This was my web site promoting the Seattle Monorail Project, but the project was cancelled in November 2005.
I am maintaining this site for historical reference.

New Plans for the Green Line

My Ideas for a New Package That Will Satisfy the Public

by Bob Fleming

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I think that the public needs to be convinced that the Green Line was basically a good idea and that we should try again, but with changes that will satisfy more people and avoid errors of the past.

First of all, the financing package must be guaranteed to pay for the project and that the debt can be paid off in a reasonable time.

The tax package should avoid putting too much of a burden on any particular group of people, but rather spread the tax load across most of the people of Seattle and many people coming into Seattle, because mass transit will improve the city and everybody should help pay for it.

Possible taxes could include:

  • Motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), but at a much lower rate than the previous tax, and it should apply to new car sales also.
  • Property tax
  • Tax on parking, and a portion of parking meter fees, all applicable only to Downtown Seattle extending south to include the sports stadiums and north to include the Seattle Center. This tax would let people driving downtown and to events to help pay for the monorail that will relieve traffic congestion in those areas.
  • Tax on tourist and convention activities, such as car rentals, hotels, local tours, convention facilities, etc. This tax will help visitors pay for a project that will benefit many of them.
  • Sales tax, which will spread some of the tax burden to everyone that buys anything in Seattle.

None of these taxes should be very high, for instance maybe a 0.3% MVET and 0.1% or 0.2 % sales tax (1 or 2 cents for every ten dollars spent).

Dual Guideway (double track) for the entire length of the line. This gives flexibility to increase headway as needed. The Green Line is intended to be a rapid transit system and any unnecessary delay in travel time should be avoided.

Eliminate the routing through the Seattle Center and along Fifth Avenue. Instead locate the Key Arena station just south of the Arena and route the monorail south to follow Second Avenue through Belltown. This has several advantages:

  • Eliminates hundreds of feet of guideway, four curves, and one station, resulting in a trip that should be at least a minute or two faster. Rapid transit, remember?
  • Elminating the extra guideway, curves, and station would save a large amount of money
  • Would satisfy those who opposed the monorail because it would pass through Seattle Center.
  • Would save the old Seattle Center Monorail, which would still serve the east side of Seattle Center and Westlake Center. If the Seattle Center Monorail is extended across Seattle Center along Thomas Street to the new Key Arena Staion south of Key Arena, there would be a transfer point between the two monorails.

In order to save costs, the first trains could be two car trains (consists), but longer trains could be obtained later if needed.

In order to save construction costs, build stations for two-cart consists, but design them in such a way so that they can be easily extended later if longer trains are added to the fleet.

Stations can be designed in a more basic style, but in such a way that it can be beautified later without much problem.

Do not use the Iris layout Downtown (and possibly other places) because with the beams at different heights, along with the walkways, the combined vertical height creates too much of a “wall” visual effect.

The Seattle Monorail Tragedy
What Went Wrong?
What Next?

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©2003 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated on 20 March 2013

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