Celebrating launch of U Link

Music, tours, games and food trucks are all part of the community celebration kicking off the start of U Link light rail service on March 19.

King County Executive Dow Constantine begins U Link celebration today.

King County Executive Dow Constantine begins U Link celebration today.

You can check out the tailgate party at the University of Washington and the street festival at Capitol Hill station between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Trains will start running at 10 a.m. on a regular Saturday schedule – every 10 minutes.  You can find all the details at ulink2016.org.


Some of the activities to choose from:

  • Take a self-guided tour of the stations
  • Listen to live music – instrumental, jazz and hip hop.
  • Play Giant Jenga and get your face painted
  • Learn more about bus service to the station
  • Shop a farmers market at the Capitol Hill Station
  • Take home a free souvenir while supplies last!
Senator Patty Murray at U Link Celebration.

Senator Patty Murray at U Link Celebration.

Sound Transit is expecting a big crowd. There is no parking available at either station, so they recommend taking transit, biking, walking or ridesharing to get there. There are also free shuttles every 15 minutes from Northgate Transit Center to the University Station.

Light Rail to UW debuts March 19

The highly anticipated extension of Sound Transit’s Central Link will begin service on March 19, 2016 at 10 am.

The new station at Husky Stadium is underground and features direct connections to the campus, UW Medical Center, Burke Gilman Trail and the surrounding neighborhood.

The new station at Husky Stadium is underground and features direct connections to the campus, UW Medical Center, Burke Gilman Trail and the surrounding neighborhood.

That is six months ahead of schedule and more than $150 million under budget.

University Link will add two stations to the current line, one on Capitol Hill at Broadway and John Street and the other at Husky Stadium.

Riders will be able to take the same train from the University of Washington through downtown and all the way to Sea-Tac airport in 46 minutes.

King County Metro is planning a major restructure of bus routes in Northeast Seattle to serve the University of Washington Station and improve connections.

Sound Transit will be hosting a launch day party at both of the new stations. A tailgate at Husky Stadium and a street festival on Capitol Hill. Find out more here.

PSRC will be hosting its annual General Assembly  on March 31, at noon, at the Don James Center at Husky Stadium, in anticipation of the new light rail service.

Better bus service for 80,000 – and light rail to Husky Stadium, too

Next Spring, expect an eight minute reliable trip on light rail between downtown Seattle and Husky Stadium.

Husky Stadium

The Transportation Policy board will be briefed on plans to  integrate bus and light rail service in preparation for light rail  to Husky Stadium next Spring.

Also expect some major improvements in bus service because of plans in the works to make light rail and buses work better together.

On Thursday, PSRC’s Transportation Policy Board will hear about plans for those upcoming changes and more.

The planned bus-rail integration expects more frequent bus service for 80,000 daily riders, more frequent peak service, improved reliability overall, and new connections to South Lake Union, and between Fremont and Northeast Seattle and downtown.


Coming attractions: These two maps compare the frequency of Metro bus service within Northeast Seattle before and after light rail service arrives at Husky Stadium.  Triple the households will have access to service every 15 minutes.

For example:

In Northeast Seattle there will be triple the number of households with access to Metro service every 15 minutes or better all-day.

On Capitol Hill, the changes will more than double the number of households with access to service every 12 minutes or better all-day.

The Transportation Policy Board will also review comprehensive plans for eight cities and consider a staff recommendation on PSRC funding for two projects: The City of Kent’s South 228th Grade Separation Project and the City of Tacoma’s Puyallup River Bridge.

You can find the entire agenda here.

You can watch the meeting live, or later, here.

Countdown to start of Link service to UW

It’s the final countdown for new light rail service between Husky Stadium and downtown Seattle.  Once service opens in early 2016, the trip will take just 8 minutes.

Image from Sound Transit video of light rail service from Capitol Hill to UW

This mesmerizing video shows what a ride between Capitol Hill and UW will be like on the train (click the image to open the video).

To get ready for the launch, Sound Transit will start testing more frequent train service – every six minutes most of the day – in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel on September 28.

Six Metro buses – the 76, 77, 216, 218, 219, and 316  – will be rerouted from the tunnel to bus stops on surface streets.

The reroutes are just some of the other major Metro service changes happening, including expansion of service on many routes.

At the same time Sound Transit is building out the current ST2 plan, the agency is developing the ST3 ballot measure, which would potentially go before voters in November 2016.

Sound Transit gave an update to PSRC’s Transportation Policy Board earlier this month on the status of ST3 planning and the list of candidate projects.

The Puget Sound Regional Council is responsible for determining whether ST3 conforms to the region’s long-range transportation plan, Transportation 2040, and the regional growth strategy, VISION 2040.

Once the Sound Transit Board has adopted the ST3 system plan, and before the ST3 ballot measure is voted on in November 2016, PSRC’s Executive Board will take action on ST3 System Plan conformance.

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Tacoma and Sound Transit awarded $2 million for Link Light Rail

The Federal Transit Administration has announced a $2 million grant to support the development of a mobility and economic development plan for the a 2.4-mile extension of the Tacoma Link light rail line.

Congratulations Sound Transit and Tacoma! The Link Light Rail extension has been awarded $2 million from FTA.

Congratulations Sound Transit and Tacoma! The Link Light Rail extension has been awarded $2 million from FTA.

“The Tacoma Link expansion will improve transportation options for the Hilltop’s residents, commuters, and pedestrians,” said Sound Transit Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “This matched grant can help improve mobility and enhance the neighborhood.”

The grant will help the city foster smart, affordable development along the expanded light rail line. The plan to be developed will include street design for six new stations to improve connectivity for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. It will also focus on expanding access to jobs and job training.

The grant is one of 21  being awarded nation-wide from a $19.5 million fund through FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program for communities that are developing new or improved mass transit systems.


Region takes another step towards Eastside light rail

Two East Link light rail projects have cleared environmental, financial and planning requirements to move forward.

East Link is expected to have 50,000 daily riders by 2030.

East Link is expected to have 50,000 daily riders by 2030.

“This is a great day for the region to take another step in finally connecting the Eastside to the light rail system. A big part of the job and population growth in the region will take place on the Eastside, and East Link is an extremely important piece of how we’re going to support the jobs and people headed our way,” said Redmond Mayor John Marchione, President of the Puget Sound Regional Council. 

PSRC’s Executive Board authorized the change in Transportation 2040 project status for Sound Transit East Link Light Rail Extension and Bellevue Way HOV Lanes and Transit Priority.

The board was briefed on the just enacted 2015 state transportation package that could result in an estimated $26 billion in transportation improvements within the region.

About $1.2 billion in funding could be at risk according to a staff analysis by PSRC.  Should the state proceed with enforcement of a new cleaner fuel standard, funds collected for about $1.2 billion in transit, freight, school safety, rail, special needs and other transportation programs would be transferred to a fund restricted for highway purposes starting July 1, 2016.

It is unclear when Governor Jay Inslee will make what he’s called, “a tough decision.”

The board also approved $3 million in funding for Rural Town Centers and Corridors projects and conferred on the results of the 2014 Puget Sound Regional Travel Study.




East Link moving forward

Today the Transportation Policy Board gave two East Link projects the green light to proceed.

East Link will have a stop in Bellevue's Spring District, home of the new GIX University.

East Link will have a station in Bellevue’s Spring District, home of the new Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), a partnership of the University of Washington and Tsinghua University.

The board recommended changing the status of the projects from candidate to approved in the region’s Transportation 2040 plan.

That means the projects have cleared hurdles for environmental, financial and other planning requirements and can move forward.

The Executive Board will take final action on the recommendation on July 23.

East Link light rail — part of the ST2 plan approved by voters in 2008 — will serve 10 stations from Seattle to Overlake in Redmond. Service is scheduled to begin by 2023.

With many ST2 projects now underway or complete, Sound Transit has been looking ahead to what’s next.  Last week the legislature approved authorization up to $15 billion for the next stage of the Sound Transit system (ST3).

A ballot measure could go to voters as early as November 2016. You can find out more at soundtransit3.org.

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