[Editor's Note: This is crossposted at the Rainier Valley Post.]
[UPDATE: Parking lot cost fixed. Ah, the free market.]
If you don’t live within walking distance of a light rail station and would like to try to use it to get around, you’re faced with the decision of how to get there. I’ll venture that most people who would access it downtown know how to get there, but here’s a quick guide to your options in the Rainier Valley and points south.
With the September 19, 2009 service change, the bus routes have changed substantially. Since our last update, we’ve also uncovered a number of parking lots. Details on how to get to the station below the jump.
Beacon Hill Station is underground and lies at roughly the corner of Beacon Ave. and S. McClellan St.
Mt. Baker Station is elevated and is at intersection of Rainier Ave. S and MLK Jr. Way.
Columbia City Station is a surface station at the intersection of S. Alaska St. and MLK Jr. Way.
Othello Station, as the name implies, is a surface stop at the intersection of S. Othello St. and MLK Jr. Way.
Rainier Beach Station is a surface station at the intersection of MLK Jr. Way and S. Henderson St.
Tukwila Int’l Blvd Station is visible from SR 518 (the airport freeway) as it crosses SR99.
Famously, most Link stations don’t have free park-and-rides, due to a city policy that discourages driving and wants to save the land for transit-oriented development. However, the Tukwila International Blvd. station has a park and ride that may be convenient for those that live nearby, or south of I-405. Because it’s free, it tends to fill up pretty quickly. At other stations, there are less well-known parking options.
If you’re not parking between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm on business days, there’s generally street parking available in the surrounding neighborhoods, so that’s a good option for a ballgame or a night out on the town. If you’re trying to drive there during working hours, there are numerous private parking lots where parking is much cheaper than it is downtown or at the airport:
- Othello: One block west of MLK on Othello St, the Safeway offers monthly parking for $30/month. Call 206-729-0590 for details.
- Othello: Immediately east of the station, on Othello St., the Citadel is offering $5/day parking.
- Columbia City: Just west of the intersection of Rainier Ave. and S. Edmunds St, or 3 blocks from the Columbia City station, there’s a $3/day private lot. This lot is closed Wednesdays for the Columbia City Farmer’s Market.
- Columbia City: One block north of the station, the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club (206-436-1890) is offering monthly 24 hrs/day, 5 days/week parking for the steep price of $175$50/month.
- Mt. Baker: There’s a pay lot immediately west of the station (the old Grocery Outlet site) for $4/day.
We have many anecdotal reports that spaces are available in these lots throughout the day.
Each station also has plaza areas well-suited to pick-up and drop-off (“Kiss and Ride”).
There are extensive bike racks at each station. For those seeking a more secure solution, you can simply take your bike on the train (here’s ST’s bike policy [pdf]), or you can rent a bike locker for $50/year, subject to availability. Bike Lockers are only at Sodo, Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, Rainier Beach, and Tukwila/Int’l Blvd stations.
Metro has created a nice webpage that tells you which routes connect to which stations. You can also use Metro’s Trip Planner, but right now it’s doing a pretty poor job of incorporating light rail. For per-stop schedules and real-time bus arrival information, I recommend onebusaway.org. For a neighborhood-oriented listing, read on:
From the Central District/Little Saigon: To go downtown, the bus is much faster. To go South, routes 7, 8, 14, 36, 48, and 60 all interface with Light Rail at either the Beacon Hill or Mt. Baker stations, at all times of day. Although they have limited service hours, routes 7X, 9, 34, and 42 all connect at Mt. Baker Station.
From Georgetown: Route 60 connects to the Beacon Hill Station at all times of day.
From Beacon Hill: Route 36 runs along Beacon Ave. between Beacon Hill station and Othello Station. The 60 runs North up 15th to Beacon Hill station, and then on to the Jose Rizal Bridge. The 106 serves South Beacon Hill via Rainier Beach Station and SODO. Route 39 crosses Link at Columbia City station and then runs along Columbian Way, though not evenings. The 38 shuttles between Beacon Hill and Mt. Baker stations along McClellan St.
Along Rainier Ave: The 7 connects with Link at Mt. Baker, and passes within about 5 blocks of all the other Rainier Valley stations via Rainier Ave., and runs very frequently in all but the early morning hours. The 7X and 9 are faster, but don’t run as often.
Columbia City: Many of you will be able to walk, but you have the 7 going North on Rainier to Mt. Baker all the time. There’s also the 39 going west on Genessee to Columbia City station all but the evenings; the 42 also going there from Rainier Park during business housrs; and the 34, 7X, and 9 to Mt. Baker via Rainier, but with much more restricted hours.
Seward Park: The 39 can take you from the Seward Park/Genesee areas to either Columbia City or Othello Station. It runs every day till the early evening, in both directions. The 34 starts in the same place and passes by Mt. Baker Station, but only during rush hour.
Rainier Beach: If you’re near Rainier & Henderson, you’re spoiled for choice. The 8, 106, and 107 take you right to Rainier Beach station, and run frequently, all the time. The 9 runs less often but accomplishes the same thing.
Dunlap/Skyway/Renton: The 106 travels north on Renton Avenue and delivers you to Rainier Beach station. If you’re near the end of the old 42/42X, or the Lakeridge area, the 107 gets you to Rainier Beach. From Prentice St., the 7 and 7X are about 5 blocks east of the line till they meet at Mt. Baker Station.
Tukwila/Seatac: North of 154th St on SR 99, take the 124 south to get to Tukwila/International Blvd. Station. South of 154th, take the 174 going North to do the same thing. The 129 also provides limited service to Riverton Heights. By February, the opening of Airport Station and the cancellation of the 194 will allow many new bus connections to Link.