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Opinion: Ban Cars From South Lake Union in Seattle

A Seattle Times columnist says it's time to ban cars from the congested and dangerous South Lake Union street.
March 22, 2018, 12pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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South Lake Union
Robert Scheuerman

The South Lake Union streetcar is slow and likely to get slower, Danny Westneat argues in the Seattle Times. "It ding-dings 15 hours a day through the hottest job center in the nation, yet it’s gotten so slow it carries 20 percent fewer riders today than it did six years ago," he writes. There have been some proposals to make streetcar-only lanes for sections of the trip, but Westneat says this doesn't go far enough. He argues that cars should be banned from South Lake Union.

The influx of commuters into the area has come from the growth of Amazon, "… seriously: Seattle’s glittering new neighborhood has grown so fast it’s choking on itself," Westneat writes. The streetcar is not just slow, it's unsafe. "The car and pedestrian interactions have become so comically dangerous that a recent time-lapse video of the mayhem made by an Amazon engineer from his office window made the news," Westneat reports.

Westneat takes this pro-streetcar stance without referencing the precedent for a very similar course of action currently on display on King Street in Toronto, where automobile traffic was limited to benefit streetcar service.

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Published on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in The Seattle Times
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