A push for light rail in Seattle?

Mar 22, 2011, 6:47 PM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

About half of the people who use Seattle public transportation say they want busses to be more reliable and faster, while more than half want light rail added between major destinations.

As part of the City of Seattle’s planning for the next 20 years, they’re looking over 11,000 responses to an online survey about transit use.

In response to the question, “Why do you use transit?” the top two responses were:
• It saves money (70%)
• It’s convenient to use (62%)

On the flip side of this question, when people were asked why they don’t use transit, the top two responses were:
• It takes too long (61%)
• It does not run often enough (44%)

The study also compared Seattle’s transit system to other major cities. Seattle doesn’t stack up well when compared to cities like Portland, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Denver and Pittsburgh. Their findings seem to be a push toward adding light rail in Seattle:

Trolly• Seattle’s light rail system is smaller than all other cities studied except Ottawa. All of the peer cities are currently moving forward with light rail expansion.

• The cost efficiency of our regional transit system is below average, as is its productivity (measured in boardings per hour). However, service in the City of Seattle itself is highly productive and cost effective.

• Experience from the peer cities shows that transit system cost effectiveness often improves as the light rail system is expanded; this is due, in part, to the fact that light rail can carry more passengers on very highly-used corridors.

Seattle’s light rail is new compared to other cities. It was in December of 2007 that former Mayor Greg Nickels announced the opening of the South Lake Union line of the Seattle Streetcar. That was the city’s first new street car line in 30 years.

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A push for light rail in Seattle?