New streetcar ridership numbers show no growth over two years
On Tuesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan released a new update from the city's ongoing review of the Seattle streetcar's downtown connector project: an estimated cost of more than $200 million, and the new cars might not even fit the existing track.
But there are other problems with the streetcar, too. The main one: ridership.
The streetcar's two lines are still moving about the same number of people they did when the streetcar launched two years ago, according to fresh figures from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). That's about 5,000 people a day in total, according to the SDOT graph above.
Proponents of the streetcar project say ridership would increase once the Center City Connector joins the South Lake Union and First Hill lines. The new Connector line would run east-west on a dedicated lane on First Ave, serving tourists at Pike Place Market who want to get to shops and restaurants in Pioneer Square.
But many of those proponents — including transit advocates, developers like Vulcan Real Estate, and businesses in Chinatown and Pioneer Square — say they've been cut out of the discussion over the future of the Connector.
The mayor's office said it will not make any final decision about the future of Seattle streetcars until a more thorough review of the costs associated with the project and engineering concerns is completed. More information is expected in August.