The Nickels administration, as well as prior administrations, focused on downtown investments. That preoccupation can only go on for so long before the people that actually live here notice.
Every mass transit idea thought of by city government has gone into downtown. If you place the maps of the streetcar, metro transit, trolley, light rail, mono rail, sidewalk and street improvement, on the same map the consentration of lines is downtown and vanish as you leave downtown to the residential neighborhoods. We've noticed, and so have the mayoral candidates.
We have something in common:
Seattle mayoral candidates Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn both said in recent interviews that they oppose a streetcar on First Avenue -- a 2.5-mile line that outgoing Mayor Greg Nickels included in last winter's agreement to build a highway tunnel, Sodo interchange, seawall, promenade and related items for $4.2 billion.
$130 for a streetcar to placed on an existing street (that has sidewalks) where a bus runs. Adding a bus might be a little less expensive.
McGinn said the first priority is to protect Metro bus service from recession-related service cuts, not build a streetcar.
He is seeking to halt the state's tunnel plan, and subsitute "surface-transit improvements," including work on Interstate 5, within the $2.4 billion state lawmakers already earmarked for viaduct replacement -- so there would be no city tax increases, he says. (One problem: the state Constitution requires state gas taxes to go toward highways.)
Streetcars are simply inefficient, Mallahan argued. "It is redundant to Metro bus service. Third Avenue [limited to buses and bicycles at peak times] is only two blocks away," he said.
On this matter I am not able to choose one candidate over another, but both candidates over Nickels and Drago in the Primary.
Mallahan added that he would study and maybe oppose Sound Transit's future streetcar across First Hill and Capitol Hill -- even though it's funded by last fall's voter-approved Proposition 1. The line is Sound Transit's consolation prize to one of the state's most populated neighborhoods, after rising costs forced the transit board to cancel a First Hill light-rail station promised to voters back in 1996.
Not long ago, streetcar fever gripped the City Council, which voted 6-3 in December to endorse lines reaching Ballard, the University District, South Jackson Street and the Seattle Center-First Avenue corridor --- in addition to the existing South Lake Union and voter-approved First Hill lines.
. . .
She [Jan Drago] also said the First Avenue line still makes "immense sense" because it can connect the SLU streetcar (which could be extended to First and Stewart) and the First Hill streetcar (next to the International District/Chinatown light-rail stop).
This was Jan Drago's mass transit "contribution" for the deep bore tunnel replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
The "multi-modal" transportation mish-mash that just dumps cash downtown, and has people standing around transferring from one mode to the next is an expensive mess. Combining wait-transer times with the actual travel time and it is no big shock that many people outside of downtown still NEED cars, and yet, I am paying for all of those transportation "solutions".
Read the linked story.
Seattle Times: Mayor candidates oppose 1st Avenue streetcar
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