It's a big weekend for Seattle and light rail. On Saturday, the Sound Transit stations in Capitol Hill and next to Husky Stadium officially open to the public. Just like that, Central Seattle and North Seattle (kinda) are connected and you've got one less reason to get in your car if you travel between the two. Not to mention how it'll make life easier for some on Washington Huskies gamedays.
The trip from one to the other takes approximately four minutes and according to initial reports by those who got an advanced ride, it's a smooth trip.
Seattle Transit Blog marveled at the speed of the trip and noticed they weren't the only ones.
Like clockwork, the southbound trip took 3 minutes and 56 seconds, with smooth acceleration and great ride quality after the initial jostle of switching from the northbound to the southbound track upon departure. I heard a couple gasps from TV crews as we arrived at Capitol Hill, with an exclamation of "Already?!" and wide smiles all around.
Capitol Hill Seattle said it was an "exciting ride" and explains the price breakdown from their 'hood.
From Capitol Hill, $2.25 will take you as far as SODO station, $2.50 to Othello, $2.75 to Rainier Beach, and $3 to Sea-Tac Airport. The fare from Capitol Hill to Husky Stadium will also be $2.25. Hours are 5 AM to 1 AM. Six-minute frequencies are planned for rush hours on weekdays with ten-minute waits planned for "off-peak" hours.
The Stranger's Charles Mudede marvels at the University of Washington station, which he says "is among the city's top works of 21st-century architecture."
Designed by LMN Architects, the Seattle firm that won awards for Vancouver Convention Centre West in Vancouver, BC, the building is compact, elegant, and has that wonderful illusion of simplicity. Its pedestrian bridge, which curves over the consistently horrible traffic of Montlake Boulevard, complements the building's elegance. There is a touch of mid-century modernism (indeed futurism) in all of this. And the main structure itself is surprisingly not imposing but very much of the human scale.
Meanwhile, The Stranger's Ana Sofia Knauf wonders just how much benefit UW students will see from the new extension, which is further from campus than some realize.
According to Google Maps, the Husky Stadium station is about a 15 minute walk away from the center of campus. Whether you're a sleep-deprived college student running late for class or simply trying to catch a flight home, having to trek up hills and stairs to get to the station would be less than ideal.
That's an issue that will be remedied once the NE 43rd Street and Brooklyn Avenue station opens, but that's not happening until 2021. By then, passengers will be able to travel north to stations in Roosevelt and Northgate as well. Slowly but surely, Seattle is getting it together on light rail and it sounds like commuters couldn't be happier.
· Light Rail Extends To UW, Capitol Hill Saturday [KUOW]
· First Ride on ULink [STB]
· A light rail preview ride to Capitol Hill Station [CHS]
· The University of Washington Station Is Artistically and Architecturally the Best Link Station [SLOG]
· The New UW Light Rail Station May Be Beautiful, But Is It Practical For Students? [SLOG]
Image Credit: Sound Transit