Since its inaugural trip, Seattle’s South Lake Union Streetcar has carried thousands of passengers every week on a 2.6-mile route linking South Lake Union, the new waterfront park, the Denny Triangle, and the downtown retail core. The line uses three streetcars, which can carry 140 passengers each.
The total ridership of more than half a million in the first year has far exceeded expectations, prompting the Seattle City Council to vote to pursue the development of additional streetcar lines. “A Seattle streetcar network will be an important part of our future,” says Mayor Greg Nickels. “It’s a climate-friendly transportation choice that helps attract employers and encourages more job creation.”
Not only are the streetcars a “climate-friendly” mode of transportation, the surface they ride on supports Seattle’s environment as well. The maintenance facility is paved with Mutual Materials® Uni-Ecoloc®, a permeable heavy-duty paving system designed to reduce stormwater runoff on industrial and commercial pavements. These interlocking concrete pavers are highly durable and capable of sustaining the highest vehicular loads while maintaining drainage openings that allow rainwater to infiltrate.
Stormwater runoff from traditional impervious pavement could have resulted in raw sewage contaminating nearby Elliott Bay during rains heavy enough to create a combined sewer overflow (CSO) event. With the Uni-Ecoloc system, the project’s civil engineer was able to report that even during a recent 100-year storm, no runoff was observed from the site and 100% of the stormwater was able to be absorbed.