No transportation project may better exemplify the value of transportation connections in Seattle than the Seattle Streetcar – Center City Connector. This project would literally connect South Lake Union streetcar line, which opened in 2007, with the First Hill streetcar line which will begin operations in 2015. The Center City Connector will link over a dozen Seattle neighborhoods with a system that stretches from Capitol Hill and First Hill, to the International District and South Downtown, and north to the Denny Triangle and South Lake Union, passing through the heart of downtown. By linking existing streetcar investments, the Connector will provide a streetcar system that is easy-to-use for a variety of trip purposes and serves major visitor destinations, employment centers, and areas where the city is experiencing significant growth. With this new linkage, the Seattle Center City streetcar system is projected to carry in the range of 23,000 to 30,000 average weekday riders.
Earlier this year, the City Council approved First Avenue as the route for this new streetcar segment. The streetcar will serve key Center City destinations such as the Pike Place Market, Marion Street bridge to the ferries at Colman Dock, and Pioneer Square.
Completion of the Center City Connector will allow for a new operating pattern designed to provide very high frequency service-every five minutes from the Westlake area to Pioneer Square, and every ten minutes outside of the core. The City Council has authorized SDOT to proceed with design and environmental review as well as development of funding strategies. The City will be seeking a Federal grant of up to $75 million toward the $110M project cost. Preliminary work is already underway focusing on urban design opportunities, connection options between First Avenue and the Westlake Transportation Hub, parking and access strategies, and construction phasing options.
An Open House for the project is planned for November 19th 5:00 – 7:30 PM, at 85 Pike Street on the 3rd Floor in the Elliott Bay Room and Atrium Loft. Feel free to find out more about the Seattle Streetcar at http://www.seattlestreetcar.org/default.htm where you can sign up to receive updates on this and other streetcar news.