Better, Faster, Reliable Transit in Center City Seattle

A top priority in the City of Seattle’s Transit Master Plan – adopted by the City Council in 2012 – is to increase transit capacity, enhance transit service quality and reliability, and improve transit options for residents, workers, and visitors traveling between and within Center City neighborhoods and attractions. In response to this, SDOT conducted the Center City Connector Transit Study that evaluated a range of potential modes and alignments to provide a high-quality transit connection through downtown between the South Lake Union Streetcar and First Hill Streetcar lines.

Streetcar

The recommendations, released last spring, call for a City Center Connector served by a modern streetcar system running through downtown along First Avenue in exclusive streetcar lanes (or shared with buses). The connector is to include transit signal priority treatments that will hold lights green for approaching streetcars and shorten red times for streetcars stopped at intersections, and will be served by five new streetcar stops. The system will operate as two independent overlapping streetcar lines; one line between South Lake Union (Fairview & Yale avenues) and the King Street Intermodal Hub and the other operating between Capitol Hill (Broadway & Denny Way) and the Westlake Intermodal Hub.

Once built, the Center City Connector will link over a dozen Seattle neighborhoods with a streetcar system that is highly legible, easy-to-use for a variety of trip purposes, and that serves major visitor destinations, employment centers, and areas where the city is experiencing significant growth. The system is projected to carry up to 30,000 average weekday riders.

Last month, the Seattle City Council adopted the recommendations as the Locally Preferred Alternative for the Center City Connector, and endorsed efforts to pursue federal funding for its construction. The Federal Transit Administration has approved the City of Seattle’s request for entry into project development.

To learn more about the study, please read the Center City Connector Transit Study Executive Summary. Next steps for the Center City Connector streetcar project include environmental review, additional community outreach and input on preliminary and final design.