Sound Transit and the City of Seattle will be sponsoring three community open houses regarding the First Hill Streetcar, which will offer service to Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, International District, and Pioneer Square. The streetcar is part of the mass transit expansion plan, which Puget Sound voters approved in November 2008, and would connect those neighborhoods with other regional transit systems such as the light rail and Sounder train. The First Hill light rail connects on one end to the International District light-rail station and on the other end to the Capitol Hill station. The project's fancy new website goes on to say that, "[t]his is an important link in the regional transit system, providing an alternative to the originally proposed deep tunnel light rail station on First Hill." The streetcar has been fully funded for both construction and operational costs. There are currently several alignments that are being considered, and Sound Transit and the city are welcoming feedback on which would best serve the needs of the community. The big debate will likely center around whether the Streetcar will run partly up 12th Avenue (as an impetus for economic development) or if it will satisfy the interest of hospitals (which didn't get the light-rail stop they were originally promised and want a streetcar). For a pop-up map of alignment options, click here. The three open houses are on:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
6:00 — 8:00 pm
Seattle Central Community College
101 Broadway Seattle, WA 98122

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
6:00 pm — 8:00 pm
Yesler Community Center
917 E. Yesler Way Seattle, WA 98122

Thursday, December 17, 2009
6:00 pm — 8:00 pm
Union Station
401 S. Jackson Seattle, WA 98104

The current schedule is projected to break ground in 2011, with an opening date of 2013.