Frequently Asked Questions
Featured below are some of the most common questions SDOT receives about the Seattle Streetcar and Center City Connector. Additional questions will be added regularly – so check back often!
Center City Connector
- What is the Center City Connector?
The City of Seattle is building a modern streetcar system that will provide new mobility options, support economic growth, and strengthen connections in Seattle’s densest neighborhoods. The Center City Connector will join the existing South Lake Union and the First Hill Streetcar lines, creating new north-south connections from Stewart St in Westlake to Jackson St in Pioneer Square. When complete, 5 miles and 23 stations of convenient streetcar service will be available to access hundreds of key destinations, including Pike Place Market, Colman Dock, and Link light rail.
- How is this integrated with One Center City planning?
One Center City is a partnership between the City of Seattle, King County, Sound Transit, and the Downtown Seattle Association to create both a short-term and long-term plan for how we move through, connect to, and experience Seattle’s Center City neighborhoods. All scenarios analyzed in One Center City, including the Baseline (or No Action) Scenario, include the Center City Connector streetcar on 1st Ave. The traffic and transit analysis for each scenario accounts for the projected shift in traffic from 1st Ave to other streets.
- How is this funded?
In February 2016, President Obama’s announced his Fiscal Year 2017 budget, which included a $75 million grant administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to fund the Center City Connector. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle City Light (SCL) will contribute approximately $30 million toward the utility relocations. The City’s 2017 budget also includes a local match of $45 million for the project.
- How can I receive project updates?
To stay connected to what’s going on with the project, you can sign up for email updates here. Feel free to email specific questions to [email protected] or call (206) 400-7578.
Center City Connector – Parking and Loading
- When complete, how will the Center City Connector affect parking?
To allow space for dedicated streetcar lanes – while also balancing other modes like walking, biking, deliveries, and through-traffic – most on-street parking along the route will be removed. We are committed to helping people park and load efficiently by subsidizing off-street parking and working closely with businesses and residences on load zone replacement. Of the approximately 4,400 off-street parking stalls in lots and garages along the alignment, an average of over 1,100 stalls are available at a given time throughout the day. This project includes funding for DowntownSeattleParking.com, which makes it easy to find parking availability, rates (some as low as $3/hour) so downtown visitors can park in a garage and get to their destination easily on the streetcar.
- When complete, how will the Center City Connector affect loading?
To allow space for dedicated streetcar lanes – while also balancing other modes like walking, biking, deliveries, and through-traffic – most on-street parking and loading along the route will be removed. We are working with neighboring businesses and residential buildings on a 1 for 1 replacement of load zones within 1 block of the existing location. Load zone additions will be implemented before construction begins so the load zones are operable during construction and after the streetcar opens.
Operations and Maintenance Facilities
- What is an operations and maintenance facility (OMF)?
The streetcar operations and maintenance facilities provide a dedicated space for activities like cleaning and general upkeep of the streetcars, including regular mechanical maintenance and unplanned repairs. They provide storage space for streetcars that are not in use and provide space for lockers and dispatch services for streetcar drivers and maintenance staff. Noise-generating activities, like the use of power tools and compressors, occur inside the maintenance building.
- To accommodate the increased Center City Connector operations, the South Lake Union Facility will be expanded to accommodate 10 vehicles. We will also construct a new turn-around track on Republican St between Westlake Avenue N and Terry Avenue N.