Seattle Metro Rapid Transit Map “circa” 1990

The Rapid Transit Plan for the Metropolitan Seattle Area - Metro Area Perspective - 1970

Fifty years ago this week, February 13, 1968, 50.8% of Greater Seattle voters voted yes to the Forward Thrust rapid transit proposition. The construction of a 49-mile rapid transit system modeled after BART and the Washington Metro needed voters to approve $385 million in general obligation bonds. The remainder of the $1.15 billion cost would be picked up by the federal government. Unfortunately, the state constitution requires a 60% majority to approve such a bond so the measure failed and the rest is history.

But for the sake of this post, let’s assume it did pass and the system got built as planned. What would a Metro map look like? We’ve seen the scans of maps from the plans. What we’ve not seen is how the service would have operated. Here is a diagram I made that presents the Seattle Metro rapid transit system as if it were in operation in 1990, five years after completion of the initial system plan after several phased openings than began in 1976. I wanted to create a map with a 1970s design aesthetic but not clone the style of those iconic transit maps of the era.

diagram of Seattle rapid transit had it been built
click to enlarge

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