Seattle Streetcar/Culture Connector

What's Happening Now?

In late 2023, we completed the Culture Connector Delivery Assessment. The goal of the assessment was to confirm and update assumptions from the 2018 design, address changing conditions and requirements, and map out a new timeline and cost estimate for the project. A ridership analysis [link to ridership memo] was also conducted to provide an updated travel forecast for the Seattle Streetcar network with the inclusion of the Culture Connector line.  
You can read a summary of the key findings of the Delivery Assessment on our blog
You can find the full report and ridership on our Reports & Studies page

Culture Connector

The Culture Connector streetcar is uniquely poised to be a catalyst for economic vitality in Downtown. This project was formerly called the Center City Connector. The name-change reflects how this new line could connect people from Downtown to Seattle’s cultural offerings in surrounding neighborhoods. Destinations like restaurants, bars, museums, entertainment venues, retail spaces, services, and diverse places to live would be even more accessible. And it would empower locals and visitors to explore our city without a car. 

Stops and Destinations along the Culture Connector line

The destinations are endless:

  • Hundreds of unique local dining, nightlife and shopping experiences 
  • Museums that share Seattle’s vibrant character, history and culture 
  • Music venues, galleries and theaters where local and national artists can perform
  • A seamless link between downtown, Pike Place Market, and the waterfront
  • Stadiums and arenas attracting major global events

The Culture Connector a key element of Mayor Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan, creating an easy affordable way to enjoy a downtown arts, culture, and entertainment district:

  • Connect surrounding neighborhoods to services in Downtown and CID 
  • Connect the existing South Lake Union (SLU) and First Hill Streetcar (FHS) lines
  • Attract people to major events without the hassle of congestion
  • Provide reliable north-south transit along the redeveloped waterfront
  • Build resiliency in our transit system by expanding connections to regional transit options like Link, Amtrak, Sounder, etc.
  • Provide easy-to-use, low-cost transit. People will soon be able to hop on and off all day using their smartphone 


The Culture Connector project began as the Seattle Center City Connector in 2017. This 1.27-mile streetcar connection through downtown would link the existing South Lake Union Streetcar and the First Hill Streetcar lines. When complete, 5 total miles and 23 stations of convenient streetcar service would provide access to hundreds of key destinations, including Pike Place Market, Colman Dock, and Link light rail.  

The road to making the Connector a reality has been difficult, though. Planning for, designing, and then constructing a reliable and easy to use travel mode has relied upon constant assessment and re-evaluation of our goals. The Connector project was paused in June of 2020 because of diminished funding from our partners due to COVID-19. Money has been set aside and designs are still active, but since costs are increasing (due to inflation), the project will cost more to complete. On top of this, downtown infrastructure is constantly changing. With this change, we need to be flexible and reevaluate our designs and deliverables.  

As far back as August of 2019, however, we have received support from the Seattle City Council. They set aside funds and planning consideration annually at the height of our work toward making the Connector a reality. With this critical funding, SDOT is excited to be moving this transit project forward so that millions of people will have the opportunity to use a complete streetcar system providing easy connections between South Lake Union, the waterfront, Pioneer Square, Chinatown-International District, and First Hill.

Map of the Culture Connector, which will connect the SLU and First Hill streetcar lines.  

Map Legend


Proposed Streetcar

Proposed Streetcar Stop

Sound Transit Link Light Rail Station


What's Next?

At this time, there is no change to the status of the project.  

Throughout 2023, we engaged with downtown stakeholders and confirmed there is a strong desire to improve connections and access to the many cultural, dining, and shopping destinations along the existing First Hill and South Lake Union lines and those along First Avenue as outlined in the Mayor’s Downtown Activation Plan. We will continue to engage with stakeholders and the traveling public on the results of the Delivery Assessment as we plan a path forward together. 



Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.