Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Public Transit in Seattle: Solar power!

Those of us who live in cities are lucky - there are usually a plethora of public transit options, from buses to subways, trains, or trolleys. Even if you live in a smaller city, there are almost always buses, or you're able to ride your bike around (not that you can't do that in a larger city).

A few weeks ago I was in Seattle for my dear friend Elizabeth's wedding. Seattle's a newer city, but not so new (or, paradoxically, so old) that subway lines were built into it. Instead, lots of roads were built, so the city now depends on an extensive network of very well maintained buses, in addition to personal cars, of course. There's also a somewhat pointless monorail, and a brand new trolley line... which is what impressed me the most.

We chose to stay slightly outside of the main downtown area of Seattle right near Lake Union, both to save a few bucks and because there weren't many rooms downtown. We figured we'd either learn how to take the buses, rely on cabs, or do a lot of walking. Little did we know that there would be a trolley, I mean street car, right outside the door of our hotel!

This thing was fantastic! Think of the Green line in Boston... now think about everything you'd change about it... and you get the Seattle Street car! It runs in the street, but the cars are brand new and the ticket system is simple and even better, solar powered! The drivers are nice, the thing isn't too crowded, and it doesn't stop every 5 feet.

Sign me up for a city with a streetcar any day, though the thing didn't run all that late. We did our fair share of walking all over the place (which was lovely), and even took a few cabs (shhh!).

If you could change one thing about Boston's public transit, what would it be?

Related Posts: Bikes not Bombs; Boston Bike Sharing; Biking to Work in Boston; Was it Green?; The Greenest Generation
Photo courtesy of Casey.. ie me.


Casey said...

My friend Mike says that San Jose has a similar system of street trolleys. Apparently it represents what they thought the future would be like, back in the 1980s. I always thought the future transport would look more like the Jetsons...

Krystle said...

I hate that I can almost never hear what is going on when the train is stalled and delayed. It sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher most of the time. Had I known we were going to be sitting for 20 minutes in between charles MGH and park street, I would have gotten off and walked the rest of the distance myself!