February 14, 2001 The City of Seattle and Sound Transit are moving forward with plans to build a new streetcar line linking the city's First Hill neighborhood with Capitol Hill and the International District. The city and Sound Transit have executed an agreement that includes an expedited construction timeline - the line is anticipated to open in 2013 instead of the 2016 completion that was earlier planned. The City of Seattle will build and operate the new line, which voters approved as part of the 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure.
"This line will be the
first two of 36 new miles of rail coming to our region," said Sound
Transit Board Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, who today added his
signature to the agreement following recent approvals by the Sound Transit
Board and Seattle City Council.
The First Hill Streetcar
will serve major Seattle work centers, including Swedish Hospital, Virginia
Mason Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle University and Seattle
Central Community College. The line will provide easy access to the Link light
rail system that opened this summer and the Capitol Hill light rail station
when University Link opens in 2016.
"First Hill is home to
more than 22,000 jobs and the streetcar will be a great new option for the
people who live and work here," said First Hill Improvement Association
Vice President Jim Erickson. "We look forward to working with the City and
Sound Transit to meet the transportation needs of First Hill."
Sound Transit will cover
the project’s costs up to $132 million, and the city will take the lead on
design, property acquisition and construction of the two-mile line connecting
downtown Seattle, First Hill and the Capitol Hill light rail station. Sound
Transit will cover operating costs when the line begins service.
The First Hill line will be
the second modern streetcar line in Seattle following the Sound Lake Union
Streetcar line that opened in December, 2008.
The city plans to begin
construction in 2012. The final route will be determined as part of the
environmental review process over the next two years. The Sound Transit Board
included the streetcar line in the ST 2 expansion package after determining
that a previously planned light rail station at Madison Street and Summit
Avenue on First Hill would be too costly.
With the passage of the
Sound Transit 2 ballot measure in November 2008, light rail is targeted to
reach all the way to Lynnwood, Redmond’s Overlake area and the Star
Lake/Redondo area near Federal Way by 2023.