Capitol Hill Activists Push to Extend First Hill Streetcar


Did the extension hopers give any rationale for their positions, or cost estimates, or stuff?
So it can make it to Aloha if it comes in under budget? Yeesh, what are the chances of that happening?
Wait, who said the 12th Ave Couplet was the second cheapest? It's the third cheapest, has the worst bike integration and the worst ridership. Check the Alignment Assessment Summary, which is posted at Seattle Transit Blog.

The Aloha Extension seems possible now that the 2-way Broadway alignment has proven to be superior in every metric. The only negative to 2-way Broadway is the removal of one entire side of the street from parking, but that's part of the Capitol Hill strategic plan, isn't it?
I live in the area and the "north to Aloha" plan seems bizarre. Metro route 49 is a super reliable electric trolley which travels the same route every 15 minutes and goes on to downtown or the U district. The streetcar tracks and stations occupy valuable road space and are a hazard for bicycle commuters.

I would rather see the attention put on saving the electric trolleys.

If the streetcar duplicates existing Metro routes it could lead to Metro service being cut in the area (at least if the usual sketchy financing practices are being used).
@3, removing street-side parking kills streets.
@5: And yet, SDOT and the Cap Hill Chamber both said that it would boost business and pedestrian activity if they cut down parking on one side. Probably because so many people already live within walking distance.

Unless you've got other studies relevant to the Cap Hill area and specifically Broadway that utilize current commercial density, population and 5, 10, 15 and 20 year population projections.
Spock @4, I wouldn't be surprised the 49 route eventually got scrapped thanks to a little something called Central Link light rail. And speaking as someone who has ridden the 49, I say good riddance.
The Cap Hill Community Council is currently lobbying the City Council to directly fund a study of the Aloha Extension and to eventually find a source of funding for the construction itself. This could be direct city money, a Local Improvement District, federal grants, or could even be part of Mayor McGinn's light rail measure later this year. If the City Council decides they want it to happen, they can find the money (roughly $25 million). As far as the 49 goes, I would imagine after light rail opens to UW it will reduce in frequency and they could even move it over to 12th to bypass Broadway so its not redundant with the streetcar. The streetcar should go north to Aloha because people from the First Hill will then easily be able to take it to the main retail part of Broadway, and that will drive ridership and help businesses on north Broadway.
Two-way Broadway is the way to go, as far north as funding will allow. It t can always be extended further north later on.

Do NOT do one-way loops on a busy street like Broadway. Those work fine at the end of a route, but make no sense at all for Broadway. Broadway is a destination, sure, but it's a corridor and a transfer point. Besides, it's more expensive because you have to tear up two streets instead of one, and then you're stuck with a loop that takes half your riders out of their way.
The Aloha extension has been part of the discussion since this line was first conceived and is a natural terminus; it is where both the 60 and the 9 end and originally had a light rail station.

The additional costs, as zef81 points out, are around $25 million. The Capitol Hill Community Council is pushing first and foremost for at least a preliminary study of the extension. This would make it eligible for federal grants, one of which we have already missed because we didn't have these studies. It also makes much more sense to extend to Aloha now, when major construction is already underway, rather than later.

In terms of the street configuration along Broadway, I would refer you to the full Capitol Hill Community Council proposal:…

One of the main motivations behind the CHCC proposal is to ensure that Broadway is emphasized as a destination rather than a thoroughfare. Instead of removing any parking, this plan suggests removing the center turn lane and repurposing this space on the side for pedestrians and cyclists. Yes, cars may move a bit slower while riding on Broadway, but the experience for everyone once they get there will be significantly enhanced. Many business owners understand this and both the BIA and the Chamber have endorsed the CHCC plan.

aren't they not even building the line past madison or pike so until the light rail station is in place? so isn't the whole "extend to aloha" thing kind of moot until 2016 or so?
@11: This is uncertain. SDOT says if the station work prevents the streetcar from being built around Denny and John, there will be an interim terminus at Pine or Pike. However, SDOT is working with Sound Transit to try to make sure the entire line can open in 2013 as scheduled. The main thing that would impact a 2-way Broadway alignment is the cut-and-cover tunnel they are building to connect the station entrances on either side of Broadway. If they build that tunnel before 2013 then the streetcar could open on schedule.



for a station.

Stations don't meander over the streets.

Get real.
@3, the centers of dozens of European cities disagree with you on that. It's fine not to have lots of street parking as long as transit and bikes fill in the extra lane, not high-speed car traffic.
The Community Council's memo regarding extension to Aloha, staying on Broadway north of Union, and reclaiming the street has been endorsed by the Cal Anderson Park Alliance, the Broadway Improvement Area, and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. The Capitol Hill Neighborhood Plan Stewardship Council also intends to endorse it.
i mean, if they're willing to endorse a LID to pay for it, then I think by all means go forward with it. they're getting something great out of it, so paying for at least half of it should be a no-brainer. and thanks, @12, for the info.
Couple clarifications:


"Malone said that the project doesn't have any money for the E Aloha St extension, and that Sound Transit can't use funds for it."

This is not entirely accurate. Sound Transit transferred responsibility for the project to the City of Seattle through an interlocal agreement. The agreement sets the maximum funds that Sound Transit is prepared to invest in this project ($133 million) and specifies general parameters as to what the funds can be used for. The scope of work is defined in Section 1 - Project Scope:

"The Project consists of the design and construction (directly or by others under the City' s direction) of the Project as set forth in the "Minimum Scope of Work" which is attached hereto as Exhibit A, and is made part of this Agreement by this reference. The Project includes management and implementation of all actions required to design, construct, equip and operate the Project. The Project may also include design and construction of the streetcar connector north of the Capitol Hill Station at John Street or beyond the International District/Chinatown Station at 5th Avenue S, subject to the approval and concurrence of Sound Transit's Board and the funding limitations provided in Section 3."

Emphasis added.

The funding limitations the paragraph refers to are the $133 million project cap. The current estimates for the two-way broadway alignment are $122 million. The agreement states that that $11 million gap can be used for toward the extension if the Sound Transit Board were to sign off on the idea. The extension would likely cost $25 million, but ST funds could get us half way there. Ethan is correct that until the ST board signs off on the idea, the money cannot be used for the extension, but the groundwork has already been laid in the interlocal agreement.

Furthermore, every single study of the First Hill streetcar project has always included the aloha extension. Starting with the 2005 scoping study, the 2006 conceptual design study, the 2007 First Hill connector alternatives summary report and the City of Seattle's official streetcar network master plan. Everyone who has ever looked at this project in depth has agreed that Aloha St. is the logical northern terminus of the project.

Because of this, there is little reason to doubt that Sound Transit would approve using the funds for the extension. ST's concern is that the project stays under the budget cap of $133 million. So long as their contribution is capped, they should have little objection to going north.
How about chucking out the 12th Ave Couplet and studying a real compromise?

12th Ave north to Columbia St. and then turn and climb through the SU campus to Broadway and then turn to provide Broadway service from Swedish to Aloha St.?
How about chucking out the 12th Ave Couplet and studying a real compromise?

12th Ave north to Columbia St. and then turn and climb through the SU campus to Broadway and then turn to provide Broadway service from Swedish to Aloha St.?
@5 - "removing street-side parking kills streets."

You are correct about this. This is why the Community Council's proposal calls for removing the center turn lane and downsizing Broadway to a two-lane street rather than removing a lane of parking. Community Council's proposal was not included in this round of drawings from SDOT because the current drawings had already been developed when the proposal was submitted.

@6 - "And yet, SDOT and the Cap Hill Chamber both said that it would boost business and pedestrian activity if they cut down parking on one side. Probably because so many people already live within walking distance."

This is absolutely not true. The Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the Community Council's proposed alignment, which maintains on-street parking on both sides of the street. In fact, one of the primary reasons the chamber endorsed our proposal was because it does maintain the on-street parking. Our proposal can be found here.

SDOT has not done any economic impact analysis on their current proposals that remove a lane of parking. No one has said that removing a lane of parking would boost business.
"Activists"? Really? Going to long boring city-sponsored meetings to give vocal input that can immediately be disregarded and is always non-binding makes you an "activist?" Talk about dumbing down the city. Raise your standards.