Here’s a collection of photos showing the latest construction progress on the S 200th Link extension.  Column construction appears to be complete or nearly complete and guideway construction appears to be almost halfway complete.

S 200th Link Construction: Looking towards the extension

From the platform of SeaTac/Airport Station looking south towards the guideway construction.

S 200th Link Construction: Air Cargo Rd near gate A14
Air Cargo Rd, looking south, near gate A14

S 200th Link Construction: Air Cargo Rd
Looking north towards the current SeaTac/Airport Station, also near gate A14

S 200th Link Construction: Air Cargo Rd/Wally Park Garage
Along Air Cargo Rd behind the Wally Park garage

S 200th Link Construction: Shell
Construction has now consumed the Shell station located at S 188th St & 28th Ave S/Air Cargo Rd

S 200th Link Construction: 188th & 28th
At S 188th St and Air Cargo Rd looking south on 28th Ave S

S 200th Link Construction: Gantry
28th Ave S at around 196th.

S 200th Link Construction: At 200th Looking North
At 200th Looking North

S 200th Link Construction: Spanning 200th
The guideway splits as it crosses S 200th St

S 200th Link Construction: Column Detail
On the southern side of S 200th St, looking west with the sun setting behind the Federal Detention Center.

S 200th Link Construction: Parking Garage Site Prep
Parking Garage Site Prep

33 Replies to “S 200th Link Extension Photo Update”

  1. Remind me why we’re building our highest grade of transit here? $380 million for 5400 daily riders, when the much maligned Center City Connector promises 30,000 riders for about 100 million. I’ll argue till I’m blue in the face that we should build the best transit we can afford, but I still think we need to prioritize by value.

    For me, that means three things. 1) Rides per dollar spent (with some adjustments for operating costs, etc). 2) Routes that save time when compared to driving, rather than the other way around. I include the second one because it is in this situation that you can really get a culture of transit going that leads to walkable, dense neighborhoods, starting a big positive feedback cycle of transit use. The tunneling may be expensive, but I can’t imagine that the long-term of a Ballard-UW route is anything other than great, because it could so easily beat driving, any time of day. Plus, those neighborhoods are great for 3), there’s actually something there. If the network connects to some place people are interested in going, it helps make the whole network more valuable.

    I think Angle Lake is hard to justify on any of these grounds, so I think we should be doing BRT there for now.

    1. If you think that’s bad, wait until Link goes all the way to Everett, Tacoma and Black Diamond before ever reaching Ballard.

      1. ST3 is needed to go any further South than Kent DesMoines Road or any further North than Lynnwood. Black Diamond isn’t in the Sound Transit service area.

        Ballard almost certainly will get Link in some form as part of ST3.

    2. If I remember correctly, the Center City Connector is not related to Sound Transit. The Link extension is a completely different project run by a different authority or company. I agree with your position on prioritizing transit projects, but when it comes down to funding and running these proposals and projects, the Center City Connector is unrelated to Link. I appreciate your thoughts though.

      1. Yeah, for sure – I’m thinking more about what we advocate for and choose as a society than the choices sound transit makes. Within the political and regulatory reality, I think sound transit does a great job, actually – they provide better frequency than many similarly sized cities do, don’t use freeway alignments as much, etc.

        I just never even heard of angle lake before we got a stop there, which is pretty bad.

      2. “I just never even heard of angle lake before we got a stop there, which is pretty bad.”

        Neither had I, but I had heard of S 200th St. That just goes to show that they chose the wrong name for the station.

      3. Numbers are boring. “Angle” Lake is an interesting name, even among lake names, and it will serve as a name for the emerging neighborhood around the station. (There’s already one denseish apartment building there, and a supermarket plaza that could be converted, and several blocks of garden apartments heading north to the park.) If you’re not going to a station it doesn’t matter where it is, and if you are going to it you know where it is. The maps can say “176th”, “200th”, “240th” after the station names.

    3. Ah, because you can’t get to Highline CC or Federal Way or any points south until you build to Angle Lake first?

      And don’t forget that Link, as a system, will carry many more people than the streetcar ever will. And Link will carry them over greater distances and at higher speeds.

      But I think you knew all that…..Link is heading south (and north, and east). Get ready for it.

      1. Yep, I wish we were taking care of that with brt for now and building a better network where there is trsnsit density already, but I get why it is we’re doing this first.

      2. @Just another….

        West Seattle Link has never been included in any of ST’s voter approved packages.

        However, it was approved by the voters more than once as a monorail. The last incarnation of that was supposed to be in operation in 2007, but imploded and only resulted in a rather nice upgrade to the BPP.

        Not that I have anything against the upgrade to the BPPof course, but for the money wasted by the SMP I sort of expected more….

      3. because you can’t get to Highline CC or Federal Way or any points south

        Who cares? People from those places are far more likely to use transit within Seattle than Seattleites are to use transit in Federal Way! After all, where does the line go to?

        Yet Federal Way doesn’t pay into the North Seattle subarea, and ST spends its political capital building out transit to the hinterlands instead of focusing on a comprehensive network where it can actually serve people efficiently.

      4. Such is the political reality of the logrolling required to get rail built in the US.

        You can’t tax the hinterlands for transit then give them nothing in return. Indeed in many parts of the US it is all suburban extensions once the central part of the network is built. Often the suburbs demand the central portions be built as cheap as possible and follow highway alignments.

        Indeed suburban editorialists for years advocated having Link stick to I-5 once it left downtown because “buses work fine in the city”.

        Believe it or not sub-area equity is actually better because it means Seattle can demand real transit rather than just funding extensions to Fife, Issaquah, and Everett.

      5. “Yet Federal Way doesn’t pay into the North Seattle subarea, and ST spends its political capital building out transit to the hinterlands ”

        So bad ST, right? No, bad political system and suburbanites’ attitudes. In some places like Vancouver, Germany, and London, there’s one overarching transit (or even transporation) authority with full power to put lines where they’ll serve the most people, and tax the entire metropolitan area for it. Pugetopolis is not one of those places. Prior to the 1960s suburbs were regularly annexed to Seattle, but then attitudes changed and suburbs wanted “local control”. These suburban areas have independent power in the counties and legislature, so if they say they don’t want to pay for Seattle transit, and they want superior transit extended to their areas, then what they say goes, no matter whether ST likes it or not. (And “ST” is of course their mayors and county councilmembers, so it’s really them themselves.)

    4. 1) It’s less expensive than most other Link segments because there’s no tunnel, it’s mostly in a public ROW, it’s not crossing over freeways, and they don’t have to rebuild the highway. That’s also why it’s proceeding faster than other segments.
      2) Subarea equity. South King County is paying for it, and this was their highest priority.
      3) It’s a phase on the way to Kent – Des Moines Station, which will have greater ridership and could become the anchor of a future Kent RapidRide.
      4) Federal Way and Tacoma, and the Pierce subarea’s priorities.

      1. Yep, very good points. This is why we build things out in ways that don’t look logical. But it’s still an awful lot of money for what isn’t a ton of riders or a great place for growth.

      2. Also I think S. 200th may have been the southern endpoint in the Sound Move package.

        This means ST will have completed the 1996 system as of 2016.

    5. If you want to get worked up about capital projects that serve very few people, my favorite is the $6.4 million spent on the Mukilteo South Platform, which serves <200 people per day.

      1. Sounder north in general was a massive waste of money that would have been better spent making sure north Link ran on 99 instead of I-5.

      2. North Link was not even under consideration when Sounder North was started. It was one of those long-term, we’ll-get-to-it-later things.

  2. I am very happy about this station going in. It will make a transit commute from West Seattle actually reasonable for me versus driving.

    This area is just full of changes, it’s going to be very interesting in the next 5-10 years. They are talking about extending the 509 past us as well. That will damage the Station’s walkshed, but not by much given the massive down-hill going West from the station towards the other Correctional Facility (SCORE) and the golf course down at the bottom.

    1. The 509 extension is unfunded and doesn’t have a funding plan. Shovels hitting the ground in 10 years would be a miracle.

      1. The 509 extension has been on WSDOT’s fantasy freeway map for at least the past 50 years. I’m not sure it will ever get built.

        At this point the 167 extension looks far more likely to actually happen.

  3. Anyone know how they’re going to test this segment? Are they going to take trains out of service at Seatac, then run them without passengers? Won’t that mess with headways for operational segments?

    1. I believe they’ll do that at both ends. They’ll probably add runs to preserve the headways, because those extra runs will be needed anyway in operational service, and they might as well test that too while they’re at it.

      1. I think that’s what they did when the airport extension came online. At first the trains just had slightly longer layovers at TIBS, but then the trains ran out of service to the airport.

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