The new platform at Pioneer Square Station takes shape (SounderBruce)

Sound Transit:

Trains will run as usual between SODO-Angle Lake and Capitol Hill-UW, with three-car trains every 10 minutes during most hours of the day. Free bus shuttles will run every 7 minutes in groups of two buses at a time, serving SODO, Stadium, International District/Chinatown, Pioneer Square, University Street, Westlake and Capitol Hill.

Plan accordingly. Weekend closures will happen again from Oct 25-28 and Nov 8-11. This is all in preparation for Connect 2020, the project to tie East Link (a.k.a. the Blue Line) in with the downtown tunnel.

WSDOT is also closing the westbound lanes of the SR 520 Floating Bridge over the weekend to prepare for several years of Montlake construction. Bus routes using the bridge will detour via Interstate 90 and will skip some stops, so check the Metro Alerts page. Eastbound service will use all normal stops, but may be affected because of the longer trip times.

28 Replies to “First of several weekend Link closures start this weekend”

  1. What is the reason that the closure is from SODO to Capitol Hill? Shouldn’t ST be able to turn trains more effectively at the crossovers at Stadium Station (middle platform!) and Westlake? On the north side, I’m assuming that there will just be (2) trains shuttling back and forth between Capitol Hill and UW, each on its own track. This approach probably wouldn’t be feasible if going all the way to Westlake, though access to the crossovers under the convention center would be feasible, unless improvements are actually happening at Westlake station. Having a shorter, more direct shuttle bus routes is less likely to result in delays, so traveling downtown, rather than buses being forced to go all the way to Cap Hill and SODO might be more efficient.

    1. It’s because they need to cut power to the entirety of the DSTT caternary, with the way the electrification is set up.

  2. It’s too bad they couldn’t install the switches south of Chinatown station when the tracks were being installed the first time. Everyone knew the train would branch off at that point eventually.

    1. It’s a good point. Considering that ST2 was approved a year before opening and developed well in advance of that, some advanced planning could have been done, and switches could have been added in 2009.

      On the other hand, the exact switch placement could have been designed wrong. Keep in mind that this project also includes tail tracks to reverse Blue Line (East Link) trains do they can reach the SODO facility more directly. It only takes a slight misplacement of several feet to make that misplaced, installed switch useless.

      So I could see good and bad with early switch installation.

      1. Seems unlikely that it would have been doable. Construction was happening long before 2009 (I think the main tunnel closure happened from 2004-2006), and in any case I think the middle lane (where the turnback track at IDS is being constructed) needed to be left open for emergency use (there was still a much higher number of buses than trains in the tunnel, and if there’s no center lane, one bus breakdown could block the entire tunnel)

      2. I didn’t realize they’re also installing a turnback track, in that case I guess it makes sense they wouldn’t have been able to do it while buses were in the tunnel.

    2. It’s not just switches for level junctions. It’s far more complex than that. The current tracks have to be realigned as well. Trains can’t turn as sharply as outbound I-90 buses used to, and inbound eastside trains will use new track where the bus layover space used to be. And the configuration needs to allow for trains to use a new median turnback track at IDS so Eastside trains can access the Sodo yard without going all the way to Westlake. In 2007 during the Link retrofit, Roads and Transit had just failed, East Link wasn’t funded, and joint ops was set to continue indefinitely. I don’t think they could have anticipated the future track needs precisely enough to avoid an eventual disruption of this size.

      1. It definitely could’ve been done (anything is possible) but clearly it would’ve taken more time/money than I thought.

  3. Might this be a good time to permanently bring back the Route 43, between UW and Capitol Hill stations?

    Have always thought that 23rd Avenue passengers deserved direct service to the hospital at 15th and Thomas, without having to wait out a transfer from the Route 48.

    Trolleywire’s all there. And like with any LINK route….not bad to have a “bus bridge” ready for when it’s needed. Though in this case, I think that along the 43’s old route between UW and Downtown, there’ll be enough ordinary ridership to warrant it.

    Mark Dublin

    1. The 43 is still running between the U District and Capitol Hill, with some weekday peak runs that go downtown. It’s just got very odd and limited frequency, going to Capitol Hill between 11pm and 2am and to the U District in the morning before turning into the 44.

  4. It might be good for this blog to do another rundown of the upcoming service disruptions. I’m a daily reader and regular commentor but I just learned that bikes won’t be allowed through the DSTT during single-track operations due to crowding / transfer time concerns.

    From what I understand cyclists will be able to ride from UW to Cap Hill and from Angle Lake to I.D. but will be required to deboard before the tunnel. Knee-jerk reaction, “Say wha-?!?” but this sounds pretty reasonable to me because capacity will be strained and timing the trains to arrive and depart at the same time will be paramount to keeping service levels as high as possible. Anyway, I might just be oblivious but I’m guessing it will be news to many.

    1. This seems way unnecessary. This could easily be resolved by saying that cyclists need to exit to the normal side platforms at PSS, and make their way to the other side using the elevators. Of course they’d have to wait 12 minutes for the next train, but it’s better than no train.

      1. Entering downtown from the south with a bike, to you’re probably better off using Stadium Station anyway, so you can ride right out, and not have to deal with elevators.

    2. It’s better to plan for overcrowding than not plan for it. When an entire trainload is transferring across the platform that’s even more busy than NYC’s local-to-express transfers. That’s not the time for bikes to come out the doors and find space on the other train. If the crowding is less than expected, ST could easily lift the ban. It may decide it’s not necessary in the evening.

      1. That’s true, I didn’t think about overcrowding in general (I thought it was about general safety and lugging a bike between two trains). I guess it’ll be so bad that every little thing will help.

      2. Most cities worldwide do not even allow bicycles on their trains during peak hours, including such bicycle-friendly cities as Copenhagen and Amsterdam. (Berlin is a notable exception, but they charge an additional fare and have bicycle cars.) One would assume that if Seattle ever gets to that level of train and platform crowding the same thing will happen here as well.

    3. Bikes are only not allowed at or through Pioneer Square during next years construction. Every other station is open to bikes.

  5. I believe tonight or last night is the final overnight closure of I-90 for the South Bellevue East Link crossing construction.

  6. Think I see your problem, Glenn. Many years ago, had a World War I vet explain to me that average real-life battle scene in the Great War involved a lot less frantic running around. It was most realistic the cameras of 1917 could do.

    Evidently budget cuts have brought our photographic techniques full circle. But for any comparison between Seattle, Portland, and just about anyplace else on Earth, everybody else’s terrain is wide and flat by comparison.

    Not going to mention present rate of building-construction. Are there comparisons I’m leaving out? But could query how many “others” have spent this last decade in the midst of anything like our Viaduct removal. Just for fair verdict.


  7. Three car trains are going to be bridge by pairs of buses? And why are the buses running every seven minutes? Seven is a prime number, and takes more than an hour to synchronize again with a ten minute headway service.

    Ay-yi-yi, this is likely to be a fuster cluck of significant magnitude.

    1. Down people have other alternatives to switch to, besides the Link shuttle buses. For example, depending on one’s origin or destination, they might be able to utilize any of the 7, 10, 36, 43, 48, 49, 60, 70, or First Hill Streetcar.

      Some people will also delay discretionary trips, walk if the distance is short, or pay for Uber or Lyft. ST also deliberately chose a closure date to avoid the crowds of major events.

  8. Wow, what a craptastic situation for people whose buses were terminated at UW station. And really a poor workaround generally. There has to be a way to disable catenary on just one track at Pioneer Square and allow more service. And to force more work into the overnight shutdowns. To blithely shut down the spine for three weekends… and I don’t think that’s all… isn’t great service.

  9. I experienced the Shuttle Sunday morning from Stadium station to SeaTac airport. Two things could easily be better, and the third maybe.

    First, the substitute stop southbound at Stadium is over on 6th Ave S. I thought maybe that’s because of looping on S. Lander St, but the shuttle turned on S. Holgate St and entered the busway. So it should turn on Royal Brougham instead and serve the busway stop that the 101 and 150 serve. It is closer to the closed Link station and creates more options for riders.

    Second it dropped off far side of S. Lander St, requiring two street crossings to reach the Link station. It should drop off near side, and eliminate a street crossing.

    I had waited close to ten minutes for the shuttle so it was frustrating to see the southbound Link train depart as my Shuttle waited for the traffic light at S. Lander. That meant a second ten minute wait. As my Link train finally left, two southbound Shuttles had just arrived. Some level of coordination would be desirable, to minimize waiting time. Track schedule would not have been an issue at that time as my train arrived and turned and departed immediately, and the platform had been empty for 8 minutes between trains, so a 1-2 minute wait for any arriving Shuttles would not have interfered with operations.

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