For the first time in more than six months, the Seattle City Council transportation committee heard an update Tuesday on the First Hill streetcar project that will connect Pioneer Square to Broadway by rail.
While the briefing was ostensibly an opportunity for Seattle Department of Transportation planner Ethan Melone to update the committee on the status of the new streetcar line, the real star of the show was the cycle track and pedestrian streetscape plan we first reported on last summer now being called the Broadway Bikeway.
The goal of the bikeway’s separated bike track is to help transform Broadway along the streetcar’s route into a streetscape that is more appealing and safer for pedestrians and cyclists. As was pointed out in the presentation, it doesn’t hurt the plan that the creation of a separated bike lane also will alleviate concerns regarding the streetcar tracks passing above a significant water main beneath the Broadway pavement.
On the streetcar project’s status, Melone covered two changes to the plan since the previous Council briefing. One, a decision has been made on a location for the maintenance facility. That resource will be built on city-owned land at the Charles Street site. Two, concerns about post-game traffic near the stadiums has pushed the route on the Pioneer Square end of things off 2nd Ave S and modified the plan for the southern terminus.
The project is expected to reach final design status in June and the total cost should be able to be presented to Council for its construction authorization vote by the end of summer or early fall. Depending on how that plays out, Melone said, early construction could be underway soon after.
We’ve embedded video of the briefing and the bikeway slides from consultant Steve Durrant of Alta Planning. You can view Melone’s status presentation slides here. Durrant’s presentation first lays out examples of possible bikeway designs and then delves into the solution being pursued for Broadway. Note SDOT’s credit to the neighborhood’s input and interest in “reclaiming the street” in forming the plan.