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Old February 22nd, 2012, 10:04 AM   #121
uwhuskies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomgoggles View Post
Here's your waterfront connection AND iconic Cap Hill tower in one nifty proposal:

http://citytank.org/2012/02/21/a-gon...cherry-on-top/



C'mon folks, this is ridiculous.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 04:52 PM   #122
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Is this even possible seeing that it uses the air space of so many other lots? A gondola could be a cool touristy view offering attraction but this is too much.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 05:17 PM   #123
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Could use these instead of a gondola, but the track might end up looking like a monorail or something. London's airport already uses them.

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Old February 22nd, 2012, 05:32 PM   #124
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How much more expensive would something like that be than the gondola?

Some private firm should try and do the gondola. Run it as a for-profit attraction. Obviously there are tons of hoops to jump through but I'd think some kind of agreement can be reached with the city about annual payments for the air space and whatnot.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 05:40 PM   #125
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Very interesting idea... I personally think it is cool idea but I can see a lot of cons along the route:

-There are some properties along the route are slated for redevelopments and I don't see how it will work together due to height issues.

-I can't really speak for Capitol Hill residents but I don't think many of them want to have thousands tourists to come to their neighborhood on their daily lives. If I live there, I won't like it either.

-I don't see why it has to stop at Capitol Hill, why not go all the way to Madison Valley/Beach? It is kinda hard to get there from downtown Seattle.

I think the route between waterfront and Seattle Center could work well but not between Seattle Center and Capitol Hill.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 06:52 PM   #126
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I'd rather just see a streetcar that connects to the existing SLUT and waterfront streetcar. A gondola might be fun touristy thing for a while, but the novelty would wear off in a couple years and then it'd just be an annoying eyesore... I'm trying to not sound like a NIMBY, but that thing cutting across half the core of the city would ruin the cityscape. A streetcar would be functional and spur development in the sparser area's of SLU.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 07:27 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JiminyCricket View Post
I'd rather just see a streetcar that connects to the existing SLUT and waterfront streetcar... A streetcar would be functional and spur development in the sparser area's of SLU.
Yes. A streetcar stuck in Broad or Denny traffic. Visionary! </sarcasm>

Our east-west streets are well beyond maximum capacity, and our only transit (the L8) is stuck in these streets. The only answers are:
1. Bulldoze some buildings and add more streets. (please god no)
2. Make a lane of Denny bus-only or streetcar-only in each direction (good luck with that)
3. Something underground (I'd support a subway, but it's expensive and far down the priority list as a subway route)
4. Something in the sky.

There really are no other options.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 07:35 PM   #128
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There really are no other options.
Yes there is, and it's the one that's going to happen in this fantasy case: Nothing.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 08:48 PM   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt the Engineer View Post
Yes. A streetcar stuck in Broad or Denny traffic. Visionary! </sarcasm>

Our east-west streets are well beyond maximum capacity, and our only transit (the L8) is stuck in these streets. The only answers are:
1. Bulldoze some buildings and add more streets. (please god no)
2. Make a lane of Denny bus-only or streetcar-only in each direction (good luck with that)
3. Something underground (I'd support a subway, but it's expensive and far down the priority list as a subway route)
4. Something in the sky.

There really are no other options.
Usually traffic issues are self correcting over time: people move, change their commute schedule, find alternative routes, etc. Denny at rush hour is pretty bad almost any day. So much residential has come to that area and Denny is really the only way to quickly (yeah, I know) reach Magnolia, Queen Anne, and NOSC neighborhoods (Aurora connection).
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 09:30 PM   #130
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True, Jiminy. Nothing is always an option. So is making small changes. A pedestrian skybridge at Republican, Harrison, or Thomas, a second sidewalk at Denny, and better bus service might be all we can hope for in the next 10 years.

The Denny corridor is high volume, and getting much denser. It's a problem for every mode. But going beyond buses/peds would also require a high-cost solution. You might put a streetcar from LQA/Center/SLU reasonably easily at grade, maybe Harrison to keep the grades reasonable, with a curl around Key Arena. But getting past I-5 would require going very deep underground (going down before you go up), and still ending up very deep under CH, or a going over I-5 (meaning a ramp from a block or two back in SLU followed by a tunnel on the hill). This sounds like a half-billion magnitude, wild guess.

It's hard to imagine another street from SLU to Capitol Hill. Even if you could get to Melrose, which would be in the nine figures and require a huge ramp of some kind, where would you go from there? It's a steep hill with minor streets, including a first block that's too steep for an arterial, and maybe even for an alley in some places.

But you could ease things with:
--Another southbound I-5 entrance somewhere, because much of Denny is waiting for I-5. It might have been the Seattle Transit Blog (??) that discussed that recently. Even a longer ramp at the current entrance might ease things.
--The new Mercer. Traffic heading to Queen Anne or Magnolia from the Mercer offramps will use Mercer, not Denny.

Back to wild ideas: How about a four-block cut-and-cover street tunnel through the Center, possibly at Thomas, coupled with an overpass of I-5 also on Thomas. Thomas would have maybe the least grade at the freeway, with room for columns, and an existing street straight up the hill. This could be the "local" street while Denny could be for longer distances. The cost would still be astronomical, but with buses, pedestrians, bikes, cars, and small trucks all accommodated, it might also be politically palatable aside from the ramp in SLU and opposition by some neighbors on CH. It should be one lane each way, with buses stopping in the lane a la University Way.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 09:42 PM   #131
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Really, another car tunnel? Seattle's reached the size where cars are less and less the best way to get around. Spending more money on more roads to move more cars (and park them where? I guess more parking lots) sounds inconsistant with our projected growth. We need to start building transit networks, not roads.

If you must cut-and-cover, lay tracks instead. You'll have the capacity to move more people and can do it in two lanes total. SLU, QA, and Cap Hill are all very walkable areas, you can walk across much of the neighborhood faster than you can find a parking spot.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 09:50 PM   #132
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Oh, and I can agree with your pedestrian changes, but "more bus service" just won't help much on Denny. Sure, it's better than nothing. But the L8 just sits in traffic on Denny. Having another bus sitting behind it in traffic solves very little.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 09:54 PM   #133
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Driving isn't going to end, or probably even fall very much. Any price/supply trend will likely be offset largely or even entirely by population gain (locally and especially in LQA/Triangle/Belltown/SLU corridor) and basic fuel efficiency.

Either way, like I said, this would be a bus priority street. Cars would slow the buses a little but not much. This would break the superblock aspect of the Seattle Center, without ruining its car-free aspect. For buses, it could be a way around the traffic jam. An overly busy Denny, which I live a block away from, is bad for non-drivers too.

As for laying tracks...buses can handle much steeper grades than streetcars.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 10:04 PM   #134
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But 2 lanes each way, plus curbs... that's almost a Big Dig level project. If you're going with buses, at least treat them like rail and just provide a skinny tunnel similar to the current bus tunnel.

Though I have to ask - would we be spending this much just to keep gondolas out of our view? I don't think Portland's tram is even noticable unless you're looking for it.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 10:12 PM   #135
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I suggested one lane each way, not two. The Seattle Center tunnel portion wouldn't need sidewalks because they'd be at grade, though it would need safety margins. The overpass at I-5 would need sidewalks, and preferably good wide ones, as well as a bike lane uphill.

I'm liking this idea more and more. We'd still need a sidewalk on the north side of Denny. But this would avoid the separate skybridge.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 10:37 PM   #136
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Ah, I misread - I also missed that this was just a 4-block dig. That's actually not a terrible plan. Still very expensive compared to the gondola idea, but not the massive project I had imagined.

Of course you'll need to make it bus only, HOV only, or toll the thing. Otherwise you end up with the same slow buses stuck in traffic.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 11:54 PM   #137
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If gondolas required highrise buildings, that might be more expensive...even pretty expensive vs. the ordinary costs of similar buildings otherwise. Simple ground stations and pylons (like Roosevelt Island) I'd guess not.

Mixing buses and cars wouldn't be quick. But I doubt it would have the intractable traffic jams of Denny. Cars will have other side streets to choose from in SLU.

Last edited by mhays; February 23rd, 2012 at 12:04 AM.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 12:18 AM   #138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Mixing buses and cars wouldn't be quick. But I doubt it would have the intractable traffic jams of Denny. Cars will have other side streets to choose from in SLU.
I must be the only idiot on this board who thinks the re-connecting of the street grid north of Denny will have a big impact on lessening traffic on Denny.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 12:40 AM   #139
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I'm a second idiot on that one. Mercer and a second side street would take a lot of pressure off. Maybe Denny can act like a normal four-lane street rather than a constant jam with cars blocking the fu**ing crosswalks.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 01:06 AM   #140
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One thing that would also help that I recall got burried a few years ago is signal timing and active traffic management. Having someone manning the switches to keep traffic moving along a street would go a long way towards moving people up the hill.

And I too agree that opening up all the streets across aurora will help immensely. In fact, I don't get why we don't do it on a few spots North of Mercer as well?
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