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Council News Release

6/25/2007  3:48:00 PM
Newell Aldrich, Licata Office (206) 684-8803

Council President Nick Licata


The South Lake Union Streetcar presents both benefits and problems.

The benefits are clear:

There is every indication that the South Lake Union Streetcar will augment and encourage further development in South Lake Union. Some, and probably most, of that development would have occurred without the streetcar line. But certainly it adds to the economic growth of that neighborhood and to the quality of life for the workers and residents there.

The problems are not so obvious:

Funding streetcar operations takes money, in the form of allocated bus hours, away from what could have gone to other bus lines in the city. This one small line, little more than a mile long, will take about 10% of the new bus hours that Seattle will receive during the next ten years.

The Mayor has argued that we are receiving so many new hours we will not notice this small slice of the piewhich has already nearly doubled since being proposed. And in a way he is right. We may not directly notice its impact on our city wide transit needs. Nevertheless they will be there.

Consider for the moment that none of the 61 corridors serving our Urban Villages meet all five criteria set out in the Seattle Transportation Strategic Plan to make Seattle, a more livable city where we do not need a car for mobility.

These measurements show that Seattle has a long way to go to meet its own goals. This is where our money should be going. Our bus hours should be devoted to connect Seattles Urban Villages first and then applied to special projects like the SLU Streetcarno matter how much it stimulates economic development in this one neighborhood.

And that is why I must vote against this legislation.


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