Community Post

McGinn calls out Mallahan for opposing funded street car

Tuesday morning in First Hill Park, Mayoral candidate Mike McGinn formally announced his support of a First Hill street car. This is one of the first punches thrown in this election series, with McGinn responding to Mallahan’s “inefficient use of taxpayer money” approach to street cars. “It shows a difference in values and a difference in vision for the city of seattle,” said McGinn. Voters have already approved the funds for the First Hill street car through primarily a sales tax increase.

We’ve spent a lot of time on CDNews talking about the street car and its possible routes, such as the 12th Ave. route that hopes to revitalize that area that borders the Central District and First Hill. When asked about this route, he expressed the need to stay the course, and let the communities decide the route and did not commit to any particular alignment. McGinn’s vision for the First Hill street car was focused around separating it from traffic, making sure it had the right of way and was the quickest choice of transportation in that area. McGinn continued, saying that this was the major downfall of the South Lake Union street car. He was open to considering a street car on First Ave. as well as connecting street car routes, but said emphasized the need to choose the “right tool” for any new transit investment. 

Responding directly to Mallahan’s issue of cost, McGinn alluded back to his opposition to the deep bore tunnel, saying the First Hill street car is already fully funded with a stable financing mechanism, while the tunnel is not. Also regarding the tunnel, McGinn brought up the fact that Mallahan supports an issue that “70% of voters disapprove of” yet does not support the street car with “70% voter approval,” and mentioned this Times article as a direct example of cost overrun possibilities in tunnel construction.

McGinn claimed he had originally called the conference to join in support for the First Hill street car, but was “surprised” when Mallahan expressed his opposition. “When the voters vote for something, and fund it, we should build it. Mr. Mallahan does not seem to think that is the case,” said McGinn. 

0 thoughts on “McGinn calls out Mallahan for opposing funded street car

  1. I don’t know too much about either of the mayoral candidates, but building things approved of by voters and not building things voters don’t want smells like a blast of fresh air after years of having developer-approved projects shoved down our throats. Just look at today’s story about both Brightwater drilling machines being broken 300 feet below ground and you can see a preview of what’s to come if we don’t stop the tunnel project. Tunnels don’t help neighborhoods revitalize either.

  2. It’s nice to see one of the candidates actually caring about what happens outside of downtown and the north side. Neither of them have been particularly vocal on issues like public safety, gangs, or the new anti-drug initiative around 23rd, but at least McGinn is willing to build the streetcar that the voters want, and get some better public transit around our under-served neighborhood.

  3. I’d err on the side of caution here. Does McGinn support a Loop option that will include the CD? Or, is it just for the First Hill hospitals? Where would he queue up the Jackson Street line? I think the direction was tending towards queuing up the Waterfront and Jackson as funds became available.

  4. Mallahan “opposes” streetcars because they are “ineffient” and “redundant”, according to his statements.

    UPDATE 10:15 AM:
    According to campaign spokesperon Charla Neuman, Mallahan’s opposition to the First Hill streetcar is based on his belief that streetcars are an inefficient use of taxpayer money. “And that’s just something we can’t have right now,” Neuman said. “This is about all streetcars.”

    Mallahan opposes the First Hill/Capitol Hill project, which is already in play, voter approved and fully funded by Sound Transit.

    Both candidates want to do further study on the OTHER streetcar project to make sure it makes sense to go forward in this tough economy and with a shaky budget. This is the 1st AVENUE streetcar plan.

    So, not so much “pontificating” (nasty little character reference there – *tsk*tsk), but working on actual facts, sound reason, and a real attention to the values of seattle voters and the realities of actual fiscal responsibility.

  5. Where is the link?

    Here is what I found,’Mallahan’s spokeswoman, Charla Neuman, confirms that he opposes streetcars, but says “there’s a difference between opposing something and stopping it. “If the city and state find out that we can do this without going over $120 milion, and they agree on a plan and it’s feasible, well, then it goes forward. We’re not McGinn. We don’t just blow things up.” And Neuman says the tunnel voters opposed two years ago is a different proposal than the one currently being considered; “it’s unfortunate that he just keeps spreading misinformation,” she says.’

    And read the WHOLE thing, here:

  6. Charla is parsing words there!

    Besides, if Mallahan isn’t willing to actually act on his convictions, what good will he be as mayor? Mayors HAVE to work on the fine art of compromise WITHOUT compromising their VALUES.

    Charla SAID that Mallahan is “opposed” to streetcars becuase they are “inefficient” and “redundant”. That tells me that he intends to stop the First Hill project. After all, “he can smell inefficiency” and is a pro at “bottom-line” management, right?

    If that is what he really believes, he should stop flip-flopping based on the last person he talked to, and stick by his convictions.

    In reality, Charla’s phone has probably been ringing off the hook and Labor probably just took a tasty bite of Joe.

  7. I’m glad that there’s going to be at least a dialogue on the streetcar this campaign. I am a fan of mass transit, but have been beginning to see some of the “ineffient” and “redundant” side of things that Mallahan seems to be referencing.

    Without the whole system in place, it’s hard to judge the impact. I rode the South Lake Union line to get to my bus stop for about a year, and it definitely has considerable impact on traffic during peak hours. Does anyone have any idea if there have been any impact studies on the SLU streetcar since it’s been running?

  8. Joe Mallahan is simply trying to get us to take a look at the feasibility and cost effectiveness of the presently proposed streetcar design. That’s all. It’s not a big deal. It’s about time someone puts into question how the city spends money on things like this. The spending sprees that have gone on during the Nickels era have been completely un-checked and un questioned.

  9. The same cut-and-paste anti-tunnel garbage I’ve seen posted around everywhere lately. I’m not entirely sure if you’re astroturfing or just trolling.

    The only current alternative to the tunnel is the Aurora-on-the-waterfront surface option, which would end up costing the city just as much (because the state wouldn’t pick up the tab for the surface improvements), and certainly wouldn’t help revitalize any neighborhoods. Put State Highway 99 underground; keep the waterfront walkable. The cheapest time to build is during a recession anyway, and tunnels are earthquake-safe and last hundreds of years longer than above-ground structures.

  10. I agree that the McGinn camp is just trying to find something to turn into a big campaign issue. Mallahan is placing the issue where it needs to be for a new Mayor, understand the overall transpo plan in context with other priorities, as opposed to flinging off pronouncements. The most irritating is the idea that ANY money not spent on one thing is actually available for other things. Not so much in Seattle and WA State where we vote on every single ‘bucket’ of dollars.

    I did, however, communicate to the Mallahan campaign a couple of things. First, the interest in a 12th-Broadway loop and why. Second, the long-standing hope that we will get our Jackson St. streetcar BACK, and be first in line when the city decides to build streetcars. The demise of that streetcar, I think, contributed to the downturn of the Jackson Corridor. I even went so far as to say that if people are confronted with the choice of more police versus a streetcar, some will say, ‘Well Paul Allen got both. A Jackson streetcar would actually be USED.’ So, maybe people are not beating the drums or demonstrating in the streets, but still..

  11. There’s a Streetcar Facebook Group here for folks to check out and join Let’s not lose sight of streetcar’s unique strengths. You all know that streetcars shape cities in a positive ways and are place-making tools that encourage the development of compact, walkable neighborhoods. The First Hill Streetcar is no exception. We’re encouraging the City to explore the 12th Avenue/Broadway Loop alignment. A streetcar Loop would give the hospital workforce another way to connect to Light Rail (besides bus transit, shuttle and walking options) while also advancing other important, long-term, public goals.