TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday watch, and a look back

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
We’re on watch for Thursday. But first, our weekly feature:

THROWBACK THURSDAY, ROAD EDITION: Thanks to Alan in Highland Park for digging up more historic road views from the Municipal Archives, where we’ve been going lately to get this report into the “Throwback Thursday” online meme. Here’s what part of 9th SW in HPark looked like in 1932:

Click the image to see the page with the largest image of that scene. Alan believes it’s near SW Trenton, looking south, and points to this distinctive house as part of the evidence.

14 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday watch, and a look back"

  • BJ April 9, 2015 (8:46 am)

    I think the “Throwback Thursday” pics you guys post are so cool. I can totally see where Alan is talking about with this week’s pic and it seems spot on. Really cool, thanks!

  • wakeflood April 9, 2015 (9:41 am)

    Wonder where those RR tracks start and finish? Did a trolley line run on 9th?

  • ClayJustSayin April 9, 2015 (11:08 am)

    I bet those railroad tracks didnt come up HP Way. The sign says Highland Park Merc, Merc standing for Mercantile? That building must be gone. The houses could easily still be there…

  • Alan April 9, 2015 (11:28 am)

    At least two of the houses are still there. All may be, but it is hard to tell with all the trees on 9th now.

    I was told years ago that the trolley did come up the hill near HP Way. I’ve never been able to figure out where that would have been, except on HP Way, so I’m hoping someone that knows will chime in.

  • ChefJoe April 9, 2015 (12:42 pm)

    According to the streetcar line map on pg 97 of West Side Story (a 1987-produced history of west seattle) the Lake Burien 1912 line jogged from 9th over to 16th and Delridge way as headed south right around there (Henderson was the E-W). The line is noted to have been shortened to end at Roxbury in 1931 and they have a nice picture of the abandoned White Center streetcar 357 which was abandoned on the tiny section of tracks they saved at 16th and Roxbury in 1934.

    Thanks for making me look because I also found the “ad” for the Jefferson Square Safeway and it talked about a 1943 reopening at 231x Spokane St location (which I thought I’d seen a sliver of the sign for in one of the earlier historical photos posted here).

  • ChefJoe April 9, 2015 (1:18 pm)

    for you Alan, the paragraph about the route (stated as designed to lure homebuyers to the sparsely settled territory north of Burien) is
    “Beginning at Riverside (West Marginal Way and Spokane Street), where passengers made connections with the three West Seattle lines, the tracks followed what is now West Marginal Way to about the 5200 block, there they continued directly south, Straddling the side of a steep bank. Reaching the top of the hill at Ninth Avenue and Holden Street, the tracks followed Ninth, turned west on Henderson, south on 16th, east on 107th, and south on 12th to 118th, there they looped around the head of Salmon Creek to 12th and 122nd. From there, the route continued south to Burien on the newly completed road laid out by, and later named for, Jacob Ambaum, who had settled at what is now 128th and Ambuam Way in 1902. Halfway between 151st and 152nd the tracks cut diagonally across Ambaum and west along 152nd to Seahurst, the end of the line.”

  • wakeflood April 9, 2015 (4:55 pm)

    Just for reference, here we are in 2015 and to replicate those streetcar lines as commuter rail would cost in the neighborhood of $10-$20 BILLION dollars today.

    Progress can be measured in lots of ways, eh?

  • Alan April 10, 2015 (8:44 am)

    ChefJoe, thanks for all of the information! It sounds like the rail line started going up hill as it made it’s way south along West Marginal. It seems like there should still be signs of this in the greenbelt, though it may be that later sand and gravel operations erased most of it. I’ve hiked in those woods a fair amount and haven’t spotted anything yet.

  • Alan April 10, 2015 (4:54 pm)

    Searching around in the KC Plat maps, I did find a couple that showed the “abandoned street railway”. Search on “Burien Way” to find them. Burien Way was apparently abandoned for 509.

    The railway left West Marginal just North of what would be Brandon, or just North of Lafarge. It didn’t go uphill much though and appears to be just behind the businesses, from Brandon to Holly. It then cuts uphill to Myrtle.

    Sadly, I cannot find what happens South of Myrtle, but it seems clear that it is by then parallel to Highland Park Way, just below Riverview Playfield.

    It is interesting that Highland Park had better transit options around 100 years ago than they do now. Thank you, Metro cuts.

  • Alan April 12, 2015 (6:01 pm)

    I realize that I am just speaking to myself at this point, but I like hearing about this topic. I just found a long article on Historylink that discusses the Seattle to Burien route’s history, which includes crime and (no surprise) hill slides on the route.

    The references include an interactive map, that includes the route and stops:!506

    Lots of info and references on this.

    • WSB April 12, 2015 (6:06 pm)

      You’re not just speaking to yourself. For one, we see all the comments. For two, some people subscribe to an RSS stream of all posted comments. We’ll have to revisit this one. I can’t believe they only let it run for 17 years and then shut it down. Such a terrible decision, to cancel the streetcars and other rail way back when. – TR

  • Alan April 12, 2015 (11:13 pm)

    It does seem a shame that the trolleys went away. Another site that was referenced by Historylink has an interesting overlay of the survey map on a Bing map. It starts around Morgan and goes south, so it isn’t the entire route.

    This is work by Rob Ketcherside, who has a book titled “Lost Seattle”.

  • Alan April 15, 2015 (2:22 pm)

    I decided to try and pull together what I found (or was found for me) and put it together on a site where I keep other information on the Riverview/Highland Park Neighborhood.

    • WSB April 15, 2015 (2:23 pm)


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