Go by Streetcar (Portland, Oregon)
Photo by flickr user BigBerto

SDOT is holding a First Hill Streetcar open house tonight at Union Station from 5-8 pm.

Tuesday, February 28
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Union Station – Ruth Fisher Boardroom
401 South Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104

29 Replies to “Reminder: First Hill Streetcar Open House Tonight”

    1. As the First Hill streetcar is scheduled to go through right through the intersection that was impacted by the downed metro wires, I don’t think the comment was completely off topic.

      1. While I’m skeptical about whether it’s a good idea to give these cars the hybrid propulsion package that’s being discussed- it’s an added expense for an untried piece of technology on Seattle’s unusually steep terrain- it’s a fair answer to the question about yesterday’s downed wire.

        Theoretically, the new streetcars could go through exactly that kind of a problem on battery.

        However, because of the sheer weight of the fallen hardware- people don’t realize how heavy a piece of special work is- let alone the operation of getting it put back up, very likely every type of transit service would have been rerouted away from that intersection.

        Mark Dublin

      2. Agree with Mark. Also, the off-wire capability may mean no interconnections with the SLU line, since the SLU cars won’t be operable on FH, at least not without a retrifit. And how costly would such a retrofit be? Inquiring minds want to know (Ethan?)

      3. I saw four #2s in a row stuck at 9th & Seneca eastbound. I almost took the 2 to the waterfront ecology meeting at Town Hall. Good thing I didn’t.

  1. what I learned at the open house tonight (and didn’t know before)

    1. first tracks in the ground will be in front of Seattle Central Community College
    2. Jackson St will be rebuilt w/new concrete roadway when done
    3. Broadway will be rebuilt w/new asphalt roadway when done
    4. the battery option was not initially planned for by ST/KCM … Inekon proposed it

    5. most (but not all) of the downhill portion of the line will be run on batteries … the entire uphill portion of the line will be under wire

    6. Most of the utility relocation work on Jackson St (and there is a lot of it) can only be done on weekends when the OCS is depowered

    7. Boren/Broadway intersection will be a big project as they are doing a lot of utility work and storm drainage work

    8. Aloha extension is still on the table … but they are looking for private donations/financing as a way to bridge the gap between what it will cost and what ST will pay

    9. there are no plans on texturizing the concrete between the rails (like in Tacoma and other places around the world) … the street/trackway will look just like it does on the SLU line

    1. Did you see if they mentioned how much the Aloha extension would cost? I asked a few of the people working the event, but I didn’t find anyone who had a number.

      1. Hmm, that’s more than I can spare personally. I wonder if we could convince SDOT to take donations to put towards that portion of the project? It’d sure be nice to get it done at the same time as the rest of the project.

    2. I wish I had talked to you there, though I was a bit late. I’ll write a post about it this week sometime.

    3. The schedule is 6am-1am Monday-Saturday and 7am-7pm Sunday. (I may be an hour off on the start times.) So it’ll run full time except Sunday evenings. I didn’t see frequency on the brochure but hopefully ST will stick to its 10-minute standard.

      1. I wish that they would do a “last call” run on the weekends. Ending service before the bars let out is unfortunate.

      2. Sigh, again the agencies mislead us about frequency. When will they realize that “frequent ending at 7pm” is really “not frequent”. At least Link and RapidRide A & B are adhering to the 10pm standard.

      3. It gets worse. “Sundays/Holidays: 15 minute headways (7am-7pm)”. The transit agencies really discourage you from riding on Sundays.

      4. OK, I’ve calmed down today. It’s frequent during the span it runs, and it’s more frequent than RapidRide A & B daytime Mon-Sat. It’s a definite improvement over the 60 at all times it runs (i.e., except Sunday evenings).

    1. Mid 2014 it looks like. The schedule chart ends in April 2014 with all the projects finished, and the rep just said vaguely it would start after that. I don’t know if they have to run it without passengers for a year like they did with Link.

      1. It’s a federal safety requirement. Love those regulations.

        When SeaTac station was built, they kicked out passengers at TIB and the train continued to SeaTac. But they only did that for a month or two, not for a year.

  2. Here’s an interesting set of data I found the other day…elevations around Seattle:


    It lists First Hill at 350…about the highest (I realize this says nothing about grade).

    There is also a link to a site for anywhere in the world to find their elevation (Kent East Hill is at about 450-500ft, which confirms what I find with my Garmin GPS).

    When I use it to map 3rd avenue to Minor and Marion on First Hill it tells me:

    Minor: 47.609438° N 122.323291° W 371 ft

    237° 0.6 miles 1 total

    3rd Avenue: 47.604965° N 122.333322° W 177 ft

    So it does about 150 ft in half a mile.

    That’s a 6.1 grade.

    1. Wow, it’s even cooler, I didn’t have to calculate grade — it has a checkbox to do that, so:

      47.609438° N 122.323291° W 371 ft

      237° 0.6 miles 1 total

      Grade-194 ft (-6.5%) -194 total

      47.604965° N 122.333322° W 177 ft

      So the grade is 6.5

      Meanwhile going from Central Avenue in Kent up to 104th at the top of Kent East Hill gives me:

      47.372634° N 122.202405° W 390 ft

      304° 1.7 miles 2 total

      -354 ft (-4%) -354 total
      47.386166° N 122.23217° W 36 ft

      A mere 4% grade! Well within streetcar (or even LINK) range I would think…

      Here’s the site:


  3. I asked two different SDOT folks about the availability of trip time estimates, both suggested I fill out a comment card (which I did). Anyone know if this has been discussed or published already?

  4. the Aloha extension is completely unfunded. The ST2 funds will probably be exhausted. In addition the track, bikeway, and overhead catenary system, the extension would also require another streetcar (about $6m!) and more service subsidy to maintain the 10-minute headway. Seattle has little prospect of raising these funds for a low value project.

Comments are closed.