Not Coming Back?

In a comment at Save the Waterfront Streetcar, SR Das reports ”

I’ve told BOTH the Waterfront- and Seattle Streetcar-related parties about the revival of the WFSC, btu they all had the same answer– ‘There are no plans to revive the WFSC, 1st Ave has been identified as a possible streetcar route, and teh waterfront will be an open space.’”

So the story has progressed from “Temporary shutdown until new carbarn is built” to “The George Benson Streetcar is gone for good”. Way to go Seattle!!

Jarrett at Human Transit might view this as a good thing, arguing that times are tight and scarce money should be spent on diesel buses. I view it as a shameful loss of memory and morality by the City of Seattle. If anyone wondered why I was sounding the alarm about the loss of the electric trolley buses, here is your answer. Note that ‘pro-transit’ McGinn is maintaining a studied silence on both these issues, or, in fact, all three, as he is also silent on the First Avenue streetcar line.

Jarrett references the cable cars in San Francisco as an example of a system that is so clogged with millions of tourists that it is not useful to city residents. The Waterfront Streetcar, with cruise ships bringing over 800,000 passengers a year to Seattle, might be similarly clogged and make more of a profit than it formerly did, subsidizing bus operations. And this would be a bad thing because?

I go beyond that, though- I am appalled at the sterility of a city without legacy transit. Others are appalled at the thought of a city without legacy bakeries or bookstores. When many people of differing interests who want more of life gather, a variegated and meaningful urban experience is created, and when a day off comes, we become ‘tourists’ in our own city- or, perhaps, head for another city, like San Francisco, that has kept their own urban mix interesting, if our city has become sterile.

It seems the current plans for the waterfront are exactly the banal swath of green Frank feared- or perhaps worse, a swath of green with streets and parking added because there is no streetcar to take people to the waterfront.

This is your wakeup call- not only are decisions being made about the waterfront, but they are bad decisions. That giant sucking sound? It could be the part you like, circling the drain.

3 responses to “Not Coming Back?”

  1. human transit
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