Seattle marks first commute without buses in downtown Transit Tunnel

Bus riders downtown might be searching for new stops and light rail passengers to and from Capitol Hill should have a smoother, maybe even quicker go of it. Monday morning marked the first commute through Seattle with buses kicked out of the downtown transit tunnel.

City officials are calling it a second chapter of the “Seattle Squeeze” following Seattle’s weeks without SR-99 in chapter one — a story that turned out to be a little overdone.

Sound Transit says the booting of the buses as necessary as the Washington State Convention Center expansion project will soon remove the northbound access point for buses at the former Convention Place Station and the agency needs to update the older downtown Seattle stations to prepare for expansion to Northgate in 2021 and the opening of the Blue Line to the Eastside in 2023.

SDOT has posted about the changes on Seattle surface streets to accommodate the increased bus activity here.

Metro and Sound Transit say the change will have immediate benefits for light rail riders, “enabling reliable six-minute peak hour headways, eliminating significant service disruptions that occur under joint operations.”

“Light rail service frequencies will increase in future years as the system expands,” officials promise.

You can learn more about the Metro service changes and tunnel transition plans here.

Team comes together for City of Seattle feasibility study for new lid over I-5

A $1.5 million process is underway to study the feasibility of a new lid over I-5 connecting downtown to Capitol Hill somewhere between Denny Way and Madison and you can get a look for yourself at the areas involved and how they might change in the future.

The city announced that a consultant team led by global engineering firm WSP has been selected to run the $1.5 million study of the technical feasibility of building a lid with possible green spaces and public parks, schools, and affordable housing developments. Continue reading

Good news for Capitol Hill Station riders as Metro buses prepare to exit Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel for good

King County Metro is rolling out another set of service upgrades and changes on routes across the Seattle area and while relatively public transit-rich Capitol Hill mostly misses out on any direct upgrades, the changes will include a major step for transportation in Central Seattle — and better service to and from Capitol Hill Station for light rail riders.

It’s time for the end of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel as we know it. In March, the DSTT begins its new life as a “rail only” conduit. Continue reading

Seattle has new $286M plan to connect First Hill Streetcar to the South Lake Union Trolley via 1st Ave

1st Ave circa 2025

Like most things, the longer Seattle waits to build its downtown streetcar line, the more expensive it will get. Mayor Jenny Durkan put Seattle’s 1st Ave route back on track Thursday, announcing a new $286 million price tag for the planned Center City Connector to link the First Hill Streetcar and South Lake Union Trolley via 1st Ave. Meanwhile, there is still no word on planned optimization work for Broadway to speed up the route for the First Hill Streetcar as it shares the lanes with vehicular traffic.

When it finally goes into service in about six year, the 1st Ave streetcar shouldn’t face similar delays — it will have its own dedicated lane. Continue reading

Crazy auto theft includes 911 calls reporting owner on SUV’s hood before hit and run crash on Capitol Hill

Seattle Police received a harrowing 911 call Tuesday night — the owner of a new white Subaru SUV reportedly jumped onto the hood of the car trying to prevent it from being stolen as it was driven east near 7th and Pike downtown.

The owner was apparently able to quickly extract herself from the dangerous predicament but police soon received a report of a hit and run crash on Capitol Hill near Belmont and Pike involving the stolen vehicle around 8:45 PM. There were no reported serious injuries.

The car was later spotted headed northbound on I-5 but there were no immediate reports of police recovering the vehicle or catching up with the suspect.

Police were looking for a white male who appeared to be in his 30s with red or blond hair, a goatee, and wearing a black beanie at the time of the heist, according to West Precinct dispatches.


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Eight years in, Seattle ready to study ‘engineering and financial feasibility’ of lidding I-5

It’s a Seattle Freeway Revolt of a different sort and now the city has the money to execute an engineering and financial feasibility study of the potential benefits “for covering more of the I-5 freeway trench in central Seattle.”

The $1.5 million in funding from the Washington State Convention Center expansion’s $83 million public benefits package is now available to the City of Seattle and an advisory council has been formed, the Lid I-5 community group announced last week:

The study funding enables OPCD to procure an expert consultant team with qualifications in civil and structural engineering, economic analysis, urban design, and environmental mitigation. The study is expected to last through 2019 and will inform the next steps in lid design, planning, permitting, and capital funding. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) staff will be engaged during the process. Recent and ongoing freeway lid projects – including in Bellevue, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Philadelphia – provide helpful case studies and a pool of experienced specialists that Seattle’s effort can draw from.

Continue reading

50 years after ‘Freeway Revolt,’ I-5 lid between Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle visions take shape

There’s a sort-of joke that floats around in land use circles that when deciding what to put on a piece of property: They’re not making any more land.

But if a Seattle group has its way, the city just might make more land — smack in the middle of it all — by putting a lid on I-5.

“A freeway lid is literally making land out of thin air,” said David Yeaworth, a consultant who worked with the group proposing the idea.

Lid I-5 Collaborative // Final Presentations

A citizen-led effort to put a lid over I-5, and develop ideas for what to do with the new real estate, is nearing a new phase with a presentation event next Wednesday night, October 3rd, on Capitol Hill. Teams will share their ideas shaped over months of community design gatherings for how a lidded I-5 might look, and what sorts of buildings and facilities could possibly go on it. Continue reading

Community groups begin education and outreach on Pike/Pine bike improvement plan

Neighborhood and Central Seattle Greenways activists volunteered their weekend to survey the merchant community along the Pike and Pine corridor from Broadway west toward Downtown. A $10 million protected bike lane route through the busy thoroughfare is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019.

Brie Gyncild of Central Seattle Greenways says the outreach campaign is simple. “Our entire goal is to ensure that the design works for everyone, including businesses. Understanding their needs, whether they be loading or parking or pedestrian safety or even aesthetics, lets us advocate for a design that accommodates their needs,” Gyncild said. UPDATE: We have updated Gyncild’s comments and removed a quote that was mis-reported by CHS. We apologize for the error. Continue reading

City Council set to put a little muscle behind 2020 push for downtown bike plan

The City Council is set to put its support behind a plan for a Seattle Center City Bike Network and an 18-month implementation schedule to create “a connected, protected bicycle lane network in downtown Seattle by 2020.”

“With Wednesday’s committee meeting, we’re reaffirming our commitment to establishing a connected, protected bicycle lane network in downtown Seattle,” council member Mike O’Brien said Wednesday at a press conference before his committee meeting introducing the a resolution outlining the new push. Continue reading

Community group, SDOT in 2019 push to make Pike/Pine a safer route for bikes

(Image: CHS)

A missing east-west connection in Seattle’s bike infrastructure could open next year. Or it might not happen until 2021. Either way, bike lanes along the Pike/Pine corridor, connecting Broadway to 2nd Ave are coming.

Bike advocates are hoping that linking these two existing corridors will help increase bike usage overall. By linking the two north-south routes, it creates a network for bikers to ride safely around town.

“The real problem is we don’t have connected infrastructure,” said Brie Gyncild, who is working on the project with Central Seattle Greenways. “We expect to see more use of the Broadway bike lanes after the connection.” Continue reading