Happy third birthday, Capitol Hill Station

Some 7,698 light rail boardings take place every day at Capitol Hill Station. Tuesday marks the three-year anniversary of the opening of the busy Broadway subway station that has forever changed getting to and from Capitol Hill.

Saturday, March 19th, 2016, then-Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine broke out the giant ceremonial scissors to cut the ribbon opening the $110 million station and the start of service on the $1.9 billion, 3.15-mile U-Link extension connecting downtown to Husky Stadium via Broadway. 16 to 18 trucks per day were used to haul dirt away from the site during construction. Sound Transit officials said some 19,900 trucks plied the streets of Capitol Hill hauling muck churned up by the boring machines. Continue reading

City officials say electric vehicle charging station won’t pit Teslas vs. bikes on Broadway

Leave it to Seattle City Hall to somehow pit proponents of electric vehicles against bicycling advocates. But a plan for a new charging station to be installed on Broadway near Capitol Hill Station has sparked a debate over the street and the city’s competing priorities for how to best put the right of way to use.

RESCHEDULED: Electric Vehicle Charging Open House

An open house originally scheduled for February but postponed by the snow will take place next week at Seattle Central to discuss a Seattle City Light plan to install two direct current (DC) fast chargers capable of powering most electric vehicles in front of the Capitol Hill Station mixed-use developments under construction at Broadway and E Denny Way.

While the city-owned chargers would power a typical car for “approximately 80+ miles of range in 30 minutes” at reasonable rate of 43 cents per kilowatt-hour, transit advocates who hope for future extension north of E Denny Way for the Broadway bikeway have noticed the station would be directly in the path. Seattle City Light says be flexible.

“In the absence of a bike lane currently, we believe this is a great location for an electric vehicle charging station,” Scott Thomsen, spokesperson for City Light tells CHS. “Should there come a time, we will be able to move our infrastructure.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation describes the situation a little differently. 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

SDOT rolling out revised plan in ‘coming weeks’ to speed up Broadway for First Hill Streetcar

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. Continue reading

Capitol Hill commutes hopefully not too jostled by Seattle Viadoom traffic

Brandi Whigham in Capitol Hill Station Monday (Image: Margo Vansynghel for CHS)

The Viadoom is here. You might know it as the Seattle Squeeze, the Period of Maximum Constraint or Carmageddon. Longer, yet: The longest closure of a major highway — Highway 99 — ever seen in the Puget Sound region, which is predicted to create a three-week traffic jam rippling across the city and region until the new tunnel opens in February.

In the weeks leading up to the closure, many have predicted that congestion, slated to start with Monday’s first commute, would be a “traffic nightmare.” The Seattle Times forecasted that adding more people to the light rail, which was already running at its “ideal capacity of 150 per railcar on average” would mean having “to jostle to board the two- or three-car trains.”

On the first morning of the Squeeze at Capitol Hill Station Monday, no jostling.

Things were pretty much business as usual for Brandi Whigham, on her way to work at Amazon from Seattle’s south end. “I always take the light rail, so I don’t have to fight with traffic, though sometimes it’s hard to find a seat. It’s usually crowded and first come, first served,” Whigham said. Continue reading

Sawant: Make transit free during coming ‘Seattle Squeeze’

(Image: City of Seattle)

Officials have been warning of the coming “Seattle Squeeze” starting with the January 11th closure of SR-99 offering up “Rapid Response Teams” and discounts on Uber but only one has stepped up to make the boldest, likely most effective, and — unfortunately — probably most implausible call yet — make public transit in Seattle free.

“Immediately, public transit from Metro to the Light Rail should be made free for all during the three weeks of the Seattle Squeeze,” District 3 council member Kshama Sawant writes in a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine. Continue reading

Durkan’s Seattle Department of Transportation pick is ‘project delivery expert’

(Image: City of Seattle)

In a city with a sometimes tangled traffic and transit mess, Mayor Jenny Durkan has taken her sweet time finding a leader for the Seattle Department of Transportation. One year into her term, Durkan introduced her nominee Tuesday.

Sam Zimbabwe has an excellent name and Washington D.C. transit planner geek bonafides. The mayor called hims a “transit and transportation project delivery expert” Tuesday.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to help keep Seattle moving, build a transit and transportation system for the next generation, and deliver on projects for the people of Seattle,” Zimbabwe said in a statement released by the mayor’s office. “Seattle is entering a new era of transit and transportation that will require effective delivery of capital projects along with a focus on giving more people access to safe options for walking, biking, and using transit.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill wins a Lyftie, a dubious distinction for a ‘walkable neighborhood’

(Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill, perhaps Seattle’s most walkable neighborhood(TM), is the recipient of a dubious 2018 distinction.

Take it away, global transportation network company Lyft:

Lyft is celebrating the fourth iteration of the annual Lyftie Awards, a program that recognizes the most popular destinations in cities across the country. This year, Lyft has expanded the Lyfties to celebrate bars, concerts, gyms, neighborhoods, and more in 45 markets, including Seattle.

The company announced Tuesday that Capitol Hill took Seattle’s top position as the “Most Visited Late Night Neighborhood” in the city. Continue reading

23rd Ave work includes electrifying bus route but no timeline for RapidRide

(Image: SDOT)

The City of Seattle says the second phase of the $43 million 23rd/24th Ave corridor improvement project is going well with the biggest risk being sorting out how to reduce the number of utility pole required to electrify the route for Metro coaches.

The update in SDOT’s latest report on major capital projects keeps the timeline for the work on the stretch south of Jackson on pace for completion before next summer. Continue reading

Federal funding ‘major risk’ for Madison Bus Rapid Transit

$60 million in federal funding is the biggest risk for the $120 million project planned to bring Bus Rapid Transit to Madison between 1st Ave and MLK via downtown, First Hill, Capitol Hill, and Madison Valley.

The project was one of a handful examined recently as part of City Hall’s new quarterly report on Seattle’s largest capital projects. The Seattle Department of Transportation says the much needed Federal Transit Authority grant “is a major risk.” Continue reading