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City of Seattle

October 18, 12:44 PM click here to comment > 10

Seattle wins federal grant for downtown streetcar project

The Federal Transit Administration announced the City of Seattle has won a $900,000 grant to study a high capacity transit project, such as a rapid streetcar, through the heart of downtown Seattle. The project would connect existing and proposed high-density neighborhoods to one another and the regional transit system. The current Seattle Transit Master Plan shows that a rail system on this corridor could generate approximately 10,000 new transit riders in Seattle Center City by 2030. This federal grant will support Mayor McGinn’s plan to connect Seattle’s neighborhoods with high capacity transit.

“The federal government took a close look at our proposal and believes the project is a good investment in moving people quickly and reliably through downtown and to our neighborhoods,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “Combined with rail planning money I have proposed in the 2012 budget and funding from other sources, this brings us closer to expanding our streetcar network and giving people better transportation choices.”

“I’m pleased that Seattle has been selected to receive this grant to help the city plan responsibly for its future high-capacity transit needs,” said Congressman Jim McDermott. “This will put Seattle in a better position to compete for transit dollars, and the family-wage construction jobs that will come with them when Congress passes the American Jobs Act. I take great pride in being able to support continued investment in critically needed projects like these that plan, maintain and improve our city’s transportation systems.”

The study will examine the benefits, costs, and impacts of implementing an urban circulator in the corridor between the Lower Queen Anne, Uptown, and South Lake Union neighborhoods to the north, and the King Street Station and International District Multimodal Hub on the south end of downtown. The selected alignment will have the potential to connect all three of Seattle’s multimodal transportation hubs, King Street and International District Stations, Colman Dock, and Westlake Center.

Mayor McGinn’s 2012 proposed budget also invests $1.5 million to start planning to connect Seattle’s neighborhoods with high capacity transit, including rail. The federal grant would augment this funding and help move plans for the downtown connector closer to completion.

Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance


Comment from Benjamin Hart
Time October 18, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Good work Mayor McGinn! Continue to identify resources to plan and construct more light rail, trams, or streetcars in the city.

Comment from Erika
Time October 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Congratulations, Seattle!

Comment from Richard
Time October 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm

This is absolutely AMAZING!!! I am SO happy about the transit possibilities of living in LQA to begin with, this would make this so much easier! Great Going Mayor McGinn!

Comment from Peter Stross
Time October 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

would it not be cheaper and quicker to paint exclusive bus lanes to do the work of connecting hubs. No digging up of street and instant flexibility if needed.

Comment from Jon Lellelid
Time October 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I am all for mass transit but I think the StreetCar is a bad idea because presently you cannot transfer from the streetcar to metro on the same ticket. Why would I want to take it if I have to pay an additional fare.

Comment from Judith Hance
Time October 25, 2011 at 10:31 am

Streetcars are too costly to build. They are also inflexible, causing traffic delays on our narrow streets. The public should have had an opportunity to vote on streetcars as a single issue, due to the huge impact their cost would have on our ability to get around and to build sidewalks, repair bridges, and repave our damaged streets.The quality of pothole fixing is so poor that the “fixes” don’t last longer than a year or so. There is still not enough public transit to get folks across town. Not all of us are commuters, many go places during the day, like doctor appointments, shopping, visiting museums, etc., but due to reductions in parking places and increase in cost, plus lack of transit from neighborhood to neighborhood, some of us have given up activities like these. that means we don’t spend in town, but do our shopping on line. I wish somebody would put all the pieces together before deciding to allow our city to be impossible and impassable just to make money. There is a tendency for the mayor and the council to cut off our nose to spite our face. How about listening to what people want? I am voting against Prop. 1. It’s spending in the wrong places. I’m sorry the Federal government has made this grant.

Comment from Randi G
Time October 26, 2011 at 7:09 am

To Jon: Actually your streetcar ticket is good for 2 hours on either ametro buses or back on the streetcar, and your 2 hour transfer from a bus is good on the streetcar also.

Comment from Rick Wyckoff
Time December 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Great concept. What if we raised it off the street to allow freer traffic flow and cooler views for passengers?

Comment from Umut
Time December 23, 2011 at 3:20 am

Congratulations Seattle

Comment from A-P Hurd
Time December 23, 2011 at 8:01 am

Streetcars are lovely to look at, but I agree with the comments above: they require inflexible and expensive infrastructure. They also create a bicycle hazard and don’t move any faster than the traffic.
That’s the most important point of all. Until Ballard has really time-competitive transit with short headways, ridership won’t increase dramatically, no matter what we build.
Let’s spend the study funds focusing on the possibility of DEDICATED LANE BRT, rather than producing a report with lots of pretty pictures of strretcars that leads us to spend a bunch of money we don’t have and doesn’t ever get us to work any faster.