Community Post

SDOT recommends Broadway for streetcar – Updated

In 2013 there will be a new streetcar on First Hill, connecting the Capitol Hill light rail station to the International District light rail station. And it’s looking more and more like that streetcar will be traveling on Broadway, and not on 12th Avenue to the east or further west on the First Hill.

We’ve learned that on Wednesday the mayor held a meeting that included all of the interested parties around the project, such as the hospitals, Seattle U, and community council representatives. In that meeting the mayor revealed that the city Department of Transportation has made a recommendation in support of the Broadway route, and attendees at the meeting report that the mayor indicated that he was leaning towards the Broadway route as well.

We’ve made an inquiry to the mayor’s office to confirm this and get a better read of his position, but so far have not heard back.

As we reported last month, the Broadway route came out with the lowest overall cost and reasonably high ridership. Comparatively, the 12th Avenue route cost a bit more (but still within the project budget) and had a slightly lower range of estimated ridership. The twisting, turning western routes through First Hill exceeded the project budget, but provided slightly higher ridership potential.

The final decision on the route will be decided by the Seattle City Council, and it’s anticipated that their decision could come as soon as April. 

Supporters of the 12th Avenue/Broadway couplet tell us that they’re still pulling for that option and will continue to try and gain the support of city leaders. 

Update: The mayor’s spokesperson Aaron Pickus tells us:

SDOT has recommended a two-way Broadway Ave alignment for the First Hill street car.  Earlier this week, Mayor McGinn hosted a meeting of First Hill and Capitol Hill stakeholders to hear their perspectives on the alignment options.  It was a productive and open conversation.  The Mayor is considering the SDOT recommendations and the input he heard from the community earlier this week and expects to send a proposed alignment to Council for their consideration within two weeks.

Here is the presentation that was given in the meeting earlier this week:



View 1st Hill Streetcar – “Two-way Broadway” in a larger map

0 thoughts on “SDOT recommends Broadway for streetcar – Updated

  1. I love the idea of the streetcar on Cap Hill, and I live 2 blocks off Broadway. However isnt it time we address the need on 12th ave? Its a blackhole of no transit. If no streetcar, what about switching one of the bus routes to run up 12th after the streetcar? Such as the 49? It could come up the hill as it does now and not turn down bway but instead go up 12th and then turn down Aloha and continue on to the U District? Just an idea….

  2. I’m glad they’re recommending the most sensible route. The point of this line is to connect the First Hill neighborhood to the ID and Cap Hill light rail stations, and this route clearly does that most effectively and directly, while serving the big ridership draws — the hospitals, Seattle U, and apartment dwellers.

  3. no surprise – the Central District screwed again.

    Where is the infrastructure and transit investment for this community?

    Is the District Council still asleep?

  4. I’d like to see an electric trolley bus running on 12th from Jackson to Aloha. Maybe the #9 could be rerouted once the streetcar is running and converted back to a trolley bus.

  5. it’s interesting that it’ll run down yesler to 23rd then back down jackson. there are 2 areas along that route developing, between 18th and 20th on yesler (yoga, bbq, hair salon, soho coffee, corner stores) and basically between the same blocks on jackson (immortal dog pet store, new cafe already coming, etc.). if this is the route that’s approved, i wonder if that would bring more businesses to the new apt buildings on jackson and more fun stuff on yesler in those mixed use spaces? maybe that empty lot at 18th/yesler would even become a good spot for future development…

    in that case, maybe the CD is less screwed than it first appears…

  6. Oh well, guess it could’ve been worse.

    * = my fav would have gone down Minor to link Pike/Pine neighborhood properly and deliver to all three major pill hill health destinations. (Imagine 3 shifts of thousands of employees no longer using single cars to get to work!!) Broadway already has frequent transit, and First Hill proper is hurting for better transit/commute times. I was even looking at reducing number of curves/running time by bringing it back up to the link station via Olive Way. Ah well.

    Still would like to see the Pioneer Square loop get approved, and secondarily, the Aloha extension. Third place wishlist-improvement would be bring the Jackson/Yesler loop up to Pratt Park (rather than the highly questionable N-S @ 14th; next to 2 sides of a busy grade school!) – to at least throw the CD something resembling a bone.

  7. Metro will be looking at all the trolley (and diesel) routes soon – they’ll have to do it in the context of the Link station opening on Broadway, and hopefully they’ll have a good conversation with SDOT as the streetcar planning proceeds. To date I haven’t seen that kind of cooperation.

    There are many different options for routing service. The 27 could turn off Yesler at 12th and continue north to Pike/Pine. The 60 could move to 12th. Neither of these would require building wire (at $3 million/mile). Or the 9 could move to 12th…or the 49 could do something like the original post, but I’m not sure that there’s enough duplication with the streetcar’s constituency to make that make sense. One of the key things Metro will need to do is look at source/destination and figure out where people are trying to go.

  8. Pioneer Square loop has significant issues with the area ways under the sidewalks, as well as wire interference with existing Metro wire. They may be able to get around the latter with batteries (see the Council testimony before the Transportation Committee) but the former will be harder. Aloha seems more likely, if CHCC and others can find the $$ to keep it in play.

    Moving east as far as Pratt adds travel time to a route whose primary purpose is moving commuters to/from the hospitals (Sound Transit’s primary mission is connecting to job centers) for little gain. The 14th loop is intended to get around significant challenges at 12th/Jackson; if I were a parent at Bailey Gatzert I would be far more worried about the many distracted parent drivers at the school than the professionals who will be driving the streetcars. Perhaps one day we’ll actually have a transit network that lessens the demand for school buses.