While answering a different question of mine, ST spokesman Bruce Gray shared this interesting bit of news:

The Port has plans for a new hotel in the space between the station and the terminal where the old rental car service facility was located. As part of that construction, a new moving sidewalk could be built to help folks get from the terminal to our station.

I emphasize the word “could” — I’ll be digging into this possibility into the future — but anything to make connections easier is welcome.

However, I think the most recent STB comment thread on this subject illustrates a common pathology of internet commentary. The positions drifted to extremes: either the location of the station is a travesty, a clear manifestation of malice or incompetence; or, the placement is optimal, ideally suited for access to a new neighborhood in Seatac and a direct shot to South King County.

I submit to you that it is neither. Of course it would be better if the station were a short footbridge away from the terminal, like Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport station. Even though Seatac’s development plans, or the aforementioned moving walkway, might mitigate that shortcoming, the mild inconvenience remains.

But it’s just that: a mild inconvenience for most people. A few minutes’ walk is a big deal for a transfer. Missing a connection to a bus that runs every 15 minutes – or more – due to an inefficient transfer (e.g. Mt. Baker) is a horrible feeling. However, we are conditioned to arrive early for flights, and the airport is not a transfer point in the conventional sense.

I do this walk all the time, and as Mr. Gray points out, I’m not alone: the station is the system’s second most popular, with 3 million visitors last year, the vast majority of which were using it for airport access. On the other hand, I tend to use the airlines at the North end of the terminals, and I travel light enough that I can use the airport subway to get to the other end if need be. Obviously there is some segment of the airport market for which that isn’t true, which is why improvements are worthwhile.

The rest of Gray’s remarks regarding station placement are below the jump.

It boils down to – cost, airport operations, City of SeaTac land use plans and system speeds.

We initially looked at an option to put the station above the pedestrian bridges from the garage to the terminal. High costs, major construction and potential operational impacts to airport access and the tight curves into and out of that area sunk those plans.  The Port also will need to expand the terminal at some point and we can’t be in the way of that.

We’ve also always had our eye on S. 200th and beyond. Tossing in what amounts to a side spur to get closer to the terminal door adds travel time going south or continuing north.

Which brings us to the City of SeaTac. They had a strong interest in the station serving the areas to the east of the airport. At the time, SeaTac had plans for a new “city center” in the area just east of the station. While those plans may be on hold, the station is still able to effectively serve SeaTac and the surrounding area better than it could if it were tucked against the terminal.

We think our location serves airport travelers’ needs very well. It’s the second busiest station on the entire line with almost 3 million people passing through last year…

[The port] couldn’t fit a moving sidewalk into the garage without impacting traffic flow on the floor below the walkway.

134 Replies to “The Walk from Seatac”

  1. It would be nice if there was some sort of elevator or starway from the middle of the bridge across sr99 to the west side of Pacific Highway, where you can board the southbound A-line and 180. It doesn’t make that much sense to have to cross the street twice to connect to RapidRide from the train.

    1. There’s not enough room unless you take away a lane of the Airport Expressway, which is not going to happen.

      1. Actually, since the sidewalk at the westside stop does not continue north, an elevator could conceivably be put at the end of that sidewalk.

  2. Would building a 5-star hotel between the terminal and the station impede the possibility of installing bus stops west of the station?

    1. Doubt it. There’s still the ramp from the garage to the Expressway, and the access road to the station.

      A five star seems out of place compared to the other hotels in the area and the proximity to the airport. I’d say a two or three star.

      1. I’m not terribly worried about whether the hotel ruins the 2-star character of the neighborhood. Indeed, tourists probably want a choice of stars. If I were a politician wanting to create jobs, I’d want the new hotel to be a pricey, swanky union hotel, with good-paying jobs.

        That said, I’m not convinced that a hotel is a good use of that space, compared to, say, expanding the airport itself.

        Nor am I convinced that that is a good space to put a hotel for the tourists likely to use it. Rather, we might want more hotels downtown, but of the union variety that isn’t dragging down the wage scale and forcing its employees to commute long distances and fill up lots of seats in buses to get to those jobs. The demand for downtown hotel space is nearly insatiable, while vacancies near the airport seem to be plentiful even on the busiest of weekends. At least, that’s been my experience when I’ve needed to book a hotel for visitors.

        The one advantage of the hotel next door to the airport is a place for tourists to crash after Link stops running. Out of curiosity, does ST’s long-term operational plan have Link closing down 3-5 hours each night in perpetuity?

    2. Very few of the downtown hotels are union. The Westin is the only major one.

  3. While it would likely have added cost to put the light rail stop at the terminal, I don’t agree with the argument that it would have meant additional travel time to get further south. The light rail line already arrived along the airport freeway. There was certainly a routing that brought it closer to the terminal and still would have permitted it to continue southbound.

    I agree that the station location is only a minor inconvenience for the able-bodied. It’s a greater inconvenience for the elderly. And then again, the ST & Metro fare & schedule policies, with no daypass for visitors, and no published schedules, and the $5 ORCA fee are also inconveniences for visitors that no one seems to want to bother to address.

    1. If you run it on top of or below the Arrivals/Departures drives, the extra time would be spend negotiating the curves, which means additional time for those not boarding or alighting at the airport terminal.

    2. Hey Carl, us old farts get around just fine and 3 million boardings per year is mind boggling for an international airport. The Port actually did us a favor on the ClubMed memberships.

  4. “ST & Metro fare & schedule policies, with no daypass for visitors, and no published schedules, and the $5 ORCA fee are also inconveniences for visitors that no one seems to want to bother to address”
    And these are so easy to fix, if we had the will and the leadership. We simply are not moving that right-of-way, period.
    Thanks Carl.

  5. I’ve never really made a stink about the location. Considering the alignment as a whole, it’s a terribly minor inconvenience to riders. Adding moving walkways is expensive and frankly unnecessary. Walk people. I’d rather them spend money on fully enclosing the walkway so that it’s not so freaking cold or hot and changing the quality of the surface so that it’s not so bumpy for luggage. Those are the real issues, not walking time. Also, better directional signage would be helpful. Let’s make it as abundantly clear to visitors that we have frequent light-rail, post general timetables in all arrivals halls.

    1. I usually take Link to Sea-Tac. It’s the best bargain…even for me in Shoreline. The shape of the pedestrian corridor forces those that have to check into international flights or go directly to flights at concourse A (already checked in) to walk around the parking facility. …or through the parked cars dodging cars hightailing it to pick up friends or loved ones.

      While I’m sure that you want everyone to be in tiptop shape, they aren’t. Transit is supposed to be convenient and accessible. For those that are elderly or have mobility issues, the walk is too long and inaccessable. This should have been addressed. I’ve seen far too many riders stop along the way because they were in pain or exhausted. Remember, some of these folks are hauling luggage. They aren’t as young nor as fit as you.

      On another note, I agree a timetable should be available. …and it should also provide departure time for the 574 leaving the bus pullout near the Int’l Arrivals Hall.

      1. Those with mobility issues could use one of the many wheelchairs I see scattered about the airport.

    2. I don’t mind the length of the walk, as you end up walking at least that far to get from the ticket counters to the terminal anyway. (I forget are there rental carts at the station for heavy bags?)

      The things I do mind are:

      (1) The incredibly bad signage.

      (2) Having to walk in the exposed side of a building when it’s cold or windy.

      (3) Having to breathe car exhaust fumes in a parking garage.

    3. The time for the walk is important to me and many others, especially considering that many factors like the security check wait times can be so variable. (and I can’t run) The only way to ensure that you make it through on time is to get there really early which just creates even more idle time in the terminal. And this is from somebody who does 3-5 round-trip flights a *week*. The time really adds up. Considering that most people who arrive or depart using Link will likely be outside for at least for one other portion of their trip, a cold breeze without even any falling rain is pretty trivial. I don’t have a problem with walking in general but when you look at the inconvenience next to the red carpet treatment people get if they arrive by car, it seems inequitable and counter-productive.

      I think it’s ridiculous that it was built so far. I know that’s a done deal but they can certainly improve movement times between the terminal and station with a moving sidewalk.

    4. It’s somewhat of an inconvenience to get to the LR station, but I guess I’m just ticked that the replacement for KC Metro route 194 is a poorer choice to get to downtown than taking light rail. It’s a whole lot less convenient.

      1. Does the 194 have a replacement choice other than Link? I’m not understanding your comment.

      2. He’s saying that downtown-SeaTac transit got worse when Link replaced the 194. I’m not buying it. Link’s frequency makes up for any increase in travel time, and it’s immune from traffic jams. When Link gets to north Seattle and Lynnwood, it will be substantially faster than taking the 194 plus the 71/72/73, 41, or 512.

      3. I recall the 194 also frequently being uncomfortably jammed on the inside as well.

      4. The 194 only ran every 30 minutes significant parts of the day (for example toward SeaTac after about 3pm, from SeaTac after 6pm, and all day on weekends) and not at all after about 9pm weekdays and 7pm weekends. And as often as not it was 15 minutes late during the time it ran every 30 minutes. And dwell time for boarding could drag on for five minutes. And the stop was practically at Pacific Highway, I mean International Blvd, so it was almost as far away, especially if you flew Alaska or United (north end of terminal).

        While the walk to the light rail is an inconvenience, that fact that it is generally every 10 minutes with a bigger span of service and sufficient room for luggage, is a significant improvement, even if the travel time is 10 minutes longer (in good traffic only).

        I do wish that the span of service would increase so that you can reach SeaTac by 4:30am 7 days/week and leave SeaTac at least until 1am – Sundays is particularly bad with the first train not arriving until 7am, and the last one leaving at 11:05pm.

      5. If it was “always” 15 minutes late when it ran every 30 minutes then it still ran every 30 minutes.

      6. Agreeing with Carl, I would certainly like to see service that runs later and starts earlier.

      7. Necessary maintenance trumps span of service. However, that is not an excuse to not have a night owl shadow route.

        Very infrequent service with a transfer at oh-so-safe-feeling TIBS is not an acceptable alternative for heading downtown.

        Nor is the 3-seat ride on the 7/124/A much of a consolation for airport workers living in Rainier Valley.

        Although Metro is starving, ST can afford to run 30-minute headway overnight on a shadow bus. If they run the 574 overnight, why not a Link shadow?

      8. 574 overnight? [Looks at schedule.] That’s weird, there’s a service gap between 10pm and 2:15am northbound, and 11;30 to 4:30am southbound. That’s the strangest bus route I’ve ever heard of. A few months ago I tried to catch it around 10:30pm in Federal Way and its last run had already left, so I assumed it was like the 194 with a short span.

      9. Odd. [Looks at schedule] The current schedule has the last 574 trip northbound from Federal Way at 10:31 on weekdays and 10:30 on weekends. You must have just missed it.

    5. I would also like to spend some money to make the walkway feel more like a legitimate path. Some planters, more of an enclosure, a better indication that you’re actually going toward a train – something. It’s not so much that the walk is hard, or even terribly unpleasant, but if I were a tourist I would like to feel more reassured that I was headed in the right direction to get to downtown.

    1. That goes for the tunnel stations as well. The fancy downtown bus stops ought to include maps to the tunnel entrances and the ferry docks. In return, the station platforms ought to have maps to, and schedules for, the nearest bus stops.

    2. Their are signs at the airport but they need to say “Train to City” like O’Hare does,, not just “Link Light Rail”. The latter doesn’t help if you don’t know what link light rail is.

      1. Ha, that reminds me of whenever I fly to Denver. The signs point you to the SkyRide and I can’t help but think, “but I don’t want to ride up in the sky anywhere, I just landed and this is my destination!”. It’s kind of a confusing branding for a bus service if you’re not familiar with the system. “Non-stop shuttle to Aurora” would make much more sense for visitors.

      2. That is not true anymore. The signs do now explicitly say “Train to Seattle”.

      3. SkyRide is one of the many insane things about Denver’s public transit system—for example, the bus to downtown Denver runs hourly, while the bus to the park and ride next to I-70 where the airport used to be runs every half hour. Better signage might actually make people more confused!

      4. I went down this evening to check the signs. There are a few signs that say “Train to Seattle” in smaller letters under “Link light rail”; these are mostly on the approach to the parking lot. At the security exits from the planes the signs just say “Link light rail”. On the baggage claim floor it’s even worse: the only sign that says Link is at the bottom of the escalator (where it does say “train to Seattle). The other signs on the baggage claim floor say “public transit buses: ST 574 and [the other one]” all point to the old bus stop, and mysteriously list two ST routes. Most of those signs don’t say anything else transit-wise, but a few of them also point the other direction and say “public transit buses: international blvd”. That really helps if you don’t know which bus route is yours and you just want to go to Seattle. In the dreaded walkway itself the signs just say “Link light rail”, but that may be OK because if you’ve gotten that far outside the airport you must have chosen Link and know what it is.

        ST’s electronic signs are accomplishing quite a lot now. There’s one in the walkway, two in the mezzanine and two on the platform. Every few minutes an announcement comes on telling people to buy a ticket or tap their ORCA card and that the fare is $2.75. The signs in the mezzanine say “Trains to Seattle upstairs.” Upstairs on the platform the sign next to the next-departing train says “This train to Seattle.”

        By the way, my southbound trip at 7:15pm (Friday) was a one-car train packed full. 50 people were in my half of the car at Westlake, and another 10 by Intl Dist, and at Stadium 5 people thought the train was full and waited for the next one. In fact, three people could have fit if we’d squeezed in tightly. Assuming the other half of the car was the same, that’s 120 people plus a few in the middle. One person got off at Stadium, a couple each at the stations from SODO to Columbia City, five at Othello and TIB, and the vast majority of people at SeaTac. On my return trip at 8:15pm, the crowd was less but none of the double seats was empty.

    3. I have to agree that the experience on the walkway is horrible – dull, exposed to wind and cold, without a clear indication of how far the path is. I’m not sure how to cross-ventilate the garage if the walkway was more enclosed. Maybe a series of exhaust fans would do the trick? I also think that a nicer linoleum floor, brighter lighting and some seasonal heat lamps would help lots. The corridor is in painful need of an art project or civic advertising to help until a moving sidewalk gets installed. If there is an opportunity to build an adjacent retail structure or hotel lobby to the north of the walkway, I’d even suggest directing the walkway to go through it.

      The signage is pretty weak but it’s clear to me when I get out of the walkways on how to get to the light rail. A thing that would help is a sign that says when the next two trains pull out of the station! This will be an even bigger deal when the Angle Lake Station opens as riders will be almost to the station and will see the train pull in — so they will realize that they miss it by only a few seconds! A simple countdown sign on the walkway would go a long way (imagine the attractiveness of never seeing that countdown less than 15 minutes most of the day!). I would have the countdown reset itself at 4 to 8 minutes (depending on its placement distance from the platform on the walkway) so that there isn’t a marathon of runners trying to go too fast on the walkway.

      The bigger (much bigger!) signage problem is at the platform itself. This goes for lots of Sound Transit stations. They don’t make which direction the train is going a primary aspect of the signage. Tourists ask me all the time “is this the right direction to get to Downtown Seattle?” I also will hear “Is this the next train?” I hate it that those changeable message signs say such obvious things like “Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel” or “Sea-Tac Airport Station” and yet it never says “Northbound” or “Southbound” and it only says the train destination as the train is pulling into the station. Finally, I hate it that it’s not made clear that the idling trains can be entered by pushing the door opener. Until Angle Lake station opens, a simple “Next Train Leaving for Downtown Seattle. Push button on train car to open door.” would be very strategic.

      1. I assume when Angle Station opens they can put a permanent southbound sign at the west stop and a permanent northbound sign at the east stop. The sign does say “This train to Seattle” now as I mentioned in my last comment. A countdown timer would be a good idea.

  6. First moving walkway location needs to be on a pedestrian bridge connecting the new rental car facility with International Boulevard LINK station.

    Rental-car users must still risk missing flights aboard buses stuck in traffic between the multimillion-dollar rental car center and the airport- while LINK trains go by at 60.

    The size and quality of the above facility also spotlight how shabby transit’s treatment is by comparison. The booth that used to provide ground transit information is now a police booth, generally unoccupied, by a schedule rack.

    There are two tiny black telephones on the wall, advertising transit information on three by five cards.

    Time and again aboard LINK, I encounter outbound airport passengers who tell me they wish somebody had told them about LINK before they took a cab into town.

    Compare SeaTac Airport’s transit facility with Portland’s, and you’ll stop accepting excuses. Portland’s no richer than we are.

    Mark Dublin

    1. What the rental car facility needs is a gondola or elevated cable powered tram to get people from the airport. Amazing that the port spent several hundred million $ on that facility and the best they could do for getting passenegers there was a shuttle bus.

      1. How much are the rental agencies paying to be a part of that facility?

        I have to disagree about the shuttle being substandard. It is frequent and very professionally operated. Once you get to the rental facility, you get to shop around for the best deal.

        Other cities, you often have a long wait for that company’s shuttle to their company site.

        I’m not aware of the point of a gondola/walkway a mile to the facility. If you’re going to be stuck in traffic getting there, you’re going to be stuck in traffic once you drive away in your rental car.

      2. The rental car customers are paying DIRECTLY for this expensive show piece in the form of direct user fees and taxes. In some cases, the taxes and fees exceed the daily rental fee.

        What is also ironic is that this is the only evening or 24 hour car rental facility that I know of in the tri-county area. I’m amazed that there is no place to rent a car downtown after 6pm. If you get off the Victoria Clipper or any cruise ship, what are you supposed to do?

        I know this because when I had guests arriving from Victoria I had to take them on the Link to this shiny facility so that they could rent a car as the rental car agencies downtown had already closed when their boat arrived.

      3. Charles, this isn’t just a Seattle problem. Try getting off the Empire Builder in Milwaukee on a Sunday and getting a rental car. They used to have a Hertz counter there at the train station, but it’s hours were limited. I never felt it was worth the crap shoot to pick up a car there. I always have gone out to the airport to get a car. Now you can take Amtrak to the airport and use the terminal shuttle from the station there, instead of taking a cab. At least here in Seattle, if you arrive downtown you can take Link to the airport most of the day.

      4. Are there other cities that have car rentals downtown? Especially cities larger than Seattle (because that’s where Seattle is headed).

      5. You can rent cars downtown in Seattle and other places. What I think is uncommon, if it exists at all, is 24/7 car rentals outside of airports.

  7. It would be cool to integrate the hotel and the walkway to the link station. its embarrassing to see how much of an afterthought the walkway through the parking garage is. Also, I agree there needs to be more signage for passengers explaing link in the airport.

  8. one more thing, do you ever think there will be express trains that do not stop between the airport and downtown? Is this possible given the current track configuration?

    1. It’s not possible now because it would get stuck behind a local train. There has been unofficial discussion of a more direct line through Georgetown, which would be faster but not express. But first they’d have to finish the Ballard, West Seattle, 45th, and Lake City lines, which are much more critical for the city’s inhabitants.

  9. The whining I’ve heard (read) on this site and others about Link’s airport station borders on a mental illness. The people complaining have obviously not traveled much…it is not the best “gate to train” connection in the world, but it is no where near the worst, and probably better than average (especially when comparing it with other US systems). The walk is no further than many gate to gate connections within the airport, and really isn’t that confusing. I might fault it for not being very attractive (the pathway through the garage) but that’s about it. It takes 5 minutes at normal walking speed with luggage, plenty good enough.

    I really like the suggestion from a previous comment…a giant “Train to City Center” sign would be great. Although, in this day and age most people do a bit of online research before embarking on a trip and know the way even before landing.

    1. Everyone at SeaTac is spoiled by only having to go through security once to access all gates, so they expect perfection everywhere else.

      1. Tim, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” is not a synonym for “it’s not perfect but it is good enough.”

  10. I’m strong, able-bodied and love to walk for fun, have used transit systems all over the world, and I am always annoyed at this windswept walk amongst auto fumes with a great view of a gritty parking garage and of the train you want to be on, leaving the station, quite possibly the last train after your evening arrival got delayed (which has been my experience more than once.) I ponder the lameness of this connection every single time I use it or pick someone up at the airport who is less able-bodied than I am, which is all too often.

    Airports may be a place where you aim to arrive early, but they are also a place you tend to go with heavy, awkward luggage, a place you want to get the heck out of as quickly as possible when you arrive after an arduous journey, and a place where delays can have extremely expensive, inconvenient and memorable impacts. Not only is the connection not optimal now, it’s actually hard to imagine it being any worse if we tried.

    The station is where it is and isn’t moving. The terminal, potential expansion notwithstanding, is where it is and isn’t moving. So the question is how to make this journey less burdensome and more welcoming for residents and visitors, so they’ll use Link, and come back to visit again and help us generate sales tax revenue to do useful things.

    The signage and discoverability of the system are abysmal. This is self-evident. Why are we so bad at this? Who is responsible for this? Is it the Port? Sound Transit? Let’s just fix it. Right away. This is super cheap. A $500 budget at Kinkos and a roll of duct tape would get us far, a few dollars more and it could be great.

    Next, a moving walkway is a must, hotel or no, ASAP. It cannot wait until ST3 or any other ballot measure. It should simply be done and if something else somewhere needs to be cut or delayed to do it, so be it. Unless there is some other people moving technology besides a moving walkway that does even better, there is no reasonable debate on this point. The lame excuse that a moving walkway wouldn’t fit in the parking garage translates to: It didn’t fit in the budget. What we have built here at Airport Link station is penny wise and pound foolish. What we must do now is improve station access here, and at Mount Baker (another multi-modal transfer, to Metro’s highest ridership route), and anything we can come up with to mitigate the breathtakingly poor job we have done elsewhere in the system with multimodal transfers including the to-be-completed connections at UW Station, DT Bellevue, and King Street Station (to the First Hill Streetcar).

    What we have designed at all of those places is third-rate, despite repeated, emphatic efforts to prevent these errors. (I’m feeling generous today so I’ll upgrade UW Station to second rate with the nice new bridge there, which required city and state legislative mandates and years of advocacy and public process to get funded and planned.) We keep making the same mistakes over and over when there are different agencies that need to work together. I’ve been saying this to everyone who will listen since the late 1990’s. These should all be fixed, starting ASAP with the biggest single un-welcome mat to Seattle, the SeaTac Airport Link Station.

    1. It’s on Port property so it’s the Port’s responsibility. The Port did not have a Link-related ballot measure, and it won’t in ST3. So it really comes down to how much the Port wants to spend its own money on access to the station.

    2. Everything Jonathan wrote.

      Kneejerk defenders of awful compromises and wide-eyed transit fans who want to relish every new angle at which they can view the train from their walk… THIS.

      Put yourself in the shoes of those for whom travel is about the destination, not the journey, and not the politics behind the journey. Jonathan captures their revulsion perfectly.

    3. I agree that people should have a substantially better experience entering the airport, and that visitors won’t even know which agency or entity built it, they’ll just think that some cities have their act together better than Seattle does. But at least we have a train to the city, which before we didn’t, and from a visitor’s perspective that’s even worse and shows the city cares even less about transit. What bothers me is that people tend to blame ST for the lack of a moving walkway and windows, and then say they’ll vote against ST3, or that they’ll vote against preserving Metro when it’s in a similar situation. But limitations and compromises are inevitable, you can’t wish them away. The only way to have a perfect transit system is if everybody from the governor on down to the county council and ST board and SeaTac city agreed that transit and walkability are first priority and cars second. Then we’d be Denmark. But we’re a long way away from being like Denmark. That’s why things like this second-rate piece-of-a-garage walkway happen. You can’t expect ST unilaterally to fix everything.

    4. In spite of the walk, I have consistently found Link to be a quicker way to get out of the airport than just about anything else, short of having a car parked right there in the $26-per-day terminal garage. Waiting for a shuttle to a satellite parking lot or a hotel is easily a good 15-20 minutes, and you can’t even zone out during the wait because you have absolutely no idea when your ride is going to show up until you see it and if it drives past you because you’re not paying attention, you have to wait another 15-20 minutes all over again.

      Compare to Link which, after a 5-minute walk (from the place where shuttles would pick you up), you have a train with a worst-case wait time of 10 minutes until 10 PM, and 15 minutes after that. Plus, you get to wait on the train itself, rather than standing around a noisy, smelly drive lane, maintaining a constant lookout for the one shuttle going through that is yours, with no idea how long you are going to wait.

      1. <after a 5-minute walk (from the place where shuttles would pick you up)

        Yet again: this is absolutely, 100% false.

      2. I have timed this many times. From the northernmost SkyBridge to the station is 5 minutes. That’s all.

      3. And the “convenience” shuttles stop in multiple places… for convenience. Each stopping point being more convenient than “the northernmost skybridge”.

        Just like they do in every other airport on earth.

        See my reply below.

  11. Wasn’t the station’s location some sort of compromise based on security guidelines after 911?

    Also, moving sidewalks are like escalators – they require a lot of below grade equipment and significant structural support, which would mean removing a lot of revenue space from the floor below the walkway. Since it looks like they are replacing that garage, it’s probably not going to happen any time soon.

    1. Wasn’t the station’s location some sort of compromise based on security guidelines after 9/11?


      Since it looks like they are replacing that garage

      Where’d you hear that?

      1. I got it from the article, although a friend of mine who is an engineer for the Port had mentioned that as well.

    2. “Wasn’t the station’s location some sort of compromise based on security guidelines after 911? “

      Yes of course. Everyone knows that light rail riders are likely to be terrorists, and it’s safest to keep them at a distance, while people arriving in cars, vans, taxis, buses and trucks are perfectly safe and can go directly to the terminal.

      1. True Carl, but the capacity of Link is equal to a 22 lane freeway. That’s an awful lot of car and truck bombs when crush loading the train with C4 or fertilizer.

    3. There are portable walkways that you just put on the floor, so that people step up to them. That’s what O’Hare had going out to to its train the first time I was there, just a contraption sitting on the floor in an empty hallway, and then another one after it.

    4. I think Bruce Gray’s reply should kill the rumor that 9/11 was a significant consideration.

  12. Having recently visited SFO via bart & the airport train I no longer have as many complaints about our connection at seatac. While it is not ideal, SFO is worse. You have to take two trains, switch floors between trains, and still walk a considerable distance.

    I do however still believe the walking distance issue needs to be addressed. I know far too many people who have insisted on getting picked up because they were to lazy to walk to the train. As many of these issues sound outside of ST control perhaps we should all write a letter to the Port encouraging a moving walkway, better signage, & whatever else you heart desires.

    1. I desire someone to hand me a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie as I begin the walk to the station.

    2. Or you could fucking walk from BART, and still reach every goddamned gate SFO with fewer steps than it takes to get to the geographic center of SeaTac.

      Yes, that’s true. Skip the people mover and you’re still closer to everything.

      Fact-free opining such as yours is why I’m done with the farce that is STB.

      1. Sorry to lash out; I’ve been trying to refrain from commenting all week, while watching idiocy unfold in the comments without correction.

        I’m not mad at you, but at the endless defenses of the indefensible, and the baseless justifications for doing so. (Link connections are roundly pitiful, and no new systems anywhere are worse.)

        This is how Seattle makes its transit irrelevant, one compromise at a time.

      2. Or you could go to LA (any airport) where there are no direct connections between rail and the various airport terminals.

        For that matter look at Boston where the Blue Line Airport station isn’t actually on the airport property and requires boarding a shuttle bus to reach the terminals.

        I’d say Seattle gets points for having a station on-airport and at a semi-reasonable distance from the terminal. This is much better than cities requiring a shuttle bus or APM trip and infinitely better than cities where rail doesn’t serve the Airport in any meaningful way at all.

      3. For the umpteenth time:

        With the exception of LA, the only cities that require shuttle bus connections are the ones with older rapid transit systems. Every new system built in the last 30 years goes to the terminal, and every single one of them gets much closer than we do.

        We are the worst of the modern bunch. And Los Angeles has yet to build its direct airport connection, so it still has a chance to get it right.

        As for Boston… Oh noes! Please don’t make me take walk twenty feet to a shuttle bus that comes every 2 minutes, goes non-stop to the platform of a real subway that gets me downtown 5 minutes later, and connects to real subways to everywhere else. The horror!

        The Blue Line predates the airport by decades, and it’s still better than what we have.

      4. I don’t know what qualifies as “older”, but IIRC Oakland is not a great connection either, requiring a shuttle bus in traffic.

        I’ve read the situation at LAX as so badly botching the initial connection attempt so as to require a whole new line to get it right.

        How big is your N for “new” systems that go to the airport?

      5. I haven’t flown out of Logan for 20 years, but if you think requiring a transfer to an entirely different mode without level boarding, stuck in traffix, is superior to a 5-minute walk, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      6. Or you could take the Silver Line bus that goes straight to the Red Line at South Station. Mainly in its own right of way. You might call it Bus Rapid Transit.

      7. Breadbaker,

        The Silver Line, like so much BRT, was botched so badly that it performs an almost 360-degree loop of the Southie waterfront before even finding its 15-mph tunnel. Few better illustrations exist of the fallacy of the one-seat ideal. Take the Blue Line.

        M S,

        VTA really wasn’t designed to serve the airport at all, not even tangentially. SJC just wasn’t a major destination until the 1990s. Of course, VTA doesn’t serve much of anything at all; skipping the airport is one error among many. But it isn’t a counter-example, because it never claimed to offer direct or even nearby service, unlike the dozen or so that have been built directly into the perimeter, sans shuttle and closer than ours.

      8. It’s true that if you eliminate all the airport access worse than ours, then Link is worst in class.

      9. You can certainly find worse examples of you start citing cities (San Diego, San Jose, Montreal) that don’t actually claim to serve the airport at all.

        Under what logic is that comparable?

        BART is 40 years old, did not botch the recent SFO station location (even if it botched the service pattern), and is retrofitting the Oakland connection as we speak.

      10. LA’s Green Line was similarly never about the airport. It just happens to follow a highway that passes to the south of LAX. That the current rail system requires 20 miles of out-of-direction travel for any travelers from the Westside is why a Crenshaw north-south line is advisable.

        The airport authority seems reticent about Metrorail, so they may yet botch the Crenshaw line’s airport connection. But there’s still time to get it right.

      11. Here are the seven recent North American examples I could find of built-from-scratch rail lines serving airports, with Google aerial images for each one:


        Note the on-the-roof approach in St. Louis, the attachment to baggage claim in Atlanta (while retaining the ability to extend the line), and the stops at every single terminal in Philly.

        Dozens of new connections have been built in Europe and Asia as well, many even better than these.

      12. Re: Logan:

        I wouldn’t say most shuttle situations are preferable, but I’ve now flown enough BOS-SEA non-stop trip in both directions to have a direct comparison, and yes, the Blue Line experience is preferable in every way.

        Flying JetBlue, I’m nearly 20 minutes from the Link platform, whether or not I take the security-side STS shuttle. Unless, of course, I’m sprinting for the last train to downtown.

        In Boston, I have had more than a few experiences where, within 20 minutes of getting off the plane, I have:
        – walked to the shuttle,
        – taken the shuttle to the Blue Line,
        – bought a weekly MBTA pass,
        – taken the Blue Line all the way to Government Center, and
        – caught a Green Line train.

        Would you not call that better?

      13. I’m not an expert on Logan, but of course most of that time estimate is a function of many things other than station/airport interface. But sure, 20 minutes is a great time; I imagine it wasn’t a peak time with lots of people getting on and congestion at the terminals.

        Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Port ran a frequent shuttle bus from the skybridge to the other end of the garage. Would that be better? Would I walk instead? I think it would depend a lot on the circumstances, but I wouldn’t call the distinction clear. I certainly wouldn’t use any kind of shuttle if I were flying Alaska, or not checking bags.

      14. It’s a function of having dedicated shuttle-bus lanes into and through the busiest terminals, of having two different shuttle services to avoid a congestion point between terminal A-B and terminals C-D-E, and of having an access road to the subway station that is only ever used by intra-airport vehicles. Even at the busiest of times for general-traffic airport pickups, it has been pretty smooth sailing on the shuttles.

        My larger point is that you have unintentionally lapsed into the language of the one-seat purists: a one-seat ride must be inherently better, regardless of any time penalty or failings of its geometry. All I care about is achieving the best balance of speed and ease, and accessing the SeaTac station is neither fast nor easy. That means it is unsuccessful.

        The truth is that we don’t actually have an on-airport rail stop, as we have been pretending: our rail line skirts the perimeter. If only SeaTac could switch the north-south people mover (the non-loop one) to outside of security and extend it a thousand feet further north, they could solve our problem in the same way as other airports with perimeter rail. Of course, that would require completely new access points to the existing tunnel, as well as the tunnel extension, so such a solution is doubtful.

      15. We’re talking about a 5-minute walk. I can think of plenty of uses for the hundred million dollars or whatever it would cost to build an underground tunnel under the SeaTac parking garage than saving passengers a mere 5 minutes of walking. Even worse, while a system like this would save 5 minutes of walking, it wouldn’t actually save most people any time. By the time you go down to the train level (at best, 1 minute on an escalator), wait for the train (2 minutes), ride the train (2 minutes), and go back up to the terminal level (at best, 1 minute on an escalator), the total travel time (6 minutes) is no better than what you would get by simply walking.

        (Ok, you could theoretically do a little bit better than this in terms of saved if you ran the train right to the center of terminals A, B, and C and built a dedicated security line just for people getting off the train. But, good luck paying for people to staff this extra security line.)

        If we had a hundred million dollars to spend improving the Link->airport connections, simply buying more service hours on the bus routes that connect to Link would produce far more time saved per dollar spent than a new underground connection tunnel. Furthermore, it would also benefit people in their everyday lives, not just people going to the airport.

      16. We’re talking about a 5-minute walk.

        No, we’re not!

        This is the kind of insistent, perpetual falsehood that I find so infuriating about STB.

        It is simply wrong.

        As Tim — with whom I hardly ever agree, as you know — demonstrates in the the video that lit the match under this most recent debate, and emphatically states in the comments below, it is 5:30 from the northernmost possible point in the airport building. Not from any security gate. Not from any airline’s ticket counter. Not from the satellite shuttles. Certainly not from the closest gate. But 5 1/2 minutes just to walk through the airport’s least convenient door.

        If we were talking about a 5-minute walk to anywhere, we wouldn’t be disagreeing in the slightest. But that’s not what we have. We have a minimum 8-10 minutes to anywhere useful, ballooning all the way up to 20 solid minutes of luggage-dragging if you are particularly unlucky.

        There is a reason the Port could quantify the (reduced) impact on their taxi and rental car businesses by sticking Link at such a distance.

      17. Who are you to say that the northernmost skybridge is the “least convenient” way into the airport? Maybe you tend to fly out of A and S gates, but for those flying out of C and N gates, it’s the most convenient point. The fact that the security lines at the north side of the terminal tend to be longer than the security lines at the south side of the terminal also bolster the theory that more people use gates at the north end than the south end.

        The northernmost SkyBridge to the station is 5 minutes if you walk at a reasonable pace. Add a couple more minutes if you’re coming from another SkyBridge, or if you, for some reason, feel like walking very slowly. The location where the satellite shuttles go by is the same distance from Link as the terminal – it’s on the Link side of the skybridge, but down an escalator. Total distance from Link is effectively the same (assuming the escalator and skybridge are about the same length).

        Also, don’t forget that if you are riding Link and are not calling a cab to travel between Link and your final destination, you will still have to carry your luggage some distance between your home and the bus stop. While most people are within a 5-minute walking distance from some bus, the walking distance from a route that is coming from downtown and running at the right time is sometimes longer than that – for me, way longer. And luggage dragging on sidewalks (or worse, staircases) is much more difficult than luggage dragging through the airport, or the airport Link walkway. At least in the airport, all the luggage dragging is on flat ground, with a smooth surface, and no bumps getting in the way. Bottom line – if you are using Link in the first place, you are probably packed to handle a reasonable amount of luggage-dragging anyway – enough so that the walk between the station and the airport is unlikely to be a big deal.

        Also, please don’t make blind accusations that the port is intentionally trying to hobble link to boost taxi and rental car businesses. Do you have any actual evidence to back this up? Remember, the walkway to Link did take away some parking spaces from the SeaTac garage, and if the port wanted to, they could have said that those parking spaces could not be spared, thereby forcing Sound Transit to waste money and everyone’s time by running shuttle buses to the station instead.

      18. OTOH at least we can get the Lynnwood TC station, with 4 times the number of boardings as SeaTac airport right.

      19. d.p.
        I’m sorry, but you are wrong, I’ve flown through SFO and I’ve used the BART station at the airport. I’d challenge you to get from the BART station to any ticket counter in the airport in 5-8 minutes.

        Let us not forget the rest of the operational fail BART committed with the airport station by putting it on the end of a wye. This is a case where extending the airport APM to San Bruno or Millbrae would have been a better solution than wasting money on an airport station.

        BTW look at the ridership numbers for the Seatac/Airport Link station compared to the BART SFO station. The SFO station was showing much worse ridership numbers when it was 4 years old. Even today the numbers for the BART SFO station aren’t much larger than for the Seatac LINK station. This is especially pathetic when you consider the larger system ridership of BART, the larger population of the Bay Area, and the larger number of O&D passengers at SFO.

        That said the signage could be improved, the walkway could be improved and moving sidewalks or a landside APM to the terminal would be a nice addition.

      20. d.p.
        But VTA does claim to serve the airport. Even worse BART is going to make the same mistake by serving the Santa Clara Amtrak/Caltrain station while bypassing the airport. SJC someday maybe might put in an APM to make the connection easier. It probably will end up being as much of a boondoggle as the APM at OAK.

        In San Diego’s case their light rail line passes on the other side of the airport from the terminal but has no shuttle service. This is a much bigger fail than not having rail come anywhere near the airport in the first place.

      21. d.p.
        You’ll note in the recent gate re-shuffle that JetBlue is now on the D gates, the relative convenience of the North skybridge is really a matter of what gate you are flying in/out of.

        To put things in perspective I tend to fly Southwest (B gates) a lot and I don’t find the hike to Link any more inconvenient than any other ground transportation option. The bus bays at the South end of the terminal are quite far if you happen to be flying Alaska and you never quite seem to end up at the right spot in the garage for the courtesy shuttles, taxis, or town cars.

        BTW it does not take 20 minutes to walk from the end of the A or B concourses to the Link station unless you walk really slow. Hell I’ve made it from the Link station to the end of the B concourse in 20 minutes including passing through the central security checkpoint. (yes I did walk really fast)

        The reason I tend not to use Link to go to/from the airport has little to do with the station on the airport end and everything to do with the difficulty of getting to/from Link on the other end. The fact that I tend to leave early in the morning, late in the evening, and arrive in the evening means transit isn’t a great option. I could probably save some money if I took a cab to/from Westlake instead of the airport but it tends not to seem worth it in the heat of the moment.

      22. ASDF:

        The “most convenient” door would be the one in the center, equidistant from pretty much all points within the airport. The “least convenient” door, by definition, is one at the far end of the linear outer concourse, and furthest from most points in the airport. The old 194 stop was also at a “least convenient” end door — fortunately, it was 30 feet from that door, rather than 1000+ feet further like the train is.

        Yet again, you are trying to inject subjectivity into something that is a fundamentally objective measurement. There’s a reason the parking spots in the center of the garage fill up so much faster.

        I have never used SeaTac’s “convenience” shuttles, but based on the linear arrangement of the airport drives and the example of every similar airport in the world, I was guessing that those shuttles stop multiple times in order to provide closer service from each terminal. And look, my guess was correct!!

        The courtesy shuttles wind up stopping relatively near any given crossing from the terminal. Again, your attempt to portray Link is “only” 5 minutes further than the shuttles is objectively incorrect.

        Meanwhile, you totally discount the passengers — a large percentage when it comes to airport trips — whose ideal would be to get dropped off at the airport by friends or family, but who are satisfied to get dropped off at the subway instead. Today that means getting driven downtown; in the future, it means a ride to the nearest hassle-free Link access point.

        The number of people who will be willing to trust a local bus connection for their airport trip is vanishingly small compared to those who will do what I described. But if a great hassle exists at the airport end as well, you will diminish the willingness to do even that. Jonathan Dubman’s above description of the palpably offputting experience at SeaTac cannot be so easily dismissed.

        A commenter in a previous thread, if I remember correctly, had actually worked at the Port back when Link’s location was being debated, and said that it was common knowledge around the office that management wished to keep the station at arms’ length so as not to undermine other revenues by being too convenient. I believe it. I would love to see internal documents from the time.


        Far be it from me to defend either San Diego MTS or Santa Clara VTA. I think both are silly. But the fact remains that San Jose International Airport did not start growing into a major airport until the 1990s (and, by many measures, it’s still a pretty minor airport today), years after the VTA line on N 1st Street opened in 1987. Not serving the airport was a failure of clairvoyance; in 1987 the airport was virtually irrelevant. The shuttle connection may be poor, but it’s a retrofitted solution. It’s not poor by design, like what we have.

        As for SFO: I’m sorry, but check the Google Maps:
        SFO. SeaTac.

        At SFO, the front of the BART train pulls right up to Terminal G (the BART logo on the map is actually at the 2nd-to-last car). From there, it’s 600 feet to Terminal A. Security at Terminal 2 — the one at the far end — is 1800 feet from BART on foot, and the furthest gate anywhere in the airport is about 2200 feet.

        I happen to think it’s easier to take the Airtrain if headed to Terminals 1 or 2, and I think that the Airtrain works extremely well. The access penalty is certainly far less than the SeaTac people mover, which only saves you 1/3 of your walk anyway. SFO Airtrain saves you the entire walk.

        Compare to SeaTac, where you’ll walk 1600 feet just to reach the foot of C or D concourses, 1800 feet to the foot of the B concourse, >2000 feet to most gates in B-C-D, and up to 3500 feet to gates in the A terminal. With zero assist.

        SFO is more compact, closer, better.

      23. I have flown Virgin or JetBlue out of the southern A gates more times than I care to count. Unless you cut at an angle across the garage (which you aren’t supposed to do), it is a solid 18 minutes to Link… at a normal pace… with a normal rolling bag… without stopping.

        Yes, that’s the extreme. But the 12-14 minute average from B, C, or D is pretty discouraging too. That’s a guaranteed whole train later than you’d otherwise catch.

      24. BTW Phoenix also has much worse rail access than Seattle to the airport. The rail station is a couple minute APM ride away then a long walk between the APM station and the actual rail station (though it does at least have a moving walkway). At the terminal you have an elevator ride between the APM station on top of the garage and the ticket counters/baggage claim.

        Also the cost of the APM system was more than the entire light rail line between Phoenix and Tempe.

      25. Indeed. When I think of all the recently-built airport connections, Phoenix always slips my mind for some reason. Haven’t been to Arizona since the light rail has existed at all.

        Phoenix does seem to be the exception, the only recently built system routed with the expressed intent of serving the airport, but (as the entire system is surface-arterial based) incapable of doing so directly.

        The APM doesn’t look so bad on the Google Maps, especially with a moving walkway, and Bruce has said that it works well, but again, I haven’t been there.

      26. d.p.
        I must confess the last time I flew through SFO the airport was a clusterfuck due to it being a holiday weekend and weather delays. The wall-to-wall people probably made things seem further than they were.

        Still the ridership numbers for Link at SEA are much better than BART at SFO was when that station was 4 years old.

        I’ll grant that not serving SJC wasn’t a huge sin back when VTA was built, but to miss the airport with the multi-billon BART extension is rather criminal. I do see there are plans to construct an APM to serve the rail stations, but that will probably end up as much of a mess as the APM for OAK turned into.

        At SEA the courtesy shuttles and shuttles to the rental car center have two stops but for everything else you’d best be sure you are in the right spot on the 3rd level of the garage. In any case it isn’t as if island 1 and island 3 are all that far apart.

        In any case the current situation can be mostly laid at the feet of the Port of Seattle. The Port could have been more accommodating of Link and might have even been able to use Link as a shuttle between the rental car center and the main terminal. But it did not so the next best thing to do is to make sure the connection to the Link station is improved during any future airport improvements.

        Is SEA the best airport I’ve been in? No, but it is far from the worst. At least the port manages to keep the place clean.

      27. Miami is another example of a line routed to serve the airport that doesn’t actually go to the terminal. Like PHX it will be connected with an APM.

        In this case the station will be the primary ground transportation center for the airport and have metro, commuter rail, Amtrak, courtesy shuttles, taxis, rental cars, etc. So the rail/transit options won’t be any more inconvenient than any other option short of having someone pick you up.

      28. “There’s a reason the parking spots in the center of the garage fill up so much faster.”

        The overwhelming number of drivers wouldn’t take Link anyway even if it had a station next to the terminal.

      29. The point, Mike, it that destination points within the airport are relatively evenly distributed in a way that radiates from the center. Therefore demand radiates from the center as well.

        The aim is to be closer to the center, which ASDF keeps glossing over when he claims Link is “only 5 minutes” (from one far end of the place).

    3. Not to mention, for the privilege of using BART to/from SFO, you pay a surcharge above regular fares.

  13. If and when that parking garage is overhauled, getting a moving (and climate-controlled) walkway (with no fumes from nearby vehicles to sniff) shouldn’t be too much to ask.

  14. For anyone who doesn’t live right next to a Link station, the bus connections are a much, much bigger time sink than the walk from airport station to the terminal. If you’re lucky, Car2Go and/or cabs can help a lot, but for almost everyone who lives in north Seattle, it’s that wait downtown for a ride to complete the trip that is most likely to be the dealbreaker.

    1. Just because I happened to end up there today, I casually walked the circle from the southbound station stop to the south terminal stop. All times are rounded off to the nearest five seconds.

      Southbound bay to mezzanine escalator: 3:15
      Mezzanine escalator to bottom of arrivals escalator: 4:15
      Bottom of arrivals elevator to south door of terminal: 6:00
      South door to south terminal bay sign: 0:40

      I also did a time trial to Westlake that ended up being useless data due to much-lower-than-average ridership in the tunnel for a weekday. It was 40:10, but it looked like a Saturday afternoon in the tunnel.

      I’m not sure which will actually save more time: a horizontal escalator (what, maybe a minute or so out of four minutes?) or Link pulling into the station much faster due to no more track switching north of the station. On the other hand, people will get to stand an average of four-to-five minutes longer waiting for the train to pull up. And then loading time may cancel out the no-more-switching speed-up.

      I also looked around at the possiblity of a north terminal bay, but there doesn’t appear to be room due to the old ramp confluence and the position of the two rental shuttle spots. There is also a rental shuttle spot on the south end of the terminal, where nobody is going to get stuck in arrival traffic.

      1. For anyone flying out of SeaTac, the south terminal bus stop is not your destination. If you are flying out of a C or N gate, the south terminal bus stop is only slightly closer to your gate, in feet of walking, than the Link station.

      2. You keep trying to defy reality.

        The south bus stop is about 40% closer to the C concourse or the N shuttle as Link is. The bus stop is 60% closer to the geographical center of the airport; by definition it is going to be closer to the vast majority of randomly selected gates.

        It’s not about north versus south end of the main terminal. It’s about right next to one end versus 1000 feet past the other end.

        Knock off the false equivency between the two locations. You are inarguably wrong.

      3. The south end of the baggage claim level of SeaTac is pretty much a dead end. You have to walk at least halfway north through the terminal to get to any gate. The north end of the terminal, however, is not a dead end. This is why serving the north end is better than serving the south end somewhat compensates for the greater distance from the north end. Yes, the old 194 stop was steps from the building, but it was steps from the wrong end of the building. At least Link puts you pretty much on the correct side of the terminal once you are there.

        In any case, I’m not sure what exactly you are trying to accomplish by whining about how the 5 minute walk from the station to the terminal is too much. No matter how much you scream, fixing this is not and should be the priority of Sound Transit. We have far more important things to spend a hundred million dollars on saving 5 minutes of walking to access the terminal (and having the side effect of 5 minutes of additional walking to the SeaTac neighborhood).

        If anything, a moving walkway or something, should be the prerogative of the port. But anything that competes with their $26-a-day parking garage doesn’t exactly help the port’s bottom line, hence they don’t have much reason to do it. So, just accept that things are the way they are – that Link still connects with the airport better than numerous other big city airports – and move on.

      4. As Tim’s video proved, it is 5.5 minutes just to enter the furthest extremity of the building.

        Stop saying “5 minute walk”. It makes you a liar.

        And you’re still denying the reality of distance within the airport terminal. The main terminal — the part that touches the roadway — is functionally symmetrical. The south end of the terminal has escalators, elevators, stairs, security portals, and baggage claims just as close as the north end does.

        If you’re closer to the middle, you are mathematically, unassailably, unarguably closer to more destination points. There is no “wrong end”. There is only closer and further. Link is much further.

    2. For anyone on the Eastside, the bus to SeaTac will still be faster than East Link. I pointed this out to Sound Transit officials at the East Link open houses. It appeared that no one had ever pointed this out to them before.

      I almost always ride the 560 to the airport and I will continue to do so after the train is built.

      1. And of course you could always take the 560 to the Link station and avoid the walk.

  15. Yes, it is just a minor inconvenience. But I think the psychological implications are huge. When visitors to Seattle get off the plane and walk past taxis, cars, buses, and then an entire parking lot before the arrive at the public transit destination, it signifies that Seattle doesn’t value public transit. Maybe I’m reading into this a bit, but I think subconsciously it suggest that the light rail is the low end of the transportation spectrum and thus respectable or well off people will always aspire to take another form of transportation if possible.

    1. Would it help if the signage said “$2.75 train to downtown Seattle –>”?

  16. I have an honest and sincere question. I hope this come-off as insensitive, but why doesn’t ST or the Port hire homeless people to pull travelers in a rickshaw from the station to the terminal?

    1. A rickshaw transportation option down the walkway makes a lot of sense. Especially since simply making the option available, and letting the service pay for itself with passenger fares, costs the port nothing.

      That being said, the users would predominantly be people with mobility issues who couldn’t handle the walk. The rest would pretty much just walk.

      1. The distance is short enough so that the speed advantage wouldn’t be that much. It’s not like the pedicab can through the terminal. It would be a great option for people who have trouble walking, and people with lots of luggage could potentially use this as an alternative to a SmartCarte rental. But it would not be mainstream.

    2. Because anyone who’s watched Seinfeld would know that the homeless person would take off with the rickshaw and never return.

  17. Maybe we should do the same thing everyone here wants to do in bellevue, i.e., instead of making a moving sidewalk, we should spend $30,000,000 to move the station to where we would be starting the sidewalk.

    1. I think moving the station at this point would cost way more than $30,000,000.

      Think about how much that money would be worth on bus service, or a downtown->Ballard subway line, then decide whether relocating the airport station a couple hundred feet closer to the terminal is really a better use of money.

      1. You keep claiming that it wasn’t a problem to get it so wrong in the first place.

        It was. A 5-minute additional walk (on top of any other walk within the terminal, which you keep glossing over) is very, very far.

        By defending past gross errors, you legitimize future gross errors, like the one Alex reminds us ST is about to make. That’s why your fraudulent equivocating must be refuted.

      2. d.p., I know that you are used to everything coming to your door, and there must be a bus stop no farther than your driveway, but it’s important to remember that it’s no small world. A 5-minute walk is not far, and it’s honestly not worth all the extra money and effort to move the station closer. If it was just a few thousand dollars more to bring the stations closer to their destinations, then fine, that would be great, but if it’s an 8-figure amount, then it’s irresponsible to do this when the money could be used to keep ST express buses running, open link earlier, or keeping link service running later. Sound Transit here is recognizing that their budget is not ∞ and is acting accordingly.

        Furthermore, if it were closer to the center of the airport, then it would be farther from Pacific highway, which is where all the buses are, so it would be replacing a long walk problem with both another long walk problem and a budget problem.

  18. Long overdue! I hope they’re successful. While they’re at it, they should improve the signage to/fro, as many arriving folks are riding Link for the first time.

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