At a press conference this morning, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff and Sound Transit Board Chair/King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that Angle Lake Station will open on Saturday, September 24th. Alaska Airlines is sponsoring the opening ceremonies to the tune of $25,000, with total costs for Opening Day expected to be just north of $50,000, more than an order of magnitude cheaper than ULink’s festivities.
At the risk of stating the obvious, no one would claim that the area around S. 200th Street in SeaTac is a booming regional destination. It is surrounded by highly regulated/inaccessible uses such as prisons and airport operations facilities, on the west by a wooded ravine, and on the east by the sort of mid-century sprawl so familiar to SR 99. Its inclusion in the transit network is minor enough that it didn’t merit any restructures or bus deviations to the station, and transfer activity there will be minimal. Those coming from the south on RapidRide A may want to switch to Link at Angle Lake instead of SeaTac for the guarantee of a seat, but access will mean crossing two signalized intersections rather than the direct access to SeaTac/Airport at 176th.
But with Angle Lake Station set to be Link’s southern terminus for the next 7-8 years, what is there to do there? Who are those likeliest to use the station? Here are 6 reasons to use the new station.
- Park and Ride Commuting: With 1,120 stalls being built, park & ride behavior is expected to be the most common use. In addition to drawing in peak-hour drivers from the Des Moines, Midway, and SeaTac areas, the station will also open up far better off-peak options to Seattle for those currently caught in between Link at SeaTac and Sound Transit 577 in Federal Way. Angle Lake may also peel off a few peak hour riders from Metro Route 122, as Link will be a few minutes faster to Downtown and run far more often.
- Reverse Commuting: The new station opens up one-seat rides for reverse commuters from Seattle to the six Alaska/Horizon headquarters buildings (5-7 blocks away), the Federal Detention Center (2 blocks west), and the 10 or so hotels between 188th and 200th.
- Daytrip Flying: If you’re the type who takes personal or business trips of less than 24 hours, nothing is stopping you from using Angle Lake as free airport parking. Overnight parking will be permitted, but the 24-hour limit will be enforced.
- Cycling the Des Moines Creek Trail: If you’re looking for a lovely, uncrowded bike trail, the Des Moines Creek Trail is an underrated gem. At just 2 miles each way, it’s very short, but it’s a great leisurely cruise down to the Des Moines Marina and Beach Park. You can extend the trip a bit by heading a couple miles south to Saltwater State Park.
- Angle Lake itself: Though most access to Angle Lake is privately held, the eponymous park on the west side of Angle Lake offers a boat launch, picnic area, and more. If you’re the type that has a small inflatable kayak or wants to swim in a place less crowded than Green Lake, Angle Lake could be a good choice.
- Planespotting: Angle Lake Station lies just 1/2 a mile from end of Runway 34R, SeaTac’s longest and the one most commonly used for jumbo jets on international flights. Aviation geeks lingering on the platform may give security staff headaches, but the view of descending aircraft and Vashon Island is superb nonetheless.