Online retailing giant recently made Seattle an offer (we think) it can’t refuse: $5.5 million to help pay for a new streetcar and bicycling infrastructure improvements that would help its employees get to work at the proposed high-rise Denny Triangle campus.

Amazon’s plan involves building a trio of towers, each 38 stories high, a few blocks south of its still-growing South Lake Union campus. In order to do this, they would have to co-opt city-owned alley space. Additionally, many fear that the company’s 12,000 new employees might have a noticeable impact on area traffic as they make their way to the campus each day. Amazon hopes it can get at least 75 percent of those employees to use public transit instead of driving, but that could still lead to delays and crowded streetcars for locals who normally do the same.

To reduce this congestion, Amazon wants to help the city add a fourth rail car to its existing fleet. The company would foot the $3.7 million bill for the car, and help pay its operating costs for 10 years, allowing service every 10 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Since Seattle’s a pretty bike-crazy town, Amazon figures lots of employees will want to try out their new fixies on the way to work as well. To that end, the company wants to pay an additional $250,000 for the addition of bike lanes on both sides of Seventh Avenue between its buildings, according to Marybeth Turner, a city transportation spokeswoman. Amazon would contribute $150,000 to a future triangular park nearby.

All in all, it seems that Amazon is taking a fairly benevolent route in hopes of getting its new campus approved. But some critics say the $5.5 million is nothing compared to what the company will profit from the new development. John Fox, leader of the Seattle Displacement Coalition, suggests that the city should charge the company more to offset the impact on traffic.

If you live in the Seattle area, and want to know more about how these changes could affect you, the Amazon proposal goes to a public hearing before the City Council’s Transportation Committee at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. A council vote is expected in mid-December.

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