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Council clears way for April start of streetcar construction — Open house Wednesday

The Seattle City Council passed bill 117387 Monday afternoon putting construction of the streetcar line connecting Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill via First Hill on track for an April start. A Wednesday open house will detail the $134 million project and provide area residents with an opportunity to talk with Seattle Department of Transportation planners about the project — including the unresolved issues related to a possible $30 million northern extension of the route on Broadway all the way to Roy or Aloha.


CHS reported last week that a community effort including the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce continues to push for the extension and that a proviso attached to some $700,000 in funding requires that a “feasible” plan be forged for the longer route. Council staff told CHS that discussion around the plan for the north Broadway extension and the proviso is expected to be taken up no sooner than late March.

The Seattle Times reports that the city is seeking a $2 million federal grant to study the extended route:

Seattle is seeking a $2 million federal grant to plan an extension beyond Capitol Hill Station, continuing north to Roy Street, said city Councilman Tom Rasmussen, transportation committee chairman. “I do think if the streetcar doesn’t go through the main part of the commercial district on Broadway, people are going to scratch there heads and wonder, why did it stop there?” Rasmussen said.

In addition to providing a new mode of public transit in the area, the streetcar is set to reshape Broadway for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.

Details of a groundbreaking ceremony being planned for the start of construction of the new streetcar line have not yet been released.

Seattle Transit Blog posted a detailed schedule for the line’s construction here. Broadway’s first “trackwork” is slated to begin this June.

Meanwhile, KING 5 has apparently just learned of the First Hill project and reacted with some dire warnings:

If you’ve ever driven in the South Lake Union neighborhood, you know what it’s like to drive behind a streetcar. Now, picture the same drive along Broadway on Capitol Hill.

 

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David
9 years ago

What is KING5 talking about? I’ve driven behind the street car many times in South Lake Union. Its no different than being behind a bus, garbage truck, semi or any big vehicle. For gods sake, Portland has done.his for years and years…get over yourself.

JayH
9 years ago

Can someone explain why a short extension would cost $30 million? The infrastructure is in place–maintenance facility, cars, management, drivers. All there and paid for. We would need additional tracks and wires, and a new station. My guess is $10 million. What am I missing?

james in the CD
9 years ago

what are you missing: surveying, utility relocations, environmental review, permitting, new stormwater management infrastructure, permitting, and then there is designing the extension.

Michael
9 years ago

I’m excited for this project to be completed. The bicycle infrastructure will have just as big an impact as the streetcar. However, the routing between Broadway and Jackson makes no sense to me. Why go so far out of the way (several blocks east) to 14th instead of cutting down 12th. It makes the trip to Pioneer Square much longer and wastes money. Cut down 12th and use the savings to extend further up Broadway.

kgdlg
9 years ago

The 12th and Jackson intersection is a utility/bus/car/bike clusterf**k. As a result, they could not route the streetcar through it without significantly decreasing the already bad level of service there. Routing it around Bailey Gatzert Elem was the obvious fix, also allowing them to tie into the base of the Central District, where there happens to be a lot of senior housing (potential high users of the rail) and new market rate housing on Jackson. It will definitely add like 5 minutes to the trip, but I would caution anyone from thinking that heading on 12th would have been quicker. The CD has long wanted a streetcar to head up Jackson, so this also makes that more of a reality to later tie in here at Rainier. Please remember that there was a year of intense discussion, negotiation and study of alternative routes (12th, Boren, some wanted 14th) and this is the one that got picked. Is it the best, probably not, but this is a “free” streetcar (in that the immediate neighborhood is not floating the cost directly) so I am not sure we should complain that much.

Machiatto
9 years ago

I hope the fee of this proposed street car is expensive to deter the trash who already ride the city bus. I’d love a public transportation option from my home on the hill to Pioneer Square that didn’t have so many stench, crazy & bum-esque individuals. This can’t come soon enough! Hurry SDOT!

SeattleSeven
9 years ago

As terrible as your comment is…

The free ride zone ends this October. So you’ll likely notice a reduction in all of those things you mentioned. At least in Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill isn’t part of the free ride zone.

wave
9 years ago

What you’re missing is knowledge of how much it costs to build a streetcar, apparently. Or are you a streetcar engineer?

Eugene
9 years ago

[[My guess is $10 million.]]

You’re hired!

David
9 years ago

I think they would also need at least one more streetcar vehicle. The agreement with Sound Transit requires that the streetcar come every 10 minutes at peak. If it runs further that takes longer, so another vehicle becomes necessary to keep the spacing correct.

Rodney
9 years ago

Perhaps you are one of those that thinks that construction is cheap. Get a price on a remodel of your bathroom and get back with us. Hehe.

Rodney
9 years ago

You all on Capitol Hill are SO fortunate that you will be getting this streetcar.

This West Seattleite is envious.

Ryan in the sky
9 years ago

I’m sure people on First Hill are equally envious of the First Hill Streetcar.

Mike
8 years ago

The ridiculous detour around Bailey-Gatzert will essentially split the route in two.

It’ll be quicker to get off at Broadway/Yesler, walk down to 12th& Jackson than to ride around via 14th.

This is not rapid transit.