I want the streetcar lines connected. I want it, I want it, I want it.
I want what I want. I live a block away from the First Hill streetcar line, I work a block and a half from it, I like to shop along Broadway and I also like to shop at places along the route of the other streetcar.
I like shiny things and things painted pretty colors and things that ring bells. I like things that run on overhead electric wires, that have big, wide aisles and have sparse seating so I don’t have to sit close to some scary person like I keep having to do when I ride stinky buses.
Of course, if and when the streetcar lines are connected and there’s a stop at Pike Place Market, you all should know that Seattle’s streetcar is going to start being as packed as the San Francisco streetcar, especially in the summer, when every tourist who comes here will have to ride it. So there will have to be more seating, and the scary people will close in on us, coming straight at us, eating greasy fried chicken with their fingers, smearing their hands all over the rails, sitting next to us and belching and trying to read what we’re reading on our cell phones.
But I still want it.
I would ride the streetcar every rainy day from home to the Market if the connector were built. Just think how much I’ll contribute to the gentrification of the Pike Street area by buying all my avocados and lemons there. You all want gentrification, right? Work with me, I’ll work with you. Give me what I want.
Mayor Durkan has stopped the connecting line construction just because it was looking like it was costing too much. What kind of thinking is that? Since when does this city shrink from throwing money at construction? Where is Jenny Durkan from? The far side of the moon? Issaquah? This isn’t the moon; this is Seattle. We’re about to open a tunnel longer than the connecting line route, having thrown 10 times as much money at it as the streetcar connection could ever cost. When we wanted a new stadium to replace one we scrapped, we threw money at building two of them!
We know how to throw money. We’ve got this.
It’s not like I’m asking for ugly, practical things like more hygiene centers or public restrooms, or more and better homeless shelters or new subsidized supportive housing. I wouldn’t dream of pestering Seattle for things like that. I just want what any Amazon employee would want: A nice, clean ride from Westlake and Denny to Broadway and Denny, by the scenic route, without having to set foot on the Number 8.
Can’t we all agree what’s good for Amazon is good for Seattle?
I know businesses in Pioneer Square are already folding right and left because of the work now being done on the water system. But the price of progress is always a little displacement here and there, right?
I mean, isn’t that where homeless people come from? They’re the people displaced by progress. Well, now if they build the streetcar there’s just going to be a bunch of businesses displaced, too. So? We don’t care about the displaced people so why should we care about all the displaced businesses? It’s just the price we pay for progress.
You car people like your cars and tunnels. I like my streetcars. It’s the same thing.
It’s not like the wrong people are going to benefit. OK, some senior citizens and other wastrels like me may get a discounted fare, but we’re just a tiny minority of the people who will ride the streetcar. It’s just the one line. You can afford to hire enough cops to make sure everyone pays and keep out the riff-raff.
Since it will enhance the lives of corporate employees and tourists much more than of ridiculously poor people, I’m sure that any new taxes that might be needed to pay the $200 million cost of the connecting line would encounter very little corporate resistance here, unlike that Employee Hours Tax that went down in flames.
In conclusion, I love being able to say “in conclusion.” It’s rare that I want something so badly that I spend an entire column making a case for it, so that at the end I could sum it up with an “in conclusion” statement.
In conclusion, I want it. Build me my streetcar.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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