Monday, September 10, 2007

the OTHER streetcar

I was perusing the skyscrapercity forums today, and couldn't help but notice a thread on the new Seattle streetcar that is being built. Like Portland's streetcar line and the Hoyt Street Yards which redeveloped the heart of the Pearl District, it is being built in conjunction with a massive real estate redevelopment effort, that of Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc. investment company.

I visited the area a few years ago when my friend Htoo was living in Bellevue; you could see all these brand-spanking new midrise buildings along what used to be major freight-route streets (which you don't really find in Portland), with beautiful
Lake Union and the view it provides right there. It pretty much blows away almost every urban vista you'd find in Portland (with the exception of the view from Pill Hill or Vista ave above Goose Hollow) - see for yourself:

photo by Tim Knight

I've always thought that Seattle had an excellent urban environment; one that in some parts of its downtown approached the complexity, layered history, and edginess of cities like New York, Boston, or San Francisco - albeit lacking the rich vitality of the street that even Portland has more of - despite the fact that Portland is smaller and less dense.

Perhaps this new streetcar line will help reinvent more of the city, making it a place people can call home.


UPDATE

Apparently those Seattlites have been hard at work on a new acronym - now it's called the SLUT. Ironically it sounds quite proper spelled out.

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