The Problem With America’s New Streetcars

Detroit's 3.3-mile QLINE streetcar, funded in part by a $25 million federal grant, saw ridership drop 40 percent after introducing a $1 fare. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Detroit's 3.3-mile QLINE streetcar, funded in part by a $25 million federal grant, saw ridership drop 40 percent after introducing a $1 fare. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

One of the hallmarks of federal transportation funding during the Obama administration was a new willingness to support streetcar projects. With the first wave of these projects now in service, their shortcomings are becoming more apparent.

A report published earlier this year in the Journal of Transport Geography sheds light on the limits of these streetcars: They were always intended mainly to spur real estate investment, not to address urban mobility needs. As authors David King and Lauren Fischer explain, streetcar backers were often more concerned about land development than the transportation system.

The new streetcar segments typically run a short distance — a few miles at most — in mixed traffic, and they aren’t well-integrated into existing transit networks. So it should come as no surprise that ridership is often underwhelming.

On Detroit’s QLINE streetcar, for example, ridership dropped 40 percent after M-1 Rail, the company that operates the 3.3-mile route, started charging a $1 fare last month. Passengers now take about 3,000 QLINE trips each day. A spokesperson for M-1 Rail told NextCity he “fully expected ridership to dip a little bit” once the fare took effect.

The primary benefits of streetcar projects were always intended to be related to development. King examined the official cost-benefit analyses that streetcar sponsors submitted to the Federal Transit Administration. About three-quarters of estimated benefits derived from economic development, not transportation-related improvements, he found.

Graph: Journal of Transport Geography
Table: Journal of Transport Geography

King identified 12 new streetcars in operation and a few dozen more in various stages of development. All told, local and federal government spent $866 million on streetcars between 2009 and 2013, he reports, with 32 percent coming from the White House’s TIGER grants. Several of the projects were subsidized with local tax incentives or special sales taxes.

The new wave of streetcars have a regressive effect, King writes, because the costs are widely distributed while the benefits are concentrated in the form of higher land values. Ironically, he says, that helped boost political support for streetcar projects, many of which are backed by business associations and downtown property owners.

Cities may have valid reasons for seeking more downtown investment, but these streetcars should be recognized for what they are: economic development projects, not solutions to the transit and transportation problems cities face today.

  • bolwerk

    All things being equal anyway, yeah. Sometimes things aren’t equal (e.g., when a bus doesn’t work particularly well in a certain area and a streetcar would).

    But not sure you need crush loads per se. High ridership that can be more cheaply transported by rail would suffice. Above the tracks/roadbed, the costs of operating a streetcar are lower.

  • Alan

    That’s ridiculous. The capital costs alone are on the order of 4-5 times higher than buses and operationally unless they are running crush loads at frequent headways buses will always be better. Plus buses can deviate around accidents etc which streetcars cant. Unless you are sacrificing headways its not possible for operating costs to be much lower given that at least 60% is going to be the driver. I’m sorry you can justify it perhaps as an economic development project but to call it an efficient transit investment hurts the cause of better transit everywhere.

  • bolwerk

    Sure it is. Capital costs are amortized over decades. Unless the ridership is on the low side, they are likely to be exceeded by the higher labor costs of running buses. It’s also important to remember that the peak ridership is the costliest to accommodate, and trams reduce that the most.

    I consider this more a design than cost issue, but maybe it sometimes indeed makes more sense to pay more for more buses that have the same capacity as fewer trams. I wouldn’t regard this as a huge issue though, since once you have enough vehicles to meet your peak service requirements you have enough to pad the rest of the day to keep headways acceptable.

    I don’t put much stock in the accident deviation argument. All transit is wrecked by accidents. A bus is made miserable, and a tram becomes useless. Problem avoidance is always the right answer. Once you depend on problem mitigation you already have a bad service (e.g., a typical American transit bus service).

  • Alan

    Working in transit and riding transit for a number of years I’ve yet to see a new system like this that makes sense. Heritage systems are fine and obviously streetcars that connect to a greater rail system have a purpose but this is built to fail honestly.

    It’s easy for you to say that capital costs are negligible but there is opportunity cost. 6 buses would cost up to $6 million or so maybe with the bells and whistles, Detroit paid $32 million for those 6 street cars and that’s an opportunity cost of over $25 million not to mention all the other infrastructure that went into it.

    There is no capacity issue. Those five trams might carry 800 people per peak hour but at 3000 riders a day I doubt they get anywhere near that. Five buses could accommodate 400 people during that same peak hour which is about what this ridership merits with much more flexibility to deviate or replaced broken vehicles.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone in the industry would really think a streetcar is justified here on a transportation basis.

  • bolwerk

    I didn’t say capital costs are negligible. I said they’re often exceeded by labor costs.

    I don’t really know enough about Detroit to comment. I’m more familiar with H Street in DC, where a streetcar actually does seem like a rather condign option for the plans they had…but I’m not clear whether the wider intent to build a streetcar system throughout DC has been abandoned or just put on hiatus.

    My usual take on street-only streetcars is mostly they should replace buses when the ridership is high enough to justify it or when there is a particular bottleneck that buses aren’t very good at coping with. A local example for me is the car-free bridges in NYC. The potential demand is there to make streetcars the cheaper option, but even if that were not the case functionally there’s no way for a bus to perform that service very well because of the geography on each side of the bridges.

  • Michael

    Wow. What’s the beef with Allston & the green line? On Allston: It’s a solid middle class neighborhood with 15-30 minute connections into Back Bay, Longwood Medical, Cambridge. The establishments are crappier because the people are poorer – that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good community there. Plus if you want swanky, you can take your 10 minute stroll into Brookline for date night.

    On Green Line: it runs the best route in the MBTA system & supports the highest population densities in the metro area over at 50K/sq. mi. along the route. I spent years doing the 22 minute ride from Packards Corner to Copley. If you’re middle class and working by South Station, you live in East Boston, Revere, Quincy.

  • Jason

    Thoughts from going to Zurich and Amsterdam this summer:

    1. They have large stretches where they’re not competing with cars.
    2. It’s generally harder to get a driver’s license in Europe, and drivers understand that streetcars are valid uses of roadspace and that they have to share the road with them.

    3. Crucially, European cities tend to allow people to mill across streetcar tracks wherever the want, including in crowded pedestrian areas. American city officials would NEVER tolerate this amount of organized chaos because they don’t trust people to be able to avoid stepping in front of streetcars when they shouldn’t.

  • Elizabeth F

    It’s related to the conversation because energy savings is often cited as a reason for building transit (see two comments above, someone was using just that as a justification for “streetcars” or light-rail or something).

    The idea that transit saves energy over cars took hold in the oil crises of the 1970’s, when cars typically got 10mpg. A Corolla today is at least 3x more efficient, and a Prius 5x. Meanwhile, the NY Subway (the most energy-efficient transit network in the USA) hasn’t really changed much. The result is… in the 1970’s, the NY subway used 1/5 the energy of an automobile; but today, there are automobiles with efficiency similar to the NY subway (assuming only single occupancy).

    http://planet3.org/2012/10/31/does-public-transportation-save-energy/
    http://www.cta.ornl.gov/data/index.shtml

    Of course, there are still plenty of cars/SUVs on the road that are quite a bit less efficient than public transit, and people keep buying them. But for the person who actually WANTS to lower their carbon footprint… buying a Prius is a much more practical approach for most people than using public transit.

    Obama’s fuel economy regulations would have resulted in a HUGE carbon savings, if they hadn’t been reversed this year. Much larger than any realistic amount of mode-switching to transit.

  • Elizabeth F

    And how much is that? I paid $1500 for my e-bike. Add in another $500 for accessories, $300/yr for maintenance and $20/yr for electricity, and this is one great transportation value. This is a decent e-bike — because it “just works” reliably, the only parts that “break” are those that wear out, and maintenance is easy and efficient.

  • Elizabeth F

    Thanks, now I know who to blame. “Share the road” is so vague, as to be meaningless. For example, some drivers think “share the road” means “share the lane.” Or they think it’s admonishing bikers to make sure there’s still room for cars to drive by without hitting the brakes.

    3′ separation is also a disaster. It’s not even required by law in most states, or in drivers manuals. Until that time, it’s more a biker wish than a reality.

  • Elizabeth F

    Look up “hanoi traffic” on Google, and tell me whether the problem is too many motor bikes, or too many cars. The pictures I’ve seen show 90% of people on motor bikes, squeezing into about 10% of the available space.

    The obvious way to read the situation is that government want to move the “average Joe” out of the street and onto a subway, in order to clear up space for cars belonging to the 1%. But I’ve read that it’s not going so well in Vietnam: because even after you spend billions of $$ on a rapid transit system and billions more on highways, it still can’t touch the ease, convenience and efficiency of personal two-wheeled transportation. Average Vietnamese know this, and they aren’t giving up their scooters.

    A better solution would be to ban cars; or at least make them very expensive. Or limit them to specific “car lanes,” thereby unclogging the lanes that most Vietnamese use to get where they need to go.

    Apparently, the same thing in China: the government’s plan was to move people out of bikes and motorcycles and into the subway, so they could take the road space for cars. Instead, people discovered e-bikes. E-bikes are the vehicle that keeps Asian cities moving. Even so, a number of Chinese cities do everything they can to make life difficult for e-bike users. That hasn’t worked, and now they have a new surge of cheap / easy / convenient (manual) bike shares on the streets as well. Maybe they should realize that you can never move a country of 1.5 billion with automobiles, and go back to including two-wheeled transportation in their road designs.

  • Alan

    I dont need to look anything up I spent a week there, it was chaotic

  • Elizabeth F

    Hey, I lived in Allston twice and I liked it. The beef isn’t with Allston itself, but with the way the MBTA and city think it’s just fine that the city’s densest neighborhood has the worst transit line. I speculated that this is because Allston does not have the political clout of other neighborhoods to get anything better. About you can say if you live in Allston is “at least we’re not riding buses like in eastern Roxbury.”

    The other beef I have with Allston is the number of slumlords there who offer dangerous / substandard housing at exorbitant rents — and many students take it anyway, just because. When you read about the worst landlords in the city, putting tenants in downright dangerous and illegal conditions, they are invariably operating in Allston.

    I say this as a Boston landlord offering a quality home in Roxbury. It’s because of that dynamic that we (landlords) now all have to pay $15/yr to register our properties with the City of Boston. Supposedly they inspect every property in the City at least once every 5 years. It’s been that long now and they still haven’t come to mine. I don’t expect they will; the inspectors have their hands full in Allston.

  • USbike

    E-bikes would be much more preferable to the traditional 2-stroke scooters, which emit an awful amount of exhaust. I would not want to spend much time living in or walking around a place that is dominated by scooters. The last time I visited Taiwan, the air quality in all the larger cities was atrocious and within a couple of days, I had to buy a face mask to even be able to stand walking around outside. And not to mention the noise of these things. Scooters are getting to be a heated debate in the Netherlands, although for some different reasons. However, a near-universal complaint is the noise and exhaust, as well as speeds.

  • kclo3

    The residents decided that having curbside parking on both sides was more important than giving a sufficiently wide right-of-way for streetcars to operate without horrid delays. That’s why any suggestion to restore the 23 is a farce.

  • Frank Kotter

    If resources were infinite, your point would be solid. However, they aren’t and therefore it isn’t. If you fund expensive, poorly performing transportation systems, you are forgoing funding systems with a higher ROI. It appears that streetcars in many cases are exactly an example of this.

  • Frank Kotter

    I’m gonna go ahead and flag this. I’m not quite sure we want to get into eugenics as an explanation of why people can’t ride a bike.

    There are many fora you can spread your ‘intellectual racism’ outside of Streetblogs. I have a feeling you know where to find them.

  • Frank Kotter

    All true. I would also add:

    4: driving a car is much more expensive in Europe

    5: In most countries the driving age is 18, so you have an entire culture which rides transit or has to be driven by ‘mon’. Therefore, car culture is not seen as a rebellion tool or a ticket to adolescent freedom

    6: Density/neighborhood heterogeneity. In Europe within two stops you have all your needs covered, from child care to groceries. In the U.S. the commercial/residential zones are much larger and therefore more segregated.

  • Frank Kotter

    I really appreciate your efforts. However, ‘share the road’ is perhaps the worst advocacy endeavor I can think of.

    After all the experience you have – and it appears you have it in spades – how do you still stand behind it?

  • Frank Kotter

    Wait, streetcars are being built in the U.S. without connections to existing transportation hubs? Do people plan these things without ever looking across the Atlantic?

    Second ?: This article from Angie reports that developers push these projects as it adds value to their projects. If no one uses the streetcars, what value is it adding? Are streetcars simply a (very expensive) way to get a street design which residents actually prefer and pay for indirectly with higher rents? Is this street design more pedestrian friendly with less parking? Is it a street which Streetsblog is advocating for? Doesn’t it make sense for safe street advocates to somehow brand and sell the street design achieved by a streetcar line but without the streetcar? Presently it seems like the streetcar simply brands a neighborhood without it actually being about resident’s use of the system.

  • Frank Kotter

    Ok, now replace your experience of ‘scooter chaos’ with everyone in cars.

    She’s got an excellent point. Two wheeled transport is multiples more efficient and this efficiency only increases the more users you add to the system.

  • Frank Kotter

    Yes and due to the individual capital investment per user, this change in infinitely easier to make than the E-mobility based on cars that industry is pushing.

  • Rudolf Kolaja

    It is hard to understand the philosophy of economic development due to the establishment of light rail or the modern street cars, if these transit modes do so little serving the transportation needs (due to the wrong applications).
    So much of political nonsense surrounds these wasteful transportation
    developments on this piecemeal basis. It is amassing how many good points are being made by some of the comments, while the transportation leadership is creating a transportation nightmare in the cities across America.

    The transportation needs some revolutionary upgrade of the transportation profession, which is led by nothingthan the politics and chaos.

  • Justin Thompson

    Basically Detroit like most other U.S. cities lacks a light rail system is what you are saying.

    Detroit could have it because there is room.

    Los Angeles has a light rail system but most of it is rather slow and becomes a street car system in many areas.

    To me, Detroit has the potential it’s self for having a light rail & street car system that could carry people from one area to another quickly.

    Woodward Ave. N. of Midtown should have the system in the middle of the street on it’s own right of way, same with the other major streets in Detroit.

  • Richard

    LA’s light rail always has it’s own lane, it never runs in mixed traffic.
    The stops never get that close together.
    Even in the worst sections, LA’s system is still pretty fast.

    LA’s light rail averages 18 mph. That’s pretty good for transit.
    On the other hand, LA’s proposed downtown streetcar will average 7mph.

  • Justin Thompson

    I live in LA.

    The Blue line basically runs with the traffic in about half it’s route. It might have it’s own lane but has to stop at all the traffic signals like a car does.

    The Gold Line is much faster because it has a more secured route and goes under or above most intersections.

  • Justin Thompson

    Tunneling is expensive in order to build a light rail subway.

    Building light rail overhead to bypass any potential congestion would likely be much cheaper. Just 2 tracks next to eachother on a series of long bridges.

    A cost effective way to do this is to have the entire system built in a factory and then assembled on site. Thus a modular construction technique.

    On most routes the bridges can be the same and can be built in 20 foot sections and then erected and interlocked. The supports of the above ground railway should be precast reinforced concrete pillars that are then placed in holes.

    There is really no need to design 50 plus individual bridges.

  • Richard

    I do too. The blue line runs on the street from Pico to Washington for 2 miles. Then again in Long Beach for a weird 2.5 miles. It’s 22 miles long, so it doesn’t run in traffic for half its route. It does that 22 miles in 58 minues, so almost 23mph.

    It could be a lot better with signal priority. But it is no streetcar.

  • Justin Thompson

    Overhead light rail should be able to maintain a 35 to 45 mph overall speed on straight aways between stops.

  • Justin Thompson

    Signal priority is what they all should have.

  • Justin Thompson

    Why not rickshaws?

  • Richard

    If only LADOT and Long Beach would give it to them. Pasadena has.

  • Olog Hai

    Not like the bus is any less delayed. And the municipality is still at its own discretion to decide on parking laws; after all, the city where Parking Wars was filmed can always step up its game and keep its promises.

  • Wells

    What pray tell are the horrid flaws of Portland’s streetcar system?
    Not fast enough? Sometimes get stopped in traffic, sometimes stop traffic?
    Lack a televised monitor to entertain (or annoy) riders as do LA buses?
    Livery colors not sufficiently avant garde?
    The main reason among many, that I supported Portland Streetcar from its beginning, was the short line design. The least number of vehicles to meet demand with supply at frequent intervals to provide a reliable transfer to/from light rail. I believe the standard 40′ transit bus is obsolete for many routes, and 60′ articulated buses are likewise ineffective for attracting patrons. Transit systems lack the reliable transfer whereby patrons, no longer fearing a long wait period, will travel beyond routine rides knowing the transfer is built in. Toward this goal, the new bus model most needed is a low-floor, multi-door, plug-in hybrid paratransit van. These 20- to 30-seat passenger vans could replace half the 4mpg albatross buses now considered the standard despite their roaring, fuming, lurching, jostling ride.

  • Alexander Craghead

    Too many stops, too close together.
    Too few vehicles, resulting at too low a frequency.
    Routings sometimes aimed at getting the line near to development projects rather than making efficient connections. (See especially Lloyd Center, to a lesser degree the zig-zagging through PSU.)
    Limited platform lengths supporting single car operations only.
    Very little dedicated rights-of-way.

  • Wells

    Six spurious complaints as expected began with being too slow. Frequency improved on SW 10th/11th when the Loop was added. Otherwise they run every 15 minutes, the transit standard. Each shelter has a electronic reader board showing arrival times which encourages patronage. The Lloyd District turn south on NE 7th spurred development at the MAX station. The extension further south served the Convention Center, the eastside and the MAX near OMSI, another major development site. Like it or not, your so-called zig-zag through PSU works fine. Double cars really weren’t compatible with traffic, nor is there sufficient demand to justify the additional cost. None are horrid flaws. If you want to consider streetcar operations horrid, Seattle’s system is the worst by far.

  • mestska

    “Street cars are the opposite. They dont have their own ROW, so they get stuck in traffic. They have stops every block or so, so they are painfully slow. Often they are set up in a loop, so are less useful for transportation”

    You are talking useless american type of streetcars (connectors and loops, oh my god). In Europe streetcars mostly have their own ways. And yes, they can carry 10/100 thousands of passangers per day.

  • mestska

    In Europe, traditional streetcar systems carrying hundreds of thousand per day. In my city (Budapest, Hungary), busiest tram line has more than 400.000 passengers per day.

    “are 29m long. Your vehicle is basically half a block long! What is the chance that the LRV will block the box as it goes through the intersection?”

    In Europe, common streetcar vehicles are 32-35 m long. Lot of cities are operating 40+ meters vehicles, while few others are using 50+ vehicles. And we are talking trams/streetcars in the middle of the road, without any bypass. It’s working.

  • Elizabeth F

    Manhattan has short blocks, only 80m long. Even with dedicated bus lanes in Midtown, man existing buses still have trouble clearing the intersection before the light changes.

  • newtonmarunner

    Good god, hell no on branching the Orange Line from Copley! That’s waaay to close in to branch out. Even Ruggles is to close to branch out. The Orange Line already has capacity issues outbound of Back Bay. Taking service away from South End, Mission Hill, JP, Roslindale (one of the few communities willing to upzone), etc. The buses on Washington St. in Rozzie already are packed and can’t move. Rozzie needs the Orange Line: the buses and commuter rail don’t work. Further, with regional rail, scheduling will be made easier by replacing the Needham Line with the Orange Line to W. Roxbury. If the Orange Line were to be branched, it should go to Hyde Park & W Roxbury (or even Blue Hill Ave). But not Allston.

    Allston can have increased service through RER type regional rail and increase service from cutting the number of Green Line Branches from 4 to 3 with Line reorganization (as well as transit signal priority and all-door boarding). If that proves insufficient, add another Green Line trunk line from Kenmore to North Station via Prudential/Back Bay/Marginal St./Chinatown (Harrison Ave)/DTX/Post Office Sq/Aquarium with one branch following the route of the 57 bus (and another northern branch down 99/Broadway in Everett). Another option is an urban ring following the 66/41/SL6/93/86 buses. But do regional rail and line reorganization first. These options (as well as regional rail and line reorganization) all make Allston better off without degrading other residents’ service. We are one region, and we’re all connected to one another.

    I’m glad we agree on all-door boarding and transit signal priority. …

  • dpballard

    Fun fact: What you (Elizabeth) describe above was basically the plan in the 1920s. The Green Line was to be converted to a full heavy-rail subway along the B’s axis, and was to be extended underground at least as far as Packard’s Corner.

    This is why the C’s outer platforms were built with a unidirectional turnaround at Kenmore: Beacon would have retained its trolleys, and an easy cross-platform transfer to the heavy rail would be made at Kenmore. The MBTA’s predecessor had quite a number of similarly sophisticated in-system transfers between streetcars and stops on the Red Line and former elevated Orange Line, of which Harvard, Fields Corner, and Ashmont are the three remnant examples.

    Remember that the D Line wasn’t even a glimmer of an idea yet, and the E Line stayed on the surface all the way to Arlington. A number of other streetcars converged on the central Green Line subway from Brighton, the Sound End, Southie, and Charlestown, all of which would have been truncated at transfer points as well.

    Anyway, the Depression happened and the conversion did not, so nearly a century later, we have what we have.

  • Dennis McClendon

    Not sure where you get the idea that rail has cheaper labor costs. Buses are cheaper to operate. A LOT cheaper. If you look at the operating costs per hour from the NTDB for the 15 agencies that operate both light rail and bus, light rail operating costs per hour are more than double (average 220% of bus costs) but crush capacity is only 50% greater.

    As for vehicle cost, 10 rail vehicles with 30-year lifespans costing $2 million each still cost more than 30 buses with 15-year lifespans costing $200,000 each.

  • bolwerk

    Not on the street!

  • Justin Thompson

    Yes on the street now that you mention it. Make them learn respect for street cars the hard way.

  • bolwerk

    Well, when you look at that way, sure. But there isn’t much use in comparing empty trains to empty buses. Rail isn’t cheaper in terms of vehicle operating time. It’s cheaper when costed in terms of passenger-miles.

    I seriously doubt any current transit buses are sold for under a half million. Your rail vehicle cost number is pretty current, at least for a larger articulated LRV, but your bus number is decades out of date.

    …but crush capacity is only 50% greater…

    But you need to consider how vehicles are deployed. A single light rail vehicle doesn’t necessarily have meteoric capacity in excess to a bus, but it does have the ability to be trained together with another vehicle. It’s not unusual for in North America for LRVs to offer the same capacity as four buses while using the same amount of direct labor.

  • Stephen Simac

    I agree that Share the Road sounds vague, especially when combined with the headless horseman bicycle graph. I don’t have a copy of my sign to post here, (you can see it on my FB page Velorution 2020, along with a detailed explanation why bike lanes and separate but unequal paths are not safer than riding legally with traffic), but it shows a cyclist riding with traffic on the right, with a 3′ arrow between the motor vehicle to the left. A graphic educational tool that could have been posted on every signed bike route. I would blame Federal DOT regulations that prevent alternative signs from being used if federal funds are and their byzantine process for approving alternatives. Three foot separation is the law in more than half the states, so driver education is as important as cyclist training. BTW with standard lane width of 12′, there is room for most motor vehicles to pass bicyclists safely without crossing double yellow lines.

  • Stephen Simac

    see above.

  • Stephen Simac

    I should say my bicycle advocacy began in 1977, when I successfully lobbied for separate bike paths to my community college. As chairman of the Broward County Bicycle Advisory Committee in 1980, we succeeded in having bike lanes paved on all new or widened county roads. It was only after realizing the limitations and inherent dangers in these bicycle facilities (Class I and II at the time) that I designed the original Share the Road graphic bike route sign to educate both motorists and cyclists on how to do so safely.

    The verbal abuse and sometimes physical assaults in those days on cyclists who dared to use the roads legally in Florida and other southern states was fierce and our willingness to assert our legal rights, despite the dangers was a gift to your generation of cyclists who want to abandon the million miles of roads in the U.S., for the illusory safety of a few hundred miles of bike lanes and paths. I see it as a civil rights issue, and will debate anyone about this. However most of this national advocacy awareness was lost during the 80’s and 90’s as Republican governors and presidents slashed bicycle and pedestrian funds.

  • Wells

    None are horrid flaws.
    Assuming the worst about anyone
    is wrong. The compromise position
    on driverless tech is “computer Assist”
    retaining human operator wheeled vehicle.
    Portland Streetcar is, the best.
    Lloyd District extension ago.

  • Wells

    Seattle’s proposed streetcar Line on 1st Ave is bogus.
    A 4th/5th Ave Couplet with “least gradient” hill-climb/descent.
    A 1st Ave with “curbside stops” to serve trolleybus.
    Trolleybus east/west ‘hill-climbs’ to Capital, First Hills & Lake Union.
    The streetcar on 1st Ave as proposed isn’t respectable engineering.
    Whatever mayoral candidate gets that, really gets that, get’s it.

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