UPDATE: In a unanimous vote, the Seattle City Council this afternoon approved the construction of the First Hill streetcar on Broadway.
Introducing the resolution before the vote, Council transportation committee head Tom Rasmussen said the new streetcar line will be an “inducement to development” and one of the biggest boosts the neighborhoods along the line have seen. The route will run from Pioneer Square, through the International District, up First Hill and across Capitol Hill via Broadway.
Rasmussen also said that Seattle Department of Transportation planners have already met with Sound Transit to discuss the portion of the $132 million budget for the line that needed to begin planning a north Broadway extension.
Council President Richard Conlin noted that the Pioneer Square loop included in the final plan for the streetcar could also help in revitalization efforts in that part of the city.
The Seattle City Council is expected to approve today the First Hill streetcar resolution passed by the Council’s transportation committee last week. The $132 million project is being built by the City of Seattle but paid for by Sound Transit as part of an agreement forged because of the decision to not build a light rail stop in the First Hill area. With approval, city planners expect to begin construction on the streetcar route in 2011 with a planned start of service in late 2013.
The City Council resolution also includes a plan to create an extension of the streetcar line beyond the future home of the Broadway light rail station on the north end of Cal Anderson Park.
SDOT planner Ethan Melone told CHS that SDOT will request $750,000 from the existing $132 million Sound Transit budget for the streetcar project to start the north Broadway planning process.
Sound Transit sources told Publicola “the agency seems unlikely to agree to extend the streetcar unless the city comes up with a way to pay for it.”
The Complete Streetcar Campaign is throwing a party Tuesday night to rally community support for its efforts to drive bicycle and pedestrian improvements as part of the streetcar plan as well as the extension of the line to north Broadway.