First Hill Streetcar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
First Hill Streetcar
First Hill Streetcar vehicle on display, March 2015.jpg
A streetcar at the Charles Street Maintenance Facility on display in March 2015
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
Depot(s) 8th Ave S & S Dearborn St, Seattle
Rolling stock Inekon Trio 12
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 diagram
Broadway E & E Roy St (2017)
Broadway E & E Republican St (2017)
Broadway E & Harrison St (2017)
Broadway & E Denny Way (2017)
Link Light Rail Link Light Rail (Capitol Hill Station)
Broadway & E Howell St
Broadway & E Pine St
Broadway & E Pike St
Broadway & Marion St
Broadway & Terrace St
E Yesler Way & Broadway
14th Ave S & S Washington St
S Jackson St & 13th Avenue S
to maintenance facility
S Jackson St & 7th Ave S
S Jackson St & 5th Ave S
Link Light Rail Link Light Rail (Int'l District/Chinatown)
Sounder commuter rail Sounder and Amtrak Amtrak (King Street Station)
S Jackson St & Occidental Ave S

northbound / outbound only stop
southbound / inbound only stop

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,[3] and was completed in June 2014. The line is projected to open in summer 2015, pending completion, delivery, and testing of the streetcars.[4][5][6]


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.[7] Sound Transit plans to have 10 stops on the line.[4]

The $134 million[3] 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.[8] Sound Transit developed an interlocal agreement with the City of Seattle for the City to design and construct the transit line.[9] Construction began in late April 2012,[10] and the line is scheduled to open in 2015.[4][6]

There had been a 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.


First Hill Streetcars under construction

The streetcars are being built by Inekon Trams, of the Czech Republic, the same company that built the vehicles for Seattle Streetcar's South Lake Union line. The vehicles are based on Inekon's bi-directional 12-Trio model.

The First Hill Streetcar line will require six streetcars (five in normal operation and an additional operational spare) for the initial segment. The Broadway extension will require at least one additional car in order to maintain the desired service frequency. Of the initial six cars, three are being assembled at Inekon's facilities in the Czech Republic and the remaining three will be assembled locally in Seattle by Pacifica Marine.

Unlike the existing fleet of streetcars, the First Hill Streetcar line will operate using the Overhead lines for the outbound/northbound/uphill leg and under battery power for the inbound/southbound/downhill leg of the route. Production is behind schedule due to design safety as well as component supply issues, and this has delayed the line's opening until at least early 2015.[5]

A streetcar on the soon-to-debut First Hill Streetcar line in Seattle, WA, USA, parked on Broadway at the Capitol Hill Station for testing purposes, looking south
A streetcar on the soon-to-debut First Hill Streetcar line in Seattle, WA, USA, parked on Broadway at the Capitol Hill Station for testing purposes, looking north

Route and stops[edit]

The southern terminus, on South Jackson Street at Occidental Avenue in Pioneer Square

The First Hill Streetcar line will begin at South Jackson Street and Occidental Avenue in Pioneer Square. The line continues east on South Jackson Street stopping at 5th Ave in the International District near the International District/Chinatown light rail/bus station, and at both 7th and 13th Avenues. The line then turns north on 14th Avenue South stopping at South Washington Street before turning west on Yesler Way. After a stop at East Yesler Way and Broadway, the line turns north onto Broadway stopping at Terrace, Marion, and Pike/Pine streets before terminating near the Capitol Hill light rail station at Broadway and Denny Way.


Each of the station platforms features an inlaid map showing each of the stops and their corresponding elevation above sea level. The actual station being depicted is marked with an embedded LED light. Each station offers a shelter with seating as well as real-time arrival information and off-board payment using ORCA Card. In addition ticket TVMs will be installed at each stop.

Broadway extension[edit]

Currently, funding has been secured for the design work on an extension to north Broadway[12] which will include a new stop at Broadway & Harrison St and a new terminus at Broadway & E. Roy St. In addition, the extension of the line will also include extending the Broadway Protected Bike Lane all the way to E. Roy Street.

Center City Connector[edit]

In 2014, the City of Seattle approved the Locally Preferred Alternative for the Center City Connector via Resolution 31526[13] which will connect the First Hill Streetcar Occidental Street terminus to the South Lake Union line via dedicated streetcar lanes on 1st Avenue. The Federal Transit Administration has since approved the City of Seattle’s request for entry into project development.[14]


Name Neighborhood Landmarks and connections Notes
First Hill Streetcar (2015)
S Jackson Street & Occidental Ave S Pioneer Square Connections to Washington State Ferries, King County Water Taxi. Serves Occidental Park, Waterfront and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Northbound only; southern terminus
S Jackson Street & 5th Avenue S Chinatown/International District Connections to Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel at International District/Chinatown Station and to Sounder commuter rail at King Street Station. Serves Uwajimaya
S Jackson Street & 7th Avenue S Chinatown/International District Serves Wing Luke Asian Museum, Kobe Terrace
S Jackson Street & 13th Avenue S Little Saigon/International District Serves Little Saigon/International District
14th Avenue S & S Washington Street Central District Serves Central District
E Yesler Way & Broadway Yesler Terrace Serves Yesler Terrace. Shared with King County Metro routes 27 and 60.
Broadway & Terrace Street First Hill Serves Harborview Medical Center. Shared with King County Metro route 9.
Broadway & Marion Street First Hill Serves Seattle University, Swedish Medical Center Shared with King County Metro route 9.
Broadway & E Pike Street Pike/Pine Serves Seattle Central College. Shared with King County Metro routes 9 and 60. Southbound only
Broadway & E Pine Street Pike/Pine Serves Seattle Central College. Shared with King County Metro routes 9 and 60. Northbound only
Broadway & E Howell Street Capitol Hill Connection to Link Light Rail at Capitol Hill Station. Serves Cal Anderson Park. Northern terminus
Broadway Extension (2017)
Broadway & E Denny Way Capitol Hill Connection to Capitol Hill Station of Link Light Rail. Serves Cal Anderson Park. Northbound only
Broadway E & E Republican Street Capitol Hill Serves Seattle Public Library (Capitol Hill Branch) / Capitol Hill Business District. Shared with King County Metro routes 9, 49 and 60. Northbound only
Broadway E & E Harrison Street Capitol Hill Serves Seattle Public Library (Capitol Hill Branch) / Capitol Hill Business District. Shared with King County Metro routes 9, 49 and 60. Southbound only
Broadway E & E Roy Street Capitol Hill Serves North Capitol Hill Business District. Southbound only; northern terminus

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 Gutierrez, Scott (August 6, 2012). "How the streetcar construction is already changing First Hill". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "First Hill Line - Project Overview". Seattle Streetcar. September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Lindblom, Mike (September 23, 2014). "First Hill Streetcar delayed: Line is ready, streetcars are not". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "First Hill Streetcar delayed until 2015: New plan would move more rider revenue to Seattle". Capitol Hill Seattle blog. September 23, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ "First Hill Streetcar". Sound Transit. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ Mulady, Kathy (December 8, 2008). "Council OKs streetcar network". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ "First Hill Streetcar Project Schedule" (PDF). Seattle Streetcar. Winter 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ "City of Seattle and Sound Transit Break Ground on the First Hill Streetcar" (Press release). Sound Transit. April 23, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  11. ^ FHIA Letter to Seattle Councilmember Jan Drago (PDF)
  12. ^ "Broadway Streetcar Information - Project Overview". Seattle Streetcar. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Center City Connector - Project Overview". Seattle Streetcar. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Center City Connector - FTA Approval" (PDF). Federal Transit Administration. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 

External links[edit]

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