From Tom Gibbs:
I met the City’s senior engineering staff last week and reviewed their findings regarding transportation options for the waterfront. The GREAT news is that they found a site for a maintenance base for the vintage cars!! The site is under what will be Alaskan Way as it rises from the waterfront to join Western Avenue just north of the aquarium. It’s very close to the existing tracks and would require very little new trackage to access the site.
I was shown a draft matrix showing the evaluation of five transit options. Two of the options use the Benson Trolleys, one uses modern streetcars and the other two use battery powered buses – a small vehicle and one the size to a METRO bus. One of the vintage streetcar options requires very little capital to put all five of the Benson cars on the street – less than the cost of one modern car – but requires raised platforms and two operators. The second vintage car option requires several changes to the old cars including installation of a lift for operation with low platforms, automatic doors allowing operation with just one motorman and updated motive power to permit operation on other higher voltage streetcar lines in the city. The highest capital cost is for the modified Benson car option while the other two streetcar options cost about the same. Placing rails in the new Alaskan Way, equipment costs and building a maintenance base pushes the cost of the streetcar options to $31M – $55M depending on the option. Interestingly, the O&M costs for all options are very similar @ $3.1M – $3.5M.
The City will present its evaluation of the five transit options at the upcoming meeting on the 26th at the Convention Center. Please attend if at all possible as we will have an opportunity to express our support for the Benson Trolleys. If you are present you can obtain a label like the image attached to this e-mail. A link to the meeting notice is shown below.
One bit of discouraging news is that the vintage cars cannot operate on the new First Hill line because that line will not have an overhead contact system on lower Jackson Street. The new streetcars for the FH line will use battery power in this area to avoid the interference with the wires supplying power to METRO trolleys
The attached meeting notice is self-explanatory. It is critical that we have a large contingent at the meeting. The future of the Benson Trolleys in Seattle might be determined that night.
Please attend the meeting if at all possible. The meeting notice has a link for an RSVP.