On Friday SDOT showed off the first completed streetcar for the First Hill line. The streetcar made a one block trip from the maintenance facility to 8th & Lane. Also, SDOT’s Rail Transit Manager Ethan Ethan Melone provided a tour of the facility, which begins at the 5:55 mark of the video. Hit the break for a few photos of the completed cars and the others that are undergoing final assembly.
101 Replies to “First Hill Streetcar Testing Has Begun”
The video isn’t publicly viewable.
They chose some ‘interesting’ colors. Sky blue and magenta?
T-Mobile is going to sponsor that one :)
Published; not sure why it got marked private.
Also the link to open the pictures in a big version is invalid (404).
What a waste of a project.
Hey, LES’s family is scared of the tunnel and has all day to travel less than a mile.
That’s totally worth hundreds of millions of dollars, amirite?
Hey, he might get eaten by a grue.
What a waste of a reply. That’s all you are going to say?
For all the keystrokes I’ve wasted tilting out these windmills, Mr. Adreers above says all that needs be said in his 6 words.
Hundreds of millions of dollars. Years of designing and revising and testing and new barn building and consternation about delays and shipments. And, as implied above, the opportunity cost of our limited organizational capacity and public-tolerance for discrete “projects”….
The thing accomplishes nothing. It goes nowhere fast, it connects no places well, it explicitly penalizes Link transferers and the First Hill transit market more than any other option.
It is, in fact, worse than nothing, because the lousy design has done incredible damage to all the buses in the Broadway/Pine area that people actually need to use!
No one tracks the shipping movements of the latest widget arriving on the boat from China. This is no more exciting than that. Waste of time, waste of money, waste of words. And waste of a project.
[Should take a hint from Adeers. Brevity = wit, etc.]
In addition to everything d.p. says, what’s so depressing about this project is that it’s such a giant “F-you” to residents who actually depend on transit to get around the city. (Hey, I know it’s ridiculously slow to get around by transit in your dense urban neighborhood, but instead of doing something about that–which we totally could do with these hundreds of millions of dollars–we’re going to build ourselves a shiny new toy that will actually take longer to get you where you’re going!)
This is especially true if you should actually need to get to First Hill for any reason.
And don’t forget the streetcar turn north onto 1st Ave, as proposed. The waterfront trolley would turn west on Yesler to Alaskan Way with more ‘median’ stations between gridlocked lanes of traffic.
My complaint on routes Sdot picks regards their engineering. The ‘Connector’ routed instead on a 4th/5th Aves Couplet – with curbside stops – is safer, less accident prone, statistical rating. More worse accidents with 1st Ave streetcar line. With a 4th/5th Couplet, Jackson and Main can become a couplet ‘straight’ to Alaskan Way and Waterfront Trolley simpler, with safer arrangements for managing traffic. Wsdot is not a good advisor on the Alaskan Way Boulevard design. Good grief.
Plan B for Bertha:
Extend 2000′ along seawall to Pike/Pine North Portal.
Install seawall cement pillar rows both sides entire length.
(affords means to stabilize soils and water table condictions between)
Lower Belltown FEIS alternatives.
Extend Battery Street Tunnel to Harrison
(much ongoing construction applies to BST extension)
Plan B for Bertha or die.
Can the streetcar wires be used by trolley buses?
Not especially. It’s 750v vs 600v and the trolleybuses need a common return wire someplace.
Very grateful I ran into that Salvation Army preacher yesterday and signed a “Give Thy Transit System A Break” pledge. Otherwise this posting would be like fishing with dynamite. In a barrel.
Honestly don’t know where to start. First problem is loss of focus in YouTube viewing habits. Ashamed to admit it, but last transit related video I watched was a Russian armored car crashing into my favorite intermountain trolleybus in Crimea.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ylzmtt4b2mo is absolutely greatest pirate song ever written and like Bertrand Russell the famous pacifist said, should be the national anthem of every nation in the world. But I’m helpless to sign in for this posting’s video.
As transit right of way fanatic, I’m on classic Sir Walter Raleigh doffed-feather-hat bended knee before the transit world’s most elegant approach to lane preemption. One rear-view mirror glance at any of those colors will send the blocking vehicle careening at full throttle off the tracks. Though hopefully not into a power pole.
Blinded seeing eye dogs could be PR and ADA problem, but Ray-Ban will doubtless publicly contribute bushels of a new line of rad-horrible-color-blocking-shades-for-canines for fashion coup of the century: making anything in Seattle cutting edge since we lost Kurt Cobain.
Wish the Seattle Art Commission could demand either an injunction or an air-strike to save us, but unfortunately they probably painted the cars themselves.
But fears are really groundless. Before Train 1 leaves its first load of passengers motionless under non-existent catenary, it will have been “wrapped” in a visual that will make bystanders engage fingernails and teeth to get the original acid-trip camo back.
So after you get your free Raybans, Mark, sit down with the accounting department at the Rumanian embassy. Even though the real Prince Vlad was a respected national hero, the new free-enterprise government created a whole Bela Lugosi-Wynona Ryder See-Dracula’s-Castle industry that wiped out the whole national debt.
Waste? No way, Mark. Tourist-Oriented Transit Horror Porn will fund ST3!
I love the colors. I am tired of the dreary beige, off-yellow and off-blue colors that everybody things signify Seattle. They don’t. Seattle is not dreary, it’s lush and full of life. These colors signify that and I love it. Love that our trolleybuses are purple too. More of that, please, especially on buildings!
Anybody know if long range plan is a 1 seat ride from South Lake Union to Capital Hill with a completed City Connector?
Per the map at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/CityCenterCorridorsAlignmentOptionsV3.pdf, it does look like that’s the case. Why you would want to ride from SLU to Capitol Hill via downtown, the International District, and First Hill is beyond me, though. Forget walking, you could probably hop on one foot between the two places faster than that.
It’s not designed to be ridden end-to-end. This isn’t an endorsement of the routing, but c’mon.
When family elders visit they’ll be interested. Not everybody has the legs of a 20 year old you know. And I’m more interested in the connector and pill hill segments, i doubt they’ll go to Amazonia. It will be interesting to see if there is any combined usage of the connector and SLU lines. You’re probably right though, these segments will probably only be good for feeders to Link or local usage if anything.
if they were commuters then definitely Link if possible but retirees will avoid the tunnel.
For the amount this line cost to build, you could have re-equipped the 10 with low floor trolleybuses a year ago, and had an electrically powered local connector that is senior friendly.
I’m not sure exactly why seniors would avoid using the tunnel. It’s got elevators everywhere.
The only people I have met that intentionally avoid subway tunnels are tourists, because all cities look the same from inside a metro tunnel.
“When family elders visit they’ll be interested.”
Even then, maybe not. As short-term visitors, they will most certainly not have Orca cards or transit passes. And for a distance as short as Capitol Hill to SLU, the difference in cost between 3 streetcar fares and a taxi would probably amount to pennies.
Why don’t they just get the new $8 day pass?
Because $24 is four such cab rides.
Whoops, still on $5-hurdle ORCAs only. So, actually $39 for three people. Or more than 6 short cab rides.
“I’m not sure exactly why seniors would avoid using the tunnel. It’s got elevators everywhere.”
Because the elevators are often broken. Or turned off during rush hour. Disabled people can wait ten or twenty minutes stuck in the tunnel before a guard arrives to help them. It happens often enough that it gets talked about in disability groups and people tell each other to avoid the tunnel if possible.
You can’t overgeneralize what people will do. Some people will ride the SLUT from SLU to Capitol Hill. Probably the same kind that take the 106 from downtown to Renton, or want the 39 and 42 back. That doesn’t make it a reasonable alternative for SLU to Capitol Hill trips, but saying zero people will do that is wrong.
The 42 had no actual riders, only hypothetical ones.
This case is precisely the same.
And “generalizing what people will do” is the explicit purpose of entire fields of study (anthropology, sociology, neurology), whose findings urban planners and transit proponents would be wise to acknowledge and incorporate into their reasoning.
There will probably be a least a few people who will look at tourist maps that show only the rail lines, no bus lines (as, rightly, or wrongly, tourist maps often do) and will try to ride the silly streetcar all the way from SLU to Capitol Hill for the simple reason that the rail-only map suggests it’s the only way to go.
But anyone who travels that way regularly will quickly know better.
No. Theres gonna be a ride from SLU to Pioneer Square, and a ride from Westlake to Capitol Hill. The ride from SLU to Cap Hill would take forever anyways.
I think the plan is to run one streetcar line from Fairmont to Pioneer Square and the other from the current SLUT southern terminal to Capitol Hill.
How completely ridiculous they couldn’t at least run it to King St/Int’l Dist. I hope they do…
Actually I believe the plan was to run SLU cars as far as 5th & Jackson. It would be silly not to as one of the justifications for the CCC is connecting Colman Dock to the King Street hub.
Nope – the plan is for SLU trains to go as far as the south end of the center city connector segment, and first hill trains to go to the north end of the CCC, to double frequency in downtown.
The CCC documents are quite interesting. One cool graphic has projected ridership by station, broken into ridership w/o the CCC and with it. SLUT ridership more than doubles, if I recall correctly, and ID ridership is in similar territory, but the influence of the CCC drops off dramatically as the line gets into capitol hill.
Which is expected – it’s a bad route to downtown and a terrible route to SLU.
What this means is that when we get ridership numbers, for capitol/first hill, at least, that’ll pretty much be it (obviously we can expect some growth with time, but the trend should be a simple one). SLUT numbers thankfully, should eventually be much higher (although without dedicated lanes and serious TSP, I don’t expect anything great).
Personally, I think this project is in not-great-not-awful territory. It will be longer than the SLUT, and should be faster, enough so that I expect a lot of people will ride it in a walk-if-it-isn’t-there-ride-if-it-is manner. Especially when its raining or you’re carrying groceries or something, hopping on would be pretty appealing.
Sure, it doesn’t increase mobility, but you can’t talk about TOD all the time and not be concerned about the streetscape, as people have to want to live in dense places. I think the current Broadway is nicer than the old one, and if the line is viewed as a success, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Broadway eventually becomes a car-less street with lots of appeal. That could drive lots of demand and density in the area.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d still way rather have a First Hill Link station, but I don’t think it’ll be a disaster like the SLUT (which, to be fair, played some role in the massive increase in density in SLU, which will eventually get real transit). And I think the CCC is pretty great value for the money (though how it interacts with a second DSTT I don’t know).
Almost a year after it’s supposed to be open, they are finally testing it.
Any bets that U-link will open before FHS?
SDOT expects the First Hill line to open this summer. I think there are better odds elsewhere.
The first Hill line was initially planned to open in Fall 2013 It’s nearly two years late.
I have a Sam-like question. Now that SLU has a streetcar and First Hill is getting one, are they “streetcar suburbs”? Why or why not?
No – because they are not bedroom communities using the line to commute to business areas. Maybe cap hill to pill hill has enough of that relationship to deserve the name, but probably not.
I like the streetcar suburb concept, because I think its extension, the “walking suburb,” nicely describes what’s happened in Ballard. All the ugly, bread-loaf development shows that density does not equal urban character and vitality. Rather, the redeveloped places are very suburban in their blandness, their lack of streetscape, etc.
They are walking suburbs to old Ballard. Old Ballard has thrived as a destination, and the walking suburbs have provided a cheap place for lots of people to live (well, cheap compared to cap hill).
I listened for years to antiLink comments that now seem to be dying out, thank God, I suspect that as soon as we have a larger streetcar network with transit lane that many of these antistreetcar comments will fade away.
When I’m sitting for three light cycles just to cross Pine Street, instead of having been at my destination 12 minutes ago if Link had been built correctly, I promise you that I will still hate the FHSC.
p.s. SLUT ridership is dropping, and projects elsewhere are failing spectacularly.
It’s the “rail = must be awesome because rail!!!!1!” types who are already on the losing side of history.
No dedicated right of way for this tram, nowhere near the length (capacity) of any proper European tram and terrible branding that will only confuse riders (What? We have a red line and a purple line and a yellow line and a blue line?)
Sometimes I wonder what the actual purpose of the project is, other than just to build a tram for the sake of building a tram.
The solution is obvious – just forget about the silly streetcar and travel between Capitol Hill and First Hill the same way everyone is already used to doing in the pre-streetcar world – walking!
Yes, it means mentally acknowledging to yourself that the streetcar is a $150 million useless toy, but life is tough – just get over it and move on.
Our streetcars ofter no tangible advantage over buses, except one: they can operate bidirectionally. So, basically, you are saying that someday someone will say “Hey, isn’t this great — we started going the other direction without turning around!”. Meanwhile, grade separated rail offers both better speed and higher capacity than a regular bus.
As Danny Westneat said, “the streetcar– more of a toy than real mass transit — isn’t the big news. The plan that will actually help thousands of people daily is to run buses, including a bus-rapid transit line, on the same car-free road lanes.” Imagine that, exclusive lanes for buses, too! It is if the same basic formula can be applied to buses as to streetcars, with far less cost and greater advantage.
everybody has a right to an opinion
The other advantage is they can hold more people. This isn’t really that relevant until you’re running packed buses down a route at sub-five-minute frequencies, though.
In El Salvador they use small Toyota trucks with wood planks to stand-up and lean against for public transportation. Why don’t we just use these.
They also use Toyota trucks to mount machine guns in the bed.
Again, our streetcars cannot hold more people, nor will they ever need to.
18-minute evenings! So much easy! Very capacities!
Of all the many times I visited downtown Tucson I’ve never used a bus. Since their new SC line opened this year I’ve used it twice. Of the many times I’ve visited downtown Portland, utilizing a bus has never crossed my mind, whereas hopping on the SC has occurred many of times. This tells me that regardless of actual physical capacity SC will always carry more passengers than buses in urban corridors. Portland’s urban movers are over 15,000 daily boardings and will approach 20,000 after loop extension opens. Not bad for an urban utility. Street Cars are not intended to compete with commuting tools to the degree Buses and LR do but are intended for short hall urban cores as cities like Melbourne and Portland have effectively illustrated.
All that “tells us” is [ad hom]
Portland’s NW district can be easily reached on a bus that runs equally often and twice as fast. The Willamette bridges are each crossed by any number of buses that will get you where you’re going 15 times faster than the Loop Of Insanity.
And the South Waterfront is a pointless, sterile Nowhereland that has lost many developers their shirts and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that streetcars are not magic.
Keep in mind that includes the eat side loop, which provides an alternative to the horribly overcrowded 6.
Put that thing in a dedicated lane or a non- congeted street and the ridership would be vastly higher. It could tie together all the busy east side routes really nicely if it weren’t so slow.
Yay for a clueless tourist getting his foamer kicks. So worthy of massive, insane, trend-chasing investments.
I go to Nob Hill too. Twice as fast on the bus. Sometimes thrice as fast.
Oh, and the Loop ridership is toilet-level. So much for “network effects” proving the foamers right.
Glenn, the Eastside “connection” is also horribly infrequent, to the point that it is basically never useful for that purpose. Part of the infrequency is thanks to the hours wasted on the painfully slow loop routing. It stops completely on the bridge. Three times! Then tours every false-redevelopment-promise side street of the Lloyd!
Think what benefit might have been achieved if all that money were making the 6 frequent. The connection would actually work!
LES, Portland is the last place you should be looking at if you want to look for confirming evidence that slower-than-buses stuck in traffic streetcars are wise investments. After having a good decade of the toy streetcar experience, check out where Portlandia residents want to invest their transportation dollars:
Out of town foamers might get a kick out of it, but Portlanders would rather do pretty much anything else with their transportation dollars than throw good money after bad on more slower-than-buses streetcars.
It’s probably the DBT syndrome ™, or the ‘Any Other Mega Project Syndrome ™’ that has lots of hype going in, and ends up being a pretty mediocre use of public funds for public good. In other words, it’s pointless to argue with concrete that has set up.
History is on your side, Peter, as is passenger experience. Crush load ride on a streetcar, especially with its own lane and signal pre-empt is a lot better than bearable. Same ride on bus would draw fine from Department of Agriculture if passengers were cows.
Commerce-wise, due to steady, even motion and large windows, streetcars have always been superior to buses for sight seeing and more important, window-shopping. Which could very well even the playing field for merchants presently getting hammered by Amazon- and it’s probably too late for Jeff Bezos to take his street car back! Great or what?
So right now, best tactic for gaining public support for streetcars is to tell every neighborhood that the one next door is going to get a car line, and they’re not. Will be like Jaws feeding frenzy with infuriated neighborhood associations and chambers of commerce instead of Great Whites.
And BTW: main problem with ridership figures for the South Lake Union line is that South Lake Union itself, the district not the lake, is still mostly hanging from moving construction cranes and being excavated as the streetcars roll by the dirt piles.
If an intensely crowded and busy city district had been completely built, populated, and opened for business before its transit network was in place- tone of these pages would be same, though content different.
Will also chill about paint schemes, just so police department gets ordinance passed to forbid wraps on windows, so officers coming on-scene don’t have to face weapons concealed by State Lottery adds.
Really do think that dramatic paint scheme in motorists’ rear view mirrors would definitely reduce lane blockage. Maybe shark (or wild pig) teeth, like on the A-10 Warthog tank-killer plane would work best.
Jeep-length gatling gun in over the front coupler would also eliminate lost running time waiting for police or tow truck.
History is not on the side of useless and antiquated transit.
That’s why we aren’t twiddling our thumbs while they hook up cables to haul us up Queen Anne, and why only aluminum figurines with nowhere to go are still waiting for the interurban.
@peter de man,
Concur 100%. It is unfamiliarity that leads to anti-SC comments like these. Once this is in operation people will love it and want more. It is what has always happened.
What part of “nosediving SLUT ridership” don’t you understand?
More importantly, what part of “transit is a means, not an end, and people just want to get where they’re going” don’t you understand?
Declining ridership on the SLU line don’t bode well for the long term prospects. Furthermore, if you look at the financial reports the cost per rider of the SLU line is quite a bit more than the bus services.
Look, I’m both a rail fan and I work for a place that builds equipment for railroad passenger cars. I’d love to see more rail lines of all sorts. However, on a line like this you can’t have your costs per passenger be so high. All that does is discourage the construction of additional lines as they would require the removal of bus service elsewhere and it gives ammunition to transit opponents.
It doesn’t matter what type of line you are operating. Even a steam powered tourist railroad that tourists absolutely flock to has to have the financial side pencil out. On a line like this it means being cheaper to operate than an equivalent bus.
On a line like the Grand Canyon Railway it means the steam service and heritage diesel operation is only for special occasions and the primary power is ex-Amtrak F40PH units because the vast majority of the tourists don’t care what is actually at the front of the train.
What do you propose as the measure of the line as a success?
@glen in Portland,
It’s hard to descern any definitive trends from the SLU line. It is both too short and too impacted by what is happening in SLU to base any judgments on.
Generally speaking it has been running ahead in ridership despite its issues, but the recent decline in ridership needs to be understood before a path forward is selected.
I think that once the First Hill and SLU lines are connected it will be clear that building these lines was the right thing to do, but getting to that point might take a few years (just like their took a few years for all the LR critics to go silent)
Generally speaking it has been running ahead in ridership
it will be clear that building these lines was the right thing to do
@ d. p. “what part of ‘… people just want to get where they’re going’ don’t you understand?”
Well, there’s a little more to it than that – just ask anybody who drives a car that isn’t a 10 year old hyundai, or, for that matter, drives a car rather than a scooter.
I totally agree that getting places quickly is priority #1, but a pleasant and comfortable ride helps. That’s why it’s important to make sure that taking transit doesn’t involve spending time in places that smell like urine. I’m sure you’d agree that’s an important place to spend money.
Obviously, the difference between a bus and a train are not as big as the difference between smelling like urine and not, but I think an approach as reductionist as “people just want to get where they’re going” is dangerous. The marginal increase in comfort and aesthetic appeal of rail might not be enough to justify the cost and decreased flexibility, but it is worth something.
More generally, we do need to think about the experience of the rider. I know that I hate the 44 not just for its slowness but also for the terrible, bouncy ride quality that makes me get nausea if I read, whereas rapid ride busses are a much more pleasant place to spend time. It’s worth money to give riders and neighbors a nicer experience, not just faster transit. How much money, and whether that is spent on getting natural light into stations or more bus shelters, is up to debate.
It is a fact that SLUT ridership is lagging expectations, not exceeding it. Especially in light of all the growth in the area.
And there is ample precedent that weak, ineffective transit ideas are eventually rejected by history as temporary planner mass-delusion. See: people mover experiments in Detroit or Jacksonville, or commuter rail in Vermont (for crying out loud). From Tampa to Atlanta to DC to New York — which rejected a streetcar outright because it knows a thing or two about transit — rejection on the merits is the future of your favorite flavor of debacle.
So again, the answer to both of Lazarus’s fact-averse proclamations is “nope”.
I don’t disagree with you at all. I know that I despise the 44, though frankly I’ll choose the 40 over the D in part because fare-dodging, zero-decorum drunks have become a regular feature of our “BRT” too.
Transit is a melting pot of classes and culture, but if you set no minimum behavior and upkeep standard, you will wind up with a populace that self-segregates by returning to privatized realms and forms of transit. (This applies equally to Seattle’s “open space” free-for-all.)
However, the solution is not just enforcement. It is really effective transit. So effective that the rich people can’t help but choose it, and that the non-crazies will vastly outnumber the crazies.
That’s what you see in real transit cities, and you see it on every mode! Only where transit is a last resort — the slowest thing on the road, and a long wait to boot! — do you see an on-board distribution invoking its last-resort status for many or most.
All the more reason not to stick all eggs in one incredibly ineffective street-rail basket!
I like the “next stop” graphic, in that it shows the next 3 stops. These would be nice on the buses as well, since if you’re on a route that you don’t normally take, you’re left wondering, “is this the closest stop, or should I stay on until the next one”. I normally have OneBusAway running and look at the stop map to determine this, but not everyone has that luxury. I’m wondering is they’re going to retrofit the SLU cars to have the same screen. Though until the Center City Connector is done three stops on one screen will show half the SLU route.
No, the SLU line will not be retrofitted.
That would be a great retrofit for Link as well. Get rid of the endless scrolling!
Glad I’m not the only one who thinks the scrolling signs on Link are hard to read.
Slow speed street railways running without overhead wires were easily possible in the 1870s:
Honest question here. Given the choice, dedicated streetcar/bus lane or bike lane(s) on broadway?
Take away the cycle track you only get one more transit lane. Transit running both ways in one lane lol
Ok, what if we took away all on street parking and bike lanes for exclusive trsnsit lanes on broadway.. Would you support it?
No. We need more of a safe and functional bike network for getting around the city, not less.
Have you visited Portland at all?
Are you familiar with the bike boulevards idea that has been put in place?
The idea is that a busy old neighborhood street like your Broadway is difficult to convert to have bike lanes. So, a parallel road that is less crowded with road traffic becomes the major bike route instead. Eg in east Portland, Hawthorne and Belmont are major through transit and auto streets. These are too narrow to be good bike routes, but Salmon and Taylor between the two work pretty good at being the designated bike corridor.
It might be worth trying to find a simar bike route that could work as a Broadway alternative.
It sounds like a good idea at first, but the fact of the matter remains that:
1) Broadway, not the parallel streets, is where most of the businesses are.
2) Broadway goes through all the way from Madison to Roanoke. The parallel streets do not. We should not artificially make bike trips longer by forcing jogs to the left and and right, just to shove them out of the way. Broadway is not a freeway we’re talking about. What we really should be doing is extending the Broadway bike path all the way north through the business district, perhaps even all the way to Roanoke.
Well then, you are halfway there already! You can’t use the Salmon street bike route as a through route in an auto either. This means when they removed most of the stop signs on that route it didn’t automatically become an auto bypass route for the more busy streets.
A couple weeks ago I walked from the Convention Center to Cal Anderson Park and thence to Volunteer Park. I kept as much as possible to the sparsely used roads with relatively less steel hills. Physically, I saw no problems at all with doing this.
As far as business access goes, that’s what the perpendicular connector streets are for. It would only be a block or two away from the main business areas. This really isn’t anything on a bike.
They’ve been pretty popular here.
Parallel “bike boulevards” really do need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Sometimes, they can be configured for amazingly stress-free results for all. Other times, there simply is no effective parallel through-route that offers access to the places people wish to reach in a logical and legible manner.
There is no “one size fits all”.
“access to the places people wish to reach in a logical and legible manner.”
I’m really curious what a “legible” manner might entail.
If the location of the best bike routes is not entirely intuitive, especially because you are being asked to make significant detours or overshoot your desire path and then backtrack to get where you are headed, that is not a legible or practicable route network.
The Broadway cycletrack is already there so it’s a moot point. But the city recently asked about an east-west cycletrack from Broadway to MLK and gave two alternatives: one on Union Street, and one that made a lot of zigzags around Denny Way. I chose the Union Street one because it’s straight and legible and not a primary thoroughfare. The Denny one would have gone closer to some front doors in central Capitol Hill, but turning every other block is not good. People will go up there anyway if they’re going to those front doors, but in general they’ll look for a straight east-west route or they’ll take Pine or John rather than the zigzaggy route.
The criticisms about the First Hill Streetcar are repetitive and boring. I get that you are upset and angry, but I wish you wouldn’t keep saying it over and over and clogging these forums with non-constructive comments. It’s built, it will start running soon, get over it. I live near the Capitol Hill end of the line, I work at Swedish, I dine in the I.D. and Pioneer Square, and I can’t wait to ride the streetcar to places I want to go. I don’t care that it will be slow and get stuck in traffic. It will be fun to ride. I am not in that much of a hurry. When the Capitol Hill light rail station opens I’ll still use it to get to the airport, but not to downtown or the I.D. I’ll take a bus downtown because it isn’t that far and I’d rather be aboveground for the short trip. I’ll take the streetcar to the I.D. because it will be much more fun and pleasant than the subway. It may take 10 minutes longer to get to the I.D. If that is so important to you, take the subway. It may be hard for some people to fathom but some of us will choose the slower streetcar over the faster subway for the pleasure of the ride to our destination.
I don’t care that it will be slow and get stuck in traffic. It will be fun to ride. I am not in that much of a hurry.
This is called foaming. It is also called being an entitled young white person with no sense of the lives and needs of anyone different from yourself. And yes, it is repetitive and boring.
It is also called being unintentionally anti-transit, because the aggregate effect of slow and wasteful transit is that the majority grows up, gets sick of it, gives up, and drives.
If you want a transit lifestyle that will outlast your youth, you should consider warming to the idea that the ability to get around is more vital than a few minutes of railfan “fun”.
By this same logic, they should get rid of buses in Manhattan (where I grew up) because they are slower than walking and much slower than subways. But for some reason these stuck-in-traffic buses are full of passengers, even though walking or subway to the same destination would be faster. It’s not all about speed. Those who are in less of a hurry are not necessarily railfans, tourists, or entitled young white people.
We should not be building transit for the transit ideologue but for the average rider who wants to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. This SC line is looking more and more like a boondoggle.
It’s a whole lot faster (and easier) to cross Manhattan east-to-west on a bus than it is to subway around. It’s also faster (and easier) to take the 2nd Ave bus for a moderate distance than to walk over to the 4-5-6.
You are correct that there are any number of rational calculations made in determining which transit application to apply to a given journey at a given point in time, and that some of those modes may be slightly slower than others for a given portion of the trip.
But artificial slowness is never a benefit, nor a determinor. You take that 2nd Ave bus because the directness makes it less of a hassle for the length of your particular trip, and not because being slower than the Lex subway is a positive attribute in and of itself.
Streetcar fetishists are advocating for something that is literally and infuratingly slower than the already-too-slow transit choices that already exist, and already head in the very same direction. That is explicit redundancy. That is different than any legitimate example you can provide elsewhere.
By this same logic, they should get rid of buses in Manhattan (where I grew up) because they are slower than walking and much slower than subways. But for some reason these stuck-in-traffic buses are full of passengers
Sigh. Nice try, but massive fail, foamer. New York, being a city where transit is taken seriously, responded to the fact that many bus routes were unacceptably slow, took positive steps to correct the problem, and saw a significant increase in ridership as a result:
The criticisms about the First Hill Streetcar are repetitive and boring.
This is accurate, and it does make the conversation a bit dreary and depressing. However: they are also correct.
I get that you are upset and angry, but I wish you wouldn’t keep saying it over and over and clogging these forums with non-constructive comments. It’s built, it will start running soon, get over it.
Oh, hell no. We need to be as loud as possible about what a ridiculous waste this is, because we need the transit-supporting public to be less gullible to politicians’ terrible, wasteful ideas. There’s a chance we can make this the last money wasted on this bad idea, but pretending like it’s too late to criticize lessens that chance. Anyone who cares about useful transit in the future needs to ignore this very bad advice.
I don’t care that it will be slow and get stuck in traffic. It will be fun to ride.
If you want something fun to ride, go to an amusement park. But please don’t ask the rest of us to use scarce resources that could have been put to useful transit to subsidize your hobby.
well said, djw.
All right, the race is on to see if we can complete testing and move to passenger service faster than D.C.’s streetcar line. Their testing phase began 16 months ago, with no end in sight. Hopefully ours goes faster than that! http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/12/15/dc-streetcar-testing-begins-with-1st-cars-arrival/
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