The City Council is in the midst of hearings and meetings to discuss which parts of Mayor McGinn’s proposed 2013-14 budget to keep and which parts to scrap. Among the council’s potential cuts are about $5 million in high capacity transit projects, including studies for high capacity transit routes to the U-District (likely a streetcar extension) and Ballard as well as the Madison bus rapid transit project between downtown and 23rd Ave.
All the projects are priority corridors identified in the city’s recently-completed Transit Master Plan. The Madison corridor scored well in the study for ridership growth. The TMP estimates 14,000 people would likely use the line, 6,200 of which would be new transit users.
The grades are too steep for a streetcar, so a rapid electric trolley bus is the most likely option. The project would include new bus-only lanes and other streetcar-like features to help keep the bus running quickly. It would likely come every five minutes for most of the day and would cost about $81 million in capital costs before it could start.
However, if you want the city to start studying this project, you might want to let the Council know. They are considering moving all or some of the money from these high capacity transit planning projects into other transportation projects, including increasing funding on the underfunded bicycle and pedestrian master plans, completing work on other priority bus corridors (of which there are several on the Hill) and adding it to the Broadway streetcar extension.
The Broadway extension, which would continue the First Hill Streetcar from its current planned terminus at Denny Way north to Aloha, is still about $23 million short of being funded (the Puget Sound Regional Council recently approved $850,000 in federal and regional money to study the extension).
The Council is scheduled to start voting on budget-related items November 7, and the final budget will be adopted November 19. Thursday was the second of two public budget hearings, but you can still send your thoughts to email@example.com.
You can watch the Council’s Wednesday discussion about the funds below (the first section and the section starting around 45:00 discuss Madison):
Below is the presentation document that lays out the options: