"NEW" – West Seattle Street-Car Line Proposal

Home Forums Open Discussion "NEW" – West Seattle Street-Car Line Proposal

This topic contains 44 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  AlkiBeach 3 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #605922

    AlkiBeach
    Participant

    Finally!!! West Seattle the time is NOW! If there is ever going to be a time in any of our lifetimes to see Streetcars in West Seattle again. This is it!

    With the city now finally ‘on-board’ for connecting our city’s neighborhoods via streetcars, the time to act is NOW before we again find ourselves being victims of isolation. We need our citizens, businesses, neighborhood organizations, local chamber, seniors, and youth to come together to demand the city include West Seattle in its next round of street car route expansion planning.

    This should be something that everyone can attest too; whether you want to be isolated from growth or are pro-growth…enjoy living in a penthouse or find yourself treading the poorhouse waters…have lived long enough to have ridden streetcars before in the city…or are a current student not wanting mom or dad to pull up in front of the school to pick you up, rather be able to jump on a “hip” ride and zip over to Husky Deli, Alki Beach or go shopping at Target!

    The city is putting forward plans to study expand the streetcar network to five different lines. One is currently in operation, South Lake Union and another is currently being built between Capitol Hill and Pioneer Sq. (First Hill Line)(thanks largely to Sound Transit $$$ to buy Seattle support for the last mass-transit proposal Sound Transit – 2 (ST2). Already, the Capitol Hill neighborhood has proven it’s strong support by demanding the further expansion of their currently being built line (First Hill)!

    We can’t remain sitting on or butts while the rest of the city is tied together by a tangible social network. I call on the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (WSCC) to hold a group of information gathering sessions pulling together all of our Neighborhood Associations :

    • Admiral Community Council

    • Alki Community Council

    • Delridge District Council

    • Morgan Junction Assoc.

    • Westwood Neighborhood Council

    • Fauntleroy Community Assoc.

    • High Point Neighborhood Assoc.

    includin…

    West Seattle Junction Association

    West Seattle Senior Center

    Student Council’s (K-12, College)

    We need to formulate a plan of action (“NOW”) to present to the City of Seattle by early January 2013. I would also ask that the WSCC put the city on notice, that we are moving forward on this “NOW” so as to make sure we don’t slow down what this city’s big negative is – PROCESS!

    For all those reading this, please present this to your neighborhood associations, business associates, friends, your kids, your parents. This is an ‘affordable’ alternative to the monorail. Do you want Sound Transit (ST) to study bringing light-rail to ‘The Junction’ and have Seattle streetcars spider-out throughout our neighborhoods? Do you want to start with a Streetcar web in West Seattle first and have ST finance the expensive connection to the city via the bridge? The movement starts “NOW”… Where do you want it to go? I’ll post an update from the WSCC here…

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    #779789

    AlkiBeach
    Participant

    One last thought, in supporting the need to act swiftly. The City of Los Angeles, this week, agreed to start adding street cars to its downtown. With limited federal transportation dollars seemingly always playing the greatest role in the success of building any major mass transportation system or even maintaining current infrastructure, the competition is growing more competitive day after day. We must start changing the way we have to “PROCESS” things, and start PROCEEDING with things!

    #779790

    Genesee Hill
    Participant

    Job One:

    Alaska Junction to SODO Link Light Rail Station with new bridge under High bridge and dedicated right-of-way across Harbor Island. The West Seattle bridge is the big fat bottle neck currently. Keep rail off the darn thing.

    #779791

    JoB
    Participant

    i would like to see north south rail service linking west seattle to burien’s transit center

    #779792

    WorldCitizen
    Participant

    Genesee Hill:

    AGREED!

    Street cars would be a major addition to our transportation infrastructure here in WS. I believe we must be careful where they go and how they will augment future light rail expansion. For example, a street car from the Admiral District all the way down California to the Morgan Junction and back up Fauntleroy to the Triangle would be good for moving people around the business cooridors of WS. But to move the most people through the region I feel like a cut and cover tunnel all the way from the Alaska Junction (or triangle) down 35th to Roxbury, housing light rail would make a lot of sense and decrease parking woes in the junction area.

    But, hey, I’m flexible. Just get some public transit here ASAP. And try to have as much of it not mixed in with traffic as possible.

    #779793

    AlkiBeach
    Participant

    Food for thought…just my opinion!

    Sound Transit’s Link light-rail lines will never go where there’s not current or ‘planned’ density. Nor should they! West Seattle neighborhoods are not dense, nor can they be – due to zoning. With the only exception being the Avalon corridor from the WS Bridge up through the Triangle and on to the Alaska Junction. That’s the only likely corridor for ST – light rail. The rest I feel would have to be at-grade streetcar do to profound expense of tunneling. Just look at Bellevue’s fight to get a tunnel in its downtown!

    Personally, I like having ST bring Link light-rail to the Alaska Junction. Then having spur lines fanning out from there.

    1.) West Seattle Bridge to Roxbury or Westwood Village (via. Delridge SW)

    2.) Triangle to Roxbury or Westwood Village (via. 35th SW)

    3.) Admiral District to Morgan Junction (via California Ave. SW)

    Guessing here of course….

    …but a build out as I just described here would probably be as much as the Link Light-rail line from Northgate to the Sea-Tac Airport. So we have to be money smart and realistic!

    #779794

    Talaki34
    Participant

    Wake up Arbor Heights!

    We do not have a neighborhood association to represent us. If you want to be heard in favor or against, now is the time to speak up. This type of transportation might just be the ticket for us and our families, especially since all the changes to the bus routes. A turn around through Arbor Heights would give us better access and ability to continue to support the businesses where we live.

    We also don’t have a business district to help represent our place in the WS family of communities and you can bet that not many (okay probably any) people at these meetings will even give Arbor Heights a cursory thought unless they live here.

    “With the city now finally ‘on-board’ for connecting our city’s neighborhoods via streetcars, the time to act is NOW before we again find ourselves being victims of isolation.”

    If there is anything Arbor Heights knows, it is about neighborhood isolation. The Chamber will not be representing your interests and if this issue means something to you, let your voice be heard.

    #779795

    WorldCitizen
    Participant

    Streetcars up 35th would be great, as long as they weren’t mixed in with traffic. Seems like they could be great in the median. It IS a wide road, after all.

    Subjecting streetcars, or any mass transit, to traffic issues seems to defeat the purpose.

    #779796

    DBP
    Member

    Where’s the cost-benefit analysis on this? If money is not an issue, count me as “yes” to all the above.

    Plus, I want my own trolley car.

    And a pony.

    And an Oompa-Loompa.

     

     

    And I want it . . .

    #779797

    WorldCitizen
    Participant

    I for one am willing to pay higher property taxes for this. Cost is a major consideration of course, but I’m willing to pony up my fair share. I’d be willing to bet there is a large number of folks out there who would too.

    #779798

    JoB
    Participant

    this is one of those greater good things

    it would be greater good if more people could use the public transit system to move about west seattle

    #779799

    JoB
    Participant

    DBP.. i don’ know..

    there may be an Oompa Loompa in the garage..

    i am willing to offer you the same deal i offered those looking for Bond

    you find him.. he’s yours

    just clean your way in and out ;->

    #779800

    kgdlg
    Participant

    I know a fair amount about streetcars because I was involved in the early routing outreach for the First Hill Streetcar, currently in construction. Some things people should know about streetcars vs. buses as modes of transport in West Seattle.

    -Streetcars are not good on hills. Like, they cannot go above a certain grade, I think about 15% but don’t quote me on that. So I am not saying it is impossible, but a streetcar down to Alki may be very unlikely if not impossible mechanically. Once you get too steep you are in cable car or gondala territory.

    -I have heard there can be no fixed rail over the low bridge due to maritime priorities for opening (ie no reliable transit can run when the bridge opens every xx min in the summer, for example). So rail has to go on high bridge, and I think that would be $$$$ to engineer a crossing on the WSB.

    -One if the primary reasons for streetcars is development. As fixed rail they are meant to incentivize development around stops, not just move people.

    -Stops are less frequent than buses. Usually a quarter mile apart. This is not good for neighborhood circulation as it requires way more walking than a bus. People don’t typically walk a half mile to ride a half mile. It would have to connect to downtown, and well, that is going to be $$$, see above.

    -Streetcars only fiscally make sense when you have a lot of riders. So unless west Seattle wants a lot more development, the city will be dumping money into them every year. The SLUT is only now becoming financially sustainable and that is because of Amazon in SLU.

    So my question to you is this. Why streetcars and not the bus system? Why not just a light rail stop to the junction, and buses going from there? I live in Gatewood and can easily bus it to the junction or Alki on any given day. What will the streetcar bring in terms of transportation that we don’t already have? And at what cost? The first hill project is 120 million for about 4 miles of track. That would be Morgan to admiral, roughly. Worth it?

    #779801

    WorldCitizen
    Participant

    Why do stops have to be a 1/4 mile apart? Is this some hard rule? Seems inflexible.

    #779802

    kgdlg
    Participant

    Because it is fixed rail and part of what makes it faster and better is less stops. Light rail stops are more than a mile apart, often, and streetcars a little less so. Also the costs of the stops are enormous, much more than the sign and shelter needed for a bus stop.

    If the goal is a neighborhood circulator, something like the water taxi shuttle is WAY more cost effective and practical.

    It the goal is connection to light rail and development, in addition to transit, than streetcars make more sense.

    All you have to do is look at South Lake Union since the streetcar went in, a completely different neighborhood now.

    #779803

    kgdlg
    Participant

    Also streetcars are ALWAYS mixed in with traffic. They usually run WITH traffic in the lane right with cars.

    The other option is an elevated transit system, oh wait, yeah, a monorail. Hmmmm.

    #779804

    kgdlg
    Participant

    The only road wide enough for a light rail type system would be 35th and I honestly don’t know if fixed rail could make the climb at Avalon and 35th up the hill going south. They might have to platform something there because of the grade. And I am no opponent of density, but if we get Light Rail (not streetcars) down 35th all that single fam zoning will fliP to multi family.

    #779805

    Vanessa
    Participant

    right about now, I’m thinking we should pay our teachers more, than I’m thinking about traffic…

    #779806

    Genesee Hill
    Participant

    kgdlg:

    You bet. 35th Ave SW would be ideal for FAST streetcars. Isn’t the speed limit 60 MPH on I-35? Hehe.

    Seriously, though, that slope is quite steep from Avalon to High Point. I would imagine that is why the streetcars way back when used California Avenue.

    #779807

    kgdlg
    Participant

    Genessee I think you are mixing streetcars and light rail. Streetcars don’t go that fast and move with traffic, as they still stop every quarte mile or so. Light rail can get up there in speed because stops are often a mile plus apart.

    In my mind streetcars would go on California and light rail would go on 35th. Obviously I am kind of pessimistic about both.

    #779808

    Genesee Hill
    Participant

    Streetcars are light rail. The speed depends upon the right-of-way. In street traffic, slow. On dedicated right-of-way, quick.

    Look at the history in Seattle. There were interurbans from Seattle to Tacoma, and from Seattle to Everett. When these trolley cars were on city streets they were impeded by traffic. When they had dedicated right-of-way they were very fast. Even in 1925. Kindly, look up the history of our “light rail” lines in the Puget Sound area.

    It will probably surprise you at what this area once had…

    #779809

    kgdlg
    Participant

    Genesee, sorry but streetcars (trolleys) are definitely not Light Rail. At least not in this town. They are both fixed rail transit, but they are absolutely not the same. All you have to do is ride the SLUT and then ride the light rail to the airport, totally different kinds of systems. And both have their pros and cons against bus systems. The OP seemed to be advocating for a neighborhood circulator type of system. I am simply saying that in West Seattle, that may not be the best solution for that goal. That being said, I sure would love to ride the light rail downtown for work (different goal). Light Rail through west Seattle would be just like the south end, three to four stops spread a mile apart each. So, if you don’t live on the stop, not so great.

    #779810

    Genesee Hill
    Participant

    kgdlg:

    OK. You win.

    #779811

    Talaki34
    Participant
    #779812

    JoB
    Participant

    the water taxi would be a more effective option if it came with either parking options or a better feeder system

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