Seattle's Streetcar: Modern, Efficient, Mass Transit (Video)
StreetFilms Visits Flagship Light Rail ProjectLloyd celebrated the return of the streetcar in America back in 2007, even though the Feds tend to favor Bus Rapid Transit over light rail. Now the good folks at StreetFilms are out to spread the word about just how pleasant a modern, efficient streetcar can be with their visit to Seattle's South Lake Union Streetcar - even though the project has not been without controversy...
The streetcar features many top-of-the-line tech amenities, including real time arrival message boards, solar-powered ticket vending machines, and human-activated doors to save energy while the train is in layover mode. If you go to the Seattle Streetcar web site, you can find out the next arrival time and actually watch the streetcars moving via GPS trackers.As you'll see in the film, development is booming along the South Lake Union corridor. "If you build it, they will come" certainly seems to apply here.More StreetFilms Sustainable Transportation and Planning VideosFree Bike Cages Offer Safe Parking for CommutersBike Co-ops Thrive in LABoulder, Colorado Achieves Platinum Bike StatusWikis Take ManhattanStreetFilm’s Visits Boulder’s Contraflow Bike-LaneFree Bikes for Governors IslandStreetFilms Covers Best of Bike to Work DayRaised Cross-walksTraffic-calming ChicanesBike Advocate Keeps Memory of Her Husband AliveClarence the Cycling SasquatchBogota Shows How to Reinvent CitiesBogota RevisitedStreetFilms Looks at Bus Rapid Transit in LAMelbourne: A Pedestrian’s ParadiseIstanbul Learns from BogotaClarence: The Purple Traffic-Calming WizardPhysically Separated Bike LanesNYC’s First Documented Bike Move?StreetFilms Grades New Yorkers’ Bike Locking AbilitiesLady Liberty Dumps the Car and Marries Mass TransitStreetFilms Animation Explores Diverters as Traffic Calming Measure
However, the streetcar is not without a contentious history, and continues to divide Seattleites as to whether it was a worthy investment. I'll steer clear of taking sides, but one commentary I will offer: these streetcars were made in the Czech Republic. With major U.S. cities continuing to make major plans to build transit, why are there no quality, American-made transit company options to assemble our trains? The Obama administration is busy giving massive bailouts to the auto industry, yet we continue to send money overseas for much of our transit needs. Okay, end of rant.