it seems that a city is only a City® when it has a fully functioning below-surface transportation system. london has the tube. paris and tokyo have their metros. new york has the subway. there are few exceptions that immediately spring to mind save the L in chicago and perhaps the rickshaw/pedicab system in shanghai. here are massive urban centres that function as cultural, political and societal hubs of their surrounding regions. they are the largest metropolitan areas that embody all of the traits of their country or state and they represent this polity to the outside world - these are the figurehead cities, the shining examples of an area.

some of my favourite cities want to be Cities® but don't know how to be. portland has been battling Light Rail implementation for as long as i can remember. the MAX is available downtown and, to some extent, in some major attractions outside of the city centre. seattle will never get a monorail capable of anything practical because, apparently, everybody there has seen that episode of the simpsons. the latter city, however, does have a leg up on the former.

of the two major metropolitan centres of the northwest, seattle appears to be pursuing Cityship® with the growing usage of a widely unknown tube system. the system is not terribly expansive. yet. it is not terribly easy to use. yet. it is not terribly easy to find. yet. however the tracks are growing and the buses that use the tunnels travel at reliable intervals. i am reading an article in the Seattle Times, "A light-rail wonder", and it shows new tracks being laid as another passenger platform for a stop in Beacon Hill is completed.

seattle, with its so-far-successful incarnation of "the world's game" via the Sounders FC, wishes to become a City®. they are getting closer with the installation of a reliable, practical, culturally, politically, and socially friendly transportation network. the seattle underground is a secret weapon. my own experience with it is limited but it was the tool that enabled me to get from north seattle, near fremont, to the airport in just less than 30 minutes (with a change, btw) with a ski bag. there will undoubtedly be teething problems but, i guarantee you they won't be as severe as Springfield's monorail.


1 comment:

Jill said...

I have to say, for growing up only 8 miles north of Portland, I have very limited experience with its public transit... :(