Streetfilms: Take a Ride on the Seattle Streetcar

Seattle’s South Lake Union Streetcar is a 1.3-mile line that opened in December 2007, the first leg in the city’s commitment to new transit and light rail. It passed the half million passenger milestone in its first year, surpassing ridership projections.

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.

  • We went to Seattle on our honeymoon. We took a ride on the SLU(T) on our way from downtown to the U of Washington area. It was a nice ride, the driver was really nice, and we stayed at the Pan Pacific which was right next to a stop (with a Whole Foods right there also). Everything was very accessible.

  • I like the train. I like the station design. It looks so easy to hop on. But 11 stops in 1.3 miles??? This means one stop on every street corner. 1.3 miles is about the distance from Ferry building to 6th St.

  • Steve

    Wai Yip Tung –

    I think it’s 11 stops for the round trip (i.e. spread out over 2.6 miles) — or about 6 in each 1.3 mile direction. Which is a lot of stops by light rail or subway standards, but not crazy for a streetcar.



To Speed Service, Seattle Looks to Separate Streetcars From Auto Traffic

As streetcars make a comeback in cities across America, they are under scrutiny from transit advocates who complain about service quality. Atlanta’s new streetcar has produced disappointing ridership numbers, with sources reporting it’s not much faster than walking. And Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic reports that after a fairly strong start, Seattle’s South Lake Union […]

How Should Streetcars and Bikes Interact?

Streetcar service could finally begin this year in Washington, DC. Trial runs are already taking place. And the debate about how people on bikes will navigate the tracks is already raging. Last week, the District Department of Transportation quietly proposed streetcar regulations that would ban bicycling within a streetcar guideway except to cross the street. Most immediately, […]