The Seattle Subway

This week’s Stranger has an awesome story by Dominic Holden on the Seattle Subway proposal:

A group of transit nerds, working with allies in local government, are developing a way to do it and do it fast. With lines above and below grade (more than half of the New York City subway is aboveground), the Seattle Subway would transport riders from downtown to Ballard in nine minutes, according to estimates for modern subway technology. Travel from downtown to West Seattle would take 10 minutes—no matter the traffic. Trains could arrive every five minutes.

Here’s how it would work: Seattle voters would take advantage of the City Transportation Authority, created by the state legislature in 2002, which was intended to fund the monorail. That authority still allows voters to establish a motor vehicle excise tax of up to 2.5 percent for “a transportation system that utilizes train cars running on a guideway.” An initial vote as soon as this November or next year could pay for relatively inexpensive analysis and design work for the first line—probably to Ballard and West Seattle. A subsequent vote would pay for constructing the first line. Repeat as necessary until that map you see is complete.

“It’s a great concept,” says former mayor Greg Nickels, who was integral to building the light-rail lines we have. He agrees the current construction schedule for light rail is “frustratingly slow.”

Read the whole thing…it’s good, thought-provoking stuff.

So…Dominic Holden is now pro-tunnel?!?


  1. 1

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Seattle’s population grew by 45,000 people in the last decade, more than three times as many new residents as our largest suburb, Bellevue. The neighborhood of Ballard alone grew by 24 percent. And this is just the beginning. The Puget Sound Regional Council forecasts that the population of northwest King County (mostly Seattle) will climb by 89,000 people between 2010 and 2030

    ^ This from the article

  2. 2

    Michael spews:

    Yep and you simply can not expand the road network to ferry around all the new folks that will be moving to Seattle in single occupancy vehicles.

    The proposal looks good.

  3. 4

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    If Seattle is to be a prosperous and growing city (and let’s not forget that Seattle brings in the ca$h for this state), then it needs world class mass transportation.

    You need only travel to cities across the globe to see the positive economic and social impacts of well planned and well implemented mass transportation.

    Hell, Seattle is the city it is where it is because it was to be the railroad terminus.

    And with unemployment what it is here and nationally labor is a buyers market. We need to be buying/investing … now!

  4. 5

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @3, if you and your ilk are willing to forgo the subsidies Seattle and King County give the rest of the state, we have the makings of a deal.

  5. 7

    SJ spews:


    What I do not understand is why a Subway is better than a Monorail? .Seems to me we already have Subways all over Seattle. Of corse these serve mediocre sandwiches instead of neat, space age zipper trains.

    I suggest we first open a string of Mono Rail shops. These could sell Seattle’s own sandwiches …. baguettes filled with morels!
    Then … when these go national, the profits can fund the Seattle Mono Rail!

  6. 8

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    as long as seattle pays for it, then its fine by me.
    if we stop paying for other people’s school systems.

  7. 9

    The 5% spews:

    as long as we stop paying for other peoples food stamps and subsidized housing

    see, isnt this game fun?

  8. 10

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Seattle has to subsidize those for you too.
    Be careful what you wish for. Austerity is going to be bitch for you. Enjoy the “I got mine, screw you”(TM) society you are so gleefully trying to create.

  9. 12


    austerity would not be a problem for me.

    Of course not. It means the ultra rich get richer and everyone else goes to hell. The UK was going gang-busters over their austerity last I looked – NOT!

    Fuck even run of the mill rich people hate austerity:

    Sorry, run of mill asshats are rarely if ever invited into the 1/10 of the 1 percent crowd.

  10. 14

    Michael spews:

    The real interesting one is looking at England V. Scotland. Scotland invested its N. Sea oil wealth and didn’t go the austerity route. England blew most of its oil wealth and went the austerity route. RIght now Scotland’s one of the world’s economic bright spots and want’s to breakaway from the UK.

  11. 15

    the 5% spews:


    If you don’t like austerity, then perhaps you should volunteer to pay for taxes..but of course you won’t, becaue you expect everyone to pull your weight for you.

    The people at the top and the people at the bottom are fucking over those of us in middle

  12. 16

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    The people at the top and the people at the bottom are fucking over those of us in middle.
    I thought you were the 5%?

    Then you strongly support getting rid the Bush Tax Cuts and the Regan Tax cuts and corporate welfare JUST AS MUCH as you are in favor limiting food stamps and welfare?
    Do tell!

  13. 17

    the 5% spews:

    Sorry to bust your ideas of who is rich, but at 5%, its still very middle class….which is fine by me.

  14. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “What I do not understand is why a Subway is better than a Monorail?”

    Because it costs more, which means more construction jobs for the 99-percenters and more graft for the 1-percenters.

  15. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Seattle is going tunnel-crazy: The bus tunnel, the waterfront tunnel, and light rail tunnels.

    Tunnels are great fallout shelters, but I’m wondering, is someone around here expecting a nuclear war?

  16. 20

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    @17 how about the part where you strongly support getting rid the Bush Tax Cuts and the Regan Tax cuts and corporate welfare?

  17. 21

    Bruce spews:

    Thought-provoking? The only thought it provoked in me was wonderment at the lack of substance. Why would a subway be quicker to build than light rail? (It might be better, but quicker?) Because we want it to be?