FTA in the year it is submitted. Hopefully the FTA has some money to give away when the time comes. East Link is a bit more questionable, but doesn’t look too bad compared to a lot of the other New Starts applications the FTA sees. Federal money will help ensure East Link gets to Overlake and may leave enough for ST to build all the way to downtown Redmond.

      Metro staff are painfully familiar with almost every complaint about bus service that is frequently mentioned here. In every case I mentioned, it eventually boiled down to either a lack of money or an excess of politics. The best thing to do to fix these things is to make complaints about the service to Metro. If enough of those pile up, it might get fixed; some of the ones I discussed with them follow.

      In addition to complaining to Metro it is probably worth complaining to the County Council and City government. Political pressure will help Metro do the right thing and give them the resources to do it.

      The situation with the 42 is well known. Less well known is that some routes exist on their current alignments solely due to one King County Council Member; the 46 and 45 are two such. Those routes are dubbed “political routes.”

      Metro really needs to be better insulatated from this nonsense. Back when there was a lot of money sloshing around it really wasn’t a problem but when dollars are so tight it is a nusance.

    3. Bruce, thanks for the info! This is very good to know. In particular, it’s very reassuring to hear that Metro would like to implement the same reforms that we want to see.

      Two things I’m curious about:

      Metro is very unlikely to reshuffle service on Capitol Hill due to the opening of the First Hill Streetcar, but very likely to when University Link opens. That public process won’t start until 2014 at the earliest.

      When the powers that be signed off on the Broadway alignment, I vaguely recall a promise to add service to 12th Ave. I had been expecting to see either the 9 or the 60 rerouted along 12th, which I guess isn’t quite a “reshuffle”, but still. Did you hear any mention of that?

      The situation with the 42 is well known. Less well known is that some routes exist on their current alignments solely due to one King County Council Member; the 46 and 45 are two such. Those routes are dubbed “political routes.”

      I wish I could say I was surprised. Do we know which council member that is, so we can contact them about the issue?

    4. So, ST has lowered their forecast for Central Link ridership in 2011 from 31,759/weekday in the 2011 Proposed Budget to 25,000/weekday now, a drop of 6,759/weekday, or 21%.

      http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/about/financial/2010/Proposed2011Budget.pdf

      page 45 of 173 in the document.

      So, when is ST going to lower their forecast for ridership on U-Link, North Link and East Link? Obviously, those forecasts are likely to be too high by at least as much as the Central Link forecasts were too high. So, when will those ridership forecasts be adjusted downward by at least 21%?

      1. I gave the correct document, giving ST’s forecast which they made about a year ago. The document you give is the same one Bruce already gave in his comment, which is the new, revised, forecast which has been revised downward by about 21% from ST’s earlier forecast.

        So, when is ST going revise all their other ridership forecasts, which are also probably at least 21% too high?

      2. Why would they be building forecasts for a line that isn’t even open?

        Besides, who cares how we get there as long as we get to 100 million by 2030?

      3. Why should Sound Transit revise their ridership forcasts for U-Link, North Link, and East Link downward? Do you have any proof that those forecasts will be off by the same amount in the same direction?

        If the ridership for Central Link had been 21% higher than predicted would you be insisting those same forecasts be adjusted upward?

      4. “Why would they be building forecasts for a line that isn’t even open?”

        lol

        You are not aware that ST has ridership forecasts for U-Link, North Link, and East Link all the way out to 2030?

        They have to justify the incredibly stupid expense of these light rail lines by predicting high ridership. Then, as the lines get closer to opening, ST revises the ridership projections downward. And, after the lines open, and ridership falls way short of the projections, they belatedly lower the projections for future ridership even more.

        This is known as “moving the goalposts.”

        You are are really so naive that you don’t know this?

      5. They don’t have forecasts out to 2030 for those projects, they have an estimate for 2030. You do understand what the term “estimate” means?

      6. “Why should Sound Transit revise their ridership forcasts for U-Link, North Link, and East Link downward? Do you have any proof that those forecasts will be off by the same amount in the same direction?”

        Why wouldn’t they be? You think they used different forecasting methods for the other lines than they used for Central Link?

        If ST was off by over 20% on a forecast made just one or two years before the date they were forecasting for, how accurate could they possibly forecasting the ridership on U-Link 5 years before it even opens? Or East Link a decade before it even opens?

      7. “You do understand what the term “estimate” means?”

        Yes. To Sound Transit, estimate means “propaganda used to sell a stupidly expensive boondoggle to an uninformed public.”

        And I believe the work ST uses is “projection”.

      8. They’re both approximations. You do understand what “approximate” means?

        Sound Transit doesn’t need propaganda. Unlike you, most people who live here have traveled to or lived in other cities and have seen the benefits of mass transit first hand. It doesn’t take much to “sell” light rail or other transit improvements in this area. Just because you’re against it doesn’t mean that everyone else has been brainwashed by propaganda and clever marketing.

        Why do you care so much anyways? When you’re dead will you epitaph read any differently whether light rail is built or not. Give up the crusade already and do something useful.

      9. Tell you what Norman, if Sound Transit isn’t meeting or exceeding its current estimates for North Link + U Link within 18 months of North Link opening I’ll give you $100 plus literally eat my hat. On the other hand if North Link + U Link is exceeding the current estimates you will pay me $100 and eat YOUR hat.

      10. Chris Stefan: what will you do if ST does not meet its current forecast of 25,000/weekday for Central Link for 2011? You pretty sure of that forecast? It was made within the past year, after Central Link had already been operating for quite some time. You have as much faith in that forecast as you do in the North Link forecast?

        What do you say, Chris? Will Central Link average 25,000/weekday this year, or not?

      11. Chris, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. You’re pretty bold when it comes to betting on forecasts a decade into the future, when nobody will remember your bet.

        So, what do you bet that ST’s forecast for this year — which we will know the accuracy of in about 9 months — is an accurate forecast? You going to eat your hat if Central Link does not average at least 25,000 riders/weekday in 2011? How about giving me $100, if that forecast is overly optimistic?

      12. I’m predicting there will not be a 21% decrease in Norman’s trolling if Central Link does hit its target.

    5. Metro is well aware of the overloads and slowness of the 7x in the evening. The best hope to fix it, given that constraint in addition to the lack of money, is to axe the 66 and the 25 and put those hours on the 70/7xX and the 67. While axing the 25 would probably generate relatively little opposition, the 66 provides lots of one-seat rides from Eastlake and parts of SLU to Northgate, and that would be a problem.

      If you’re going to dump the 66, I think you’d have to shift its weekend hours to route 67. Otherwise the only way to get from the U-District to Northgate would be 7xX -> 41. And you’d have to keep some kind of 70-series local on Sundays, be it the 70 or the 71/72/73.

      1. Oh yeah of course you’d have the 67 run at the frequencies that the 66+67 currently run at. And then you could have 70 all day 7 days a week. Of course, then you get into money issues… If only they extended the streetcar all the way up Eastlake, then we could eliminate the 70 and all 71/72/73 local service!
        Also, I don’t think eliminating the 25 would be all that politically easy, considering that it serves Laurelhurst. Laurelhurst may not actually use the bus, but I’m guessing they’d still get pissed if they stopped having a bus there and they’re very politically powerful.

      2. Regarding the 25: Something needs to serve Laurelhurst. Something needs to serve Fuhrman/Boyer and wrap around Portage Bay, which has a bunch of multifamily units and houseboats that are a long walk and/or big slope from any other bus. And something needs to serve Lakeview, which also has a bunch of multifamily units, and is isolated between I-5 and what is essentially a cliff.

        However, these do not all need to be the same route. Laurelhurst has no need to be connected to Lakeview with a one-seat ride. The 25 is snaky today, with a drawbridge in the middle. There used to be about twice the service until I-695, Tim Eyman’s first damaging foray.

        With or without changes to the 25, there ought to be high-frequency service connecting UW station with U Village and Children’s at least, maybe further out to Sand Point. There ought to be an additional transit lane on Montlake Blvd. between U Village and UW station to enable that route. Maybe it makes sense to extend this into a limited-stop crosstown route that follows the Ship Canal from Ballard to Fremont to UW and up Sand Point Way, shaped like a big smile, connecting to Link and various SR 520 bus routes at UW station. There wouldn’t even be any drawbridges in this route to disrupt the schedule.

    6. Rapid Ride C is probably a political decision. The choice of 55+54 duplicates the planned monorail route.

      As for switching from a “boutique route” system, keep the pressure on staff and County Council to do this is West Seattle. There should be some $$ and political support for radical thinking because of all the construction on the Viaduct replacement.

      This is our best opportunity in the City to prove the success of new thinking in running bus routes!

      1. ” Metro staff recommended the 120 over 55+54 for RapidRide C for all the reasons that have been discussed on STB”

        Why would the 120 have been better than the 54+55? Delridge bypasses Alaska Junction completely, which is the center of West Seattle, the main transfer point, and the fastest-growing walkable neighborhood. All that growth is based on the promise that Alaska Junction would remain the main focal point for West Seattle transit long-term.

      2. The 120 has twice the ridership of the 54, which is the route it will essentially replace. Depending on how much Metro is willing to force transfers and eliminate redundant service at the Junction, you’ll also pick up 55 riders, but still not as many total as the 120. The 120 also gets you to Burien TC, which will be the terminus of the Burien-Renton RapidRide line, itself a future rail corridor, and serves lots of minority and low-income riders.

  2. I am no longer calling it the “Deep Bore Tunnel”;

    I will now use the term “Deep Throat Tunnel”!

    Why? Because it is obscene, because it is being shoved down our (fill-in-blank), because it has no exits (even a throat has a pharynx) and leads straight to to Aurora Avenue.

    1. I prefer “Downtown Bypass Tunnel” because it has the same acronym and makes it perfectly clear what it is.

  3. Say, between 520, the Deep Throat Tunnel and the cross-Columbia above, how much is Washington State asphalt trying to suck from the Federal Teat?

    1. This is what I call the ‘Megaproject Escalation’ phenomenon. At the beginning, there is a problem like an old viaduct or congestion over a bridge. They start putting up ideas (car-oriented), stakeholders weigh in with additional requirements and try to make it into a Swiss army knife. The scope of the project keeps growing and by the time it comes to actually building the thing so much capital (money and political) has been expended that the political class can’t turn back without losing face.

      The better alternative would be to find subprojects that address the various subproblems and that can be done independently from each other. Reduces complexity and cost. But as soon as megaprojects start emerging the political class gets the “tingling in the legs”. Don’t count on sensibility.

      1. The thing is I can’t think of any other region that is getting this much of road-infrastructure replacement all at the same time. Then again, there aren’t many regions that can do this amount of road building right now.

        Yes, I know the cross-Columbia bridge is getting charged to Portland, but it is less than 2 hours from the Seattle region.

        And yes, I know that 520 and the tunnel have tolls, but…they will still have mucho federal $$$.

        I hope this doesn’t put Washington State at the back of the line for a while when it comes to funding.

      2. The tolls will be removed when politicians realize how few people will actually pay to use the tunnel. The excess money will come either from the state general fund, or be pushed on Seattle by claiming we’re the ones that “benefit”.

  4. Regarding the 2, I used to ride that back in ’96 to ’02, crowded then, crowded now. So I wouldn’t expect Metro to change a thing there…

    Plus, their newer bike racks REALLY SUCK. I pinched my finger on one of those pieces of (insert here), all because the new design has an incredible amount of friction. Just this morning on CT 880 the bus had the original old style racks, where plastic seems to be missing(a good thing), and it worked flawlessly after all these years.

    I wish the Sierra Club would stick to ruining my trails. If they’re going to adopt an inner city policy, then its time anti-Sierra Club folks move to do whatever it takes to convert a trail into pavement. Their involvement in this will hurt the anti tunnel in the long run, imho.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the ST HQ being inside of Union Station. Now I can say with glee I wish it were legal to throw tomatoes at the ST upper crust for not getting their act together and having a shelter at Mukilteo.

    1. Oh yeah, I have some bad news for you on that front, too. ST isn’t going to build the rest of the station at Mukilteo until WSDOT builds the new ferry terminal, or at least figures out what location and design it’ll have.

      1. ST isn’t going to move their platform so why wait? The platform location was probably dictated by BNSF and their operational needs.

      2. I didn’t ask for details, as I didn’t realize there would be much interest. The Mukilteo Station was just mentioned as an aside in conversation.

  5. Bruce, arrrrrrgh! Thanks for the info, and of course I’m not surprised. I understand the rationale they’re attempting to spout, but it still doesn’t fly. This either means they admit total failure in the first place by “jumping the gun” and putting the new platform 1/4 mile north of the dock, or they really didn’t have a clue in the first place.

    Combine that with the money WSF just spent on the dock last month ,and I think we know the answer…

    These comments are NOT directed at you, I know you’re only the messenger and I appreciate you letting me know what’s up.

    1. To the hydrofoil! It’s obviously part of his escape plan for when the unwashed masses storm Bellevue Square when East Link opens.

  6. LRT vs Fat Cats: less money for the rest of us.

    I don’t get it. Whoever wrote this (I can’t find a name attached) is complaining about how the west and eastside subareas are spending their money (seems to want a freebie) but rail to the northern boarder of Pierce County would only hurt Tacoma in it’s competition with Seattle for jobs. Maybe they’re wishing light rail would push south and create a new boomburb in Pierce County; a Sound(er) idea to be sure.

  7. “High gas prices mean less sprawl.” Really?

    a 1 percent increase in gas taxes led to… just 14 fewer meters of travel, on average… Every 1 percent rise in median income led to a .23 percent decrease in city center living.

    One factor putting upward pressure on wages… inflation.

    data from the 12 largest metropolitan region in Canada

    Who ever refers to the Canadian love affair with the automobile? They all drive Ski-Doos :=

    1. Another factor: Most Canadian Cities don’t have limited-access highways (“freeways”) running through the center of the city.

      Toronto and Montreal are the exception to that rule. But Calgary, Vancouver, Deadmonton? Nope.

  8. Question for transit folks:

    This map (which appeared in a previous post of STB) shows the 1941 Seattle street car map:

    http://www.sustainablewestseattle.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Seattle1941Streetcars.jpg

    Do you think this was a successful network in terms of reaching all the notable points of interest?

    How was it that they were able to build this “light rail” system back then without having to dig costly subway style tunnels?

    Did it go uphill? Or did they just choose street level routes?

    1. I wouldn’t care to form an independent judgement on whether it reached all points of interest, but presumably as there were few alternatives to streetcars at the time, someone would have built a streetcar to anywhere there was significant demand.

      The old streetcar network was constructed to very different standards than any modern system. The cars were lighter and mostly made of wood, except for the chassis and drivetrain; some of them would have been considered positively flimsy by modern standards. This also made them much lighter than modern LRVs or streetcars and therefore much better able to climb steep grades.

      Moreover, labor was cheap and tech was relatively simple back then, and most streetcar companies would have had a staff of mechanics who probably did (what would now be called) major overhauls on a regular basis, something that would be totally unaffordable now, with all the tech that is packed into a modern LRV. Thus the additional wear and tear on motors caused by operating them on severe grades would have just been absorbed as a slightly higher running cost, which wouldn’t be possible now.

      But the main reason, of course, that they were able to build at-grade almost anywhere, would have been the notable absence of passenger cars before 1900. Streetcar companies simply built wherever they wanted without complaint, and while not grade-separated, there would have been very little to get in their way, allowing them to pretty fast; in fact, they would have been the most comfortable and fastest ride around.

    2. It certainly went up hills, as you see in West Seattle and Queen Anne. The steepest hills like Queen Anne Avenue actually had cable cars. When I took the Fremont streetcar tour they didn’t say anything about hills being a problem, and a streetcar did go up Phinney Ridge to Woodland Park. The main problem they had was electricity; the streetcars slowed down in north Seattle because they were so far from the substation, until a substation was built in Fremont.

      Seattle’s population was only 200,000 in the early 40s. I assume it was more downtown-centric then, that all those one-seat rides to downtown that people complain about now (many of which are unchanged since this map) were more important then.

      1. Mike,
        Queen Anne Ave actually had a counterbalance to assist the streetcars up and down the hill. As I recall reading, the only cable cars in Seattle were on Madison, James and Yesler.

    3. John,
      You need an older map. The only streetcar route on the map is the service on 8th Ave NW (note the difference in line type). On this map, every other streetcar line had been replaced by a trolley bus or gasoline bus.

      Another way to tell is that most of the routes have the existing route numbers (e.g. Queen Anne). In the street car network, routes 1, 2, and 3 served West Seattle. Queen Anne streetcars had route numbers in the mid-20s.

    4. John,
      In addition, I suggest you check out the 1939 Beeler Organization report from the library. It is a good resource that the City Council used to make the decision to convert the existing streetcar and bus network to a trolleybus and gasoline bus network. It includes some great maps of the streetcar network and the proposed network which was modified sometime between 1939 and when they started converting streetcars in 1941. I was surprised when I was allowed to check it out given the valuable historical document about Seattle.

      They have two copies, one which includes detailed on-street passenger load observations which the second copy does not include.

      There is also an earlier 1935 report which discussed modernizing certain streetcar lines and a 1936 report that discusses removing the Renton Streetcar line and replacing it trolleybus within the City of Seattle. The Renton Streetcar was privately owned but went out of business. Without that streetcar, there would have been no service on Rainier.

  9. Not pre-1900 (but not much later), not Seattle (but another west coast port), and technically not streetcar, this cable car ride down Market Street shows that even by 1905 (pre-earthquake) there was already plenty to get in the way of transit, including autos. I would imagine Seattle was not greatly different, just smaller in scale.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NINOxRxze9k

    (lame soundtrack)

    1. True, but the streetcar would still have been the fastest transportation suitable for business clothes and affordable to most people. You need to get to at least 1910 or 1920 before you get mass produced cars available to the middle class, and when streetcars began to decline.

  10. More news: The Queen Anne Community Council Transportation Committee just put in their recommendation for Mercer West. They chose the cheapest option that would keep cars moving as fast as possible, and does not add sidewalks or bike lanes. They also wrote a letter asking for Business Access and Transit (BAT) lanes to be removed.

    Not a win for bikes, feet, or transit.

    1. Yeah, they’re bitching about diversions from the Nickerson road diet, too; have you seen any of that?

      1. I was active in the fight to thin the road, and have seen the lack of negative impact since it, but haven’t heard much from them since that. There’s a mention in the story that they restated their request to reconsider the road diet, but I’m not terribly surprised. Reconsider away – now that it exists everyone can see how low the impact is.

    2. If you don’t like the way your neighborhood association or its transportation committee represent, then get involved in them. The presence of just one bus rider can really change the tone of debate.

  11. I’m surprised free cars with a house hasn’t caught on sooner. Reminds me of years ago when a rich Moscow suburb had a giant billboard advertising a free helicopter with the purchase of a mansion.

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