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Home Working with Section 106 ACHP Case Digest Spring 2004 Washington: Expansion of the Monorail System, Seattle
Washington: Expansion of the Monorail System, Seattle
Agency: U.S. Coast Guard
In 2000, Seattle voters approved a Citizens Initiative to expand the citys monorail system. The first segment that will be built is the 14-mile Green Line from Ballard and West Seattle to downtown Seattle. The segment would replace and greatly expand the original monorail, which was constructed in 1962 as part of the Seattle Worlds Fair.
Seattle Monorail, with Space Needle, 1962
The proposed monorails Green Line would pass through the east side of the Pioneer Square National Register Historic District, and may adversely affect the Pioneer Building, Pergola, and Totem Pole, which are National Historic Landmarks.
In addition, numerous properties that are eligible or listed in the National Register of Historic Places have been identified in the corridor that passes through Ballard, Interbay, Queen Anne/Seattle Center/Belltown, downtown, south downtown, and West Seattle. The original monorail structure and its two trains have also been determined eligible for inclusion in the National Register.
Many property owners along the proposed route have expressed concern about the effect that the construction of the new system and its operation will have on their historic buildings. The current plan calls for the monorail to be built next to several historic buildings, and, in some instances, span the roofs of some historic buildings. A few smaller historic buildings would be demolished along with the original monorail structure.
In January 2004, the ACHP met in Seattle with the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and the City of Seattle; the projects lead organization, the Seattle Monorail Project; other groups interested in the project; and the U.S. Coast Guard, which is considering issuing a permit for two bridges at the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Duwamish Waterway.
As part of the process of developing a Memorandum of Agreement, the group discussed the coordination between Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Preservation Act (NEPA). The Coast Guard and the Seattle Monorail Project intend to use the NEPA process for Section 106 purposes.
The Seattle Monorail Project recently proposed a public involvement plan and schedule for consultation. It and the Coast Guard are reviewing proposed mitigation measures with the ACHP, the SHPO, and the city. The proposal will be available for public comment shortly and is likely to be included in the Memorandum of Agreement that will be drafted.
Staff contact: Lee Keatinge
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