WTF? Why does Seattle Need STREETCARS?


South Lake Union Transit was the original name for  the street car built by Seattle to entice Paul Allen to invest money in South Lake Union.

Danny Westneat has a great column in the Seattle Times on the Mayors bad decision to spend more money on Seattles Choo Choo system … the streetcars.  Westneat shows that they lose money, lots of ,money.  No one is using them. So why so we build them?

Yep we built Paul a SLUT that ran (and still runs) from the Hutch ot Westlake.  I met with Ada Healey.  head of Allen’s real estate company VULCAN, about the plans to make South Lake Union a biotech hub.  She told me that the SLUT was important so that scientists from the Hutch, the UW campus, and the hoped for biotech firms could ride to downtown to lunch.  She seemed to not understand that biologist do not do lunch. Ms. Healey also could not understand why I said a bookstore would be more important then a choo train.

Oh and most of the hoped for biotech has either left Seattle or migrated to Bothell.

Now Seattle is still building the Seattle choo choo system … obsolete street cars that move slower than buses and take up more space of our messed up streets.  The costs of  building this system are now in the billion buck range and there are no passengers.  So why the choo chhos?  Apparently Ada Healey sees them as an amenity for the folks who live in all those condoes she builds for Mr. Allen … you know likw the community rec rooms and free WiFi?

If the Seattle choo choos are an amenity maybe the developers ought to pay for it?



1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Mark Adams #

    There are in fact people using the streetcars. The statistics only go to last November but about 5000 people a day are using the cars. 1500 on one line 3500 on the other.

    Whether or not biologists do lunch University of Washington students certainly do, at least on the weekend.

    Perhaps you should go see “A Streetcar Named Desire”; which really has little to do with streetcars, but perhaps a little nostalgia will help. Folks in Washington DC did not think much of the subway when it was opened and that it was a boondoogle, but folks seem to like it now and it’s very popular with tourists. Now if only Whatcom and Skagit counties could get a little me too ism going we could bring back the Bellingham to Mt Vernon cable/streetcar.

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