Status: Needs Review


Office of City Engineer, Seattle, Washington, May 18th, 1894.

Dr J. P. Sweeney;
Chairman Railroad Committee, Board of Aldermen;

Dear Sir ; -

At your recuest I have made a careful examination into an ordinance
submitted to me, entitled "An ordinance to further amend Section
One of Ordinance No 262 entitled 'An ordinance granting the right
to the Oregon and Transcontinental Railroad Company and the Columbia
and Puget Sound Railroad Company, and to authorize said companies to
construct, maintain and operate a single or double track railroad along
the water front of the City of Seattle' approved March 14th, 1882, as
amended by Ordinance No 484."

As indicated by the title the ordinance presented amends but one
section (Section 1), of the ordinance under which the existing franchise
(commonly known as the "Ramshorn franchise"), is held. After a careful
comparison of the original section and the amendment presented, I find
no difference except that of location of the route of the franchise.

The terms and conditions imposed in Section 2 of the original ordinance
are in no way offered to be changed, modified or extended by an
any provision of the amendatory ordinance. As no cuestion is raised at
this time against the standing or validity of the existing franchise,
there is no occasion for considering any features of the situation except
those involved by the proposed change of route.

Maps have been submitted to your committee showing the precise
location of the amended route as related to the original route, over
the entire water front area of the city along which the franchise extends.
As indicated by these maps, the proposed change in location
practically affects only that portion of the route between Jackson
Street and Union Street, the differences in loation south of Jackson
Street and north of Union Street, being immaterial.

Commencing at the south, I find the effects of the proposed change
of route on the streets of the city will be as follows;

(1) The "rainbow" complication of franchises in Railroad Avenue between
Jackson and Washington Streets will be thoroughly done away with,
and a set of practically parallel franchises substituted therefor.
Instead of two forced crossings of the Seattle and Montana franchise,
none will be required for the through franchise to the southward, and
only one for the approach to the depot grounds. The west 22 feet of
Railroad Avenue will be left entirely clear for the Union Pacific or
other franchises, which under existing grants are crowded out of the
Avenue or blocked at this point.

(2) The tracks crossing Yesler Avenue will be brought together within
the limits of Railroad Avenue instead of being spread over nearly 300
feet as at present.

(3) West Street, between Columbia Street and Yesler Avenue, will be
entirely free from railroad tracks. At the present time the long diagonal
course of the existing franchise across this portion of West
Street, the tracks on which are used as depot tracks for standing
trains, amounts to a practical blockade of West Street.

(4) The situation on Columbia Street is so familiar as to require no
explanation. The tracks have been replaced along the old location.
Although the grade of Columbia Street was raised by ordinance of the
City Council about 2 feet above the railroad grade at the point of
crossing, the actual roadway was never constructed to the raised grade,
although the sidewalks running west from Front Street correspond more
nearly with it. The change of route of the railroad franchise will
make it possible to raise Columbia Street to the noew ordinance grade,

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