Tourists visiting Seattle this summer will have direct access to Queen Anne via a new route with Emerald City Trolley.
The trolley service’s motto is to show the best of what Seattle has to offer, said sales and marketing specialist Allison Fraser.
“We want to be a vehicle to get people off the beaten path and [see] the hidden gems,” she said. “Queen Anne is absolutely one of those places.”
Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce president Connor Haffey started lobbying for the trolley to come to the area at the end of last summer. The chamber didn’t sponsor or pay for the service to come to the area, but it will likely buy advertising space with the trolley.
Emerald City Trolley was already thinking of expanding to Queen Anne. Once company officials attended a Queen Anne Chamber meeting and spoke to the businesses, “we said, ‘Hello, Queen Anne is a great option,’” Fraser said.
Right now, Emerald City Trolley has two routes: one downtown, and the other goes to city overlooks and the Ballard Locks. The Queen Anne stop will be added to the second route after a stop at Kerry Park. Fraser estimates the stop will be on Queen Anne Avenue North between West Crockett and Boston streets.
The service will begin on weekends starting May 23 and then move to full daily service on June 6 until Sept. 28. The service is slated to stop in Queen Anne every 45 minutes, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each trolley typically holds 30 to 35 passengers. This summer, Emerald City expects ridership to hit 17,000 between the two routes.
Right now, the plan is to just offer the service during the summer months, although Emerald City is considering a holiday-shopping tour trolley, which it offered on its downtown route last December.
A neighborhood benefit
Those are 17,000 people who probably wouldn’t stop in the area otherwise, Haffey said. People who live on Queen Anne can only do so much to support local businesses, he said; having those extra people who can see what the area has to offer “should be a great benefit.”
Even though there are Metro buses that run up Queen Anne Avenue, they don’t offer the same experience, Fraser said. The trolleys have a tour guide on board who points out highlights and gives tourists tips on where to eat and shop. On a city bus, tourists don’t get “that added level of narration,” although Fraser admits this method may be a little bit slower than taking a bus.
Chamber executive director Charley Shore said parking is “horrendous everywhere, so I think this will be a no-brainer for people.” Tourism often “stalemates in the downtown area,” she said, so hopefully this will be a way to entice people up on the hill.
The trolley is in tandem with the quaintness Queen Anne area strives for, Shore said: “Tourists especially will think that that’s part of the experience — taking the trolley.”
Speed won’t be as important to tourists, and even though locals do use the service, it’s typically when they have family in town, Fraser said; they don’t often see commuters using the service.
Shore said she hopes local will also take advantage of the service as an easy way to get in and out of the area.
The stop on Queen Anne Avenue between Crockett and Boston streets isn’t a coincidence: The trolley service gets funding from local business partners, who influence where it stops. The names of those businesses haven’t been officially announced.
Fraser said the new stop will be a big boost to businesses in the area. “We feel it adds a great deal of value because we’re providing an option to get tourists to that area to shop, explore and eat,” she said. “It brings more money into the area without clogging the streets with traffic and taxis.”
Queen Anne is a great area for tourists, Fraser said, but often it’s difficult or confusing to get there. Luckily, the local business community has been really welcoming to the trolley service, Fraser said.
“We’re so happy Queen Anne has welcomed us as they have,” she said.
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