A recent study of the proposed Everett Streetcar reached a new point with cost estimates released but already touted a high caliber system, if the University of Washington Everett Campus is built. The Streetcar would connect the new Riverfront development, including a possible UW Everett Campus at Everett Station.
Everett Station is home to the Everett Transit Customer Service Center as well as WorkSource, WorkForce, The University Center and Espresso Americano. Amtrak to Seattle, Chicago, and Vancouver, BC, Greyhound, Northwest Trailways, Skagit Transit, Island Transit, Sound Transit bus and Commuter Rail to Seattle and Community Transit also provide service from Everett Station.
The system is broken down into 4 segments, Segment A – Riverfront to Everett Station which would be the initial segment came in at $54 million dollars, $2 million more than the South Lake Union Streetcar. Everett Station is also the recommended site for the future UW Everett Campus. Riverfront is also undergoing a huge transformation of new housing, retail, and commercial use. BNSF Railway played a huge roll in this transformation by relocation a rail line used to get into Delta yard was recently finished.
Segment B would continue from Everett Station to Downtown via Smith Avenue, Wall Street, and Hewitt Avenue. Downtown Everett is slowly becoming a mini-Bellevue with smaller tech businesses moving in to get away from the crowded Bellevue, Kirkland, Seattle, Tukwila region. A lot of new retail, restaurants, cafes and commericial businesses have gone in in recent years and would benefit greatly from the Streetcars presence.
Segment C would continue from Downtown/Hewitt Avenue to the Marina on 10th, a location where new housing, retail and commercial is to be developed. This would also serve the Everett Naval Base and ferry service to Hat Island.
Segment D would depart from Downtown to Everett Community College via Colby Avenue.
The problem now is funding; including Inekon-Trio Streetcars (same as Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Washington, DC, and Toronto), maintenance facility, add about 3 miles of north and south spurs, right-of-way, vehicle and maintenance costs and the price tag swells to more than $131 million. That isn’t including the $6 million to $9 million a year to operate the Streetcar.
Streetcars are better than buses because they attract up to 60 percent more riders, seem to encourage quality urban development and open door for creative funding strategies, Brennan said.
Portland, for example, has seen more than $3 billion in development along its streetcar line since it opened in 2001, including about 6,000 residential units and 4 million square feet of commercial space, according to the Nelson-Nygaard study.
The city also paid for 30 percent of its capital costs with bonds that will be paid back from revenue collected in a special taxing district, which charges a variable fee to property owners in a three block radius of the route.
When Tacoma replaced an existing bus line with streetcars, it saw a 500 percent spike in ridership, Everett’s consultant said.
While some stakeholders and city officials are gung-ho about the prospect, it’s not yet clear to what extent property owners along the proposed routes are willing to chip in for the steep initial cost of a streetcar system.
We shall see.
More can be read at the Everett Herald Online