Clang, clang, clang went the trolley

Over on Slog, Josh Feit reports that the Waterfront Trolley is dead.

[Deputy Mayor Tim] Cies told me tonight that the waterfront trolley idea “no longer fit into the city’s transportation plan.”

He also cited the fact that plans to revamp the viaduct had thrown the waterfront trolley plans into limbo. Also: too expensive.

“It’s not in our plans, and we’re moving ahead,” Ceis says, saying the new priorities were servicing the transportation grid around the viaduct and around light rail through Capitol Hill.

I dunno, just seems kinda silly that we  spent all this money laying down tracks for the SLUT, with City Hall talking ambitious plans to build a half dozen other trolley lines throughout the city, but we’re just not interested in using the tracks we already have.


  1. 1

    ArtFart spews:

    Seems anything around here that Nickels can’t step into the limelight and take credit for is toast.

    Maybe they can sell the rolling stock to some movie studio for a remake of On The Beach. I’m just glad George Benson didn’t live to see this.

  2. 3


    Worse yet, this is one more example of the >LACK< of commitment of the Nickles admin to the livability of Seattle.

    Let me be blunt and opinionated, for a change:

    The SAM Olympic sculpture park is another exercise in mediocrity. The collection, with one or two exceptions, is best called retial. The Calder Eagle has all the charm of any other rip off of Calder’s work. Yehg he signed of on this thing but it boring and badly paced to boot. The entracne piece .. an adult and a boy peeing on each other would be a lot more charming if they arranged for it to be used as a public urinal and somebody oiught to call Office DEpot and tell them one their truck left a large eraser of the grounds. Sculpture vs schtick???

    Don,t get me wrong, I am all in favor of much more public art but damn it, the nouveaue riche meganaires at SAM lack the taste the city of Graves and Callahan, Tobet, Horiuchi, etc, showed in an earlier era.

    Anyhow, loosing a wonderful water front trolly in return for this made and makes NO SENSE. We boat. We Seattle. We boat into Bell harbor. We take trolley to Pioneer Square and see Mariners, visit SAM, the Market. Others come by airplane, Spend money .. Euroes and Yen! Go home, remember friendly waterfront. Canadians take car or better trin. Take trolley too.


  3. 4

    Sam Adams spews:

    I was in town last weekend in violation of my policy not to go north of Lakewood unless I’m being paid.

    I saw the SLUT for the first time all nice and new and shiney.

    Guess what? IT WAS EMPTY!

    You Seattle libs are SO full of yourselves.

  4. 7


    @4 Sam

    Da SLUT choo choo was not a lib effort. It was built for the uncle Paul as a generous gift from his serfs in return for his army of noble knights, the Seahawkers, protecting us orrm barbarians.

  5. 9

    Sam Adams spews:

    @7 SeattleJew

    My mistake. I thought the SLUT was a minor deity in Seattle’s idolatry* of Light Rail and all things Mass Transit.

    *I was gonna say Pagan Idolatry but didn’t want to offend the Pagans.

  6. 10

    ArtFart spews:

    9 Well, you were wrong. Deal with it.

    Acually, to blame our local fiascos like this on on “liberals” is wrong. Our city elders may splash themselves with a progressive cachet, but in their actions they allow themselves to be jerked around by the business interests in whose pockets they reside. In other words, they’re short-sighted and corrupt, like the current crop of Republicans.

  7. 11

    ArtFart spews:

    To elaborate further, the SLUT is there because someone thinks it’s a cute addition to the scenery around all those fancy new buildings around south Lake Union. The waterfront streetcar, on the other hand, is “last year’s model”, and its right-of-way is viewed as interfering with “highest-and-best” use of the land, namely to erect more new buildings.

  8. 13



    Seattle under Nickles has a policy that is almost Bushian of subsidizing the ultra wealthy with tax moneys. We buy them stadiums, finance their high rises build them trophy buildings and generally do not tax them.

    Seattle is also stupid enough to subsidize the rich neighbors by paying for most fo our regional amenities. Personally, I am all for taking Medina and Hunts Point by eminent domain and relating the Woodland Park Zoo there.

    I also favor clearing Mercer Island and turning it into our regional sports center by doming the whole fucking thing.

    Oh yeh, I wanna close Aurora AND I5 to through traffic and make the Angeleno trained SUV driving Eastsiders deal with all the through traffic. I personally think a double lid on I 405 through downtown Bllevue woudl be good for the Easside!

    Oh yeh, I also think the State should pay fees in lieu of taxes for all that ‘spensive land the UW occupies.

    Does all this make me a Reprican?

    The only areas Seattle is liberal in are the lack of racial and sexual stupidities, our opposition to most Bushism, and the strange wish to support bad schools. We also tolerate snub nosed suburbians who would not know an intellectual from a intersucception by aying our taxes to support a museum, library and bunch of other intelcshual things.

    So Seattle votes for a dimwit Dimocrtat, MdDermott while the Eastside votes for a Congressman cuz he has a haircut. The big difference is we will elect the next US Prexy cuz we are not dumb enough o support a defunct political party.

  9. 15

    busdrivermike spews:

    I used to be a motorman on the streetcar, and knew George Benson. He would get in his lincoln, and come down to the barn to clean the trolleys. He always brought Winchell’s donuts for everyone. That streetcar was, as far as I knew, his proudest achievement as a Seattle City Councilman.

    After his wife died, he would take my #5 to downtown from the Ida Culver House once a month so he could talk to me. Why was he going downtown for lunch, you ask?

    He had a monthly lunch with one of his protege’s: Greg Nickels. Now Nickels has destroyed Benson’s legacy. That is how the mayor rolls. I wonder how many times Nickels promised Bensen that he would make sure the Waterfront Streetcar would be put back in service someday, or how many times he assured that old man that he had his back on the Streetcar.

    I will also say this, as sure as anything I know. The Waterfront Streetcar was an tourism power house in the summer, generating big time tourism bucks along the waterfront and Pioneer Square. Those Streetcars were packed all summer long.

    Anybody want to bet who would have more ridership..the streetcar, or the SLUT? I would be happy to take your money, because the Streetcar WAS SELF SUPPORTING! THAT IS RIGHT!!! IT MADE MONEY!!!

    This town is lucky it has natural beauty, because otherwise it would have less personality than Cleveland.

  10. 17

    michael spews:


    Shit, yeah!

    “Don,t get me wrong, I am all in favor of much more public art but damn it, the nouveaue riche meganaires at SAM lack the taste the city of Graves and Callahan, Tobet, Horiuchi, etc, showed in an earlier era.”

  11. 18

    michael spews:

    The SLUT is there because you have to build out the transportation infrastructure as you add housing and you can’t build more traffic lanes in that neighborhood.

    That’s not to say I support the SLUT or think it will work. I don’t live in Seattle, don’t know and don’t really care.

    It would have been nice if the folks building all that housing picked up at least some of the tab, but you’ll have to take that matter up with your mayor and city council or maybe stop electing such knobs.

  12. 19

    Quincy spews:

    busdrivermike @ 15 wrote
    “This town is lucky it has natural beauty, because otherwise it would have less personality than Cleveland.”

    amen to that. what is it about this area? i can only think of a few cities or towns in wa where the actual city or town itself doesn’t look like, well, a horse’s ass. olympia comes to mind as a really great-looking city. mt vernon looks nice, if it weren’t so abandoned-looking most of the time. then there are some tiny downtown areas like snoqualmie and some towns in pierce county – i’m thinking maybe of roy or graham. but the rest is mostly tacky or depressing or both, like hwy 99. how did that happen?

  13. 21

    David spews:


    A bunch of people decided “new is better” and replaced a bunch of good-looking & useful buildings with chicken coops. At the same time that was going on, a bunch of other people decided “old is better” and kept a bunch of buildings because they were old, not because they were good-looking or useful.

  14. 22

    FricknFrack spews:

    This makes me ILL! Benson’s old trolley was one of the BEST deals in town, especially when relatives with kids came to town. We would pay to park near the Klondike Museum at the end of the line (Free, Natl Park Svc), afterwards hop the trolley to do the waterfront for lunch. Maybe walk up to Pike Street. Then take the trolley back to Pioneer Sq. Sure beat the stress and expense of spending the day looking for parking!

    Best Kept Secret in town, anybody with an afternoon be SURE to check out the Klondike – especially sit for BOTH 20 minute movies. What a HOOT at how Seattle conned all those poor gold miners (sad actually) but the scams were unbelievable! Free gold panning for the kids, they fill out an age appropriate questionaire re: questions about the gold fields and earn their Jr. Ranger pins. Can’t recommend it enough.

    I just KNEW a$$hole Nickels wouldn’t ever allow something like this trolley for the ‘commoners’ to enjoy. Won’t someone PLEASE take Nickels and Cies off our hands? Get someone to run against him?

  15. 23

    Poster Child spews:

    When my son was going through his train phase we used to do the transit loop while my (now ex) wife shopped. Bus tunnel from International district to Westlake, Monorail to Seattle Center, walk down the hill to take the trolley back to our starting point. We named the trolley Kylie since most all the trains in the Thomas universe were boys and Kylie’s a good Aussie name.

    There’s not a lot I miss about having a small entirely dependent kid, but I miss that.

  16. 24

    ArtFart spews:

    The Pea-Eye had an article about it this morning. The “official” story now is that they plan to keep the trolleys in mothballs somewhere until the “Viaduct work” is done–in 2018!

    What’s anyone willing to bet there’s going to be a “successful fire” some time long before that?

  17. 25

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    The W-Class Streetcar was a sturdy design. The fact that a handful are still in service in Melbourne despite a few being sold to the U.S.A is remarkable in itself. The design was in production for about 30 years from the 1920s to the 1950s. The best American Streetcar design(which several European makers copied some of the components, and may have been re-imported into the US), the PCC Car, was only in production from the mid-1930s to early 1950s. Other US Cities that have the W-class cars, San Francisco(a handful in the Market Street Railway/F-Market and Wharves line fleet), New Orleans(briefly operated on Riverfront line before it was re-gauged and the cars sent to Memphis. New Orleans is broad-gauge), and I am not sure, but there might be one in Dallas.