Designed on the Hill is a new series reflecting on good design, as observed by Greg Janky and Treasure Hinds of Anvil Studios, a product design firm based on Capitol Hill.
On a recent sunny winter day, we found ourselves with a craving for Mexican food. We decided to make it a destination luncheon and head for Matt Dillon’s Copal in Pioneer Square. Our ulterior motive? Taking a ride on the First Hill Streetcar on the occasion of it’s first anniversary.
We were rewarded with an easy, relaxing experience that also pleased our inner design critics. We found the Streetcar’s implementation follows many basic principles of good design.
For example, it’s very easy to purchase your fare (or swipe your ORCA card) via the kiosk at each stop, —which is in english, Spanish, and Mandarin—reducing any stress for first-time riders. Clean, modern iconography and graphic signage provides intuitive way finding. Elevated platforms at each stop allow people of all ages to walk into the car without stepping up or down.
The interior is well thought-out, with careful consideration given to touch points, including an ample amount of well-placed hand rails, stop request buttons, door release buttons—and there are even cool bike racks inside for securing your bike. The prevalent hand rails allow for easy movement within the cars even while in motion.
Remarkably, the interior was quite clean despite a year in service, a nod to the King County Metro’s management. We especially liked the drain holes in the floor of each cabin for easy hosing down of the cabin if necessary!
Plus, it was a smooth ride—literally! We were impressed with how easily the Streetcar moved on the tracks.
A good meal is worth traveling for. And it’s even better when the trip is part of the fun. We recommend making the Seattle Streetcar part of your commute or next outing. And if you don’t experience any frustrations or unpleasantness, you might just have good design to thank.