Community Post

Mayor approves Broadway streetcar, wants transit on 12th

Today Mayor Mike McGinn put his stamp of approval on SDOT’s choice of Broadway as the main north/south route of the First Hill Streetcar. In a letter to the City Council (attached at left), the mayor cited that alignment’s low cost and opportunity to “re-think the Broadway streetscape” as the main advantages of the Broadway option, vs. other alternatives to the east and west of that street.

The Broadway/Jackson route is estimated to cost approximately $125 M, comfortably within the maximum Sound Transit funding limit of $132.8 M, and will provide an efficient and accessible new transit option. The route also presents opportunities to re-think the Broadway streetscape in ways that support walking, biking and riding transit. In the Chinatown/International District, the Pioneer Square loop integrates well with other transit and connects First Hill and Capitol Hill to this historic district and the adjacent stadium district.

The next step is for the City Council to give their approval before detailed design and contracting can commence on the project. Construction is scheduled to start next year, with service opening in 2013.

But if there’s one consolation prize to those who were pushing for the 12th Avenue options, it can be found in the next paragraph of the mayor’s letter, where he says that he is committed to improving transit on other streets around broadway:

  • Improving transit access to the Boren/Madison area, through measures such as speed and reliability improvements to existing Metro routes;
  • Developing alternatives that provide north-south transit service in the 12th Avenue corridor; 
  • Extending the First Hill Streetcar to the north end of Broadway, to support the economic revitalization of Broadway and improve neighborhood access to the Capitol Hill light rail station.

Those improvements will be studied as part of the forthcoming Transit Master Plan. But no date or funding sources are mentioned so far.

Here’s the details of the streetcar route, which includes a loop up to 14th Avenue to connect Broadway with Jackson:

  • A tail track for inbound and outbound trains on E Denny Way, from the vicinity of 10th Avenue E to Broadway, provided that the tail track section may not be constructed if a route extension is approved prior to the construction of the First Hill Streetcar Project;
  • Northbound and southbound tracks on Broadway, from E Denny Way to Yesler Way;
  • Eastbound and westbound tracks on Yesler Way and E Yesler Way, from Broadway to 14th Avenue S;
  • Northbound and southbound tracks on 14th Avenue S, from E Yesler Way to S Jackson Street; 
  • Westbound tracks on S Jackson Street, from 14th Avenue S to 2nd Avenue S; 
  • Northbound tracks on 2nd Avenue S from S Jackson Street to S Main Street; 
  • Eastbound tracks on S Main Street from 2nd Avenue S to 5th Avenue S;
  • Southbound tracks on 5th Avenue S from S Main Street to S Jackson Street; 
  • Eastbound tracks on S Jackson Street from 5th Avenue S to 14th Avenue S.

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

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