Sound Transit has completed 14 miles of track from Tukwila International Boulevard to Westlake Station today. There was a ceremony at the Link Operations and Maintenance to mark the occasion. I’ll post the photos I took tonight when I get home, but in the mean time you can check this link for some details and video, and here’s the official press release.
Five board members, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, King County Council Member Julia Patterson, King County Council Member Larry Phillips, King County Council Member Dow Constantine, and King County Executive Ron Sims. took part in “hammering the golden spike” signifying the completion. They took turns offering speeches, and I think from their speeches it’s possible to glean their support for an expansion ballot measure this year.
Greg Nickels is the ST board chair, and he went first, giving a speech about how great the progress has been, but how just as this project is not finished, the road to expansion of Sound Transit isn’t either. Nickels is a vocal supporter of going to the ballot this year, and his speech showed that as well.
Ron Sims was next, and he had no speech prepared, and instead grabbed Link director Ahmad Fazel and sort of put him on the spot to give a speech. It was funny, and while it’s refreshing to Ron Sims still have a sense of humor, it also shows how little engaged he is in Link that he couldn’t be bothered to give a speech.
Julia Patterson gave an impassioned speech about how much Puget Sound residents are going to want light rail when it gets up and running. The speech was great, I’ve never head Patterson talk but she’s got a definite knack for engaging the listener with fresh phrases, and not tired cliches. However, I wasn’t completely happy with the subtext of her message, which I felt was that Sound Transit may want to wait until 2010 to go to ballot.
Larry Phillips I’ve heard talk before, and he has a natural inclination for straight and clear talk. He made it clear to me that wanted Sound Transit back on the ballot this year.
Dow Constantine was last, and he strikes me as a bit of an intellectual, and spoke about transportation and land use planning, and sustainability. He reminded me a lot of Ben talking.
So of the five that showed up to the ceremony, it looked like two were definitely for going this year, one was leaning against, one made no indication either way, and one looked completely unengaged.
Ok so on to my other thoughts:
- The trains coming out of Beacon Hill into SODO are going to have a great view of downtown, First Hill (which is getting a little skyline of it’s own) and the stadiums.
- The Kinkisharyo cars that link will be running make an old-school “clang-clang” to notify pedestrians (and cars I guess). Kind of like a horn on a car, but some how much cooler.