Center City Connector

Seattle Streetcar | Seattle, WA
Seattle Streetcar | Seattle, WA
Seattle Streetcar | Seattle, WA
Seattle Streetcar | Seattle, WA
Seattle Streetcar | Seattle, WA
Seattle Streetcar | Seattle, WA
Seattle Department of Transportation
Seattle, Washington, USA

The city of Seattle is developing a modern streetcar system to support economic growth and provide mobility options that connect more people to the places they want to go. 

The Center City Connector is an approximate 1.25-mile corridor that will serve the city of Seattle's three intermodal hub areas, including Westlake Intermodal Hub, Colman Dock Intermodal Hub and King Street Intermodal Hub. The Connector will provide convenient transfers to the 3rd Avenue Transit Spine at both ends of Downtown, to Link Light Rail via multiple Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) station entries and to Sounder Commuter Rail at King Street Station. 

This streetcar project is unique both for its substantial amount of off-wire operation and for being the first modern streetcar in the U.S. to operate almost entirely in exclusive lanes. 

As a major subconsultant on the project's design team, HDR is serving as the lead engineer for track design, signal priority and other civil elements for the preliminary engineering and final design phases of Center City Connector.

Our work began by collaborating with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to optimize the alignment, streetcar stops and locations previously developed during the planning phase. These refinements are intended to improve operational efficiency and ease-of-use for the riders.

These include: 

  • Connection to South Lake Union Streetcar - Optimized rider usability by combining two stops, making connections between the two services more intuitive. 
  • Contra-flow on Stewart Street - Providing contra-flow on Stewart Street will allow the streetcar to circumvent a very high-traffic area, improving run times and overall on-time performance. 
  • Pioneer Square Historic District - Identified options to avoid the removal of the area's beloved London Plane trees through creative designs for track placement and accessing the platforms. 

Additionally, given that the project connects with two already-in-use streetcar lines, we are identifying where we can reuse the same track to eliminate duplication and additional cost. An example of this is utilizing the South Lake Union Streetcar maintenance facility track as a turn-around for the Center City Connector. 

Final design for the Center City Connector is estimated to be complete in early 2016 with revenue service beginning in 2018.