Tuesday, July 22, 2014

First Avenue streetcar to unite two Seattle routes

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The Seattle City Council on Monday, July 21, 2014, approved a First Avenue streetcar alignment that will seam together operations, the existing South Lake Union Streetcar and the similarly named First Hill streetcar, where construction has been nearly completed prior to the line's opening later this year.

The proposed unifying link was approved in an 8-to-1 vote. The project is expected to cost at least $110 million, and would operate in "transit-only" lanes in a median along First Avenue, unlike the other two streetcar segments.

Proposed stops are planned for First and Pike, First and Madison/Spring, and Pioneer Square, the latter linking with the First Hill segment. A similar link with South Lake Union Streetcar, also providing a transfer to and from the Westlake Hub LRT station, also is planned. Signal priority (but not signal pre-emption) will be employed.

No funding has been identified yet for the project, though the city intends to apply for federal funding assistance, presumably New Starts or Small Starts funding overseen by the Federal Transit Administration.