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Light rail + streetcar update: Broadway extension survey, tunnel tour, 520 tracks?

  • Streetcar extension survey: The City of Seattle continues to collect community feedback on the proposed Broadway extension of the First Hill streetcar. You can take the survey here.

The two main questions the questionnaire tackles: 1) Which proposed terminus do respondents prefer? and 2) What are your priorities in the street layout for the future Broadway north of Denny? Nope, no questions about a possible local improvement district required to help pay for construction of the extension.

Make sure to weigh in on the survey above. The PDF documents outlining the various option are below. We’re also curious to know what the CHS population is thinking. So, sorry SDOT, we’re also asking two of your questions here on CHS.

Extension PDFs

Here is what SDOT had to say about feedback received at the extension open house:

The comments collected from the public were diverse, however, several topics emerged:

  •  Extension Design Option #1 Favored: Respondents favored Option #1 for the design of the Broadway Streetcar Extension, noting that it maintained street parking while also giving bicyclists access to Broadway.   
  • Impacts of Route Alternatives: Opinions varied on the most appealing route alternative, but there was nearly universal agreement on the need for further research into the traffic impacts of each of the three options presented at the open house.
  • Lack of Importance Regarding Left Turns: Attendees rated left turns less vital a consideration than most of the other issues brought to their attention.
  • Longer Extension More Appealing: An overwhelming majority of respondents noted their preference for the Broadway Extension to terminate at Prospect Street. Several stated that they would like the Extension to go even further than Prospect Street.
  • Importance of Bicycle Safety: A significant number of respondents noted the importance of bicycle safety. It was noted repeatedly on comment cards, and the survey respondents marked it as one of the more important aspects of streetcar design.


  • Tour the tunnel: While we’ve been focused on what will happen above ground at the site of Capitol Hill station, lucky KIRO toured the light rail tunnel connecting Broadway to downtown:

The hard part is getting the trains between the floating bridge and UW Station. A tunnel would have to transition through water — not an easy nor inexpensive proposition. An above ground solution would have to bridge over the Montlake Cut only to arrive at UW on the surface, leaving no good options to go from there. So then, how to tunnelthrough and then under Union Bay?

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14 thoughts on “Light rail + streetcar update: Broadway extension survey, tunnel tour, 520 tracks?” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Personally … I favor the extended cycle track option (Option 1) … as well as the terminus as Prospect Street

    option 1 is great because it continues the 2-way cycle track AND still allows for parking which the businesses on the street will appreciate.

    (wish they’d plan it so it could be extended to UW (connecting with an extended SLUT at Eastlake & Harvard like the trams once did a century or so ago))

  2. I clicked on the survey link you posted above and was taken to the ‘Thanks for taking this survey’ page, instead of the actual survey.
    You should probably link to the Actual Seattle Streetcar site so people can examine the documents in full:
    It took me a few minutes to find the page with the survey link starting from the homepage.

  3. I’m in favor of the Prospect Street terminus to allow for a closer ride to Volunteer Park while making it easier for the Streetcar to change direction than it would be able to do in front of Roy St. As for the Broadway Extensions, I think Option 1 is more favorable, because it makes better use of the center lane and allows for a wider 12ft clearance. This gives safer buffer between automobiles and the Streetcar. Option 1 also has less of an impact on parking while it helps traffic flow by making use of the center lane instead of leaving it idle for left turns and dangerous passing.

  4. Prospect makes the most sense because it will draw people from North Capitol Hill who might otherwise be out of reach of the Capitol Hill light rail station and give riders an additional reason to use the train. The more people who have a reason to use it the better return we get on our investment. The Prospect terminus opens up Volunteer Park, the Shakespeare Festival, the Asian Art Museum, and St. Mark’s Cathedral to more people who can take the train from First Hill and lower Capitol Hill. Vote for Prospect and increase the number of people who can use the train!

  5. Roy Street would make the better terminus – it would disrupt traffic on Aloha less, and walking two blocks is trivial. That said, this whole extension seems like a grand waste of money, and the whole local improvement district idea is stupid – there was no local improvement district for the first part of the line, so there shouldn’t be for the second.

  6. If there are no left turn lanes, won’t traffic get backed up for blocks? I was under the impression that a lot of traffic improvements that have been happening in the past few years have been upgrades that include turning lanes so as not to disrupt the flow of traffic.
    If there are not turn lanes I’m afraid traffic along broadway will move even SLOWER, if at all, at times.
    Have fun waiting at EVERY light and just hope no more than one person will want to turn at a time.

  7. conventional wisdom and experience from past transit projects and/or traffic calming projects shows that some traffic is diverted to adjacent streets. What this does is actually aide the flow of traffic on the original street (Broadway) while other streets (12th), which are built for more capacity, absorb the remainder of the traffic. This is why road diets work – always. If you look at the SDOT blog, they’ll tell you about this. Also, with increased bicycle and transit capacity, a lot of those car trips will disappear.

    By the end of this project, traffic (in terms of speed & capacity) on Broadway will be moving more smoothly than it has in probably 20 years – or ever.

  8. Option 1 shows five blocks losing Left Turn capabilities. Also, it’s simplistic to claim that “Road diets work always”. They only work “always work” if your goal is to get more cars off the roads or to make automobile communiting less convenient.

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