Tag Archives: Link

Upcoming events for transit types

Link light rail opening day

What: Free train rides to celebrate the opening of light rail in Seattle (!!!)
When: July 18, 2009 (Rides start at 10 AM)
Where: All stations (Ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:20 at Mount Baker Station)
How much? Free!

Seattle Summer Streets (formerly known as Carfree Sundays) July events

What: Car-free, locally organized street festivals
“Walk. Bike. Shop. Play. Breathe. City streets are being opened for people to have fun, celebrate the spirit and personality of their community and support local businesses.”

Event: U-District Chamber’s Summer Streets Party
Date: Saturday, July 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: University Way Northeast between Northeast 50th and Northeast 45th streets.

Event: Pike Place Market’s Fresh Fruit Festival and Summer Streets Party
Date: Sunday, July 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Pike Street/First Avenue to Virginia

How much? Free!

Seattle Century bike ride*

What: A 100- (or, if you choose, 50-) mile scenic bike ride through our lovely Puget Sound region.
“The fully supported and catered routes offer beautiful views of the communities surrounding Seattle, tasty food along the way, rest stops every 15 miles and a finish line gourmet dinner with free beer and live music in the gardens at Magnuson Park.”
Yes, please.
Where: Check map for start locations.
How much? Registration costs vary ($60-$80 for adults), but proceeds benefit Seattle Bike Works.

*OK, so this isn’t technically for transit types, but since lots of bus riders are bike/bus types, I figured I’d include it. Plus, it’s the kind of ride that even a non-cycling, terrified-of-riding-in-traffic walk/bus type like yours truly could probably manage. (Of course, I’ll manage pretty much anything that involves delicious food, but hey.)

Speaking of trains…

Northbound 42/48 stop @ MLK & Alaska, 1:30 PM:

Train's a comin'
Train's a comin'

More interesting than the trains, even, was the odd encounter Chicklet and I had on Alaska on our way to the stop. A man rolled down his truck window and hollered:

“Ma’am? Ma’am! I suggest y’all get somewhere. There’s a bear on the loose in Seattle!”

Trains in the tunnel!

Starting today, light rail will be running in the bus tunnel–to test the system before Link starts operating in July. From Sound Transit:

Here are some things to know about tunnel operations during the next two months:

• Buses will continue to stop in the same locations at each of the five tunnel stations. Customers will board the bus at the same bays;
• Light rail trains will not carry any passengers until July 18, but will be stopping at mid platform to simulate boarding during the weeks leading up to the launch. Initially trains will be arriving every 10 minutes in each direction at every tunnel station except Convention Place;
• Buses and trains traveling in the same direction will be controlled by a signal system that is designed to keep a safe distance between the vehicles;
• There could be some slight delays in bus service, as bus and rail staff become more familiar with using the new systems in real time;
• Basic tunnel safety is still important. Never cross the tunnel roadway. On the platform, stand behind the yellow safety strip. Be careful of gaps between the platform and vehicles when boarding and exiting buses. If there is an emergency, which requires exiting the tunnel, use the stairways located in each station. Do not use the elevators or escalators, because they will be shut down in an emergency; and
Starting Saturday, May 30, the DSTT [Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, that is] will be open from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. weekdays and Saturday, and from 6 a.m. to midnight on Sunday for all current tunnel bus routes. When the DSTT is closed, tunnel bus routes will operate on Second, Third, Fourth or Fifth avenues in downtown Seattle.

I won’t be at the press conference this morning, and I’m thinking I should probably avoid the tunnel altogether between now and July 18th. I might just lose my mind and actually try to board one of those trains.

Proposed south end service changes

Remember all that feedback we provided to Metro and ST last fall? (In case you don’t: It was regarding light-rail/BRT-driven bus service changes in southeast Seattle and southwest King County.) It’s time for round two. The agencies have published their proposed service changes, and they want to know what you think.

Highlights of the proposals now under review include:

Routes 7 and 34 – Decrease some of the express service during peak periods that duplicate Link service, spread those express trips out more evenly, and increase evening service on the Route 7;
Route 9 Express – Add more peak and midday service and extend the route to the Rainier Beach Link Station;
Route 36 – Extend all trips to end at Othello Link station;
Routes 42 and 42 Express – Replace these routes with Link service, and extend Route 8 along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Route 8 will have more frequent peak-period service.
Route 48 – Shorten to end at Mount Baker Link Station with more weekday evening bus service for the area.*
New Route 50 – Provide east-west service between southeast Seattle and West Seattle via the SODO district;**

Route 107 – Modify routing and improve frequency of service;
Route 126, Route 140 & new Route 156 – Eliminate Route 126 and replace it with more service on Route 140 and the new route 156 between Tukwila/Southcenter and SeaTac via McMicken Heights;
Route 154 – Revise to operate between Tukwila Sounder train station and Federal Center South.
Tukwila International Boulevard Link Station & SeaTac/Airport Link Station – Revise routes 128, 129 (new), 140, 170, and 180 to provide more connections between local communities and these two transit stations. This includes replacing Route 170 with new Route 129 in north SeaTac;
Pacific Highway South – Eliminate routes 174 and 191, and replace between Federal Way and Tukwila International Boulevard Link Station with service from the RapidRide A Line and the new Route 124, connecting Seattle and Tukwila; and
Interstate 5 South – Revise service on routes 179, 194, ST Express 574 and ST Express 577 to reduce duplication between the bus routes and to provide connections to Link light rail.

You can attend one of many open houses or provide feedback via phone or e-mail. (See the press release for details.) All feedback is due by February 6.

* I’m not sure how I feel about this. I see many transfers to the 7 in my future.
** Hmmm. Velly intellesting … I think I could like this route.

Station art (or, Guess I won’t be the only one dancing around the train)

Augusta Asberry‘s piece, Come Dance with Me, was installed at MLK & Othello on Friday as part of Sound Transit’s public art program.

Station art
Come Dance with Me, by Augusta Asberry

Sadly, Ms. Asberry died of breast cancer last September. (According to ST, “Her family and friends rallied together and found an artist, Keith Haynes, who could finish the hand-painted details in a way that would best reflect her style, palette and ability to bring life and movement to her art.”) I am grateful for the amazing body of work she left behind–and I look forward to admiring this piece in person every time I ride the train.

Upcoming events for transit types

1) Post-Proposition 1: The Future of Transportation in Seattle

What: A panel discussion sponsored by Friends of Seattle
When: Thursday, March 20, 2008, 5:30-7:30PM
Where: Spitfire (2219 4th Ave)
How much: $10 suggested donation (includes a drink)
RSVP: events@friendsofseattle.org

After the failure of Prop. 1, we’re all asking: what’s next?

Join us for introductory remarks by Mayor Greg Nickels, and stay to hear from our panel of speakers:

Members from both sides of the Prop. 1 debate, including…
*Seattle City Councilmember Jan Drago, Chair of the Transportation Committee
*Tim Gould, the Sierra Club’s Transportation Chair
*Rob Johnson, Transportation Choices Coalition’s Regional Policy Director
*Greg Walker, Sound Transit’s Policy and Planning Officer
*Moderated by the Seattle Channel’s C.R. Douglas

2) Ride the Lunch Bus

What: A bus tour of Sound Transit’s light rail construction
When: Friday, March 28, 2008, 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Where: Meet at the southwest corner of 5th Ave S. & S. King Street
How much: Free, but you have to buy your own lunch
RSVP: To Wilbert Santos (206-398-5300; linkconstruction@soundtransit.org)

Take a guided tour of Link light rail construction on Sound Transit’s Lunch Bus. Tour the Link light rail initial segment followed by lunch at a local eating establishment. Next tour:
SODO, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Tukwila and Airport

I’ve taken this tour, and I found it profoundly interesting–worth the 3+ hours it cost me. If you can’t make it this time, check Sound Transit’s site to find out the dates of future tours.

A coming-out party

Our favorite rail car had its official unveiling today. Due to a series of bus mishaps–starting with an early arrival of the 27 (and a not-early-enough arrival of Bus Chick), and ending with a serious underestimation of the distance between the 23 stop at 4th S. & S. Lander and the Link Operations and Maintenance Base on Airport Way–I was 30 minutes late. This turned out to be a good thing, since I missed all the self-congratulatory speeches (all but one, which turned out to be worth listening to–more later) and got there just in time for the good stuff.


The crowd holds its breath




Gotta love my excellent photography. I should have made a video like my boy Ben Schiendelman. I’ll link to it as soon as he posts it.

Waiting in line

On my first visit with Car #2, I peered longingly in the window. This time, I got to go inside. (OK, everyone did. But still.)

First time inside

That’s Warren from MEHVA on the far right.

Here’s the map of the stops:

Map of stops

Each stop is represented by a different icon.

Now about that speech…

The one I heard was Greg Nickels’. He said (and I’m paraphrasing here–my hands were far too cold to write) that we can no longer continue to build cities to accommodate cars and instead must focus on clean, efficient mass transit systems. Our investment in rail, he said, is not just about moving people from one place to another. It’s about creating a livable city and preserving the world for our (well, your) children and grandchildren.

Uh huh.

Mayor Nickels said he’s been asking Santa for light rail for many years. Now that his wish has been granted, maybe my Christmas wish has a shot.

See you on the train!

A good day for Puget Sound transit advocates (especially this one)

On the same day the Secretary of Transportation announced federal approval of the light rail extension to UW (another step on the way to federal funding), I was officially introduced to Car #2, the first of the Link rail cars to arrive in Seattle. (Car #1 was initially sent to New Mexico for speed testing and will be arriving shortly.)

Hey, good lookin'!

Sexy, no?

Richard Eacker, an electrical engineer on the project (and, incidentally, a faithful 255 rider), was kind enough to show me around the brand new maintenance building where it’s being stored.

Richard with Car #2:

Richard and Car #2

Me with Car # 2 (and the edge of Richard’s finger):

Bus Chick and Car #2

I was diggin’ the hard hat and safety goggles.

The auxiliary equipment is on top of the cars, so maintenance is performed from platforms.

Maintenance platform

Richard also gave me a tour of the construction progress.

This is an erection truss, a ridiculously huge contraption that connects the trackway:


I’m sorry I didn’t take notes on how exactly this thing works, but I’m hoping a transit nerd (possibly Richard) will comment and explain in more detail. (Google the term at your own risk.)

Here’s the Tukwila station:

Tukwila station

I never get over the hugeness of this project–both in terms of the amount of energy and brainpower required to make it a reality, and in terms the impact it will have on the future of transportation in our region.

Of course, it won’t have an impact unless we actually use it. Who wants to fight me to be first in line?