The Durkan Digest: Our Next Step to Build a Unified Streetcar Route

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A world-class city like Seattle needs world-class transit.

That’s why at my direction the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has asked the City Council to advance planning for the Center City Connector streetcar. It’s another important step in building a unified streetcar route.

In this critical planning phase, City Council has the opportunity to continue progress on completing the streetcar system with easier access to our waterfront, South Lake Union, the new arena, Pioneer Square, and Chinatown-International District – all while creating a downtown with fewer cars and a place where residents, workers, and visitors can walk, bike, and take transit.

Capitol Hill Streetcar drives through a rainy scene with a rainbow crosswalk in the foreground

Together, our City has embarked on a range of projects that will change the face of Seattle. For a period of years, our downtown will be ‘under construction,’ and we will make historic investments in building a city of the future, like our new waterfront park, a new convention center, and a reborn Seattle Center Arena.

A unified streetcar route provides a unique opportunity to build on our investments for the next generation. The Center City Connector will add a critical link to the Seattle Streetcar network, and provide so many residents and tourists with easy access to our incredible downtown. For decades to come, Seattle residents will thank us for our investments in transit today.

The investments we’ve already made are having an impact: New data shows that in 2018 the Seattle Streetcar program saw an 18 percent ridership increase, with a 31 percent increase on the First Hill line.

Over the past several years, we’ve taken many other significant steps to expand access to transit and safe routes for biking, walking and rolling, to meet our climate goals, and to reduce the number of people driving alone downtown. We’re expanding light rail in our region and now have the nation’s largest free-floating bike share program. We’ve added more King County Metro service. We’ve provided unlimited, free ORCA cards to 15,000 Seattle Public Schools high school students, and to 1,500 of our low-income neighbors.

Listening to and working with community, we’ll continue to expand access to transit and build a city of the future.

As always, please continue to write me at Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we’re doing for the people of Seattle on my blog.  

Sincerely,

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan's Signature

This blog post is an excerpt from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s weekly newsletter. If would like more content like this, and a weekly recap of the exciting things happening in the City of Seattle, you can subscribe here.