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Seattle First Hill Streetcar Trip 1/6/2017

by Chris Guenzler

Now we will ride the First Hill Streetcar line but I will provide you with a little information about Seattle streetcars and their plans for the future.

Seattle Streetcar Lines History South Lake Union Streetcar

The South Lake Union Streetcar is a 1.3-mile, seven-stop line serving the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. Its route goes from the Westlake hub to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in South Lake Union. Transfers can be made at Westlake to many bus routes on the surface streets, and to some bus routes and Link Light Rail in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel's Westlake Station. The line opened to the public in 2007. In 2008, about half a million people rode the Seattle Streetcar, averaging out to about 1,400 riders per day.

First Hill Streetcar

The First Hill Streetcar is a 2.5-mile-long, 10-stop line that connects Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill via Chinatown, Little Saigon, Yesler Terrace, and First Hill. The line opened to the public in January 2016.

Future lines Broadway Streetcar

The Broadway Streetcar project would extend the First Hill Streetcar a half-mile further north on Capitol Hill into the commercial core of Broadway. Two stations would be added near Harrison Street and Roy Street. The project is currently in the final design phase and construction could begin as early as late 2016.

Center City Connector

The Center City Connector project would connect the existing South Lake Union Streetcar at Westlake to the First Hill Streetcar with new tracks along 1st Avenue and Stewart Street in Downtown Seattle. It will serve popular downtown destinations like Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, Colman Dock and Pioneer Square. The two existing lines would overlap within downtown, increasing frequencies, and the streetcars would operate in an exclusive transit lane.

Our trip

We walked over to the Occidental Mall and first I shot a picture of our streetcar for our round trip.

Our streetcar for our trip. I purchased my ticket and Bob and Elizabeth used their ORCA cards. The streetcar then pulled out of the station and we were on our way.

This is the official name of the line.

Pioneer Square Mall.

Crossing 1st Avenue South.

Crossing 2nd Avenue South.

Crossing 3rd Avenue South.

Crossing 2nd Avenue.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe, former Great Northern, tunnel that goes under downtown Seattle.

Crossing 4th Avenue South.

Approaching 5th Avenue.

On 5th Avenue, you can see the tracks of the old Waterfront Streetcar that once ran in Seattle. It's a shame that the City of Seattle didn't keep this operation going because it was always fun to ride.

We continue our journey by crossing 6th Avenue South.

Maynard Avenue.

We cross over 7th Avenue South.

Passing underneath Interstate 5 with the Chinese fishes paintings on the pillars.

Crossing 10th Avenue South. At this point there is a track to the south that leads to the car barn.

Seattle has many electric trolley buses that roam their city.

We next cross 12th Avenue South.

We are going to turn north on 14th Street to gain elevation to climb the hill.

This turn is at the intersection of 14th Street, Jackson Street and Boren Street.

We started our turn onto 14th Street.

Crossing Boren Street for the first time.

We made a turn to the west on East Yesler Way to continue to climb the hill.

Looking down East Yesler Way.

Crossing Boren Street for the second time.

We will turn up Broadway but meet a streetcar on Broadway.

The view up Terry Avenue.

Looking up Alder Street.

Our third encouter with Boren Street. Will there be a fourth? Not!

Crossing Jefferson Street.

Next is James Street.

We then cross Madison Street. From here we go from double track to single track into our final station of Broadway and Roy, where we detrained for pictures.

Our streetcar at Broadway and Roy. We all reboarded the car and waited for departure.

Picture through the drivers' compartment of our route back.

On the way back Mt. Rainier looking down Rainier Avenue. Fitting, isn't it?

Seattle Union Station, headquarters of Sound Transit.

King Street Station. We returned to our starting station of Occidental Mall.

Our streetcar at rest at Occidental Mall. From here we walked over to the King Street Bar and Oven where I had to get my meal to go because they screwed it up. After that, I walked back to King Street Station to get my ticket for the Sounder trip to Lakewood. This First Hill Streetcar really gave us all a better understanding of Seattle's history and culture.