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Light rail remains on track to serve Capitol Hill by early 2016

CHS Turner Places Rat Slab for Half of the Ped Concourse.JPG

Workers pour concrete for the pedestrian concourse inside the Capitol Hill Station. (Image: Sound Transit)

With all of the delayed transit projects around Seattle, here’s some encouraging news: light rail service on Capitol Hill is still on track to start by early 2016. According to Sound Transit, the project also remains $150 million under budget with the total cost expected to come in around $1.8 billion.

The University Link line will extend from downtown to connect with Capitol Hill and University District stations. Sound Transit began boring for the Northgate Link tunnel in November, which will add three more stations north of the University Station: U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate.

Construction on the Capitol Hill Station is around 78% complete. Recent work has included erecting structural steel over the station entryways and installing elevators and escalators.

As for the housing and retail development that will surround the station, Sound Transit is still evaluating proposals submitted in December. The board is expected to announce the winning contractor(s) in early March. Sound Transit denied an earlier request by CHS to obtain copies of the proposals they are considering.SiteMapv4-W-Map-1024x807-600x472

There are just four developers left in the running to build all or part of the 100,000 square feet “transit oriented development” that will include housing, commercial, and a community spaces:

  • Capitol Hill Housing – Site B North
  • Gerding Edlen – Master developer for all sites
  • Jonathan Rose Companies/Capitol Hill Housing – Master developer for all sites
  • Lowe Enterprises – Sites A, B-South, and C

As part of the agreement, the City of Seattle will allow the project to stretch to an 85-foot height limit — some 45 feet above the current maximums for the 10th Ave E neighbors of the project. The extension will help the development plan make space for goals driven by the community design framework while providing enough units for developers to profit and create affordable and low-income housing in the project.

Meanwhile, the First Hill Streetcar will be further delayed. CHS recently reported that  service is likely to be delayed for several more months as the streetcar’s manufacturer, Inekon, continues to face assembly delays in the Czech Republic. The six streetcars for the First Hill line were planned to be ready by October 7th as per the $26.7 million contract with the Seattle Department of Transportation.

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10 thoughts on “Light rail remains on track to serve Capitol Hill by early 2016

  1. So Light rail will be online before the streetcar?!?!

    I have to say I get a little giddy when I think about the ability to take light rail to University, Roosevelt and Northgate.

    • I believe the streetcar is slated to start this summer, unless the date gets delayed again, but the light rail is to open in about one year.

  2. Hey Bryan or anyone in the know,

    Ddo you know what is meant by “festival street” on the map? Is traffic going to be allowed to resume on Denny all the way through to Broadway? Previous maps showed this blocked off to traffic as it currently is now. Any insight would be appreciated.


  3. If you get off of Link at the Beacon Hill station and exit the elevators, the street immediately to the north is a ‘festival street.’ What it indicates is it’s a street that can easily be closed off to cars when the need arises (Sunday Farmers markets) or other needs. Generally speaking, there won’t be a curb, the street will be raised to sidewalk height and there will be several traffic calming features. We’ve gotten very used to the idea of not using Denny over the past few years, and there will be several days in the future where it won’t be available to auto traffic.

    The new Bell Street park (between 1st and 5th Ave.) is a recent example of this kind of street.

  4. I’m excited that the schedule is on track for early 2016… BUT if we’re going to compare to other projects around Seattle then it might be important to remind readers that if Sound Transit were still evaluating against their ORIGINAL plan that voters passed, then this project is nowhere near being on time or under budget.

  5. Slightly O/T but does anyone know what plans for safety and security there may be for light rail riders? In D.C. as I recall, the metro closes overnight, and during operating hours there are regular security personnel in the stations and on the trains. What do we have in store, anyone know?

  6. Pingback: Also coming to Capitol Hill’s underground light rail station and tunnels in 2016: wireless service | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle