Wednesday afternoon Sound Transit (ST) gave media a short preview of Angle Lake Station. The 1.6 mile extension south of SeaTac Airport will open some time in late September (exact date to be announced soon), and the project is also running $40m under its $383m budget (or 10.4%).
Sometime in late August, Sound Transit will begin roughly 30 days of pre-revenue simulations, with trains running their full schedule and terminating at Angle Lake. During full testing, the main difference for riders is that SeaTac Airport will no longer alternate between platforms, but deboard from the west platform and board from the east platform. Airport riders accustomed to always having an out-of-service train on which to sit and wait will begin having to wait on the platform, as the train will only dwell at SeaTac for the customary 20 seconds.
At an elevation of 450′ (the highest station in the system until Federal Way opens), the station affords sweeping views of Mount Rainier, Vashon and Maury Islands, and approaching aircraft. And in a welcome turn from previous practice, the station graciously lacks a mezzanine. If Tukwila International Boulevard could be described as “Big Station, Small Parking”, then Angle Lake is just the opposite, with a much smaller station footprint but nearly double the parking (1,050 stalls). The adjacent garage will offer paid permits from Day 1, in addition to free general parking. To discourage airline passengers from using the parking facility, the standard 24-hour limit will be enforced, though CEO Peter Rogoff said that no effort will be made to discourage airport employee use. This sets up potential conflicts with the spirit (if not the letter) of state Commute Trip Reduction requirements for the airport, its airlines, and its contractors. Widespread employee transit use is a big reason why SeaTac’s ORCA Business Passport rates are the highest in the region.
In operational terms, neither frequency nor span of service will change upon Angle Lake’s opening, just as with ULink. The primary difference will be the addition of 1 trainset to the rotation, for a max of 19 trains during peak hours. This exacerbates Sound Transit’s shortage of Link vehicles, and slightly reduces their flexibility to add 3 or 4 car trains as demand dictates.
Photos below the jump… [Read more…]