We’re working to get an update from the Seattle Department of Transportation planners about feedback they collected from the series of streetcar alignment meetings that were held in December. Here are the CHS notes from the session that was held at Seattle Central. We also hosted a poll to gauge the CHS community’s preference for the streetcar route at this point in the planning process.
As you can see in the graphic on this post, it’s a tight race between the Broadway and the Broadway-12th Couplet alignments with very little support for the Boren route.
To refresh your memory, here are the three alignments currently on the table from SDOT:
The “Two-way Broadway” option (4.38 miles long):
“Broadway/12th Couplet” includes southbound service on 12th Avenue (4.26 miles long):
First Hill Boren route (4.89 miles long)
In the meantime, it looks like the Stranger has come around to see the wisdom of CHS’s Josh Mahar who has championed a 12th Ave alignment from the start:
In 2008, when voters approved expanding light rail, they simultaneously approved a First Hill streetcar. The hospitals on First Hill, naturally, want the streetcar at their front doors. But that doesn’t mean we should build a streetcar for the hospitals. Roads cutting through First Hill are often jammed, meaning a streetcar would crawl rather than serve as a quick connection between the Capitol Hill and International District light-rail stations. And buses amply serve the hospitals already.
The neighborhood around 12th Avenue, adjacent to First Hill, has lots of potential. And by that we mean there’s a glut of underused parking lots. A streetcar on 12th Avenue could solve this problem—and bring density to an area that needs it.
Capitol Hill Housing’s Kate Stineback — also a frequent CHS contributor — convinced the Stranger editors that the streetcar “would be a ‘real catalyst for development, ‘especially for the ‘underserved, underdeveloped’ south end of 12th Avenue.”
Of course, Seattle Transit Blog is having none of that. This morning, they bang the No on 12th drum again in response to the Stranger change of heart.
Though a strong argument could be made for new bus service on 12th Ave, a streetcar couplet with three blocks of separation — and with one block up laying atop a steep hill — is unprecedented and would create significant access issues that could dampen ridership…
We’ll check in with SDOT to see what they learned in the community open houses, any new proposals on the table and what’s next for the process.