Seattle — First Avenue Line Approved
Seattle City Council gave its approval on July 21 to building a streetcar line on First Avenue to connect the existing South Lake Union car line and the First Hill line which is under construction, The Seattle Times reports. It would cost an estimated $110 million so the council will seek as much as $75 million in federal funds to build the First Avenue line. It would differ from the other two lines by using dedicated transit-only lanes.
The proposed line would be operated by extending the South Lake Union line and the new First Hill line (which is scheduled to open in late 2014) to overlap on First Avenue — so cars would pass Pike Place Market every five minutes.
The biggest challenge will be finding the $110 million needed to build the line.
Tom Gibbs, who formerly headed King County Metro Transit, suggested bringing the Melbourne, Australia trams out of storage to run on the line. These cars, currently stored out of service, ran for years on the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar to serve the new line. However, this proposal was not discussed by the Council during the July 21 meeting.