City officials are holding several public meetings over the next three weeks to discuss plans to lay tracks that would connect a dozen neighborhoods to downtown.
The first meeting, on Wednesday, will focus on the Central Line, which would run mainly along First Avenue from Seattle Center to King Street Station.
Streetcars on that line would stop every six minutes at the Olympic Sculpture Park, Pike Place Market and Washington State Ferries.
“There will always be a streetcar coming,” said Ethan Melone, project manager for the Seattle Department of Transportation.
There is a sense of urgency. Transportation officials hope to start construction by late 2010 and have the route running by early 2012 when the Alaskan Way Viaduct is expected to be torn down.
As proposed, the Central Line would cost about $205 million to build. About $95 million of that could come from a local improvement district that would be formed along the route, similar to the district set up in South Lake Union. Property owners would have to agree to pay a share of the cost.
Given that I work in the building closest to the Olympic Sculpture Park, I say bring it on! More practically though, the city does seem incredibly optimistic about the revenue from advertising as well as the savings banked from Metro service hours. I feel like this could open any of the new streetcar routes to some fair criticism, and I would like to see more conservative numbers from the Seattle DOT as the plans move forward.
Is anyone here going to go to one of the public meetings? Which line, if any, should Seattle build first?