First Hill Extension Possible
According to the CHS Capitol Hill blog there is a possibility of extending Seattle's First Hill modern streetcar line northward from its currently planned terminal. The line is currently planned to terminate at the Capitol Hill Station on Broadway, which is the beginning of a major commercial and entertainment district that would likely generate more riders if the line continued.
The Puget Sound Regional Council included a recommendation for a $850,000 study of the possible extension in its suggested priorities for regional transportation funds appropriated by Congress. Another $900,000 of federal funding is expected to be committed soon.
Mayor Mike McGinn announced in October that this federal funding totaling $1.75 million will be combined with $1.25 million of city funds to design the estimaed $25 million extension. The design process is expected to begin in early 2013.
Eastlake Study Might Be Delayed
Seattle City Council members are divided on how quickly to proceed with a study of a potential Eastlake streetcar line, according to the Seattle Times. Mayor Mike McGinn has included $2 million for a streetcar study in his current budget proposal. The council in the past implicitly backed an Eastlake line as it was included in the 2011 Transit master Plan.
With the planned arrival of light rail at the University of Washington in stages from 2016 to 2021 councilor Tom Rasmussen feels that the Eastlake line is less urgent and is supporting a delay of the study to 2014 with $1 million switched to improved bus service in the meantime.
The study would examine several options including rapid streetcar (two car trains running in dedicated lates) and bus rapid transit as well as streetcars.