French “moving sidewalk” design touted for Bellevue, Sea-Tac

Today, myurbanist engineers presented an early twentieth century solution to downtown Bellevue/Sound Transit “moving sidewalk” proponents, who were joined by advocates of a similar approach to aid travelers moving from the airport light rail station to the main terminal. “That was a truly moving presentation,” said one observer.

Thanks to Pugetopolis author and local media contributor Knute Berger for suggesting the following illustrative link:

5 thoughts on “French “moving sidewalk” design touted for Bellevue, Sea-Tac

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  2. Mark Hinshaw

    Its possible this whole thread of moving sidewalks is tongue-in-cheek. But if anyone out there is truly advocating this, they should be aware of a few things. The only “moving sidewalks” that are cost-effectively maintainable are those INSIDE enclosed buildings — and even that is dubious. (When was the last time you were in the United terminal at O’Hare, Denver, or even Sea-Tac when belts were inoperable?)

    Every decade ot so, back to the late 1800’s this tired and goofy idea re-surfaces by someone. Wouldn’t you think that if it were so nifty that we would see them everywhere?

    Well, in fact, several cities have tried them, including our neighbor to the south Tacoma. In the 70’s through the mid 80’s they had several. They were broken down at least half the time. So much of the city operating budget was wasted on trying to keep them in working order that they were eventually ripped out.

    Think about it: the hundreds of moving parts, nuts, bolts, pins, gears, wiring, conduits, etc. — all exposed to air, water, moisture, corrosion, salts, and particulate matter… all impossible to maintain over time. Even outdoor escalators are tricky. The one as Second and Marion in Seattle has been plagued for years with maintenance problems.

    People forget that airport settings are not like cities. People in downtowns are not in a bee-line rush to make flights and get through security. People in cities want to linger, move randomly, discover new and different things, criss-cross, and meander. Moving sidewalks only take you between two points. In fact, they are not urban at all, but actually a suburban idea — concocted by folks who really don’t understand the joys and healthy benefits of walking.

  3. Mark, this was tongue-in-cheek, intended to provoke–you may also wish to comment on the other version of this on City Brights on seattle pi.com?

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