In addition to the rapid streetcars for the North End, one interesting aspect of the recently-finalized Transit Master Plan is the proposed Madison Street BRT. (Martin did some analysis of this line a year ago). The line would run on 5-minute headways from 5am to 9pm and 15 minute headways evenings and weekends. The corridor is challenging, as the plan notes, due to “the diagonal nature of Madison (which leads to many intersections and odd traffic movements) and the frequency of signals.” Nonetheless, Madison Street is taking on a ton of new multifamily development between I-5 and 23rd Avenue, which makes it a good candidate for high-capacity transit of some kind. Since the 9% grade is too steep for rail, BRT is a good alternative.
Meanwhile, an alternative service to First Hill is under construction in the form of the First Hill Streetcar. While Martin and Zach have already made good arguments about why the streetcar isn’t primarily designed to Downtown-First Hill traffic, once both are operational it will be interesting to see which mode gets the lion’s share of blue scrubs in the morning.