7 Replies to “Live Broadcast: Seattle Waterfront Design Meeting”

  1. This was an awesome presentation. We watched remotely as my baby has a cold, but we went to the previous presentation at the aquarium. My 18 mth daughter takes her civics seriously, and she also likes to touch the starfish.

    I loved the bike path on the water side, the pedestrian focus, the mixing of green spaces and restaurants, the access to the water, the folds dealing with elevation changes. I think the plan takes the best of myrtle edwards and the sculpture park and continues through downtown, focusing on the needs of each individual area.

  2. Last night’s presentation was excellent, but I found one thing disturbing: not only was there not a single picture of a streetcar, but the chief presenter expressed an opinion that in view of the proposed streetcar line on First Avenue, Waterfront transportation could be better provided by pedicabs and other small vehicles.

    There were also pictures of cars and trucks. No buses. Thankfully, no pictures of truck chassis with streetcar bodies. But absolutely nothing that would carry large numbers of passengers along the Waterfront, or connect with the International District, Pioneer Square, and the rest of the city the way the streetcar did. First Avenue is three blocks from the Waterfront.

    The official made it clear that plans were still in a very early phase, and nothing shown was to be taken literally. But in view of events leading to the loss of the Waterfront Streetcar six years ago, and the assurances given that its absence was temporary, I think it’s time to start organizing politically to be sure that the project team starts to consider the streetcar as much a part of the project as they currently consider the street.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Running vintage streetcars on 1st is pretty stupid, in my view, as such a line wouldn’t be able to connect to SLU or the First Hill line because the platforms have to be built differently for the Melbourne trams versus modern low-floor trams.

      It would make far more sense for to rebuild the Benson line as it was, run Melbourne trams there, and then build a connection from the terminus of the First Hill streetcar (2nd Ave S and Jackson) up 1st Ave to the terminus of the SLUT at Westlake. In time we could extend the SLUT up to the UW and the First Hill line north on Broadway.

      1. Agreed. But my motive now is to prevent the Melbourne Streetcars from being sold or scrapped.

        This involves modifying the streetcars as such:

        1. Replacing Trolley poles with pantographs
        2. Upgrading the electrical systems to handle higher voltage (this was done when the streetcars were brought over from Melbourne anyway).
        3. Add an Access Van or school bus-style wheelchair lift to one of the doorways
        4. Utilize a step-box at low-platform stations.

        So the question is not HOW TO DO IT, the question is going to be TIME and MONEY.

      2. Why does it need a pantograph, other than to avoid a couple of minutes at each end to manually walk the pole around?

      3. The pantographs (note the plural!) are needed to make the Melbourne cars compatible with the same overhead that the SLUS and other future Seattle streetcars use.

  3. Probably not a good idea to run the old Melbourne trams on First. However, it should be possible to integrate substations, maintenance, and operations into a unified system including the South Lake Union, First Hill and First Avenue Streetcars.

    As both a transit facility and a tourist attraction, we might also add other vintage streetcars to the Waterfront line- exactly as MUNI did in San Francisco when their viaduct came down. A Waterfront transit museum starting across Jackson from IDS- where passengers arrive on LINK from the airport- could be quite a draw.

    Waterfront stations can be modified to load both high and low- as in the Pittsburgh subway. I seem to recall MUNI does something similar with the old cars.

    Main problem could be north end terminal. Would be good to run the Waterfront line into Seattle Center. George Benson told me he’d like to see the line run north through Myrtle Edwards Park, then fly over the freight tracks, cross Elliott at grade, and run Thomas to the Center.

    It would be both poetic and artistic justice if present Sculpture Garden bridge, which necessitated removal of the car-barn, could be incorporated into the necessary flyover. IF not, SAM and its donors would doubtless be glad to help with a really classy north end station at the park.

    It tempts some vengeful classical deities to start a park dedicated to art by destroying a working monument.

    Mark Dublin

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