Last week, CHS reported on Seattle’s $286 million plan for a 1st Ave streetcar route (and lots of budget for infrastructure work along the way) linking the First Hill Streetcar to the South Lake Union Trolley via downtown.
We asked city officials about a much smaller $50,000 to $75,000 investment in the existing streetcar resources that has been held up at City Hall for more than a year and finally heard back — changes to speed up the streetcar on Broadway are coming… but we won’t know the details of the proposal for a few weeks.
CHS is told some changes have been made to earlier plans after local business owners and property owners pushed back. The Seattle Department of Transportation and new director Sam Zimbabwe anticipate making the new project proposal available for feedback within “coming weeks.”
Planners put forth early proposals with the Seattle City Council for the project last year to streamline the streetcar’s route with a planned four-block southbound “Business Access and Transit” lane on Broadway between Pine and Madison that would shave off three minutes of travel time and be part of a package of changes hoped to boost ridership by about 10% — 350 riders — per day.
Some business and property owners in the area opposed elements of the streamlining plans including the elimination of left-turns and the addition of red paint for a transit-only lane.
The original SDOT plan also didn’t include enforcement or the addition of cameras at intersections to make sure drivers are not “blocking the box.” While the state legislature allows municipalities to use cameras to enforce speed limits or traffic at intersections, Washington law does not yet allow the technology to be used for transit lane enforcement.
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