Over the past few months, I have become intimately familiar with the South Lake Union Streetcar, or as it is lovingly known by many — the SLUT (South Lake Union Trolley).
I’ve taken it several times from the Pacific Transit Plaza to Lake Union Park, and as luck would have it, my scooter shop now sits directly on a station (I’ve gone twice by rail to get parts instead of on two wheels because I was with others).
I’m a huge fan of The Streetcar. It’s quick, clean, efficient, and it looks quite stylish. I only wish that it went more places.
Soon, however, I will get that wish.
In 2013, the First Hill Streetcar will open, and in my opinion, this will be huge. With roughly 50,000 residents in a little more than one square mile, not counting thousands of more workers, First Hill/Pike-Pine/Capitol Hill is the most dense area of the USA north of San Francisco and west of Chicago. It’s easily in the top 1% of most dense ‘hoods nationally.
Nowhere in the PNW is mass transit more important than in the First Hill environs.
As such, as good as the SLUT is, I think the First Hill line will eclipse it in short order in terms of daily ridership. I’ll be a frequent rider myself.
One thing does perplex me, though.
From the looks of the current map, it appears that the Hill streetcar will terminate at Denny Way. This is a bit odd.
It would make far more sense to end the line at Aloha Street, or at the very least the Roy Street curve. Stopping the Streetcar at Denny is like returning a kick to the two yard line and voluntarily dropping to your knees. Sure it’s a great run that will probably allow the team to score, but wouldn’t it be so much better to just run across the goal line?
I’m sure some careful consideration went into the decision, but think about it, another ¼ mile and this trolley serves the entire length of Broadway … arguably the most important stretch of asphalt in a 1,000 mile radius.
Oh well, 90% of Broadway is certainly better than nothing. It’s ninety percent better than nothing.
This is going to be an exciting decade for Seattle transit. The Capitol Hill Subway Station, the UW Station, the First Hill Streetcar, more potential streetcar lines … it will soon be easier than ever to live in Seattle sans-car.
Currently, ORCA cards are accepted as proof-of-payment on the South Lake Union Streetcar, which means that it costs nothing for most of us to ride. My guess is that they will install card readers at some point in the future to help support the trains financially, but this is only a guess.
In any event, for more information on the current train and up-and-coming streetcar lines, visit:
In addition, feel free to watch this short video I compiled of my own S.L.U. Streetcar rides over the past few weeks:
Download Video: MP4