Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ghosts of Trolley's Past Lives on in White Center

Many of you may be aware that Seattle once had an extensive trolley system. In fact, the Rozella building, in which Cafe Rozella resides, faces a driveway between two buildings. The driveway was a turnaround for trolleys that went up 16th Avenue S.W. On the day that the U.S. entered World War II, the trolleys were decommissioned and the trolley tracks were torn up thus assuring us roads that would make cars essential. One wonders why the trolleys were decommissioned on such an auspicious event? Could it be that everyone was so focused on the cataclysm that was our entry into war that no-one would bother to query a relative political trifle like the death of mass transit in Seattle? I speculate here, but it is interesting timing.

If you would like to see the old tracks you can do so by driving on 16th Avenue SW between Roxbury Avenue and Henderson Street. In the middle of the road are concrete pavements covering the old tracks. It is now a full half century later and the City has yet to improve this stretch of road so that it is even. Instead, the space between the track pavement and the rest of road constantly yields potholes that occasionally swallow small cars. Given our current predicament ($100 a barrel oil) perhaps the better part of wisdom would be to just put the tracks back and bring back the trolleys. Next time you run into the mayor asks him which he prefers the ghosts of the trolley tracks, a driveable road or a new mass transit system.

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