Originally Posted by destroycreate
When Seattle gets all of its U.C. new rail/streetcar lines completed, how comprehensive of a transit system do you think they'll have compared to the Bostons, San Franciscos, and NY's?
We have a long ways to go in order to get close to any of those cities.
The light rail as approved by the voters in the latest ballot measure will go from Lynnwood in Snohomish County down to a location that's still to be determined in South King County and then from Downtown Seattle over the I-90 floating bridge to Bellevue then out to Redmond. My understanding is they will likely operate the light rail as two lines - one north-south and the other from the eastside through Downtown and probably to Northgate via the University of Washington - so everything from Northgate through Downtown will be served by both.
The commuter rail will open a southern expansion next year (to Lakewood in Pierce Co) and service frequency will be improving but the Tacoma/Lakewood and Everett Lines are the only commuter rail lines currently and there aren't current proposals for others.
In terms of the streetcars the only one that's paid for aside from the SLUT in South Lake Union is the First Hill Streetcar that just started construction (connecting Capitol Hill and First Hill to King St. Station and Pioneer Square via the International District and Little Saigon).
The big missing pieces in the City are connections across North Seattle and service to Ballard and West Seattle (the old monorail proposal). I think we really need to get that going to really have decent service inside the city with additional expansions in higher density suburban areas. Here's a link to a map from a group working on a Seattle Subway:
I think completing this with additional streetcar service would start getting us closer to some of those older cities. Our density is significantly lower than all three at this point - so good old fashioned buses aren't a bad solution for right now.
There will likely be a new ballot measure for "Sound Transit 3" in the next few years.