Thank you for your e-mail about the waterfront streetcars currently being stored by King County. Apologies for the mass e-mail – we’ve heard from over 750 of you concerned about Seattle saving these wonderful vintage street cars that added so much to our waterfront from 1982-2004.
Many people may not know that the waterfront streetcars are owned by King County and not the City of Seattle. Therefore, we must work with King County to find a way to keep using these great streetcars locally.
My colleague, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, has contacted King County officials and learned that although St. Louis has inquired about the streetcars, there are no current plans to sell them. King County is looking into different ways to use the streetcars in Seattle and will not sell the streetcars unless all local options are exhausted.
Restoring the streetcars will be pricy – recent analysis suggested repairs and restoration could be between $10-13 million. That price tag doesn’t include running, operating, and maintaining the street cars.
That said, there are a number of ideas that could and should be explored to restore streetcar service to Seattle. It’s unlikely given the waterfront construction that service would start before the seawall and surface streets are completed (2018) so that gives us some time to put together a good solution to bring streetcars back.
I’ll continue to watch this issue and I hope you do, too. The George Benson streetcars were a wonderful attraction for tourists and locals and brought great character and a fun way to get around the Seattle waterfront. I will urge King County to find a way to keep these streetcars in Seattle.
If you’re interested in following the George Benson streetcar issue, please sign up for the agendas of the Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilmember Rasmussen. Thanks again for contacting me!
Sally J. Clark
Seattle City Council President