I’m re-publishing my comment here, that I recently posted on this hyperbolic piece about “Seattle sacrifices two lanes for…” which I’m unsure if they’ll post. It “seems polite” to me but doesn’t tow the line of thinking that the KIRO Radio comments usually tow.
“First off, totally inaccurate way to actually frame the situation. Two lanes aren’t disappearing. It’s not like they’re going to put housing or plant trees in two lanes and lot allow movement there.
Instead they’re using those lanes for things like streetcars, buses, and related vehicles that can actually move a LOT of Seattleites vs. a very few Seattleites. The project, the 170 mil isn’t exactly for the “streetcar” either if one looks at the actual cost breakouts. Most of it is actually for redesigning the street so it is more effectively used to move actual people, vs. have people move a few cars.
First, getting the details on modal options load capacity: https://www.thoughtco.com/passenger-capacity-of-transit-2798765
The streetcar would operate in this corridor most comparably like BRT or light rail. Easily reaching a load throughput capacity of 2000+ per hour. Being it will be mostly grade separated it could easily be used to achieve a capacity far in excess of 2000+ per hour and more around 3000-4000 and still be at half of peak capacity.
Meanwhile the throughput of the current lanes, even if configured with zero lights, zero parking, and zero stops couldn’t exceed 1200 per lane. At their current configuration it is unlikely they exceed even 600-800 per hour per lane. To note, there will still be a full lane that will be dedicated to single occupant motor vehicles like cars, which will still allow for closer to the theoretical range of 1200 per hour. With the two lane configuration as is, it’s unlikely it even reaches 1200 per hour with both lanes in use and limited to single occupant motor vehicles.
The new configuration will easily allow for about 800-1200 vehicles per hour (and possibly the respective ~1200 or so persons that will come along with those cars), with one lane, and also allow for 2000-4000 per hour with the streetcar and 2nd lane usage, street safety improvements, and related changes.
In the end, Seattle wins. Seattle gets higher throughput for the most people (much of Pike Place Market shoppers – to use as an example – are from ships; ferries, cruise ships, transit, and walking from areas within the city anyway, and few and fewer arrive by car while the number of total shoppers increases). Seattle will get more shoppers at Pike Place. Seattleites can enjoy a connection from the South Lake Union technology hub to the southern technology hub of companies in Pioneer Square. International District will now be connected to the central business district with a seamless ride, and the housing (30k+ persons) will be connected in Pioneer Square & Waterfront to Capital Hill & First Hill (Another 30k+).
With the numbers currently, that means about ~1500 people *might be* inconvenienced slightly – many of whom may not even be Seattleites, while over 60k Seattleites have a more convenient method of traveling throughout the downtown core of the city.
Also, to add. Even if this were BRT or some bus variant, to increase actual throughput (because buses and streetcars used to ply this street before) the street would need to be reconfigured to how it operated before, plus changes related to appropriate diversion and safety, would still require a huge lump some of cash near the streetcar cost. But it would come without the added benefit of pulling people to it, and thus to explore additional areas of the city, like a streetcar will. Over time the operational costs are also minimalistically different than buses using and providing the same throughput, without providing the same advantages.
I now digress, learn about it or ignore it and keep playing the oblivious hand… it’ll get built. Take advantage of it or keep complaining. The complainers won’t get any advantage out of the situation. In other news, I’ll see ya’ll out and about if you’re actually in the city. Cheers!”