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City returns money for Broadway streetcar extension

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The project appears to be on indefinite hold


The First Hill Streetcar’s northbound extension is on hold indefinitely, Capitol Hill Times reports. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has returned around $12 million intended for the line to the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC).

The extension, which would have added two more stops to the streetcar line at Harrison and Roy streets, has been mulled since 2009—back when the city was first discussing what form the streetcar alignment would take.

Eventually, the plan was adopted by the city, and work started designing the half-mile addition—currently at about 90 percent, SDOT transit and mobility director Andrew Glass-Hastings told the Capitol Hill Times. PSRC gave Seattle around $2 million for the project in 2012 and another $10 million in 2014.

The project was put on temporary hold in late 2016, leaving the future up in the air. Now that Seattle has returned PSRC’s money—”to invest into other projects,” according to Hastings—that hold’s looking a little more permanent.

Other signs of the end times for the plan: Ridership on the line hasn’t been living up to expectations—perhaps not helped by a three-week gap in service after a slide earlier this year. The city’s landing page for the Broadway extension, which was live as recently as last week, has been taken down.

Still, with designs for the extension largely complete, there’s the possibility of returning to the streetcar plan in the future. But there’s no reason to count on it.