McGinn, at the likely new end of the Capitol Hill streetcar line.
  • E.S.
  • McGinn, at the likely new end of the Capitol Hill streetcar line.

At a press conference at the intersection of Broadway Avenue East and East Roy Street this morning, Mayor Mike McGinn said he agreed with members of the Capitol Hill community who have long argued that a new streetcar line from the International District should go further north than the incoming light rail station at Broadway and Denny.

"Stopping the streetcar line half-way through the Broadway business district didn't make sense," McGinn said.

The $1.75 in million federal funds that were announced today will help the city design and plan a streetcar extension north to Roy Street, a project that could ultimately cost $25 million to build and—possibly, if all goes well—be completed by 2015.

"The work we are doing today wouldn't happen without support from the community," McGinn said. And representatives of the community agreed. "It's exactly the kind of help that businesses need right now," said Jerry Traunfeld, owner of the nearby restaurant Poppy.

Peter Hahn, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, said it's important to have money to do the design and planning for the proposed extension because "just having a back-of-the-envelope gleam in your eye doesn't work" when going to the feds for the larger amounts of money that will be needed to build this thing.

Hahn also noted, in an interesting aside, that the cycle tracks under construction as part of the already-paid-for Capitol Hill streetcar route may very well open before the streetcar itself—possibly as soon as next year.

(Not settled by this press conference: The question of whether the streetcar should go even further north, toward Volunteer Park.)