What Next?

What Are the Next Steps in Getting a Monorail, or Is This Really the End?

by Bob Fleming

About the Seattle Center Monorail Seattle Center Monorail web site Advantages of monorail My opinions about Seattle area monorail Former Seattle Monorail Project A Proposed Regional Monorail System Arguments against monorail and my responses My ideas for monorail system design My ideas for routes (PRT) Personal Rapid Transit Vocabulary Frequently asked questions Links to other monorail sites Contact me

Other Sites of Mine

A Greater Seattle My mobility web site My transportation web site My mass transit web site The Fleming Family home page

I really can’t believe the dream is over. If that is all it was, just a dream, then I could accept it. But it is not only a dream, it is a vision of a modern rapid transit system, a vision based on facts.

Within an urban environment that is already built up, monorail costs less per mile than light rail or other alternatives, is separated from the delays of surface traffic, is safer, and less disruptive to neighborhoods than surface light rail.

The Green Line project was almost ready to go. Approval at the polls would have meant construction would begin in early 2006 and passenger service would have begun about the end of 2010 or early 2011. Then people would have discovered the advantages of the line and the overall public mood would be to support the construction of more lines.

But previous errors combined with serious problems with financing in 2005 public opinion against the monorail. But the problem was in financing, not in the project itself. Reality got lost in all the negative publicity and confusion. So the project was defeated at the polls. See “What Went Wrong?”

This is truly a tragedy. (See “The Seattle Monorail Tragedy”.) Not only will construction be delayed for no telling how long, but in the meantime the land that has already been purchased for the line will be sold off. So when the next effort to build a monorail gets underway, if it is the Green Line (which makes sense because it is already designed), it will be necessary to reacquire the land, probably at higher prices, especially if new building have been built on the land. And construction costs will be higher than now because of inflation. And if interests rates go up the financing will cost more.

I firmly believe that a monorail system is better than alternatives, at least in certain environments. I see no better alternative for the Green Line route. I feel that we must still try to build the Green Line. These are the things I see that should be done to achieve this goal:

  1. Preserve the real estate — The next most important thing is to see if there is some way to preserve the real estate holdings held by the Seattle Monorail Project, so that this land will still be available for a future Green Line. The SMP will need to be paid for the land so that the MVET car tax can be ended sooner.

  2. Educate the public — First of all, there should be a gradual effort to change public opinion. The public supported the monorail before and will again once they understand the facts. There are some people like me that read a lot about monorails, make various comparisons, study monorails in other places (see ,Monorail Links, blue column on the right), and keep up with the latest monorail news. But most people aren’t that interested and just read about the monorail sometimes and something now and then on TV. Most people are used to light rail, commuter rail, “El” trains, subways, or other modes of mas transit in other cities and just don’t understand why a monorail would have any advantage. In fact most people’s experience with monorails is with the smaller monorails at Disneyland and other theme parks. These are not practical as a city transit system.

  3. Illustrate advantages — Put the monorail advantages in a form that the average person can understand, in borchures, pictures, video, any available means. There should be pictures showing various forms of transportation, and why monorail works out best in many situations. It should be pointed out that the Green Line monorail would be larger than the one at Disneyland and will be closer to a light rail car in size and capacity.

  4. Make plans for a more acceptable project — The next step would be to gather together a group of people that can come up with a better plan for the Green Line, one that will satisfy the people, the media, and civic leaders. Click here for more ideas about this.

The Seattle Monorail Tragedy
What Went Wrong?
New Plans for the Green Line

Return to the monorail home page Contact Us

©2003 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated on 20 March 2013

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional