[UPDATE on streetcar operating costs, see below.]
Seattle’s Transit Master Plan process selected 15 corridors for investment throughout the city, as well as a separate focus on circulation in the center city. It also designated four of these corridors through the highest-demand areas as good candidates for high capacity transit (HCT). The modal analysis for those corridors will be transmitted to the council today.
Those corridors are Ballard/Fremont/Downtown, Eastlake Ave, Madison St from the ferry dock to 23rd Ave, and 1st Ave from Seattle Center to Pioneer Square. It also breaks out the cost of just connecting the South Lake Union and First Hill streetcars via 4th and 5th. In each corridor, Nelson/Nygaard looked at up to three options:
- A “rapid streetcar” with higher-capacity vehicles, significant dedicated right-of-way, priority treatments and so on. Think “Portland MAX” more than “South Lake Union.” Madison St. did not get this option, as the grades coming out of downtown preclude it.
- A BRT option with exactly the same treatments as the rail option (right down to the trolley wire), but with buses and asphalt instead of streetcars and rails.
- “Enhanced bus,” which is pretty much what it sounds like.
Nelson/Nygaard computed a host of ridership, efficiency, and greenhouse-gas metrics for each mode in each corridor, and the results are in some very pretty graphs that I’ll post next week. They’re worth taking some time to actually digest and understand before making knee-jerk reactions, and you’ll get a chance to that in upcoming posts. A whole bunch more below the jump.