. STREETCAR, from Page 2
shops, hotels and restaurants.
In 2008, the City Council determined the next line to be built would be the First Hill project. The streetcar plan moves forward as the First Hill line is fully funded for $132 million through an agreement with Sound Transit, as a piece of the voter-approved “ST2” mass transit expansion for our region.
The 10-station, 2.5-mile line will connect First Hill, Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square and the International District. While there is much enthusiasm to bring the line all the way to Aloha Street on the north end of the line, it will likely be a future addition when funds are available.
The First Hill line is slated for groundbreaking this April. The
construction will take place in 2013, with testing to take place early 2014 and an eventual open in spring 2014.
The next plan to build the Central line to connect with the end of Jackson Street (part of First Hill project) is the latest thinking, according to Ethan Melone, the city’s streetcar guru. The Central line would run along First Avenue, eventually meeting with the SLU too, giving the city more connectivity.
If future lines go as planned, the SLU will share the base line, with spurs heading out to a Ballard/Fremont line along Westlake Avenue and a University line along Fairview and Eastlake avenues from its base in South Lake Union.
When the proposed streetcar lines are finished, imagine how economic possibilities will arise from the ability to travel from one end of Seattle to the other, with shorter waits and nicer rides.
For more information, visit www.seattlestreetcar.org.
JEAN SWENSON and ASHLY KNAPP have studied and covered transportation machines and issues in print, on radio and television, locally and nationally. Send questions, ideas, comments or other communication to