Aurora represents an incredible opportunity for transit expansion. The four urban villages north of the ship canal carry a massive capacity for recently upzoned density. The huge lots of big box stores that dot the landscape are a prime target for Transit Oriented Development. Grade separated transit will allow the street to feature wider sidewalks and fewer lanes. The Aurora that can be is a place the Aurora that is wouldn’t even recognize.
Transit on the Aurora corridor is already a huge success. Aurora carries over 32,500 daily riders in packed buses, including the E line, the busiest bus in the state. It’s clear that even more people will choose transit when we add the speed, reliability, and comfort of Link to the equation.
As with all high quality transit, expansion on the Aurora line is amplified by its relationship to the network we’re already building. With connections provided in the currently planned ST3 tunnel for the Ballard line, commuters would be provided flexibility from one single transfer. From the airport to Kirkland to Tacoma, the possibilities of this transit network along a famously choked Seattle arterial are endless.
Right now, most of Aurora doesn’t rate as a place a lot of people want to hang out. The future could be much brighter. Rather than a stretch dedicated to carbon output, Aurora would feature the city’s best response to combat climate change using proven tools. We already know the model works. Global cities with the best transit don’t force people into cars. We can have safer, healthier communities along with more economic opportunity.
High ridership, planned density, growth and revitalization, these are things light rail promises to bring with good planning. Aurora already has most ingredients in place for success but is missing a plan to elevate transit from high performing to the primary way to get around for most people.
From where we are now, there are great opportunities on the horizon but success is far from guaranteed. As part of ST3, Sound Transit is building a brand new rail tunnel in downtown Seattle. Without establishing a plan to build that tunnel for expansion, we could miss a critical opportunity to leverage our investment so that an Aurora line can be built.
That’s why a 2024 vote is so critical. Seattle can’t sit back and wait for the region to be ready for more expansion. We have to keep moving forward to take full advantage of our investments.
Please join us in urging your state representatives to work on funding sources. With long lead times to build projects and a rapidly worsening climate crisis, the case has never been more clear: Seattle Must build The Aurora Line.
This article was written by Seattle Subway with the help of Aurora activist Ryan DiRaimo. We are actively seeking community members to collaborate on this series that will discuss the virtues of each of the potential #ST4Seattle lines. If you are interested in helping – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org