Saturday’s ULink launch promises to be a hell of a party. Here’s what you need to know to have a great time celebrating a historic day for Seattle’s transit.
8-10am: Golden Ticket Ride
If you won a Golden Ticket to be on the first train from UW, check in at UW Station between 7:30-8:25am. You’ll get a golden lanyard and commemorative ORCA card with 2 weeks worth of fare loaded, and in the event of queues during the day on Link trains, the pass will allow you to skip to the front of the line. You can freely tour the station until 8:25, after which riders will head to the UW platform for an 8:45 ceremony and departure to Capitol Hill. After a 9:00 ceremony on the Capitol Hill platform, Golden Ticket riders can remain and tour Capitol Hill Station until 9:30.
10:00: ULink officially opens
Join Mayor Murray at the North Entrance to Capitol Hill Station for the official countdown, with confetti cannons and much nerdy rejoicing.
Please note that if taking transit to the festivities, agency trip planners have Link operating all day. This is a technical error. You will not be able to use Link to reach Capitol Hill or the UW until 10 a.m.
Fares and ORCA
Fares are free all day if you have the above ticket either printed out or available to show on your phone. ORCA-to-go will be available at both stations all day, offering regular ORCA cards in addition to youth, RRFP, and ORCA Lift verifications. And this is just the beginning, as ORCA-to-Go will be serving ULink stations through April 16.
Food and Drink
Come for the trains, stay for lunch. ST will have a variety of food trucks, including Snout & Co, Moto Surf and Raney Brothers BBQ at UW Station and Athena’s, Jemil’s Big Easy, and Street Donuts at Capitol Hill Station.
In addition, you can get a taste for the Broadway Farmer’s Market’s permanent home adjacent to the station on Nagle Place. The market will host a pop-up version from 9am-5pm, with a wide variety of vendors including Nash’s Organic Produce, Tonnemaker Family Orchard, Sno Valley Mushrooms, Nature’s Last Stand, El Chito‘s, Loki Fish Co.’s, Mystic Kombucha, Miri’s Poffertjes.
Sound Transit has booked 6 DJs and more than a dozen other performance artists, and they’ll be playing all day at the station concourses and mezzanines. See the full lineup here.
Each station will host a Game Zone with a variety of all-ages activities. UW Station will host a bicycle petting zoo (to show off unusual and unique bikes), a Build-a-Train station, Funhouse Selfie Station, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four, and Chess & Checkers. Capitol Hill Station will have similar offerings (minus the bike petting zoo).
Both stations will also have an “expo pavilion” with a series of information tents including Sound Transit’s Art , Bike, and Security programs, Cascade Bicycle Club, facepainting and temporary tattoos, Jet City Improv, and agency reps from Metro, Pronto, SDOT, Seattle Children’s, Sounders FC, WSDOT’s 520 project, the Capitol Hill Chamber, Gerdling Edlen (Capitol Hill Station’s housing developer), Seattle Central College, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, and Swedish Hospital.
The “Marketplace” section at UW will host Sound Transit and nearly 100 volunteers with Transportation Choices Coalition to discuss ST3. BikeWorks will also host a bike valet with free tuneups at both stations. At Capitol Hill, the pop-up Broadway Farmer’s Market will also be in the Marketplace section.
The most important part of the day, of course, is Seattle Transit Blog’s all-ages ULink Launch Party at Charlie’s from 3-5pm, with various other groups, such as the Sierra Club and Seattle Subway hosting their own parties nearby for their staff, volunteers, and activists. Start with ours before heading to theirs!
Blog Open Thread
After a morning guest piece reflecting on the long road to get to ULink, the blog will have a day-long open thread with photos, anecdotes, and more.
After #ULink2016, we’ll do this all again 5 years from now with 3 new stations for #NorthgateLink2021.