Construction of the First Hill Streetcar is well underway in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District and Little Saigon. The new streetcar will be operational by the spring of 2014 and will enable travel between Pioneer Square, the Chinatown-International District, Yesler Terrace, First Hill, and Capitol Hill. The new line will connect with First Hill medical centers, Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, and the sports stadiums, and will provide easier access to the Link Light Rail stations in Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill. Planning has already begun for future connections through downtown to the South Lake Union Streetcar.
There will be 10 stations along the two-and-a-half mile route, including four stations on S. Jackson St., one in Pioneer Square at Occidental Ave. S., two in the Chinatown-International District at 5th Ave. S. and at 7th Ave. S., and one in Little Saigon at 12th Ave. S.
The first step required in building the new streetcar is to move or protect the underground utilities in its path, and this work is nearly complete in the Chinatown-International District. Crews have replaced the 100-year-old water main in S. Jackson St. between 5th Ave. S. and Boren Ave. Other utilities — electrical, gas, storm drain, and sewer — have been upgraded or replaced. Permanent repairs to the roadway and work on sidewalks have begun.
Due to the presence of overhead trolley bus lines along S. Jackson St., much of the work is taking place during the night and on weekends when these high voltage wires can be de-energized. To be notified of temporary intersection or street closures, people may visit the project website. Project information is also distributed door to door and to the local media and is available upon request in languages other than English.
The streetcar project staff members have been meeting monthly with community representatives and other stakeholders from the Chinatown-International District to plan and coordinate work and keep the community informed. These meetings are open to the public. For a meeting schedule, contact the First Hill Streetcar Project at Seattle.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Seattle is developing the First Hill Streetcar through a partnership with Sound Transit with funding provided through the 2006 voter approved Sound Transit 2 (ST2) transit expansion plan. (end)
For more information, visit www.seattlestreetcar.org/firsthill.htm.