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Seattle - December 2008

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Seattle — Streetcar Plan Approved

Rail Transit Online, December 2008

The city council on Dec. 8 voted 6-3 to support the concept of a $685-million streetcar System that would connect downtown to a number of neighborhoods. The plan includes four lines in addition to the South Lake Union route now operating:

• Along First Avenue and South Jackson Street to 23rd Avenue East;

• A link across First Hill and Capitol Hill on Broadway via the Chinatown-International District;

• North from downtown along the west side of Lake Union to Ballard;

• A line from downtown through Eastlake to the University District.

The council didn't appropriate any money for the scheme, although voters have already approved $120 million for the First Hill-Capitol Hill project as part of the Sound Transit 2 expansion program.

Several conditions were also attached to the resolution that could withdraw the city's backing unless there was guaranteed funding and proof that streetcars will improve transit. "The conditions mean there will be another way to stop the streetcar network if necessary," said Councilman Nick Licata, an opponent of the plan.

There has also been vocal opposition from First Avenue merchants and residents who fear loss of parking and increased traffic congestion.


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