The Seattle City Council’s transportation committee this morning approved resolution 31207, a plan authorizing construction of the First Hill streetcar. The 4-0 vote paves the way for the legislation to move to the full Council for a vote on Monday, May 3.
The $132 million plan calls for the Department of Transportation to manage construction of the line utilizing funds provided by Sound Transit as the agency’s mitigation for the decision to not build a First Hill stop for its light rail transit line. We covered the City Council’s approval of the Sound Transit-DOT agreement here.
Ann Corbitt, staffer for transportation committee head Tom Rasmussen, told CHS that there is a lot of support for the plan both in the Council and the community. “Now that it’s a reality, it’s very exciting,” Corbitt said. She also acknowledged that Monday’s vote will only be the start of the Council’s work around the streetcar project. The resolution requires a great deal of Council oversight including determining elements such as the location of maintenance facilities for the new line. “This is a huge project,” Corbitt said. “It’s worth the attention.”
The streetcar planning and public input process has played out over the last year as routes and extensions were debated and dismissed. The 2-Way Broadway route was selected due to its lowest projected cost and highest projected ridership.
View 1st Hill Streetcar – “Two-way Broadway” in a larger map
The resolution also includes a plan to create an extension of the streetcar route to reach north Broadway. The Capitol Hill Community Council’s Complete Streetcar Campaign has been advocating for that extension and pedestrian and bicycle improvements along the streetcar route. The group is planning a rally and party a day after the full Council vote Tuesday night at Sole Repair. CHS voted to endorse the campaign last week.
DOT planners expect to begin construction on the streetcar route in 2011 with a planned start of service in late 2013.
Publicola posts this afternoon on the political process that must play out for a small portion of the $132 million Sound Transit streetcar project budget to be approved by the ST board for planning the north Broadway extension. As Publicola notes, Sound Transit must approve the use of the already agreed upon budget for the project for the planning of the north Broadway extension. Publicola quotes a Sound Transit official and reports on sources that have told them that “the agency seems unlikely to agree to extend the streetcar unless the city comes up with a way to pay for it.”
SDOT planner Ethan Melone told CHS that SDOT will request $750,000 from the existing Sound Transit budget for the streetcar project to start the north Broadway planning process.
It is not clear from Publicola’s reporting if Sound Transit will require a funding plan to be in place before approving the apportionment of the $750,000 — about one half percent of the total budget — for SDOT to complete its north Broadway planning process.