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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Slut Was Made for Me

posted by on December 12 at 16:20 PM

The slut was made for me. As a young life-sciences researcher in South Lake Union, it is my tastes that are to be tempted—at least according to the soaring rhetoric. I skipped the late-morning pontification session. The last thing I needed was the mayor patting himself on the back the month the Green Line would have opened.
The trolley and I aren’t in it for a one-and-done; we’re together for the duration. The lab I work in (at the UW) was one of the first moved to Lake Union from the U-District. I’ve paid for the train—my scientific grants taxed, my skin, blood and bones literally ground into the tracks. I tried her late in the day, after most of the in-city tourists had dispersed, clutching their streetcar bumper stickers.
I want this to work, for South Lake Union to succeed viable biotech hub. My future as a scientist in Seattle depends, at least in part, upon success. I even want the streetcar to work. At this point, I’m so starved for mass transit I’d probably support oxen on a raised platform—anything beyond more lanes for cars. The slowly forming biotech incubator space—just now being constructed after the expensive condos, the Whole Foods, the barren park, the overpriced apartments, and the slut herself—is nowhere near the trolley line. The building is awkwardly wedged in an unattractive lot adjacent to the freeway onramp—perfect to vibrate animals, cells, and microscopes. A walk to the core of the neighborhood from the token building nurturing new biotech in South Lake Union is long and awkward—with not-timed-for-pedestrians intersections one must ford like moats.
What the neighborhood needs, still needs and doesn’t have plans for, is a library, a quiet space to think, read and write. When I hop on the SLUT (the purple one), I bring some journal articles to peruse—including those covering the new reprogramming technique. The trip is free—presumably to get the trolleys the homeless-live-here smell that is a trademark of Metro. No one bothers me as I read and as the SLUT slowly putters toward Westlake center—slower than I could walk, much slower than I could ride my bike. A gent slumbers peacefully across the way. About a quarter of the way to downtown, the train halts. We must wait five minutes for the red train. First day jitters, like the comically inaccurate “xx minutes until the next train” signs that reminded me of the Windows 98 installation progress meter. I hop off. A better experience than the 17, at least. The walk back to my desk takes less than five minutes.

RSS icon Comments


South Lake Union also needs a post office.

Posted by DOUG. | December 12, 2007 4:32 PM

All you really needed to say is "the month the Green Line would have opened."

anything anyone from the Stranger is really saying when inking their butt-hurt about this is

"the month the Green Line would have opened."

Posted by awww | December 12, 2007 4:34 PM

"my scientific grants taxed" - You're using your lab equipment for making meth if you think your grants are paying for the SLUT.

Posted by Mike | December 12, 2007 4:38 PM

Is the SLUT magnetic? Could we stick our Monorail magnets to it on Saturday?

Posted by Gidge | December 12, 2007 4:42 PM

does anyone have a route map available so I can point out how utterly ridiculous it is to have trolley that is no more efficient than walking?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | December 12, 2007 4:44 PM

another running abortion of a boutique transit line. what the fuck is wrong with this town that it can only do transit half-assed and criminally retarded.

sorry for my out-burst, calling Seattle's transit system criminally retarded is insulting to criminal retards everywhere

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 12, 2007 4:46 PM

I think the Stranger should conduct a race from Westlake Center to SLU between the SLUT, a three-legged sack racing team, and a man on a pogo stick. Perhaps the Public Intern could be involved.

Posted by tsm | December 12, 2007 4:47 PM


Posted by Bellevue Ave | December 12, 2007 4:47 PM


Posted by Bellevue Ave | December 12, 2007 4:50 PM

Went to opening, looks cool, can't wait for them to expand it.

Posted by StrangerDanger | December 12, 2007 4:52 PM


Posted by Bellevue Ave | December 12, 2007 4:53 PM

Bellevue Ave, here's the map:

Please don't have an aneurysm; I've enjoyed your comments.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | December 12, 2007 4:56 PM

Before BA and others completely lose it here, is there any actual physical obstacle to them speeding up the line that we know of? Could they just run it faster?

Posted by tsm | December 12, 2007 4:58 PM

I just can not believe that this thing exists. are we going to have a fucking ski lift up capitol hill? a motorized walkway from westlake to pioneer square? HOW MANY SMALL TROLLEY, TRAM, ROARING CAMP RAILROAD RIP OFFS CAN WE BUILT THAT DONT GO MORE THAN 3 MILES FROM WESTLAKE?!?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | December 12, 2007 5:02 PM

Wow, that thing is purple. If the SLUT weren't already an even better nickname, I'd suggest it be called "Barney the purple dinosaur".

Posted by David | December 12, 2007 5:03 PM

Bellevue Ave is reminding me of Jim Mora "PLAYOFFS! you're talking about PLAYOFFS?!?"

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 12, 2007 5:04 PM

I'm glad to see streetcars. I'm less happy to see the fucking word "vibrant" distributed throughout their propaganda. If there's been a word other than "hipster" that's been wayyyyyy too overused in the past couple of years, it's that one. As I've said before, what the fuck does "vibrant" mean anyways? Sheesh.

Posted by Dave Coffman | December 12, 2007 5:06 PM

@16 I was thinking the same thing.

Posted by Mike of Renton | December 12, 2007 5:11 PM

Nickels took little to no credit. Back to the future and call it what you want just ride it were his favorite remarks. Ride the SLUT, funny.

Bellevue Avenue - the fact that you can walk faster than the trolley not counting the average 7.5 miunute wait doesn't mean expanding it isn't the right thing to do. If you expand it far enough people's stamina will wear down and the trolley will win.

I suggest looking at the proposed trolley network and buying housing inside the circle. It will become impossible to drive on those streets with trollies so buses and cars from outside will be screwed - know of anyplace building lots of living units. Oh yeah SLU - perfect build a trolley that serves your development and sows the seeds for ruining transit for the rest of the city.

Posted by whatever | December 12, 2007 5:11 PM

Hey, isn't that Larry Craig in the bottom photo?

Posted by Creek | December 12, 2007 5:15 PM

BTW, here's an impromptu to our glorious mayor:

Hey Nickels- yeah you the fat one.

My fat ass as well needs streetcar service over in your neck of the woods, West Seattle. Since you, Sims and Gregoire couldn't get your ponzi scheme of a transportation plan through to the voters (although I have to say you might have done better if you wouldn't have FUCKED people in your own neighborhood and people that live west of Hwy 99 and then have RTID/Sound Transit send over a smiley face twink boy to sell it to us minions) I recommend you have a bit of a rethink now with Licata, Sims and the rest of them and see if we can do something for the city. How about it Nickels? Something for us minions? I'm not Paul Allen, but I'll send you cookies.

I'm not letting off Sims either. He chickenshitted out on the plan at the last minute with his little tap dance. Too bad he didn't do something about it sooner, when he might have been more effective. Guess that's why Gregoire has the big chair. So Nickels, I don't fault you alone. Besides, you don't have bad hair like Richard Daley. There's no way you could have his balls.


Dave Coffman

Posted by Dave Coffman | December 12, 2007 5:18 PM

Technology from 1900 being used in Seattle in 2007. Shame on you Seattle.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | December 12, 2007 5:19 PM

I think this is great. I remember riding Zurich's tram system when I was in Switzerland for a few days back in the late 90s and loving it.

Faster than a bus? I don't know. Probably not. But there was no lurching or diesel fumes. It was smooth, comfortable, and reliable. The riders appeared to come from all demographics -- unlike the bus. That's a good thing: I bet that getting the upper crust personally invested in the transit system goes a long way toward insuring its ongoing funding and expansion.

Anyway, all you haters: give the streetcar a try before you slam it.

Posted by Patrick McGrath | December 12, 2007 5:24 PM

This train is a fucking abomination. At a price of $52 million, there is absolutely nothing redeeming about its existence.

So, here we are again, with no fucking congestion relief and a mayor and city council who don't give a flying fuck about either.

This city is getting on my last fucking nerve.

Posted by Ryan | December 12, 2007 5:29 PM

I hate because there is really no reason i would ever be in SLU, I need something to get me from North Seattle to Downtown or Capital Hill. so unless the SLUT grows in size by 20 times, I am going to have to be someone yearning for a systematic transit system for this city

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 12, 2007 5:30 PM

@25 sorry "Capitol Hill"

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 12, 2007 5:31 PM

can you please stop calling it the Slut. One of its rail conductors and i were sadly sharing a laugh on this terminology the other day. It says nothing of the kind on the trolleys - something like 'seattle streetcar'. SLUT is just some stupid perverted marketing campaign, that folks like the Stranger like to enforce/promote and get shitwords like this into the mainstream. you guys are so fucked. get with the people who are actually involved in working this thing

Posted by June bee | December 12, 2007 5:33 PM

@27 unless it serves the whole of Seattle, I will not call it the "Seattle Streetcar"

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 12, 2007 5:39 PM

@28 - point taken, south lake union is just turning into a different kind of red-light district.

Look Ya'll, DNA Sequencing in a mini-skirt on Aurora!

Posted by June Bee | December 12, 2007 5:47 PM

It's not hate. It's thinking.

You can't expand SLUT x10 without increasing the capital cost and operating subsidy a lot.

Instead of $50 million for one mile, it hundreds of millions of dollars. The annual operating subsidy would be tens of millions.

We already knew that that in the abstract a trolley/ferry/BRT system/raiul system (pick one according to what mode you worship) works well -- we've seen them all in other cities.
We didn't need a $50 million demostration project to teach us this about trolleys in here in Seattle.

That the SLU trolley feels way good tells us nothing about what to do for an overall transit plan for the whole city, & the more urbanized parts of the region.

It's just more piecemeal, non-integrated, non-planning.

Posted by Cleve | December 12, 2007 5:50 PM

Streetcars are just a way station to what we will need with growth and urbanization: a true train/subway type system, to be built over the next hundred years. If anyone running Sound Transit could pull their head out of their ass we'd see better progress. Instead, they're focusing in on suburbs that will always be car bound instead of focusing in on dense development in the inner cities (read Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma) that is possible with rail transit. Let Maple Valley have cars and buses.

I was up in Ballard today for the first time in several months and saw that the Denny's at 15th and Market was shut to make way for condos that are being built, probably a result of speculation that occurred because of the Green Line that isn't being built. We're now creating condensed neighborhoods throughout the city (Ballard, U-District, the Junction in W Seattle, etc) but we're not putting in the transport to go with it. What we'll end up with is horrendous traffic, made even more horrendous because eventually we will have to do something about it.

I love living in Seattle and I live in the city by choice. My work and home is in W Seattle and I'll always need a car because of what I do. However, I'd love to be able to get downtown on transit I know that works. We are back to square one and its now time for people in the City of Seattle to say enough is enough- lets start building the transport we need for us in the city. If suburban moms wanna drive their SUV's to Nordstrom, fine. But I'm done hitching my horse to some metropolitan or regional plan that screws us in the city while Wanda gets a extra lanes of traffic for her family speeding to North Bend.

Posted by Dave Coffman | December 12, 2007 5:56 PM

i hate to bring up this old argument again in seattle, but the real solution is for people to let go of their obsession with low density, single-family neighborhoods. plain and fucking simple. the streetcar is not our enemy people. 5,000 sq ft lots are.

Posted by andy | December 12, 2007 6:33 PM

Where in the fuck in Seattle are there 5,000 square foot lots? On Capitol Hill and Queen Ann where the homes were built 100 years ago? In Seattle, low density is not a fucking problem anymore.

You know what the fucking problem is? Fucking asshats like Nickels fellating giant douchebags like Paul Allen by spending $52 fucking million on a toy fucking train that I can out-fucking-walk. It's a moving fucking rain canopy for chrissake.

I wasn't angry about it until I learned that it's quicker to walk the route than it is to ride the fucking thing. Silly me, I went and assumed that if the mayor and city were going to spend tens of millions of dollars on a streetcar that went one fucking mile that it WOULD BE FUCKING FASTER THAN FUCKING PEDESTRIANS. Never fucking again will I underestimate just how fucking incompetent our city leaders can be.

This will be Nickels' sad legacy. An ineffectual ivory tower pussy who has done exactly *NOTHING* to remedy the two greatest problems this city faces: affordable housing and mass transit.

Fuck him, fuck his office of panderers and hangers on, fuck his West Seattle estate, and fuck this stupid ass fucking train.


Posted by Ryan | December 12, 2007 6:47 PM

Capital hill assholes should ride their bikes. Stop bus service to the Hill and outlaw parking.

That way ECB is happy.

Posted by ecce homo | December 12, 2007 7:18 PM

@33. Facts are always nice. More land in Seattle is located in single family zones than any other type of zone. 70% to be exact You know what the smallest allowed lot in a single family zone is? 5,000 sq ft. (of course there are exceptions, nonconforming uses, etc here and there). let's be honest. Seattle is all about single family, land consuming, non-transit-friendly homes. west seattle, montlake, northgate, and on and on.

Posted by andy | December 12, 2007 7:18 PM

Andy, That's unfair. I live in an SF5000 home in West Seattle and would have gladly walked the 18 minutes it would have taken me to get to the Morgan Green Line station. Now, because the bus service is better, I actually hop in my very green manual owned Volvo and drive to the Junction where I park and catch a 54 or 55 bus - that way I only have to wait a max of 15 minutes to catch a bus and they're usually on time at that time point. That also means my total elapsed time for getting to downtown (car plus bus) is still on the order of 20 minutes. Green Line would have given me guaranteed 18 minute service which I would have walked 18 minutes to get to. Where's the gain here?

Waiting for a bus where I actually live means waiting in the rain sometimes and waiting for up to 30 additional minutes for a bus which only comes every 30 minutes if one is late or tied up. I love transit and yet there's really none delivered where I live - in a single-family house in a zoned single-family neighborhood inside the city limits of the City of Seattle.

I also lived in a single-family zoned neighborhood in a single-family house and walked 8 or 12 minutes to a Red Line metro station (Friendship and Tenley) when I lived in DC. Single-family and true, grade-separated rapid transit are not incompatible at all - in fact they are quite complimentary. We had one car there and now have two cars here. Hmmm, somethings not right, maybe the local transit?

Posted by chas Redmond | December 12, 2007 8:55 PM

@36 So are you saying you would like a grade-separated rapid transit system to serve your single family neighborhood? That's never going to happen because single family neighborhoods don't generate enough demand to justify the cost of a rapid (i.e. metro, subway, etc) transit system. Also, D.C. is not a fair comparison to West Seattle. Metro stations there have intense commercial and residential development around them and THEN lower density residential. So, if you want rapid transit you need a critical mass of riders (AKA residents or employees).

Posted by andy | December 12, 2007 11:24 PM


To be fair, pedestrians are very slow while fucking.

Posted by A Non Imus | December 12, 2007 11:39 PM

Slaughter the single-family homeowners! Take their land! Leave none alive!

Uhhh...what were we talking about again?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 13, 2007 12:46 AM

@37: Problem is Andy that you live in your own utopia. There isn't a city in this country (and very few on the planet) that don't have some single family housing.

You're right on target about the density issue- build rapid transit INTO the high density corridors. Have bus service feed into that instead of everything going fucking downtown for a transfer.

BTW, there aren't but a few Metro Stations in DC that have the sort of intense commercial/residential development you're talking about. You know what most of the outlying stations have? Huge parking lots. For cars. They also have some (and I say some intentionally) bus linkage to the stations. But those buses don't continue on into the city- they feed into Metro.

If you want to be taken seriously, you need to refine your argument. Seattle is about a bunch of different things- high density, single family, condo conversions, etc. One thing I think we can agree on is that Seattle hasn't been and doesn't seem to be about transit. The one way to fix that is to put realistic transit in place before we all end up in gridlock, particularly where the city IS pushing density.

Posted by Dave Coffman | December 13, 2007 10:51 AM

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