Latest News, October 30, 2012

The latest update from Tom Gibbs.

Hi again everyone,

Some very good news:

  • On 10/13 at the invitation of Lloyd Flem, Executive Director of All Aboard Washington (AAWA), I presented the Benson Trolley story to the Board of the Association. The Board voted unanimously to support our efforts and agreed to be listed as such. My thanks to Lloyd for his personal support.
  • On 10/15 Marshall Foster, the City’s Director of Planning, and I made presentations to the residents of Skyline at First Hill. Marshall did his usual fine job of describing the plans for the new Waterfront Park and mentioned that the City planned to study the addition of streetcars on the new Alaskan Way as one option for providing transportation in the new park. Small buses will be evaluated as well. Marshall commented that ‘no one wants buses’. The study of streetcars is a huge change from the initial position of the consultant retained by the City, James Corner, who was dismissive of streetcars at the first two public meetings on the park. The Benson Trolley story was well received by the Skyline residents with several folks offering to help with our effort.
  • At a meeting with Marshall and the SDOT engineers working on the waterfront park plan, I was shown the alignment they will use to evaluate the use of streetcars in the new park. The existing Waterfront Streetcar single track from Pier 70 to the Marriott Hotel will be put in service but from that point southward a 2-track operation will be used down to Yesler where the cars will be turned into Pioneer Square and an eventual connection with the new First Hill tracks on S. Jackson Street via either 1st Avenue S. or via Occidental Avenue. Streetcars can’t be used south of Yesler on Alaskan Way because of the reversible lanes being planned in front of the ferry terminal. By the middle of next year, the City wants to make a decision on the vehicles to be used on the waterfront. I hope to be involved in the planning and the decision.
  • During the above meeting it was suggested to me that I should try to assemble a ‘steering committee’ of folks well known in the city to help obtain volunteer labor and funds to re-furbish the vintage cars. To that end I have commitments from Dan Evans, Frank Shrontz, Phyllis Lamphere, Tomio Moriguchi and Aubrey Davis to work with me on this effort. A few more well-known people have been asked to help but haven’t responded yet. No one has turned me down. I plan on convening the committee in early December to launch our program.

My inspection of tram systems in Budapest, Vienna, Nuremberg and Prague was very educational and fun. If only our elected officials in the 30’s had the vision to keep the Seattle streetcars in service the city would be a very different and much more people oriented community.


2 replies on “Latest News, October 30, 2012”

  1. is it technically possible to modify the motors to accept 750vDC instead of the 600vDC that they were using?

    also … if the line were to tie up with the FHS … would you still back it even though that would mean that the historic streetcars would be incompatible with the current low-floor streetcars?

  2. The Waterfront Streetcar line is not possible with the current Alaskan Way boulevard design; a design hardly ideal for managing predicted traffic nor for accommodating safe pedestrian crossings at 13 stoplight intersections nor safe bicycling. Waterfront Committee special interests censor rational street reconfiguration design options for the derelict AWV. New waterfront parkspace may eventually include parking lots and spaces throughout. James Corner Field’s Highline project does not qualify the firm to attempt Seattle’s much more complex waterfront redesign. Waterfront proposals so far are little more than artsy fartsy psuedo-environmentalism masking another traffic mess that should be avoided. The Deep Bore Tunnel itself is a horrific catastrophe in the making, sure to condemn historic and modern buildings as their foundations are upended in earthquakes with the potential for dreadful collapse. To reinstall the Waterfront Streetcar line, State and City DOT department heads must roll.

Comments are closed.