Waterfront Streetcar coming back?

So I was in the grocery store yesterday and I somehow always get stuck in the magazine section reading various magazines of interest. One I tend to pick up a lot is Seattle Metropolitan, it has some good stuff on Seattle, although, this month there was an article on the beloved Waterfront Streetcar. The article talked about the history of streetcars in Seattle, which I might add was quite rich, I never knew Seattle was such a streetcar oriented city. Like anything though, if you saturate it with enough politics things can be taken away in an instant. Which several times over again has happened to Seattle. Some might say it was another tourist oriented development by Seattle, although I know many businesses along Pioneer Square would surely love to have the streetcar back in a heartbeat. One part I found particularly interesting in this article, there are a couple shops in Pioneer Square that are closing (11 to be exact) and it was implied that they are closing because the loss of the streetcar means a loss in revenue (30-40% to be exact). Whereas on the flip side, the new South Lake Union Streetcar is causing a stir as well. Christine Lea who is the Vice President of the Cascade Neighborhood Association notes that businesses are starting to flee the SLU area due to the development of the Streetcar. Hmm… I do know since I have worked in SLU for a couple years now, I have seen a lot more going in than going out. I think the streetcar is going to do a lot more than people think! I am betting businesses will thrive much like they did in the Pearl District in Portland. Finally, Seattle got some promising news the City Council approved Greg Smith’s proposal for three extra floors on his Occidental Park Project and the trolley barn was a go again! This is great news! Let’s make it happen Seattle, with some extensions it can be a great opportunity!

Bus Wraps: All Wrapped Up?

It appears the wrapped buses are going to be going through some changes in the future according to a news release from King County. Full bus wraps have been responsible for generating much needed revenue for Metro. This has come at a price to the riders of these buses. People who ride can’t see street signs or buildings, and if dark outside it is impossible to see anything causing people much frustration. The wraps are currently on 25 buses which is less than 2% of Metro’s fleet. If Metro completely phased out the wraps that would result in a loss of $743,000 in 2008. So Metro came up with a new partial wrap that will allow wrapping to only a portion of the window plus the rest of the bus.
From Ron Simms:
Metro would be the first transit agency in the country to offer this type of partial-wrap to advertisers. Metro believes the new partial wrap advertising option can generate interest from national and local clients to advertise on Metro’s fleet and become a model for other transit agencies to follow“.
They will allow these partial wraps on 50 buses and may generate $450,000-$900,000 in revenue.
This is good for Metro and it seems it will be good for the passengers as well. Although I am not a fan of the green/purple and gold color schemes, it is eye catching to see the wrapped buses from the outside. I truly dislike being in them, especially on a sunny day. One difference that was pointed out to me was that in places like San Francisco and Vancouver B.C. (which I visited recently) they have advertisements at bus shelters. There are many bus stops in downtown Seattle where many passengers get on/off buses. It seems that they could gain additional revenue by adding panels to these stops. Metro could even charge premium rates for higher volume stops.