First Hill Streetcar

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First Hill Streetcar
Type Streetcar
Status Under Construction
Termini Pioneer Square, Downtown Seattle
Capitol Hill Station, Capitol Hill
Stations 10
Website First Hill Streetcar
Owner City of Seattle
Operator(s) King County Metro
Character At grade, in mixed traffic
Line length 2.5 miles (4.0 km)[1]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification Overhead lines, 750 V DC
Route map
Broadway(Capitol Hill Station)
First Hill North
First Hill South
Yesler Terrace
West Central District
Little Saigon
to maintenance facility
Chinatown/International District East
Chinatown/International District West
Link Light Rail Link Light Rail (Int'l District/Chinatown)
Sounder and Amtrak (King Street Station)
Pioneer Square

The Seattle Streetcar—First Hill Line, commonly called the First Hill Streetcar, is a 2.5-mile (4.0 km)[1] modern-streetcar line[2] under construction in Seattle. The line will connect the Capitol Hill, First Hill, and the International District neighborhoods in central Seattle. It will be part of the Seattle Streetcar Network. Construction began in April 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in the late 2014.[3][4]


First Hill Streetcar routing (in orange) approved by the City Council in 2010, since modified to remove the loop at the south end.

First Hill is considered a regional destination due to its concentration of major medical facilities and Seattle University. It was to be served by a deep-bore Link light rail station as part of the North Link project. Due to high construction and engineering risk, Sound Transit removed the station from the North Link preferred route in July 2005. The First Hill Work Program did a study to evaluate alternative transit options to connect First Hill to the regional transit system. Neighborhood residents, institutions, and business owners strongly preferred a streetcar.[5]

The $134 million[4] line is funded as part of the Sound Transit 2 mass transit expansion ballot measure approved by voters in November 2008. It was approved by the Seattle City Council in December 2008.[6] Sound Transit developed an interlocal agreement with the City of Seattle for the City to design and construct the transit line.[7] Construction began in late April 2012, and the line is scheduled to open in late 2014.[3][8]

Route and stops[edit]

The line will begin at the terminus of the former Waterfront Streetcar, in the International District near the International District/Chinatown light rail/bus station, travel east on S. Jackson Street, then turn north on 14th Avenue to Yesler Way, and then up Broadway, ending near the Capitol Hill Link light rail station at Broadway and E John Street. Currently, funding has been secured for the design work on an extension to north Broadway.[9] An extension north to Aloha Street would be built if additional funding is available.[10]

Sound Transit plans to have 10 stops on the line.[3]

Routing debate[edit]

There has been an ongoing debate on the exact routing of the First Hill streetcar line. A community group petitioned the city of Seattle to run the streetcar down 12th Avenue, 2 blocks east of Broadway. The First Hill Improvement Association, however, wanted the streetcar to run down Boren Avenue, turn right on Seneca Street and back to Broadway to bring it closer to the core of the neighborhood.[11] The City selected a route on Broadway.

Proposed stops[edit]

Name Neighborhood Location Other
First Hill Streetcar
Pioneer Square Pioneer Square S. Jackson Street and Occidental Avenue S. Connections to Washington State Ferries, King County Water Taxi. Serves Occidental Park, CenturyLink Field, Safeco Field, Waterfront, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
Chinatown/International District West Chinatown/International District S. Jackson Street and Fifth Avenue S. Connections to Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel and King Street Station. Serves Uwajimaya
Chinatown/International District East Chinatown/International District S. Jackson Street and 7th Avenue S. Serves Wing Luke Asian Museum, Kobe Terrace.
Little Saigon Little Saigon/International District S. Jackson Street and 12th Avenue S.
West Central District Central District 14th Avenue S. and S. Washington Street
Yesler Terrace Yesler Terrace E. Yesler Way and Broadway
First Hill South First Hill Broadway and Terrace Street Serves Harborview Medical Center.
First Hill North First Hill Broadway and Marion Street Serves Seattle University, Swedish Medical Center.
Pike/Pine Pike/Pine Broadway and E. Pike Street Serves Seattle Central Community College.
Broadway Capitol Hill E. Denny Way and Broadway Connection to Capitol Hill Station of Link Light Rail. Serves Cal Anderson Park. Future extension to Aloha Street proposed.
End of line

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "First Hill StreetCar Construction - Frequently Asked Questions". Seattle Streetcar. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ First Hill Connector project description (PDF)
  3. ^ a b c "First Hill Line - Project Overview". Seattle Streetcar. June 17, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Gutierrez, Scott (August 6, 2012). "How the streetcar construction is already changing First Hill". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ "First Hill Streetcar". Sound Transit. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ Mulady, Kathy (December 8, 2008). "Council OKs streetcar network". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "First Hill Streetcar Project Schedule" (PDF). Seattle Streetcar. Winter 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ "City of Seattle and Sound Transit Break Ground on the First Hill Streetcar" (Press release). Sound Transit. April 23, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Broadway Streetcar Information - Project Overview". Seattle Streetcar. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Streetcar on Capitol Hill plan: Build sooner, save more, build more?" (blog). Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. April 7, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ FHIA Letter to Seattle Councilmember Jan Drago (PDF)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°36′18″N 122°19′15″W / 47.60489°N 122.320815°W / 47.60489; -122.320815