Okay, four years ago, but its all I can find.
Okay, four years ago, but it's all I can find.

All that’s left is a work week.

Five years ago, all this construction was just getting started. I remember driving south with my friend Andy Walker to watch SoDo and Stadium stations go up next to the busway, see the piles driven for the operations base, round holes start to appear in the ground near International Boulevard.

At that point, we didn’t even know where the stations were going to be until we saw them start to take shape. As MLK was replaced, the trip through the valley was a little different every weekend, crossing temporary bits of asphalt here and there to avoid flattened dirt and eventually drive on new concrete slabs. The track went in last – long before that, we figured out where the platforms would be from the wide, empty spaces between the new road.

Tukwila was the most interesting part for a long time. The big supporting columns went up first, tubes sticking out of the ground with crosspieces – one for the platform, one for the mezzanine. Then bits of trackway were stuck between them, steel beams holding up segments to be tensioned together. Finally the gantry arrived in pieces, stacked up yellow frames in the dirt becoming a giant crane destined to walk from pylon to pylon all the way to I-5.

Five years ago, I had just come back from Japan, I had seen what was possible, seen livable cities where transit was absolutely key, and the timing just happened to be perfect – as I returned, we were just beginning.

Five more days and things will start to change.

12 Replies to “Five more days…”

  1. And then two weeks later, I’ll be living by Pioneer Square Station and can use Link for so much stuff!

    1. And… lest we forget… for others of us (many with greying hair, now) it has been a 45 year wait. At last, at last!

      1. Everyone is welcome Tuesday at Pacific Place. The ST folks will be primaruly marketing and outreach folks – not sure they’ll be able to answer many “operational” or “technical” types of questions.

        Link Light Rail awareness event at Pacific Place:

        WHAT: “How to Ride Link Open House”, hosted by SoundTransit

        WHERE: Pacific Place atrium

        WHEN: Tuesday, July 14 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

        The SoundTransit team will pass out brochures and answer questions people have about Link. Please feel free to come on by!

    2. Be careful on the street in Pioneer Sq Friday & Saturday nights. They see a lot of busted faces up at Harborview from lame fights that break out in the evenings.

      1. It’s good to know you and John Niles are looking out for us by trying to drum up fear!

        If you were actually going out in Pioneer Square, you’d know those fights are mutual – started by drunk idiots – and rarely involve others.

  2. When LINK starts service, it will have 5 underground stations:

    Westlake
    University
    Pioneer Square
    Intl District
    Beacon Hill

      1. Yes, it is definitely a varied line to say the least!

        By the way, I have not seen any comments about the Seattle Times profiling the line and stations over the previous 8 weeks or so? Were you all, like me, dreading that Mike Lindblom would come up with something derogatory? Fortunately, he was reasonably restrained and did manage to find at least one person for each station who was looking forward to Link. Naturally, he found others who were not, but for the most part, the articles were not as negative as one might have expected from him, even if they were drained of the excitement most of us have here.

        I think that Link will become nicely embedded over time with all of the communities it serves. It will clearly help those needing to get to the airport and unlike the 194, it will not be at risk of getting stuck in traffic. Link will clearly speed up the rejuvenation of the Rainier Valley corridor and transit-oriented-development will flourish in time. Mr. Lindblom and others will I am sure remark on partially empty trains but lets look at this all as a strong downpayment on a house as yet unbuilt but which promises to be as a beacon on a hill if you will forgive the pun.

        Tim

      2. Yeah, I just don’t like giving the Times traffic these days. Those pieces always have something ridiculous buried in them.

      3. I made the mistake of reading the comments on today’s piece about STart. Most of it is people bitching that the money was “wasted” on the art when it could have been spent on something else. And one guy failed to realize that the art was put in before the recession, and thought the money should have been put on hold until the economy “improves.” (Note that the author thinks that recession is a relative term as his spending habits have not changed since the media has declared an economic recession).

      4. Yeah, the feds say we spend 1% on art… it’s pretty amazing that our reporters don’t really cover that at the Times.

  3. When LINK starts service, it will also have 5 street-level stations

    Stadium
    SODO
    Columbia City
    Othello
    Rainier Beach

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