Happy first birthday, First Hill Streetcar

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

On Saturday, January 23, 2016 — after more than two years of construction and then lengthy delays caused by technical issues with its brightly painted set of six shiny, new, Czech-designed cars — the First Hill Streetcar clang-clanged to life. The start of service marked the return of the tracked streetcars to Capitol Hill’s streets after a 75-year absence and reshaped Broadway with a new bikeway. While many have questioned the need for the $134 million, 2.5-mile line paid for by Sound Transit in lieu of a planned First Hill light rail stop, CHS reported in December that the line was serving more than 3,000 riders a day. With City Hall, the local chamber of commerce, and merchants mixed on a planned two-stop extension north on Broadway, any ridership boost will have to wait for the 1st Ave-routed “City Connector” line that begins three years of construction this month. Work on 1st Ave will also hopefully help inform safety efforts to improve the bike-dangerous tracks across the city — including along the First Hill Route. In the meantime, you can celebrate the anniversary with a weekend of free rides across First Hill from Pioneer Square to Broadway — and, if you like, back again. Happy birthday, First Hill Streetcar:

In celebration of its first full year of service, the Seattle First Hill streetcar will provide free rides for three days this weekend, from Friday, January 27 through Sunday, January 29.

The First Hill Streetcar is currently averaging 78,000 monthly riders and has 3,050 average weekday riders.

Streetcar riders and its service area neighbors are encouraged to enjoy a free ride and explore the many shops, businesses and restaurants in the Chinatown-International District, Pioneer Square, First Hill, Yesler Terrace and Capitol Hill neighborhoods.

There is no other free service. All other transit service requires valid payment of the regular fare.

Thank you for riding the First Hill streetcar.

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