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A half mile can make a big difference. Just ask proponents of the First Hill Streetcar line's Broadway Extension.

*See Also: The Bizarro World of

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Federal Money On Its Way For First Hill Streetcar Line's Broadway Extension

streetcar-4.jpg
A half mile can make a big difference. Just ask proponents of the First Hill Streetcar line's Broadway Extension.

*See Also: The Bizarro World of 520 Bridge Tolling

These folks are likely cheering this morning, as Mayor Mike McGinn announced that the city has secured $850,000 in federal funds to go toward the half-mile extension, with another $900,000 in federal money pending final approval. The $850,000 comes via the Federal Transit Administration, with the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program expected to contribute the $900,000 once the deal is formally approved.

According to a press release distributed this morning by the mayor's office, "The project would extend the line into Broadway's retail core and better support its residents by moving the terminus from Denny Way to Roy Street or beyond." The total cost of the extra half mile is expected to be $3 million, meaning - after accepting the federal cash - Seattle will be on the hook for $1.25 million of the bill.

"This is good news for expanding transit in Seattle," said McGinn in the aforementioned celebratory press release. "The community did a great job detailing why this extension helps better support the neighborhood. I want to thank community stakeholders and city staff for working to make this possible, winning these two grants to plan for extending the First Hill Streetcar on north Broadway."

Here's the complete press release:

SEATTLE - Today Mayor Mike McGinn announced that the City of Seattle has secured funding to plan and design the First Hill Streetcar line's Broadway Extension. With $850,000 in federal funds secured and another $900,000 pending final approval, the City will have sufficient funds to fully design a half mile line extension sought by the Capitol Hill community. The project would extend the line into Broadway's retail core and better support its residents by moving the terminus from Denny Way to Roy Street or beyond.

"This is good news for expanding transit in Seattle," said McGinn. "The community did a great job detailing why this extension helps better support the neighborhood. I want to thank community stakeholders and city staff for working to make this possible, winning these two grants to plan for extending the First Hill Streetcar on north Broadway."

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is currently constructing the First Hill Streetcar line with funding provided by Sound Transit from the Sound Transit 2 measure. From the project's earliest planning stages, the Capitol Hill community has advocated for an extension of the line to the north end of Broadway instead of its current terminus at the future Capitol Hill Link Light rail station.

On October 25, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) adopted its Regional Transportation Improvement Program, which included $850,000 of Federal Transit Administration funds for the first phase of design and preliminary engineering for the Broadway Extension. By securing the funds through this competitive process, SDOT can begin its design process for the extension in early 2013.

"I opened Poppy on Broadway because I love the energy, creativity and sense of community of this street. This extension will bring more people to our neighborhood, strengthen our business district, and provide a convenient link for our residents," said Jerry Traunfeld, owner of Poppy restaurant on Broadway.

"The process by which this project grew into such a comprehensive neighborhood asset is a perfect example of what we can achieve when the city and neighborhoods work together rather than at odds," said Josh Mahar, Capitol Hill resident.

Additionally, PSRC's Regional Project Evaluation Committee has recommended that Seattle receive $900,000 in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds to complete the design work. Final approval and award of these funds is scheduled to occur in early December.

With the extension's planning and design work expected to cost $3 million through final design, Seattle has potentially secured $1.75 million in federal funds via these two competitive grants. The remaining $1.25 million will be covered by the City of Seattle using local funds.

When completed, the line currently under construction will allow riders to easily travel between neighborhoods on Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, the Central Area, the Chinatown/International District and Pioneer Square, and better access Link light rail service.

The extension project would continue the at-grade double-track streetcar installation with two to three additional stops. The City also intends to extend the cycle track included in the current First Hill Streetcar project along with enhanced sidewalks, landscaping, wayfinding and signal/operational improvements. The extension's total project cost is estimated to be $25 million.

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