Tuesday evening’s streetcar meeting quickly became a standing-room-only event as people trickled in after the meeting got underway. Marni Heffron of Heffron Transportation Consulting presented the Streetcar Network Concept. The network includes proposed routes to U District, Lower Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Downtown and Ballard Commons (through Fremont) for a total combined cost of $685 million. The Ballard route would cost $160 million.
There were quite a few questions during the comment period, including why there was no east-west route from Ballard to the U District, in effect “closing the triangle” that the streetcar lines create. Another asked why the Ballard-Fremont line would travel along Westlake Ave. instead of the more populated Dexter Ave. Heffron pointed out that Dexter is a very bicycle-friendly road and they were trying to give streetcar riders a different option.
(Artist’s rendering of the streetcar line along Ballard Ave. in front of Conor Byrne.) Councilwoman Jan Drago said that these proposed lines were not set in stone and more analysis is planned. One person wondered why the city doesn’t just add more buses instead of building a multi-million dollar system. Drago said her goal was to create more transportation options for people because not everyone wants to take the bus and not everyone can ride bikes.
If you weren’t able to attend the meeting or have thoughts on the streetcar, you are free to email the city council or attend either of the next two forums. You can also download today’s presentation (with more cost information).