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    First Avenue: Is a new streetcar the smartest plan?

    Guest Opinion: With South Seattle losing service, we need to look closely at the costs of a new downtown streetcar.
    Electric trolley lines can be cheaper to build and operate than streetcars.

    Electric trolley lines can be cheaper to build and operate than streetcars. Orin Viriyincy

    Just last week, the City Council granted my request to delay voting on a resolution relating to the proposed Center City Connector (CCC) street rail project slated for First Avenue. The resolution would have both adopted the City Connector Transit Study Locally Preferred Alternative and would have endorsed efforts to pursue federal funding for the project.

    After reviewing last week's Council hearing, relevant documents, and listening to comments from community members and stakeholders, I had several serious concerns with the Seattle Department of Transportation's (SDOT) proposal that I believe warrant further consideration.

    • Street rail and other forms of transit on First Avenue: One of my primary apprehensions stems from the choice of street rail on First Avenue, as opposed to other forms of transit that could be substantially cheaper despite offering comparable service. Streetcar capital costs are substantially greater than costs for electric trolley buses, and yearly operating costs are also slightly more expensive.

    In SDOT's Transit Master Plan, the total capital cost estimate for a rapid streetcar on the Eastlake corridor was $278 million, averaging $46 million per mile. By contrast, electric trolley bus service was a mere $88 million, or $14.6 million per mile. No estimates were given comparing trolley bus service and street trail capital costs for the First Avenue Center City Connector, although the plan does estimate the total capital cost per mile for CCC rail to be $54 million.

    Similarly, annual operating costs for electric trolley buses are slightly less expensive than for street rail. While there are not direct comparisons on First Avenue, yet, SDOT estimates savings of approximately 10 percent for other corridors in its Transit Master Plan. The annual operating cost per boarding ride for the Eastlake corridor, for instance, is $8.9 million for rail and $8.1 million for trolley buses. Similarly, for the Ballard corridor it is $9.1 million and $8 million, respectively.

    Given the limited availability of public funding for transportation at almost every level of government, the city must consider electric trolley bus service for First Avenue or for connecting the South Lake Union and First Hill streetcar lines, so that we do not miss out on an option that can provide comparable service for a substantially reduced cost. Since there was no information presented to the Transportation Committee comparing these modes, it seems it was never adequately considered. That is why I've asked SDOT for more information about this option.

    • Questions about project funding: Likewise, there are many questions on requesting federal funds for the CCC. While the council vote would only endorse efforts to seek federal funding, SDOT has yet to decide how much it will ask from the federal government. It is possible the city could receive as much as $75 million, but that would still leave the city looking for at least $40 million to fund the street rail line.

    I find it troublesome that there is no identifiable source for providing this amount or for operating the new streetcar. Ethan Melone, rail transit manager for SDOT, told the City Council that there were several possible funding sources, beyond any federal funding. Two of them – proposing funding via ballot measure and raising the commercial parking tax – are both now being considered to save Metro service in our city. It does not make sense to go back to the voters asking for more revenue from these same sources to fund a project that stretches for just over one mile downtown.

    • Allocation of transit resources: With limited public funds for transit, it's also important that the City Council consider how new transit dollars needed for infrastructure are spent. In my request to delay the vote, I noted the serious concerns I had about spending significant capital in the highest transit-served neighborhood in the city, without a noticeable improvement in transit service.

    Further, I am concerned about allocating transit resources to downtown when there are so many neighborhoods within this city with severely diminished bus coverage. With the failure of Proposition 1, the April 2014 ballot measure, King County Metro intends to move forward with a 16 percent budget reduction, totaling 550,500 service hours per year across the county. While the City of Seattle is currently working to restore service on routes through the Seattle Transportation Benefit District Transit Ballot Measure, that funding is not yet secured, just as the CCC's isn't. In sum, I do not think the City should be considering the CCC in a vacuum, and should instead consider transit additions, reductions, and changes with a larger context in mind.

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    Posted Wed, Jul 9, 8:02 a.m. Inappropriate

    I am glad Nick frames his discontent in terms of under served neighborhoods and irresponsible funding considerations. The electric trolley solution is attractive but late. The First Avenue Streetcar looks like it is designed to connect our two existing (or sort of existing) streetcar lines in South Lake Union and on Capital Hill. An electric trolleybus on First Avenue requires two transfers to connect the streetcar lines, and that is an undesirable outcome. If Nick really wants to can the whole idea of an electric powered link on First Avenue, he should make the case. It would be good and easy one to make.


    Posted Sat, Jul 12, 6:01 p.m. Inappropriate

    I'd like to see the vintage Waterfront trolleys running along First Avenue from Pioneer Square/ID via Pike Place Market to the Seattle Center. It would be very popular with tourists and locals.

    I'd also like to see the Counterbalance streetcars running between Lower and Upper Queen Anne.

    The benefits of a contiguous streetcar "system" are minimal, it seems to me. Why would someone take a Capitol Hill/Center streetcar via Pioneer Square to Pike Place Market, for instance, or vice versa, when multiple trolleybuses offer a more direct route?

    Posted Wed, Jul 9, 10:42 a.m. Inappropriate

    Not an easy case to make whatsoever. The mythical 1st/3rd Trolleybus Circulator
    still will NOT get a fair hearing at City Hall NOR from oh-so-reasonable transit advocates.
    The 4th/5th Aves streetcar couplet option with junctions at Jackson/Main is possible and the better route.
    On 1st/3rd, trolleybus straight to Queen Anne, straighten/minimize overhead wire to Jackson with loop to stadiums in one phase. Ideally inexpensive. Easily 5-minute service to Queen Anne. At Pike, coffee & paper, catch streetcar to Lake Union. Spur Lake Union streetcar to a terminus/turnback at 1st Ave.
    1st Ave traffic and hillclimb predict a high accident rate with streetcar and center stations.


    Posted Wed, Jul 9, 11:12 a.m. Inappropriate

    Finally a little common sense from a Councilmember! I'm afraid his voice will be drowned, and I think his opposition, if that's what it is, is far too cautious. 3rd Avenue is already closed to traffic for much of the day. Why not close it entirely and stick all the damn buses on it so the rest of us can travel with slightly more ease? Since we are such devoted walkers, 3rd is pretty easily reached from any other N/S street, even in bad weather when one can travel uphill through many buildings. Transit mania has to end! As Licata said, or didn't say but implied, many voters are in no mood for endless monies for transit, and we've just had the scary "I'll cut your bus if you don't give me money" election, which also cost us plenty. Spend the money serving those currently unserved rather than taxing us more and more for these vanity projects. For goodness sake! The council is, apparently, full of shopaholics who can't resist any shiny new idea, no matter how costly. This has got to end.


    Posted Wed, Jul 9, 11:41 a.m. Inappropriate

    The issues are similar with the extension of the Broadway streetcar from the light-rail station to near Volunteer Park. It will cost buckets of millions of dollars without generating the ridership to pay for it. Does City Council seriously believe that someone in downtown Seattle will take a 45-minute trolley ride on a round-about route to get to Volunteer Park? And it won't spur more economic development in this already highly developed neighborhood. This is the case of spending the money on ego, rather than cutting your losses and turning the money back to taxpayers.

    In the meantime, our streets look like bombed-out roads in Syria.

    Posted Wed, Jul 9, 11:49 a.m. Inappropriate

    The most logical streetcar extension now is the waterfront during reconstruction.
    The proposed route is an interesting study
    (see seattlebikeblog 2014/02/11/return bertha-why-finish-downtown-tunnel-highway?)
    I have objections with Yesler/Jackson turns and Alaskan Way,
    center station alignment affect on traffic management, etc.


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 11:30 a.m. Inappropriate

    Unfortunately the current power structure doesn't want a waterfront street car. Hence "we can't find a location for the maintence barn" statement from the city council.

    It's too bad really, as the street car is both a tourist attraction and a transporation connection for those working along the waterfront as well as the passengers on those cruise ships.

    The reason of course beside digust at what people like, is that you can't get Federal funds for a 1st Ave street car if you have it for the Waterfront, they are too close together even though there is a 300ft difference in elevation down by the market.

    It seems to make sense to connect the 1st Hill street car to the Lake Union run, so they can share maitence sheds, drivers etc, and 1st seems a reasonable place to run it, but it would require removing parking to keep traffic flowing.


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 1:25 p.m. Inappropriate

    Note to City Council: sell the rights to trolley service and the George Benson trolleys that we have in storage to a private group, or perhaps to the Port of Seattle. Give them street right-of-ways with the deal.

    Posted Wed, Jul 9, 1:30 p.m. Inappropriate

    The notion that a bus solution is useful to connect the two streetcar lines is silly. First, we already have plenty of north-south bus service downtown... on Third Ave, north on Fourth, south on Second and Fifth. A new connecting bus isn't useful to making the streetcar lines more useful.

    What a streetcar solution can do is several things. It can make the South Lake Union line reach deeper into town so that it's not just good to get to Westlake but to more of downtown, and it can make the Capitol Hill/First Hill line useful to reach more of downtown, and it creates a circulator on First Ave.

    You can decide whether or not those are worthwhile investments, and whether you want to fund them, but don't say that a bus would be a cheaper alternative. It doesn't extend the streetcar lines, we already have connecting buses, so another connecting bus is just wasteful. Plus the reason that a bus is cheaper is always because we build less infrastructure. Instead of protected lanes where vehicles cannot park, it will doubtless end up as a painted lane that gets blocked by delivery trucks, police vehicles, passenger drop offs, etc.

    I also doubt that any money will be invested in neighborhoods instead. What neighborhoods need is operating funds, not capital projects.


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 11:19 a.m. Inappropriate

    The more productive streetcar alignment is 5th/4th Aves.
    The 1st Ave Streetcar 'should' eventually spur to Queen Anne.

    This means 2 streetcar lines on 1st Ave with less capacity
    and come less frequent than modern trolleybus service on 1st Ave, FYI.
    Center Stations on 1st indeed increases accident potential, FYI.
    Curbside trolleybus is not only cheaper, it's safer, better, FYI.

    Extend Lake Union line up to a 1st Ave Terminus or Loop Turnaround. An inexpensive fix,
    emphasis on the word 'inexpensive' more appropriate than the word 'cheap'.
    Extend the First Hill Streetcar line along the Waterfront then Interbay.


    Posted Fri, Jul 11, 9:49 a.m. Inappropriate

    It's even possible to extend a Waterfront Streetcar line bridge over the tracks then north on Elliott to W 3rd then Mercer to 5th, south to Harrison/Thomas, then east to Westlake. Imagine a streetcar line between Queen Anne and the Waterfront. Seattle is controlled by conservatives posing as liberals.


    Posted Fri, Jul 11, 3:17 p.m. Inappropriate

    That was a dream of mine back when the waterfront street car was running. However the issue as I understand it is grade, the street car can only climb a 3% grade.

    The other possiblity was to run it out to Ballard....


    Posted Sun, Jul 13, 9:51 a.m. Inappropriate

    Streetcar line would reach Intebay maintenance facility.
    I ran it under the Ballard Bridge to SPU and then Westlake.
    The RR crossing bridge grade can be less than 3 degrees.
    Center Stations and traffic on 1st predict higher accident rate
    with streetcar there. Trolleybus upgrades at curbside better.
    Extend Lake Union line to 1st Ave Terminus or loop Turnaround.
    The 4th/5th Ave Couple Streetcar connection to Jackson/Main
    is the better route through town. Minimal electrification on 4th Ave.


    Posted Wed, Jul 9, 6:53 p.m. Inappropriate

    "Allocation of transit resources: With limited public funds for transit, it's also important that the City Council consider how new transit dollars needed for infrastructure are spent. In my request to delay the vote, I noted the serious concerns I had about spending significant capital in the highest transit-served neighborhood in the city, without a noticeable improvement in transit service.
    Further, I am concerned about allocating transit resources to downtown when there are so many neighborhoods within this city with severely diminished bus coverage."



    Office of Housing's Map of "Frequent Service Transit Service" as of 6/2014 by SDOT for use in current Funding Rounds, i.e. the extent of service comes and goes, mostly goes, parking requirements (mostly none) do not.

    Impacted neighborhoods find that a mess. An equal mess is transit service that in the days of my youth made life not only possible, but as urbane as all-get-out— a widespread blessing— has turned into a cursed carrot —not a "designated growth area, e.g. a "transit community"? no service for you!

    Acres of neighborhoods of working-class homes built immediately after WW2 were/are of sufficient density (6-7 DU per Acre) to receive intermediate (every 30 minute) service for half a century, then comes "Urban Containment" and most all of them are degraded to the "urbanity" of Outer Slobbovia. Take, the entire northern half of the West Seattle peninsula— Genesee Hill for example: 4 morning trips out weekdays, 5 evening trips back weekdays, none, ZIP any other time. Alki, hardly any better.

    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/schedules/056/n0.html Holy Crap! What's a kid to do?


    Posted Wed, Jul 9, 7:48 p.m. Inappropriate

    The proposed new streetcar route in Seattle would be like the first two -- just another incredibly stupid waste of many millions of dollars.


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 8:10 a.m. Inappropriate

    No, the Center City connector streetcar route is NOT like the first two. Rather it connects those two streetcar fragments and makes a useful whole out of them. And the First Avenue route is the one that serves the most destinations. Makes sense to me.

    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 1:50 a.m. Inappropriate

    Exhibit 1,423 in the never-ending book called "Seattle Government Has All the Money It Needs, So There's No Need to Vote For Any Referendum."


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 11:09 a.m. Inappropriate

    Good one.


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 11:03 a.m. Inappropriate

    Thank you, Nick Licata. I've never understood the support for a streetcar as distinct from a bus or trolley other than trying to convince some riders that a streetcar is somehow "nicer" and OK for nice, middle-class people to ride. Or is it some sad effort to emulate San Francisco?


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 12:23 p.m. Inappropriate

    The bias may already exist. I would posit that there are a large number of people that, all things being equal, would ride a streetcar but not a bus.

    As someone who feels that I have that bias, I'm not sure what it is. I know it's all about perception, but I don't know if that's more buses=more stories about crime, media/Hollywood's treatment of buses and characterization of bus riders and drivers, or if I had gone to school every day on a streetcar if I'd have a negative feeling about them instead now.

    Where a trolley shows a slightly greater investment than regular bus (with the trolley wires), I think the rails in the road make an even stronger statement of investment that translates into stronger development. And then the bias probably feeds on itself - development created to reach the "streetcar riders" versus "bus riders" like the high tech crowd of South Lake Union.

    Of course, when I think of Trolley, I think of Mr. Rogers and the San Francisco-style open air cars, so even that's a little confusing when I have to remember in Seattle trolley=electric bus and streetcar=slow light rail.

    But yes, San Francisco does probably play into it - even if ours are enclosed, the term streetcar still brings to mind the open air hop-on, hop-off nature of San Francisco. Which translates into convenience and quick ability to escape trouble (even if it's not true).


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 1:27 p.m. Inappropriate

    MrJones, You've not been on streetcars before, I take it. We used to have a wonderful street car/trolley service in Seattle.

    I've never been treated rudely on a street car/trolley by a drunk rider. I've never had to stand up wedged in between unruly kids who look like half dressed thugs in a street car/trolley. Etc.

    Street cars/trolleys will be popular. It's time to bring them back.

    Posted Tue, Jul 15, 11:33 a.m. Inappropriate

    What is the magical thing about a streetcar on 1st Avenue that is different than a bus on 1st Avenue? Are derelicts and drug addicts somehow repelled by the metal wheels and the ability to board without paying a fare?


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 1:39 p.m. Inappropriate

    The idea that streetcars will only carry a better class of rider makes little sense unless there is some mechanism to exclude the riffraff. Right now I suspect the perception might rest on the very limited routes of the existing streetcars. Increase routes and increase the diversity of riders.

    Commonsense: I've been on streetcars in a number of cities, there's nothing special about them. As for Seattle, how many decades are you going back to reach the Good Old Days? Doesn't seem very relevant. My grandmother used to come to Seattle by horse-drawn cart from her home on the Duwamish. I'm sure it was a lovely ride but not much of a model for today.


    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 9:06 p.m. Inappropriate

    MrJones, really. Could you be any more patronizing?

    Not talking grannies day here, but of course if we were, it would be correct to state that the street car lines of her day were fantastic. Entire sections of the city did all their errands using these street cars.

    But downtown street cars/trolleys (which we currently already own) are a special form of transportation that has merit. I've never seen a street car/trolley in any city with bums and human rodents riding them. Perhaps because they are charming and more friendly.

    Posted Thu, Jul 10, 11:07 p.m. Inappropriate

    By the way, let's be honest and scandalize the "progressives" here. The entire purpose of a 1sr Avenue steetcar is to make Seattle even harder to drive in. The "progressives" hate cars except when it comes time to stick someone with the bill. Same goes for anyone who owns a single family home.


    Posted Fri, Jul 11, 10:28 a.m. Inappropriate

    No the real purpose is to hurt bicycles. Those in street tracks are a menance on Westlake. They are a little better on Jackson and Broadway but in general street cars are stuck in the same traffic as everybody else. The only benefit I see is that the rails don't destroy the road bed the way a bus does.


    Posted Tue, Jul 15, 11:17 a.m. Inappropriate

    Cycles should be using the new cycle track on 2nd by the time this happens.


    Posted Fri, Jul 11, 7:17 p.m. Inappropriate

    NotFan: I can't decide if you are for real or a not very creative performance artist mocking stereotypical internet trolls. Either way you need to step up your game to improve your entertainment value.

    If you are the person reflected by your comments I suggest a minimum of 15 minutes of meditation daily. Here's your mantra: "heyyoukidsgetoffofmylawn." Happy meditation.


    Posted Sat, Jul 12, 12:35 a.m. Inappropriate

    One vote, same as you, Jones.


    Posted Fri, Jul 11, 5:20 a.m. Inappropriate

    On a cost-benefit basis---that is, which transportation options bring most benefits for the least cost---neither the existing streetcars,
    Sound Transit light rail, or the proposed new streetcar line make any sense. They carry fewer people to fewer destinations at far more taxpayer cost than plain old bus service, which continues to deteriorate. We found that out with the late monorail line and stopped it before its costs overwhelmed. No reason to keep repeating the same mistake.

    Posted Fri, Jul 11, 9:58 a.m. Inappropriate

    Light rail cost per rider $1.65 subsidy.
    Bus cost per rider $2.65 subsidy.
    Streetcar cost are similar to bus at optimal use, but the Lake Union Streetcar has not reached ridership expectations, nor has Link LRT and Sounder Commuter-rail. A functioning transit system would undercut the profits of automobile-related business interests in finance, insurance, parking, fuel, maintenance, highway robbery, etc.
    The Circulator Monorail proposal (6-mile, low-impact single-track loop, 6 cars, 13 stations) estimated cost was $500 million, estimated ridership greater than the Greenline, yet it was censored from public review. Bertha will leave downtown Seattle in a pile of rubble.


    Posted Tue, Jul 15, 11:27 a.m. Inappropriate

    "A functioning transit system would undercut the profits of automobile-related business interests in finance, insurance, parking, fuel, maintenance, highway robbery, etc. "

    It would also undercut the city and county government's favorite funding stream for transportation projects.


    Posted Wed, Jul 16, 10:50 a.m. Inappropriate

    Says talisker, "A functioning transit system would undercut city and county government funding for transportation projects."
    Nonsense. Functioning transit systems more nearly cover operating expenses with fare revenue. Dysfunctional transit systems require expensive subsidy.


    Posted Fri, Jul 11, 12:35 p.m. Inappropriate

    Commonsense: my apologies for being snarky but it was in response to what I perceived as your condescending remark about me "not having been on streetcars before." I like Seattle's electric trolleys. I just don't seem them or streetcars as significantly different from regular Metro buses whether Rapidride or not. Streetcars are much more expensive and less flexible than buses. My wife rides the 48 to and from work every day (for almost 20 years). Routinely, she encounters full buses and has to wait for the next one. She would prefer Metro to add bus capacity rather than invest in streetcar infrastructure.

    As for drunks and "human rodents" I still fail to see how streetcars will only cater to a class of rider up to your expectations. Your attitude has its own whiff of rodent about it.


    Posted Tue, Jul 15, 1:56 p.m. Inappropriate

    Mr. Jones,

    If you give ETB's a reserved lanes and off-board payment they can be every bit as effective as streetcars. It's just that buses only rarely get those amenities. It seems that people are more willing to support them for rail systems.


    Posted Sun, Jul 13, 9:37 a.m. Inappropriate

    Mr. Licata,

    Are you prepared to provide ETB's with reserved lanes as proposed for the streetcars? If not then your proposal cannot be considered anything but a red herring.

    On a sunny summer weekend or a game day (or especially a "both" day) First Avenue is unpassable for transit. Metro did not reroute the 15 and 18 lines to Third Avenue a dozen years ago out of spite against the Pike Place Market. It did not break the interline between the 10 and 12 to deprive the retail core of direct service to the Madison corridor because it hates its riders. It made those changes because its buses were being lost in a sea of cars.

    I see absolutely nothing in your proposal mentioning reservation for the ETB's you propose. Without it your proposal is nothing but a bid to curry favor with the frothers.

    First Avenue in Belltown is almost completely un-served by transit, and the largest development in the neighborhood is to the west of First. Once the CCC is built an extension north along First to Lower Queen Annne is an excellent "next step" in providing the extremely dense two blocks of residences between First and Alaskan Way with service around the clock.


    Posted Sun, Jul 13, 10:15 a.m. Inappropriate

    "First Avenue in Belltown is almost completely un-served by transit..."
    What a crock!
    Walk up to 3rd Ave for 'busatopia' service every couple of minutes.


    Posted Sun, Jul 13, 11:56 a.m. Inappropriate

    If you live on Elliott, Third Avenue is four blocks away, from Western it's three. If you're going to the Pike Market or Pioneer Square to buy food or seek entertainment, it's another two blocks.

    These inner city streetcars serve as circulators for very dense neighborhoods where people need access to services without a car.

    And, not to put too fine a point on it, but in the morning all those utopian buses on Third are full of commuters from farther out.


    Posted Tue, Jul 15, 11:28 a.m. Inappropriate

    What is the Pike Market?


    Posted Tue, Jul 15, 2:17 p.m. Inappropriate


    OK; sorry. "The Pike Place Market". Thirty years ago everyone referred to it by the shorthand; I've never lost the habit.


    Posted Mon, Jul 14, 2:18 p.m. Inappropriate

    i'm sorry Nick takes such pride in delaying the connector. He needs to spend a few months in Portland or better yet Melbourne Au to get a better idea what people will ride. You do cheap and you get what you pay for, a substandard product. I rode the streetcar regularly up to Portland's NobHill and it was such a more pleasant experience than dealing with the Portland bus system (for soooo many reasons). My only beef with SCars were the frequency which can be bad for all public transit. Portland's cars were full during the period between commute times and they ran their lines at 15 min intervals. If Seattle builds theirs out I can't see why it wouldn't run busier than Portland's and hence with greater frequency. But to stop building and running only two short stubs would be an incredible waste of an initial investment. The more connections the greater the investment return. Two stations of AB is a great single segment investment but add a third station C and you now have 3 segments AB, AC and BC but only paid for one additional station. Leave the buses and LR for moving people out of the city, let StreetCars move the people around in close by urban areas.

    Posted Tue, Jul 15, 12:10 p.m. Inappropriate

    The waterfront may need a streetcar, or a monorail. One thing I know it needs is more levels, I think that was a Seinfeld concept, and it's a good one. More bridges, more underpasses, more lids, all makes the waterfront more interesting and more workable. If many forms of traffic are moving in perpendicular directions, better to have them pass at different levels than at long signal lights. The Corner plan had a bridge, that was a start, but there needs to be more.

    How about a new scenic pedestrian and bike viaduct running the length?

    Posted Tue, Jul 15, 1:52 p.m. Inappropriate

    That's an excellent idea with the caveat that it should be on the inland side of Alaskan Way. Then add frequent ped bridges crossing Alaskan Way into the second story of the buildings on the docks and you've solved the main problem with substituting the tunnel for the viaduct: access to Ballard. Alaskan Way would become more useful with fewer signalized crossings. The wouldn't be needed.

    Folks who want to stroll the seaward side of AkWay between the docks would still do so, but wouldn't have to cross the busy street.

    By "fewer signalized intersections" I emphatically don't mean to turn AkWay into a freeway. It would still have a low speed limit and some crossings. Just fewer.


    Posted Fri, Jul 18, 2:28 p.m. Inappropriate

    Yes, low speed, but if traffic is moving at 30mph without to many stops, it will be great for cars.

    Why should AkWAy be entirely at one elevation? It could dip down 5' and be covered with a lid for a block, and in other places rise up 15' to be a viaduct for a few blocks to give drivers a view, or connect with streets up the hill with less grade change.

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