ULink2016.org
ULink2016.org

We now have a date: University Link will open at 10am on Saturday, March 19. Just 52 days from now.

Sound Transit (ST) will be throwing a full day of festivities from 9am-5pm, with a “tailgate party” at UW Station and a “street festival” at Capitol Hill Station. ST has also released a new website, ulink2016.org, that provides information on schedules, trip times, event details, and more.

In the spirit of its Annapurna walking tours, ST will also allow riders to enter the chance to win a “golden ticket” to be among the first riders to ride ULink on the 19th. If you want to ride a packed inaugural train with happy politicians in black peacoats, now’s your chance. Word is that the ‘golden ticket’ will be a commemorative (and fully functional) gold-colored ORCA card. You can enter to win 3 ways:

Sound Transit Photo
Sound Transit Photo

Sound Transit is encouraging people not to drive to ULink, stressing that there will be no available parking at either station. But ST has partnered with Metro to provide a nonstop shuttle service from Northgate to UW Station every 15 minutes from 9am-6:10pm.

The launch will come 7 days ahead of the big bus restructure, allowing for a transitional week of outreach and education to help riders learn the new system, especially in Northeast Seattle where Montlake Triangle transfers will feature so heavily. Bus service will change the morning of March 26th, with nearly 50 bus routes changing in every corner of the city. In addition to ULink-related changes, the same day Rapid Ride C and Route 40 will begin using the new Westlake Avenue transit lanes in South Lake Union. The first regular weekday with ULink service and new peak bus service patterns is Monday, March 28th.

Seattle Transit Blog will also host our own ULink Launch Party at the reborn Charlie’s on Broadway (1/2 a block north of Capitol Hill Station) from 3 to 5 pm in the Back Bar. Come have a couple drinks with us as we celebrate a huge day for mobility in Seattle and the greater region, and stay to watch the Sounders beat the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Until then, we’ve dusted off the countdown clock and added it to the sidebar. See you in March!

152 Replies to “University Link Opens March 19”

  1. I was going to the UW on March 19 anyway, so this works out nicely for me. Maybe I’ll ride it up and down a few times.

  2. Same day as a Sounders FC home game, playing the Vancouver Whitecaps which usually means 55,000+ (sometimes 65,000) people at the game, plus thousands heading to bars to watch. Will be a nice test for the first day of the new stations.

    1. Nothing like a little “stress test” on the good ole Sound Transit. Now the question is: Will Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue be in Seattle?

      If I had my way… we’d have Captain Katie Higgins and The Blue Angels dancing over Seattle, Jon Taffer doing a stress test on Capitol Hill, Miss Seafair Nella Kwan busting a few moves on the train, and a heck of a lot of football spiking parties. Especially on the lawns of the losers who said we couldn’t rock!

      VOLUME 12!

      1. Good thing we’re not playing the World Champion Portland Timbers (hey, you win the Super Bowl, the NBA or the World Series and you’re the champion of the world, ergo MLS==Champions of the World).

        Sound Transit is encouraging people not to drive to ULink, stressing that there will be no available parking at either station

        I’ll take the 255 since weekends are the only time you can find a parking spot at S. Kirkland P&R but what happened to all those parking spots they used to have around Sundodger Station when there was a pointyball game? I remember as a student being able to park for 25 cents as a carpool in the Montlake lot. Is that all dorms now? Oh well, I guess everyone can just take the FHSC since they’ve got that up and running.

      2. Oh Bernie, that would be so RIGHT – Sounders v. Timbers

        Yeah, unless the side wasn’t up to the task. Losing to Portlandia on opening day would be like the mens 8 losing ot Hahvad. Total downer on a happy day. If the Canucks come away with nil-nil then that’s OK.

      3. I think you get the right to call yourselves “World Champions” if you play in, unquestionably, the best league in the world. For American football, baseball, basketball and hockey, there’s no question that the American leagues are the best in the world.

        For soccer, the MLS is either a peewee league or retirement league. I love my Sounders, but they are amateurs compared to the Euro and South American teams.

        And the Timbers as world champions? They aren’t even champions of the Northwest!

    2. And coincidentally, Central Link opened on the same day as the Sounders-Chelsea friendly in 2009. I believe Mayor Nickels was wearing his scarf at the ribbon cutting.

  3. Woo Hoo! Will be interesting to see the ridership stats over the next six months. I feel super fortunate to be able to work downtown and now live only a 12 minute bike ride from Husky Stadium!

    1. Those are businesses currently being impacted by Northgate Link construction. Idea is to drum up business while light rail construction makes access a little tougher.

    1. That’s the same as today. Currently the last train from Westlake to SeaTac/Airport departs Westlake at 12:42AM. Subtract the 8 minutes to travel from UW to Westlake and you get 12:34AM.

    2. Far and away the biggest issue with our transit system. It should run until at least 2:30am.

      1. Um, er, “No”. There are far bigger transit fish which haven’t even been caught yet, much less prepared for the fryer.

      2. Yeah, way more important that we get the bar flies home than people to work during peak commute. How about making that a talking point for ST3?

    3. ST should really consider extended hours, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

      While the nightly maintenance window is important, trains can be scheduled in such a way as to minimize the impact on maintenance operations.

      1. Phoenix runs light rail trains every 20 minutes until 3 am on Friday and Saturday nights. They use vehicles very similar to ours.

      2. The problem isn’t the car design. The problem is the cost of operating a station for few passengers. Every system has a minimum threshold where doing something else is cheaper.

        Vancouver’s Skytrain is wonderful at transporting masses. It doesn’t open until 7 am on holidays because it isn’t worthwile to operate all that infrastructure for few passengers.

        Light rail lines are aimed to be cheaper than full scale metro lines but there is a ridership point where it is cheaper to just run a bus.

        Link has a few stations that are expensive to operate because of tunnel security, etc. Maybe once buses no longer have to prove they are in fact buses at the south entrance the tunnel can be operated cheaper.

        Pittsburgh has a surface line so that when traffic is light or when tunnel issues happen they can switch to surface running. Maybe if the Central City Connector were built to be able to handle Link cars you could at least partially do the same thing for late night service when the tunnel isn’t worth operating.

        That would mean making some pretty big changes in the operating philosophy and construction of some links between the lines though.

    1. That is interesting. More concerning is that, although the Eastbound John Street bus stop is exactly where it should be for the 8, 10 and 43, the westbound stop means that riders need to cross the street twice to transfer. So much attention was given to the Montlake Triangle transfers in the Link Connections process that maybe this was overlooked. I did ask the SDOT representative at the time and he said typically it is their preference to have the bus stop on the far side of traffic lights, but that the westbound stop would move east in front of Queen of Sheba/American Apparel in this case. Also that the northbound 9/49/60 stop would be moved just south of John St. That didn’t happen either. Seems like some pretty low hanging fruit to ease transfers and minimize ped/auto conflicts.

      That being said I am so, so excited!

    2. Too bad the 75 and 342 stops aren’t on that map. The Stevens Way stops were supposed to be signed bus bays like the others.

      1. But the route 65 stop on Montlake Blvd. is on the map. I guess Metro did their “traffic study” required by Dembowski after all.

      2. Should we call it Dembrowski Memorial Bus stop? Or is that those stops on 55th Ave NE north of 65th? Or can it be both of them?

    1. Well gee whiz, Joe, at least just be honest and admit that you’re willing to believe WHATEVER at hey tell you and pay ANYthing for your light rail project. What, you can’t take the truth? I have NO problem with light rail — where it’s needed and when it’s honestly assessed and presented to the public, and the agencies that do so are HELD ACCOUNTABLE for their projects. [ah]

      1. So vote “No” on ST3. And tell all your friends to vote “No” as well. Urge them over and over; detail the likely criminality which pervades Sound Transit. Be assertive and convince them.

        You can do it!

  4. Finally. I am so sick of the ads that started running last October (promising “early 2016”) without actually specifying a date. Raising awareness is one thing. 4 months of teasing is another. Yes, I know the whole project is opening several months early. I am just complaining about the too-early advertising.

      1. Tecnically Dow is correct. Get over it and move on. There are bigger fights to fight than yesterday’s battle over samantics

      2. It’s only years behind schedule if you count the delays over political process and underfunding. When the budget actually got underway with a final budget, it came out undercost and ahead of schedule.

    1. Like their date would mean anything. Really? They’re already years behind schedule — you can believe their “reset” date and budget if you want to — so what would it matter? So many of you are just willing to write endless blank checks [ah]. Incredible.

      1. If you compare the actual final budget and schedule when construction actually started (AKA the budget most people would use) with the total actual cost and schedule, it’s undercost and ahead of schedule.

  5. Does this mean peak trips will move to 4 cars instead of 2? Rush hour can be insane, especially leaving downtown at around 5PM. It’d be great to have a bit more breathing space at the busiest times.

      1. I assume they can add a fourth car if there’s enough demand, is that right? They aren’t short on cars, are they?

      2. Well, yes, actually they are; a bit short that is. Zach had an excellent post about a month and a half ago about it. Basically, in order to get a better deal on the honkin big North and East Link purchase in 2017-18 they’re holding off on buying any more cars right now. There are enough to run all (?) three-car trains at the peaks with a few four-car biggies thrown in for good measure if there’s an evening athletic event or something like that downtown.

  6. Another question..does this mean that March 19 is when we will start getting cell service in the tunnel or is that coming later?

    1. Shouldn’t be until 2019 (though that’s in flux). That’s when they’ll be far enough along working on the new Convention Center expansion that’ll shut down the northern bus entrance to the tunnel at Convention Place Station.

    2. Probably 2018, although it depends on Convention Center construction.

      That will be a big day as it means the LR trip from UW to DT will go from 8 mins to 6. That is a big improvement (not that just having an 8 min grip isn’t amazing enough. RIP 70 series).

    3. Hopefully soon. This morning, a disabled southbound bus at Westlake Station managed to tie up Link in both directions.

    1. Hurray for what — another ST project that is years — YEARS — behind its actual schedule and millons — MILLIONS — of taxpayer dollars over budget? All of which is absolutely TYPICAL of their projects… You can’t be serious….

      1. Na. Officially it is 6 months ahead of schedule and about $150m under budget. The Angle Lake Ext is apparently trending ahead if sched and under budget too.

        Way to go ST!

      2. In its first few years the ST board was not diligent enough in budgeting for contingencies that could befall Link projects. That hit hard when engineering studies found the Portage Bay ship canal crossing was too expensive and risky. The board learned its lesson and now cost estimates are conservative and construction schedules have a year of float for contingencies. All ST2 projects had conservative estimates, including the University Link restart which was between ST1 and ST2. The voters approved the new estimates when they voted for ST2 in 2008. None of ST’s other projects have had overruns or delays that I’m aware of, except the benighted First Hill Streetcar which was a vehicle manufacturers’ delay. So since at least 2007 ST has been prudent as governments should be, so whining about its early errors is just old history. Meanwhile, WSDOT’s projects like Bertha are something else again.

      3. If happily settle for a public agency that didn’t consistently lie and deceive and “reset” (their words) their figures, [ah]

      4. The ‘reset’ was like you make a rough estimate of how much you might sell your house for vs. an appraisal by a rel estate expert- you want to take the real estate expert’s figures instead, which was what Sound Transit did.

      5. Frank, let’s take several years off the time it took d.p. to get booted and figure one night enough for this jerk. He has nothing to add to the discourse. STB is NOT The Seattle Crimes.

      6. Anandakos, I agree. I quit commenting on the Seattle Crimes because it became long ago a freak show like a Donald Trump rally.

        Help our mods – who we donate towards: Please no longer feed the troll. Enough already. Just enough.

    1. There’s already one right across the pedestrian bridge on NE Pacific St outside of the UW Medical Center, and another just north on Montlake outside of the Intramural Activities Building.

      Having a big one right outside the station would be great, and I’d assume they’ll add one or at very least add more slots to the current one outside of the Medical Center.

      More to that point, there isn’t a Pronto bike rack near any of the exits at Capitol Hill Station — the nearest one is a couple blocks away. I wonder if that’d be considered, too.

  7. Dow Constantine again lies to the taxpayers of Seattle and says this project was completed UNDER BUDGET and AHEAD OF SCHEDULE???
    That’s an absolute LIE.
    All they did was “reset” their original schedule and budget — talk about living in a no-accountability fantasy-world — and ended up MILLIONS of dollars over the original budget and MANY years behind schedule. How much deception and lying and waste of money will the sheep voters around here bend over and take? It’s absolutely amazing…

    1. http://www.kirotv.com/videos/news/video-university-link-station-ahead-of-schedule/vCJ2Lc/

      “The University Link light rail station is ahead of schedule and 100 million dollars under budget.”

      “The $1.9 billion University Link extension is expected to open in 2016, adding more than 70,000 riders a day to the system.”- From a press release when the first contract (which was under budget) was awarded in 2008

      It also took eight years to build, so it looks like it came in on time if you’re counting only years. Light rail is also more efficient at moving people and cheaper then buses and cars in the long run in dense areas like Seattle.

    2. Dude. Relax. Technically Dow is right. When the board approved this project for construction there was a sched and a budget attached. ST is besting both of those.

      Congrats to ST. That is what we want from government. I wish WSDOT was doing as well on their projects.

      But regardless, get used to hearing it over and over again. Because “ahead of schedule and under budget” will be the mantra from now until opening, and for a long time after.

      1. Of course he’s “technically” right, if you don’t go by the bill of goods that Sound Transit ORIGINALL sold to the public. They RESET the schedule and budget mid-way, people. Do you simply not get that? Would you accept the same from someone you hire to build your home? No, but those tax dollars just grow on trees, right! Sound Transit is one of the the biggest wastes of public dollars in American history. Bury your head in the sand if you want to. You’re being taken for a ride, that’s for DAMN sure.
        [Ah]

      2. @EE,

        So if you admit that Dow is technically right when he says that U-Link is ahead of schedule and under budget, then why isn’t that the end of the debate? Obviously you don’t like ST or Dow, but if you are willing to admit that they are right then so be it. Time to put your Big Boy Pants on and just move on….

        U-Link is a huge achievement. It’s going to be a game changer for this city. And it will end a lot of debate about how best to move forward. It is a great thing.

      3. If you compare the original budget in 2008 with the final costs today, it’s under budget and ahead of schedule. All budgets before that don’t really count because they were just vague estimates before contracting and construction actually started and all the possible costs were actually known. It’s like trying to compare a rough guess of how much a car is worth from a blurry photograph vs. the final sale price or an expert appraisal vs the final sale price- the latter is what you would use to actually see how well you do in selling the car. The 2008 “reset” budget is that expert appraisal.

      4. So, the New York City subway, SF’s subways, and Chicago’s El are also giant wastes of money? Funny, most people who live in those cities would say otherwise…

    3. Dude, get over it. Are you talking about their plan from the 90s? They were a new, inexperienced agency with no light rail experience. Forgive them for over promising…and the recession definitely didn’t help things. But they’ve learned their lesson and now we should all be happy and proud at their accomplishments and future ambitions! Their future expansions will be more consistent.

    4. The transit opponents do this nonsense down here as well.

      “WestSide MAX was built WAY OVER Budget”…..if you consider the budget to be the estimate for a line to 185th completely on the surface, rather than a line with a three mile tunnel and going 5 miles further than 185th.

      “The MAX project was $100 million over budget”…..because the final budget included a massive highway project that happened on the same corridor and was combined into a mixed effort.

      “MAX caused a massive increase in crime along I-205″….and when they eliminated the bus route that served the upper part of West Linn, the crime rate in the neighborhood increased from one house burglary to three house burglaries. THAT’S A MASSIVE 300% INCREASE IN CRIME when bus service was eliminated. FIGHT CRIME…MAKE MORE EMPTY BUS ROUTES IN BARELY POPULATED SUBURBS!!!

      “TriMet had huge financial problems after the Green Line was built”…..because that year saw a massive increase in the price of diesel fuel. Imagine how bad things would have been for the agency if MAX weren’t around and moving people at the rate of $0.44 per passenger per mile, rather than the $3.85 the buses were costing.

      In the end, these guys appear, do a lot of yelling and screaming, then go back to their echo chamber after they are presented with actual facts that disagree with their preconceived notions. Dig up lots of numbers, and be prepared to provide lots of link to lots of timelines, or better yet have a Fact Check post that you can continually refer people to that summarizes and links to all the relevant facts.

      Then again, one reason I participate in Seattle Transit Blog is that it has been mostly free of the “They’re Coming to Take Our Cars and Guns Away” crowd that so monopolized transportation discussion down here for so many years – so what I suggest may not work in the long run.

      1. Thank you Glenn. I too am tired of the paranoia being dreamed up and spun up. It’s done to SUPPRESS pro-transit votes because that’s all they got.

        I knew it right away when this… individual came on here.

  8. I’m looking forward to seeing how quickly riders switch from bus to rail. As noted in the rider comments on the FHSC, the smoother experience is enticing. A faster trip is also enticing.

    I think that the tipping point is when Madison Valley riders want to get to and from Cap Hill Station more than they want a one-seat bus ride.

    1. That day cannot come too soon for this Mad Park denizen. Sadly some of my neigbours have other “ideas” which bear no likeness to 21st C realities.

    2. I don’t think I fully understand Al S. comment, but connecting Madison Valley to light rail should be no the table for ST3 (or at least studying it).

      There has been a lot of talk about a “Metro 8 Subway” line that would run from the Central District, north along 23rd, and then hang a left to the west around John to connect SLU and Belltown. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

      Here’s one write-up about the concept that has circulated this blog recently: https://www.theurbanist.org/2016/01/11/ballard-spur-and-metro-8-subway-serve-seattle-better-than-interbay-light-rail/

      1. Wow I love that link you posted. The orange line proposed there would be wonderful! Alas, I fear Sound Transit will ignore the immense impact it can make in those dense areas for a (relatively) modest investment in favor of serving the sprawling communities outside the city. If that is true (and I have not seen anything from Sound Transit about serving this part of Seattle), it would be a huge shame.

      2. I’m simply channeling the long-running opposition to a major Metro Central District restructure. It was scaled back because some people in Madison Park and Madison Valley wanted to have a bus all the way into Downtown rather than have a bus to Capitol Hill Station so that they can transfer. When more residents realize that their trip may be faster and more comfortable on Link and ask for the restructure to be revisited, that will be the tipping point I was mentioning could materialize.

        Generally, I agree with you guys that the Central District should be identified for a subway in long-range plans. That’s not the thought that I was channeling though.

    1. While it’s good to remember that we are getting far less than was promised in the original vote that establish ST and the agency is bent on spending money (which it has gobs of) on useless political pork I think it’s also important to acknowledge when they get something right. They done good on U-Link. Yes it started years after originally promised but once the reinvented Sound Transit (sort of like the original Seattle Transit that needed King County Metro to bail it out) got rolling they’ve delivered the goods. A little bit of luck letting the contracts right after the economy collapsed helped no doubt. But at the same time WSDOT started the Deep Debt Tunnel to replace the Viaduct. I remember Gregoire telling us that structure is coming down no matter what. Guess what… it’s still standing and nobody is talking about tearing it down even though Bertha is years behind a schedule that was contemporary with the actual bidding for U-Link.

  9. The statement about no parking at either station is not actually quite true. According to the UW website:

    “Campus parking is complimentary from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. on weekdays, from noon on Saturdays until 6 a.m. on Monday in unrestricted lots, and when gatehouses are closed for holidays.”

    (http://www.washington.edu/facilities/transportation/park)

    So, it looks like from noon onward, parking is free right next to the UW Station, even if Sound Transit will not officially acknowledge it.

    It will be interesting to see if the UW attempts to toughen their parking rules if too many people start wising up to it.

    1. Wow! It won’t take long before Saturday night concert and club goers learn about this!

      I also expect an uptick in weekend parking on SE Seattle streets near Link stations.

    2. UW Regents are certainly preparing plans to cash in on all those unused in the off-peak parking spaces for particular game day events in SODO. I would be surprised if the stadiums don’t coordinate ticket sales with same (too much to expect from ORCA to provide pre-paid transit access to seal the deal)!

      Likewise on Husky game days – parking facilities downtown advertising parking for fans just like the airport currently does.

      May be not by Mariner opening day, But certainly for the Seahawk season.

  10. Where is the countdown timer? This has got to be the biggest event in Seattle transportation since I-5 opened in the early 60’s (not our finer moment, but hose where the times). We need a timer.

  11. Dang, I’ll be out of town for GDC on that day.

    But yay, I’ll finally be able to take it home from the airport on the 20th!

  12. So, to get away from this sprite of trolling and angry counterflaming, how many people do you think will show up for the opening?

    1. Thank you Bob, I think 15,000.

      I don’t think there will be an empty AIRBNB in Seattle (I got mine).

      I hope the SeaGals will come. I talked to a Sound Transit rep, they’re aware of interest in having professional cheerleaders.

      I’m quite frankly coming just as much if not more for the meet-up. There are some people I need to thank the good old school way. You hear them on iTunes every once in a while.

    2. Also, a question about the moderation, if the mods don’t mind me going off topics for just a tiny little while: I know that [ot] is off-topic, but what does [ah] stand for?

      1. Please stop trying to drag this conversation off topic, especially when others have already answered your questions with links and sources that prove that your argument isn’t right (no offense, and I do have my own problems with how Sound Transit is spending our money). Thanks! :)

        In response to your question (which I have answered before):

        The ‘reset’ was like you make a rough estimate of how much you might sell your house for vs. an appraisal by a real estate expert- you want to take the real estate expert’s figures instead, which was what Sound Transit did. Sound Transit’s former board was way overoptimistic about costs, hence why Jodi Earl had to be the real estate expert and make a realistic appraisal. Once that was done, the budgets became fine and Sound Transit was above to bring things in below budget and ahead of schedule. Also, take a look at our list of referendums, and you’ll see that we have rejected many, many proposed taxes in the past.

      2. Yay for right wing talking points!

        ST has a sunset date for all their tax streams, where taxes go to close to zero after the specified number of years. Indeed, ST1 taxes are almost up, and will go down to maintenance levels. ST2 is still a few years out.1

        Further, you’re in the wrong forum if you believe you’re going to get any traction arguing the point that we should not be taxing ourselves to build high capacity transit – that’s literally why the blog exists. We all are pro-transit here and believe pretty much as a prior that good transit leads to incredibly awesome outcomes.

      3. ST has a sunset date for all their tax streams

        No, actually they don’t. They, as in they==Sound Transit can levy the taxes in perpetruity as long as it goes toward “operations” after the original capital spending is complete. I’m quite sure the politicians appointed to the ST governing board are never going to repeal a source of tax money that promises free pony’s for all. I will have a seriously hard time voting for an ST3 tax increase (both in scope and revenue) before the original taxing authority is retired and a firm date on the retirement of ST2 taxes is legally codified. Promise us a project, build it, then ask for more.

      4. Also, it is generally agreed that New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and other cities, plus Europe and Asia, were right to build rail mass transit like we’re doing (except they spent a lot more money after being adjusted for inflation doing it to build out the network ever further), so why not Seattle?

      5. I wasn’t sure who the troll was. You have an extreme “ST broke its original promises” viewpoint, which I wouldn’t call trolling, but the number of long repetitive messages could be seen that way. Joe I think needs to take some lessons from Sam on classy trolling. In answer to your viewpoint, sometimes promises turn out to be realistic and have to be changed. It does no good to hold somebody to a promise after it becomes clear it can’t realistically happen. When you look underground, surprises come up. The bad estimate was twenty years ago, and there was a vote in between that essentially revised the promise.

      6. Mike, that disruptive… well, you know was out here sent on a long-range bombing mission to disrupt efforts to get ST3 passed. It’s how these losers roll and either we ignore them or stand up to them.

        You guys at STB have to learn something and we’ll talk about this at the meetup: I just spent a good chunk of the last summer & autumn dealing with these disruptors. Sure I could have dealt with this a bit differently, but I can’t be asked to respond well to somebody coming into a victory party and saying “TRANSIT HAWKS CHEATED”. I know how these anti-transit trolls operate and as long as there are internet comment threads, they will come. It’s one reason why the Everett Herald closed their comments and I publicly thanked them for it saying, “I consider anonymous Internet comments an unfair ability of moneyed interests to unduly influence elections, such as Community Transit’s Proposition 1, outside of campaign finance laws.”.

        STB very senior leadership has instructed me to stop the counter-flaming at STB expense – which considering I donate here – means I’m paying for it. This thread was supposed to be a celebration of ULink’s launch and to start preparations for the STB Meetup.

        I think I’ve said enough about the troll. Next.

      7. Bernie: it’s too late to wait until ST1 and 2 are retired. We need the lines now, and we needed them twenty years ago. We let it go for so long that the last couple years have been particularly hellish on Metro due to overcrowding, and the gap between when UW Station opens and U-District Station opens is another thing we have to suffer, and I understand the 550 is overcrowded peaks and there’s no room for more buses in the tunnel. We should have installed high-capacity transit before it got this bad. Delaying it just means it will get worse until it gets better, it’s a drag on people’s mobility and the economy’s potential. If we had built subways in the 1910s or 1970s we’d have a higher transit mode share now, people wouldn’t insist so much on parking lots everywhere, and there would be more housing around stations as more people wanted to live there.

      8. . If we had built subways in the 1910s or 1970s we’d have a higher transit mode share now, people wouldn’t insist so much on parking lots everywhere, and there would be more housing around stations as more people wanted to live there.

        Yeah, right, push that for in the ST3 vote. Emphasis on how much the Seattle economy “missed the boat” on 1910 solutions. If only William Boeing had focused on building streetcars…

      9. Subways are a 21st century solution, and so are streetcars. That’s why many newly rich Asian cities are building them.

      10. It’s hard to see any “merit” in your POV when even you admit that Dow and ST are right when they say U-Link is ahead of schedule and under budget. Just stating the opposite over and over again despite the facts won’t change reality.

        Move on. This is a big accomplishment that we all should be proud of.

      11. if anything Sound Transit has been a model of how to run a public agency, especially since Joni Earl became CEO. Even some of Sound Transit’s harshest critics have praised Ms. Earl’s leadership and transparency.

        If one wishes to find poorly run public projects and agencies there are much better examples both locally and nationally.

        I don’t know how a single “back to the drawing board” moment over 15 years ago has morphed in the minds of critics to continuiosly moving the goalposts. But the fact is there has only been a single “reset” ever.

      12. “Sound Transit can levy the taxes in perpetruity as long as it goes toward “operations” after the original capital spending is complete. I’m quite sure the politicians appointed to the ST governing board are never going to repeal a source of tax money that promises free pony’s for all. ”

        Forgot to mention, in the December 2014 ST workshop (I seem to be attending one workshop a year), the board said it would roll back the taxes to operational levels when no more capital projects are voter-approved or it decides to stop building and the outstanding bonds are paid off. We know what the operational cost is because it’s paying it now; it’s around 1/10 of the current revenue. Your opinion that ST won’t really roll it back is just that, a personal opinion on ST’s character. There’s no evidence that it wouldn’t roll it back. And the issue won’t come up for several years so it’s hard to judge it so far ahead. If ST3 fails and has no second attempt, ST will have to start rolling it back in 2023 when ST2 finishes. If ST3 passes and is the 25- or 30-year size, then it will be far later. In either case it will be a different board facing a different public sentiment than now, which we can’t predict.

  13. “But ST has partnered with Metro to provide a nonstop shuttle service from Northgate to UW Station every 15 minutes from 9am-6:10pm.”

    Huh? Are there expected to be so many people wanting U-Link on opening day that frequent shuttle buses are needed? Because on opening Saturday, the 67/68/75 provide service between Northgate and UW on average every 10 minutes. And after the bus restructure, the 67/75 will provide service every 7.5 minutes.

    1. The original opening weekend was crowded. I can see the same kind of people taking them who take stadium shuttles even when there’s regular bus service between the points. Because the regular routes are slower or take longer, or people don’t want to look them up for a one-time event. ST thinks the buses are needed, so maybe it has a reason for its estimate. In any case, too many buses are better than not enough buses.

    2. The shuttles are mostly there to handle the crowds of people trying U-link because it’s new, and everybody’s curious what it will be like. Just like the opening weekend of Central Link had ridership far in excess of what it would have on a normal weekend, U-link will be similar.

      In particular, many people who would ordinarily take the 41 to go downtown will want try the train out of curiosity. After one ride, they will go back to taking the 41 again. Stuff like this is what the shuttles are there to accommodate.

      It should also be noted that on opening weekend, the bus restructure associated with U-link will have not happened yet.

    1. Probably busy with volunteering to help people do their income taxes with VITA, but who knows? I might be able to make it…

    2. I’ll be there of course. It opens at 10am according to a radio report this morning. I’ll take it sometime leisurely in the morning, probably starting at Westlake to Capitol Hill, going through the station out one entrance and in another, and then to UW. But it it’s so crowded I doubt I’ll be able to get back on at Capitol Hill, I might just go through it. In the original Link opening it was an hour’s wait at TIB, which I heard got longer later, and they were only letting people on at Westlake and TIB because so many people were riding end-to-end. However, it was free then so that may have increased the crowds.

      1. I get my golden ORCA card next Monday after my 65th B-day. I don’t supposed you could turn the real “Golden ORCA” into an RRFP.

  14. At this point, I think I’d rather be on the first in-service train full of regular riders — the first NB train that leaves Westlake Station, presumably at or about 10:00 AM. Probably less chaotic than all the crowds milling about at UW Station, and just as “significant” or memorable

  15. There is an irony here with “step up into the future”. Um..no. Light rail is ancient tech. But…hey…it feels good!

    Monorail was/is the future. We actually bought the quite expensive past. It works..but it’s not cheap..nor the future.

  16. OK, for you who feel that Sound Transit is completely on the up-and-up about this project’s schedule and budget being way ahead/under projections (I can’t stop laughing): In a recent radio interview with Geoff Patrick of Sound Transit, it’s quite apparent that the 1996 voter-approved project was faulty from the get go. The second attempt was VOTED DOWN, and the second attempt “part two” was severely adjusted. Interestingly the taxes and expenditures from part one remained (and blew up to close to SIX BILLION DOLLARS). The second attempt/part two DID NOT include the UW extension as originally promised, because that was then made part of the Seattle Move measure after it was quite obviousl that it would not be able to be delivered as promised. To sum it all up — and you can bury your head in the sand if you want to (and it seem that many do) — the funds for the original project were still committed (and OVER spent), the project itself is still ten years PAST the ST tax district voter-approved timeline and the UW extension is still one station SHORT of what was promised in 2008. But hey, maybe that missing ENTIRE STATION is also easy for many of you to dismiss as meaningless. Over budget and late, ST and its supporters can spin it all they want but the truth is the truth. Again, it’s absolutely great for any metropolitan area to have transportation facilities like this – but it’s also quite apparent that SO many people around here are simply willing to (1) pay WHATEVER it costs, even when that cost is way way WAY beyond what’s originally sold to voters, and (2) not hold the responsible agency (that would be Sound Transit, in this case) responsible and accountable for its gross mismanagement – with many of you praising ST up one side and down the other for their apparently stellar handling of this project AFTER they screwed it up in major-league form. NO ONE on this blog would accept similar conduct from a home builder that they hire with their own money – but hey, it’s public tax dollars – I guess those are somehow immune from accountability and responsibility. Maybe, just maybe, these facts are worth considering when you vote (hopefully NO) on the ST3 ballot. No way in hell does Sound Transit have any acceptable level of credibility or integrity with me.

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