Local leaders, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, ST Board Chair Kent Keel, and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, participated in a ribbon cutting for Northgate Link
Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel cuts the ribbon for Northgate Link

On the eve of Northgate Link’s grand opening, a ceremony and preview ride kicks off a month-long celebration of the Puget Sound region’s latest expansion of rapid transit, this time 4.3 miles north to 3 new stations in the U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate. For a summary of the speeches, read STB’s live coverage of the ceremony on Twitter. On opening day Saturday, various community organizations have prepared events and activities at each station beginning at 10 am.

At Northgate Station, there will be a grand opening ceremony for the John Lewis Memorial Bridge, a pedestrian and bicycle bridge spanning I-5 to North Seattle College from 10 am to noon. For Roosevelt Station, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association has organized an opening celebration with live music & dancing and food trucks from 10 am to 4 pm at 12th Ave NE & NE 66th St between the station entrances. The U District Station opening festival runs from 10 am to 8 pm and features a $3 food walk, live entertainment, activities for kids, and a beer garden. Sound Transit has exhibits explaining design features and public art along with photo/selfie spots at all three stations that will be up throughout October.

Decades in the making, the Northgate extension to the Link 1 Line, formerly Central Link, will transform travel within North Seattle and beyond by providing a fast, frequent, and reliable transit artery that combined with frequent buses forms a network that expands access to work, education, and leisure opportunities. Metro and Sound Transit bus service in north Seattle as well as ST and Community Transit service from Snohomish County has been restructured to take advantage of Link’s strengths.

The first train departs Northgate for Angle Lake at 4:51 am. At 5:01 am, the first train to Northgate arrives from SODO. Trains will run every 10 minutes for most of the day, every 8 during peak, and every 12-15 in the early and late hours.

For those who have not yet a chance to visit the stations, here are our first impressions from the preview ride. UPDATE: Photos from the event and more are on Flickr. Share yours in the comments below.

tear off complimentary map

Grab a colorful complimentary commemorative map at any of the three stations. The map illustrates attractions and activities along the Link 1 Line with an emphasis on the 3 new stations, their entrances made to be landmarks in their own right. The paper these are printed on is a nice semi-glossy stock suitable for framing after your adventures.

Northgate Station

4-car new train at platform viewed from garage roof
4-car train at Northgate Station

Just like in U Link’s grand opening over 5 years ago, two 4-car trains arrived into the station simultaneously to carry event guests and media to tour the other stations. Unlike U Link however, the trains were not wrapped in a special livery but consisted of new Series 2 light rail vehicles. ST’s mascot Zap Gridlock and the Robert Eagle Staff Middle School drumline led the crowd up to the platform while dignitaries ceremoniously cut the ribbon around 6:14 pm.

marching drummers stand in center of platform
The platform feels a bit more spacious than Angle Lake (photo: Bruce Englehardt)

Northgate is an elevated center platform station with glass walls on both sides providing some protection from wind and noise from the freeway. Curiously, just like Angle Lake the variable message signs here are not the newer LCD screens used in the other new stations.

Northgate Station bus bays on east side of station
Northgate Station bus bays on east side of station (photo: Bruce Englehardt)

We watched buses come and go at the transit center from the train. Northgate continues to be a major bus hub for north Seattle. The new bus stops are located under the station’s south entrance (exits B and C). Metro has prepared a new “Buses from here” station-specific network map to help you find your bus route and boarding location. Bus stop shelters have the same station identification signs as found on the platform to tie The north entrance (exit A) leads to a new parking garage and path to the Kraken Community Iceplex.

Parking garage, Thornton Place, and old transit center seen from the train
Parking garage, Thornton Place, and old transit center seen from the train

The train departed Northgate and spent only a moment above ground before going underground at the Maple Leaf portal. We caught a glimpse of the new pedestrian bridge over I-5. Aside from a little jerk near the portal, the ride was very smooth. Travel time between Northgate and Roosevelt is under 3 minutes.

Roosevelt Station

south entrance to Roosevelt Station
South entrance to Roosevelt Station from NE 65th St (photo: Bruce Englehardt)

Roosevelt Station is located in the heart of the Roosevelt neighborhood under 12th Ave NE between NE 65th St and NE 67th St. But it could have been elevated along I-5 if not for the efforts of neighborhood advocacy as featured on ST’s Platform blog.

Runnel along stair from Roosevelt station platform
Runnel along stair from Roosevelt station platform

One of the public art pieces at the station depicts bicycles which got me noticing the runnels, channels running along the side of stairs to help people move bikes between levels. This station, like the other two, has stairs from platform to mezzanine to surface in addition to the escalators and elevators. The ceiling is very high due to the depth of the station, creating a spacious cavern.

band performs music in station mezzanine

On the mezzanine in a nook that seemed like a perfect fit for a busker was a band performing live music. The direction signs had large bold text and symbols.

The neon lit facade of the Standard Radio store, a neighborhood icon that once stood on the site of the station’s entrance, has been preserved in the ticketing hall.

The neon was not lit during our tour so here’s a file photo from Sound Transit

After nineteen years of going downtown, Roosevelt is the new terminus for ST Express Route 522 to Lake City, Kenmore, Bothell, and Woodinville. A-frame signs with a map showing bus boarding locations have been placed throughout the station to help guide people making connections. Similar signs are at U District station as well.

Bus connection info on Roosevelt platform
Bus connection info on Roosevelt platform

On the surface at bus stops at all three stations, there are new e-paper real time arrival displays with button activated text-to-speech are paired with backlit Buses From Here maps to reassure riders making connections to buses. These installations use the same “tech pylon” hardware found at RapidRide stations.

Network map, text-to-speech button, real time arrival display
Roosevelt Station bus bay 2 information

Sound Transit has made the Link 1 Line’s green line and circle “1” a key design motif in its grand opening artwork to bring awareness to the new line naming scheme. People are going to have to get used to calling it the 1 Line because the 2 Line will be coming in 2 years.

Decal indicating 10 minutes to Westlake Station from Roosevelt on a green line with 1-Line bullet
10 minutes to Westlake Station from Roosevelt
3D letters forming Welcome with o replaced by 1 Line bullet.
A #Link21 photo spot welcoming the 1 Line

The green lines on the floor led to photo spots and signs with fun facts about the stations. We had about 15 minutes to explore Roosevelt Station before boarding the train onward to U District Station, just under 2 minutes away.

Open doors of train with green lights and downward curvature of tunnel beyond
Train bound for U District

U District Station

street entrance to U District Station
Exit B to the south side of U District Station on 43rd St is colored teal.

U District Station is just a block off The Ave (University Way) under Brooklyn Ave between 43rd and 45th streets. The opening of the station marks a return of rail transit to the neighborhood since streetcars first arrived in 1892 and last departed in 1940.

Sheltered bike racks, bike lockers, and bike cage

It is nice to see various sheltered bicycle parking options. On the south side there are racks, lockers, and a secured bike cage with racks for hanging. If you’ve seen the bike racks on the UW campus you too would wonder whether this is enough parking.

With zoning changes and a light rail station, there will be many more towers to rise in the U District

One design feature of this station that helps people find their way out are the color-coded overhead light rails that run along the platform and up the stairs. Teal leads to the south exit (B). Orange leads to the north exit (A). Some people got confused since each color runs along the whole length of the platform. One has to look for their color “going upstairs” to head in the right direction.

We did not get the chance to ride between U District and UW stations under campus to feel how the floating track slabs designed to mitigate vibration affects the ride but did notice the track bed in the station is different than seen in other stations.

Tracks in U District station are attached to larger slabs than typical

The art in the station at least to me is evocative of older buildings you would see in Brooklyn, the neighborhood’s pre-U District name. It’s like someone undergrounded an elevated train and its adjacent buildings. On the mezzanine was a violin and bass duo performing music from the Super Mario Brothers video game (another Brooklyn reference!). The underground theme and level complete tune seemed appropriate for the location.

windows, balconies, and fire escapes on wall of station

One last thing that I want to briefly mention is the improved signage and information throughout the stations. It certainly warrants its own detailed review. The Link schedule has a new format. Line diagrams are now tailored for the direction of travel from a platform. The exit coding system trialed in downtown stations is now in use with visuals accompanying landmarks.

This is only a fraction of all the cool new things inside and around the stations that I was able to observe in the limited time during the tour and write up between last evening and the first run from Northgate. So please add your observations and enjoy your new stations!

160 Replies to “The ribbon is cut for Northgate Link”

  1. And it is under budget! (Just barely, but it counts)

    Can’t wait to check it out. I’ll be on my way in 40 mins or so.

  2. Hopefully now that the Northgate station is complete, the city will repair N. 92nd street between 1st and 5th Ave, which was completely destroyed by heavy construction equipment traffic during the project.

  3. I’ll be at Westlake at 9am on the platform, the guy in the flat cap, if anyone wants to met up,. I’ll be going straight to Northgate.

  4. Do any of these stations have restrooms? I saw a report awhile back somewhere that said Northgate does, but could never find confirmation.

    1. Signage at Northgate said it existed. I wandered around and failed to find it. I asked a security guy, and he said the locks for the stall don’t lock, so they are working on a fix.

      At any rate, there are public restrooms at the Kraken community ice rink.

      1. The restrooms are on the ticketing/mezzanine level kind of tucked beside the North up stairs. I made a pit stop right after opening Saturday morning and the mens stall locked at least.

  5. Accident on SB I-5 at about the LCW overpass. It has to be backing traffic up all the way to NG.

    This is why we build LR! It’s totally unaffected. I-5 buses? They would be stuck in traffic.

    1. So….. unfortunately that accident on SB I-5 this morning was a fatality.

      A sad reminder that commuting by car (and motorcycle) can sometimes be much worse than just congested, stressful, and unreliable.

  6. The “Train bound for U-District” photo shows a potential problem. The stop sign has a circled 4, which could be misinterpreted as a line number. It means “This is where the front of 4-car trains stop”, for people with disabilities. The most common question I get on platforms is, “Is this the way to the airport?” I wonder if a new question will be, “Does line 1 stop here?”

    1. They should have just stuck with colors. Central Link could be the Gold Line (G) and East Link the Purple Line (P). Since both the Gold and Purple Lines would be going to the UW it also serves as a way finding aid.

      Just stay away from Red, because apparently that color is too politically sensitive for us.

      1. ST was right to make the system accessible for the color-blind community. But they could have done it with “G”, “B”, etc.

      2. @BW,

        Good policy would be to do both. “P” for the Purple Line, and “Au” for the Gold Line. Or maybe “G”, but that causes trouble with the Green Line under ST4

      3. I like the “1 line” and the “2 line” it’s common in many other cities worldwide. Why does there need to be a sign on the platform telling us that’s where a 4 car train would stop. Can’t they just remove those since we will now only have 4 cars trains?

      4. I’m happy with the numbered lines. Letters would be too similar to RapidRide.

        Rather than “name” a line only by color, I would suggest to give it a formal name that evokes the color — and use a logo to primarily represent the name. Almost everyone would understand that a “Forest Line” is green and a “Skyview Line” is blue, for example. Still, it’s not really necessary so the topic is merely academic at this point.

      5. The international trend is moving away from colors to numbers due to colorblindness and multilingual recognition. When I was in Moscow in the 90s the lines had long Russian names and colors on the map. Visitors couldn’t read “Таганско-Краснопресненская” (Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya) and didn’t know the Russian word for “purple”, and 3/4 of Russians didn’t know the English word for “purple”. Now all the lines have numbers and those are the primary designation, while the map colors and names remain the same. Everyone in the world who travels knows Arabic numbers and Latin letters, even if their own language is different. But numbers are more recognizable than letters, they’re in a sequence everyone learns in elementary school and uses for mathematics, and if you don’t know the Russian word for “one” you can hold up a finger (index finger, please) or draw a line.

        The controversy over “Red Line” was absurd. A subway line is not a real-estate discrimination map. The red and blue corners in boxing tournaments aren’t Bloods and Crips or Republicans and Democrats or Communists and Capitalists. If somebody is traumatized by the term “Red Line”, the problem is with them, not the rest of society, and it would be a good opportunity to learn coping and resilience. not to banish a phrase for pretextual reasons.

      6. Colors for naming lines is an American invention of the 1960s that is rarely used elsewhere. The rest of the world uses proper names, letters, or numbers.

    2. The solution seems simple: a light rail icon. Passengers will recognize it as equivalent to a bus stop with a light rail icon, and drivers will see where it is.

      1. And there is one out at U Dist too. They must have bought from the same place as Metro.

        But again, they have 8 plus stairs.

      2. You mean the same place that installed the escalators for UW Station?

        Are there really no other subway lines in the US with high-functioning “transit-grade” escalators, with whom Sound Transit could have consulted, before paying for transit-grade escalators and receiving mall-grade escalators?

      3. Actually, by the time I got back to the U-Dist station the escalator was back in operation! So good job ST!

      4. Yes, I saw the second outage at U-District Station today.

        ST must love us because we point out all its faults.

      5. I see escalators that are out of service virtually every time I visit SEA. So it’s not just ST. It’s been years since I was in a department store or Bell Sq but it wasn’t uncommon for escalators to be out. As often as not when I’ve flown through Denver at least one of the horizontal moving sidewalks was out of service. I think the key is to have alternatives because escalators are inherently unreliable and the maintenance schedule to significantly improve performance probably isn’t worth the delta in cost.

      6. On a more positive note, both U-District and Roosevelt Stations have two-way escalators. Northgate has one-way escalators. That’s kind of backward because Northgate is supposed to be a transit center with lots of transfers. But at least two urban stations have two-way escalators, including the highest-density area in North Seattle.

      7. As Mike noted, two stations have double down escalators! That provides redundancy when one goes out of service!

        I found one down escalators at Northgate — to the John Lewis bridge. At least there is one.

        Of no one has been paying attention, most of the next new stations won’t have any down escalators. It’s sure to be an unwelcome surprise!

      8. I believe there is a full pair of escalators at the very south end of Northgate Station.

    1. Not surprising really. The fault lies in the escalator company, namely Kone. They installed the escalators and elevators in the first place IIRC, and they’re still being used today. Why a competent replacement hasn’t been brought in is beyond me.

    1. It’s a beautiful bridge! It looks great!

      Unfoqrtunatrlt, the idiot designers apparently didn’t care about softening the freeway noise. It made my ears hurt! It’s so loud that I think something will need to be done very soon.

      I might be pretty brutal on windy, rainy days, chilly days.

      I do like the mezzanine tie-in lots!

      1. It’s an ugly bridge. It looks like the freeway, or like a city that built the cheapest utilitarian thing and doesn’t care about aesthetics. A 1930s or 1950s modernist may have thought it’s an exciting new design and the future of architecture, but they were wrong. It’s sterile, inhuman, and alienating, like most architecture nowadays. But at least it’s something you can walk across, and strong enough it’s not likely to collapse.

      2. I found it bizarre that SDOT installed signs along the bridge to remind people it is built from steel. And the chain link fence along the edges cheapens the look.

        But watching people strolling across? Priceless.

    2. One thing mentioned in the ceremony is Link now connects North and Central Seattle Colleges, and Roosevelt and other high schools, and UW. So now students can travel between the colleges, and high schoolers can travel to college classes, with a lot less travel time than before, and they can walk across the bridge to North.

      1. That would have been amazing back when I attended Roosevelt and was doing running start at North Seattle and Seattle Central… I spent a lot of time biking and busing.

    3. I overheard someone checking out the bridge: “I like how it swerves”.

      I guess he has never had to deal with the swervy bike trails in greenways where the architects trying to create beautiful photos overruled the bike commuters wishing for functionality. (The swervy bike trails also pre-empt other uses of the greenway that require swaths of grass not blocked by chaotic strips of asphalt.)

      I like that the bridge is mostly straight, and can be approached from both the north and south. The bridge may make it worth it that the station was located where it is located, far from an intersection. If anything, it would have been nice to have the station further south, to minimize walking distance to the medical buildings, and have a clearer pedestrian path to Thornton Place.

      The narrow pedestrian path to the community ice rink, however, seems like it was designed by an architect who likes swervy bike trails.

  7. I rode the first train southbound from Roosevelt at 04:55. There were about 25 people doing the same. When the train arrived from Northgate, it was rather full and everyone cheered when we boarded.

    I rode to Westlake, walked around a bit, and boarded again at University Street. Then I checked out U District station. The area outside the station is very nice. It’s cool to see how different it looks compared to the construction site I used to check on whenever I was in the area.

    Finally I went to Northgate station. This station had the most confusing wayfinding of the three new stations. I wanted to check out the pedestrian bridge so I went to the nearest exit (A), but once on the escalator I realized this exit only goes to car parking and “ice center” (places I will probably never go). So I had to go back to the platform and find exit C, which leads to the bridge.

    I was pleasantly surprised at the width of the bridge. I had heard the bridge had been narrowed due to budgetary concerns, but it was reasonably wide. There are some rotary phone art installations that ring as you walk past. The first one definitely spooked me as I walked past on this dark morning.

    I can tell how rushed the bridge opening was. One of the City Light panels on the ground had a pile of screws on top of it. I guess a worker forgot to screw that panel in. Also, there aren’t handrails on the entire slope of the eastern side of the bridge. It’s steep enough that I think this would be helpful for many people.

    All in all a fun morning!

    1. I noticed those loose screws too and moved them over to the side. No sense in someone stepping on them and having their feet roll out from under them.

      They also have temporary plexiglass panels up at some of the expansion joint locations.

      And I don’t understand the change in lighting styles on the east end.

    2. The train was busy at 4:55am? Wow. When I left Westlake at 9:02am ridership was light, like a typical early evening. But when I came back at 11:15am to Roosevelt, and then to U-District and Capitol Hill around 12 and 1, it was busy. Not peak-hour busy, but a dozen people getting on or off at each door.

      I’ve heard the 512 is busy on its first runs at 4:30 and 5am. Apparently a lot of people have early-shift jobs. And then (on at least central-north Seattle routes) ridership is low from 6am to 7:15am, then the peak starts, and winds down at 9-9:30am.

      1. Mike, I was on the 4:51am first train departing Northgate and there were 100 +/- people on board. Technically I guess I was the first paying customer to ride the entire route as I was in the first seats at the front of the train. ;-) There were 20 or so of us that rode from Northgate to Angle Lake, which took exactly 1 hour. I then rode the same train back to Northgate, then went to U District and finally Roosevelt before returning to Northgate and walking the bridge. Too early for anything going on (or even for Kitanda near the U District station to be open for coffee and Brazilian snacks), but nice to be able to check out the stations.

    3. The phones are interesting. At first I couldn’t tell what it was until I looked closer. I wonder which generation will be the first to not recognize them. They ring every minute, you can pick up the handset, and they play a Halloween-like message. I’m not sure if picking up the handset is related to playing the message: on one phone it seemed to be but on the other phone the message seemed to play anyway.

      It reminds me of something I saw in the downtown library yesterday: a story-dispensing machine. You press a button for a 1-minute, 2-minute, or 5-minute story, and it prints it on receipt-like paper. Mine was a poem. That would be a good thing to have at Northgate station, or all the stations.

    4. Oh, the dial goes the wrong way. On a real phone it turns clockwise, but on these it turns counterclockwise. There’s no way to dial a 1 properly.

      1. That’s kind of funny. I wonder if that was intentional, as if the artist was making some kind of statement about outdated technology.

  8. I just got back from ambling around the new stations a while ago. I got to see all three, and walked around every nook and cranny.

  9. Having grown up near Roosevelt standard was the place to go hear an album before buying. I was pleased to see this as part of the past meets the future.

    1. Yeah, that was a nice touch. It reminded me of when QFC repurposed the letters from the old FOOD GIANT store in Wallingford.

  10. Now that Northgate Link is open, why not extend the D line to the Northgate Transit Center so it can serve access north as well as to downtown?

    1. When the D was being planned there was public pressure to extend it to Northgate, and Metro said it would have but it couldn’t fit the RapidRide budget. So it extended the 40 instead, because it’s cheaper to extend a regular bus than to buy more red buses. The same problem still exists: extending the 40 would require taking service hours from other routes, and there’s already a concern that the post-2019 network isn’t frequent enough. I noticed this morning my beloved 10 and 11 both dropped to half-hourly weekends and evenings, like during the worse of the covid cuts.

      1. The stbd opted to extract the hours they spent in 2016 to split lines c and d, metro responded by cutting trips on about 15 routes for hours to keep lines c and d split. The stbd has less funding due to the 2020 tax rate choice as I-976 was still in the courts.

    2. I predict a 2024/5 revised restructure when Lynnwood Link and maybe 522 Stride open. Link will have trains every five minutes by then.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see a shift of attitudes about using buses to get Downtown. Link is just going to be so darned convenient and frequent.

    3. That’s why Link is so important. With two lines we’ll finally have New York/London/Moscow frequency at least in the Lynnwood-Intl Dist segment. That will change how people think and act about the train. If it’s drop-dead easy to walk a few steps and wait no more than 2-5 minutes for eighteen hours a day, suddenly transit becomes very easy and convenient, so why wouldn’t you take it, and do those trips that were previously inconvenient on transit. Of course, that only applies to trip pairs on Link, and Link only serves a few areas, and not in-between trips like 55th to 80th. But the Northgate-Intl Dist Link stations are where a large number of trips are concentrated, and many people will live within walking distance of them, even if others have to take a bus feeder or parallel bus route. Right now nobody can use transit like they do in New York, but with Lines 1 and 2, tens of thousands of people will be able to. That will start affecting how people think of transit, and more people will see it as viable, and the natural progression for a large city. It will take a few years to gradually build up, as people one by one move to the service area or change jobs or realize how it can serve their trip, but it will happen. And then other neighborhoods will start clamoring for a similar level of service.

      1. @MO

        You are correct.

        Since 2009 when Central Link went into service there have been 4 extensions to the original line that have opened, although at least one of those extensions was pretty minor.

        Over the next 3.25 years there will be 4 more extensions that will open, and none of them will be minor. In addition to a doubling of frequency in the urban core, the total coverage will nearly triple with extensions to the north, south, and east. And none of the extensions will be minor.

        Transit at the start of 2025 will be nothing like it was in the sad old days of the 71. It will be completely reborn, and people will get it and adapt to it. And they will demand more and better connections to rail.

        Metro and CT will need to continue to pivot towards more Link feeder service. Their mission will change to one of being more supportive of ST. To being more of a feeder service to the big horse.

        I don’t think Metro will like it much, but it will be what the people demand.

  11. Craziest comments I heard today, lots of confusion over what the icon for Roosevelt Station represents. Lots of people apparently think it represents a Roosevelt Elk. I finally interjected in one conversation between a mother and son where the mother was teaching the son that it was a Roosevelt Elk. The conversation went like thi:

    Mom: It’s a Roosevelt elk for Roosevelt Station.

    Me: Actually, it is not an Elk, it is a moose.

    Mom: there is a Roosevelt moose? I’ve never heard of a Roosevelt moose.

    Me: it’s actually a Bull Moose.

    Mom: but it doesn’t look like a cow, it looks like an elk.

    Me: it is for Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party. He was known for that.

    Mom: well if it is for Teddy Roosevelt they should have just used a teddy bear.

    That is when I gave up.

    1. I liked the elk statue on the platform, although i only saw it for an instant as my train departed. If all of the stations are going to have pictograms (as they all do per state law), they should have some large-scale art using the pictogram. That’s the way to make it memorable: to have a statue of the pictogram.

      1. I didn’t look closely at the statue, but the pictogram for the station is actually a moose.

      2. It looked to me like an elk. But I only got a split-second glimpse of it, and I only have a vague idea of what the animals look like.

    2. “well if it is for Teddy Roosevelt they should have just used a teddy bear”

      *facepalm*

    3. Yeah when the train got to the station I told my son that it was a moose (assuming the “bull moose” connection), but someone matter-of-factly corrected me saying it was a “Roosevelt elk.” I was like “seems weird, but okay.” Then we left the station to check out the surface, went back down to catch the train to Northgate, and I noticed the sign that explained it really was a moose and referenced the “bull moose” story.

  12. Just got back from riding the new section, from UW Station to Northgate Station and back, stopping at all three new stations. Here is my short review of each station…

    Northgate: Sucks. On one side is a highway, on the other three are parking. I guess the mall is still under construction, but I am very underwhelmed by what has been built in the area so far. Even as a bus connection point, it’s inferior to what we could have built… we should have done an elevated station straddling Northgate Way.

    Roosevelt: Better, but… the last time I was in Roosevelt was about 20 years ago, when I lived on the north side of Green Lake. I’ve been hearing that there were big changes to the area around the station, but I was quite underwhelmed. There are single-story houses only a couple blocks from the station. Checking Zillow, some of them are selling for nearly $2 million! (Although the average seems to be a mere $800k.)

    U District: This is more like it. But the U District has been great (ignore the haters; the Ave is amazing) for longer than I’ve been alive. There isn’t much new construction (thank you very much, Nick Licata).

    I must sound like a broken record by now, but I feel like we are squandering a lot of opportunity through very timid rezoning around Link stations. What are we so afraid of?

    1. I am pretty sure that several of the adjacent vacant parcels are reserved for development. Your disappointment about that is hopefully going to change in a few years.

    2. You didn’t notice all the tower cranes near U-Dist station? They are everywhere. Many are 20+ story buildings with various uses.

      My old grad school apartment is literally diagonal from the south end of U-Dist Station and is now a construction site for twin towers in the 20-25 story range. Bye bye apartment #204.

      It’s changing a lot, as is Roosevelt.

    3. Yes, we’re squandering opportunity, but the development that is occurring is better than nothing. In Roosevelt there were two problems. One, regular NIMBYs, who didn’t want to lose their single-family houses next to the station, and who objected that views from Roosevelt High School must be preserved. Two, a particular slumlord Sisley who owned several properties in the neighborhood. He didn’t maintain the properties and got repeated citations for unsafe conditions, and the city finally forced him to bulldoze some of the houses (they became grassy lots). He wanted all profit and no expenses, and was waiting for the upzone so he could make a killing with midrises. The neighbors wanted to deny him the windful he would have gotten with a maximum upzone. So to punish a slumlord, they shot themselves and future Seattle residents in the foot. But still, a half upzone is better than no upzone.

      The lack of apartments above the station is another issue, and entirely ST’s fault. The station spans two blocks — two one-story buildings. There’s a little park in the middle, at least that’s something. But I wish it were built like Thornton Place, where I had breakfast near the creek. Lowrise apartments and open space and ground-floor retail; that would have been better than one-story single-purpose buildings and open space.

      During ST1 and the first part of ST2, ST was neutral on station-area density because it didn’t want to be pilloried on both sides. But in the run-up to ST3 it finally acknowledged that density is intrinsically better around stations so that more people can live and shop within walking distance of the station. Why are we building Link? So that people can use it. So shouldn’t we maximize the number of people who can use it? But this revelation came too late for Roosevelt, as the station was already designed.

    4. Nick Licata has been gone from the council for years. Now, the blame goes to his protege Lisa Herbold. It is tedious watching everything she does to filibuster every effort to build more housing, in districts she does not represent. The U-District upzone was eviscerated on her watch. By her (and other councilmembers who voted with her).

      1. @BW,

        Increasing zoning heights to 25 stories is hardly evisceration. At least not in my world.

        But the problem with the council really goes back Charter Amendment 19 and Cleve Stockmeyer. He was a grumpy sod, and he left this city worse off than he found it.

        Charter Amendment 19 needs to be changed.

      2. @MO,

        It’s the amendment that established district elections. Instead of having 9 council members that report to each citizen, now every citizen has just 3.

        It’s led to a lot of Balkanization.

  13. I found the new underground station platforms to be unnecessarily dark gray. I like the vividness of colors in the stations generally — but the platform areas look like tombs. The artwork on the Roosevelt platform was cool — and it should cover lots more of the visible area. The street window artwork at the U-District platform was curious at one level, but comes across as silly at another level.

  14. Hoping someone will post a YouTube video of the journey and trip from street to platform.

  15. Transit music and ambience for your Northgate Link explorations. I’ve posted all these before, but never together.

    Mysterious Subway Station, Miracle Forest. (ambience, Budapest)

    Last Train Downtown, Smooth Genestar. (ambient/techno) The album cover reminds of of the Hayward or Union City BART stations for some reason, although the style is older.

    Can’t Stay with You Baby, Jimi Tenor. (soul-pop) I’ve gotta find me a car to drive me downtown.

    Via con me (it’s wonderful), Swingrowers. (electroswing, with scooter ride through 1950s Rome, cover of Paolo Conte song)

    Butterfly, Swingrowers. (electroswing, Vico Neo dancing in Budapest subway station) Want beautiful stations like that.

    Never fear, there’s still time to stop a douchebag. (cars parking in bus stops). Bonus: the Dr Evil episode (cars and motorcycles driving on sidewalk)

  16. I live in Capitol Hill and had a couple errands to run in the U-District and Roosevelt neighborhoods. I decided to check out Northgate Station as well and make it a trifecta.

    Getting into U-District station a little after 1pm, I expected any initial excitement would have died down, but people on my train started clapping and cheering when the station was announced and getting off the train, the station was packed with people taking photos and videos. Heading out of the station, it didn’t feel as deep underground as a I expected. The sculpture and video art along one of the walls- making it look like an apartment building exterior- fits the station well. The street fair celebrating the station opening was bustling, and restaurants had long lines for the $3 food promotions.

    After sitting down for some coffee and picking up a few things, I headed to Roosevelt. It felt spacious, and I liked that the stairs were in the center of the station, but if you prefer to use an escalator or elevator, they seemed further from the center of the station than I expected. The scene outside was much more subdued- there was a rock band playing, but there was much less going on than at U-District station. I’ve lived in Roosevelt and Ravenna/Wedgewood, and if I still lived in either neighborhood, I would likely be making use of Roosevelt Station. Living in Capitol Hill now, there’s not a whole lot to draw me there, except possible running at Green Lake.

    Despite feeling extremely suburban, Northgate Station seemed to attract more sightseers today. There doesn’t seem to be a lot to do in the immediate station area yet, but people were interested in checking out the new bridge, which is about as nice as you can expect a bridge over I-5 to be. The bike lane by the station looks appealing- between that and the bridge, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a surprisingly large portion of riders arriving by bike. Bus transfers also look well integrated. It looked like there was already an escalator out at this station too though.

    The trains were more crowded than I’ve seen them since the pandemic started (except when I accidentally took one during a Husky football game rush a few weeks ago). A lot of this seemed to be people who were excited about the new station opening, but on the way back home, there were also a number of people heading to tonight’s Mariners game who were already incorporating the new stations into their trips. The station announcements said that trains were departing every 10 minutes, but it seemed like it was more like every 5 or 6 minutes- it was exceptionally nice to experience short headways again.

    My first impressions are close to what I expected before the opening: U-District Station is a game changer for a lot of people, Roosevelt Station ridership may be underwhelming for a while, and Northgate Station should see healthy ridership for the next few years from bus transfers as well as bicyclists, but it’s long-term use will depend on how the walkshed develops.

    1. Roosevelt has a highly diverse collection of businesses, so it punches above its weight. It has Whole Foods, hi-fi shops, a produce store (at 15th), a new age bookstore, and if you go down to 55th there’s the Friendly Foam Shop and the Monkey Pub. And Ravenna Park, Ravenna Boulevard, and Greenlake. Magnuson Park is a short 20-minute ride away on the 62, and has a large dog-walking park and doggy beach, and WWII ruins in the grass. It’s worth wandering around Roosevelt and seeing what might interest you.

      1. Friendly Foam moved to Lake City a few years ago. Still, lots of great restaurants and bars and Roosevelt Square (Whole Foods) across the street.

    2. I’ve wanted a subway to Northgate since the 1980s, so when Lynnwood Link was approved I started collecting ways I would use it. For Roosevelt I’d take Link to all the things above (except the new age bookstore), and it’s on my list of places I might move to in the future. The Roosevelt Whole Foods was the first one in Seattle for many years. The concentration of hi-fi shops is unique. Non-drivers choose locations with easy transit access, even if they have to go further to reach them. So I’d go to this Whole Foods rather than the ones in SLU or Madison that are closer to me, because it has the best transit access. Likewise with the Beacon Hill library, SODO Costco, Northgate vs Southcenter, Nordstrom downtown, the hardware store at 10th & Pike, certain parks and trails, etc.

    1. I assume they will have to be based on the schedules rather than bus GPS tracking.

      13 of the 21 bus routes serving the station (for the next three years) start from layover at the station. (The just-retired transit center is being put to good use.)

  17. I felt the ORCA reader in the south exit of the UDistrict station was too close to the ascending escalator–people were lining up to tap out and that made it difficult for people in the back to walk out. Some noticed another reader closer to the exit and proceeded that way, while one person yelled, “Move along, people.”

    I can’t speak for other stations, though, as today was my first time riding in a crowded Link trip for multiple times in a day. So happy living just a block away from the Roosevelt station!

  18. First time on any public transit. Traveling to T-Mobil was easy. Coming out of T-Mobil stadium with the sea of humanity made it more difficult. We ended up at Sea-tac and Angle Lake instead of our intended destination, Northgate. Had no idea.. even after checking the web to see how to travel and trip plan . Some kind of giant glowing billboard might have been nice. I’m glad it wasn’t my kids.. just saying. I wonder if anyone else found it confusing? Maybe I’m just not made for public transportation.

    1. It can be overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with transit, but it only takes a few rides to get used to it. The nice thing about subways is there are a limited number of stations, so wherever you are, it’s near one of those stations. I approach subways bu first looking at the system map, which is at all stations and on all trains, and visualizing its shape, and how many stations I am from my home station, the central station (Westlake), or one end. The train displays have the final station (Northgate or Angle Lake), and I see them on the map. I’ve ridden Metro buses for decades so I know where things are, so I’m perhaps blind to how it might look if you’re unfamilar with the area or with transit.

      The station entrances and walking paths are perhaps more confusing, because they’re not on the system map, and the escalator locations and number of escalator levels can seem random. Stadium Station and and the ones north of Westlake and south of TIB are center-platform, so you have to be on the right side of the platform for your direction, but you can reverse direction by just walking across the platform. The older stations are side-platform, so the platform is only northbound or only southbound..

      The biggest problem I have is with Capitol Hill Station, where I get off the train and want to go out the southwest entrance, but both the south and north ends look identical from the platform so I sometimes go up the wrong side. I try to remember, “It’s the same direction I was traveling in” or “It’s the opposite direction”, but I get out of the train and then I can’t remember which direction is the same and which is the opposite. I’ve learned to look for the exit sign (“Denny Way” or “John Street”) opposite of the one I’m going to, bcause of the way the signs are near the middle and the escalators are at the ends. And I look up to the top of the escalator, where the south exit turns right and the north exit turns left, but that’s hard to see from the platform.

      The most confusing part about Link is probably fare payment and the multiple fare levels. Link has a distance-based fare, Metro has a flat fare, ST Express has a different flat fare. (It used to be worse, Metro and ST Express had multiple fare levels.) There are no fare gates so you have to remember to tap your ORCA card when boarding the train and exiting, and sometimes the readers aren’t in your line of sight. Sometimes you have to hold the card over the reader in different ways until it registers. When you tapin it charges the maximum fare. If you don’t tapin, ST considers you trespassing and you can be fined. When you tapout it refunds the difference between your trip’s fare and the maximum fare. If you don’t tapout within two hours it keeps the difference.

      The most reliable place to refill an ORCA card is at a TVM (ticket vending machine) at a station; then your card is credited immediately. If you refill it online, it will appear on the card the next time you tap it at a reader, but only fixed-location readers (Link or off-board RapidRide readers) can credit it to the card the same day, bus readers can only do it the following day.

    2. The stations have signage indicating where to board for which destination and the trains are also labeled-right on the front with the endpoint name.

      Additionally, the interior of the trains have maps and signage. Even if someone boarded the wrong train, it should be obvious within a stop or two. Particularly if they are traveling to the endpoint.

      And if suddenly being on the surface going through the Rainier Valley, instead of in a tunnel going to the UW, wasn’t clue enough, well, at least you got a tour of the city.

    3. Your kids probably already know how to use the system pretty well. Getting around without being able to drive in places like Skagit or Island counties would be very similar to getting around in Seattle.

      The worst station I think is Westlake. There are signs, but it’s easy to miss them because they are dark background in an underground station. Also, a bunch of the signs are overhead, rather than at pedestrian eye level.

      But, how many times when you were learning to drive around Seattle did you wind up going on the wrong direction? Or wind up in a situation where it is physically impossible to do what the driving directions tell you to do (eg, getting on at Mercer, and cross every single lane of I-5 to get off at 520)?

      Just like learning g to drive in a new area, learning to use the transit system will come with time.

    4. Next time just ask someone else on the train where it’s headed. People can be pretty helpful most of the time I’ve found.

      Please keep in mind too that delivering oneself to a transit agency for transport doesn’t mean you should abandon all common sense, especially if you have doubts about which train to get on.

      I’m going to say it, and forgive me if I’m wrong: But I’m going to guess that after the game the there was a little cognitive impairment too, yes? Heh.

    5. The stations have useful maps that don’t appear to be available online, at least easily findable. I remember there used to be pages for each station.

      When ST was still publishing biennial Ride the Wave books (a tradition that appears to have ended as of yesterday), it had a reasonably full treatment for Sounder stations. I’d love to see an online version of that for Link stations, including the area maps, the station maps, the fares to other stations (which would allow the increasingly large NxN chart to go away), the arrival or departure times specific to each station, and maybe even photos to help with the wayfinding.

      There is so much ST can do to up its online game, particularly for its flagship line.

    6. Usually the trains will announce the line and destination but maybe due to the game the train driver forgot to set it up correctly.

      The 5:30 am train we took to ride back to Northgate after the first train of the day confusingly was signed “University of Washington” but I checked the schedule and it does go all the way. At UW the train announced “this is the last stop” but security did not sweep the trains. We got off, hesitated, then got back on. Doors closed and we continued north. All of a sudden the destination signs changed to Northgate! This was on a Kinkisharyo train.

    7. Sometimes the next-station displays are wrong. Yesterday I was on a southbound train from Northgate and the display said the next station was Capitol Hill, and the next station was Roosevelt. That seems to be a train that didn’t get the new line programming.

      Another thing that’s wrong is the minutes to the next train is still missing. There’s a new audio announcement I first heard a few weeks ago, “Trains are running every 10 minutes.” This appears to be mitigation for the loss of the next-train minutes display. ST said it’s working on it and the minutes will be back, but they didn’t make Northgate Link’s opening. But the minutes have often been on-again, off-again, and accurate or inaccurate, so it will probably continue in an on-and-off way.

      I haven’t seen any other train with the wrong next-station display, but I have seen it several few times on the First Hill Streetcar. The announcement will say this is Pine Street when it’s really Marion Street or Terrace Street, or that it’s at the original terminal (the one behind it). So that’s a bigger mistake. But fewer people use the streetcar so it affects fewer people, and you can see out the window whether Pike-Pine or Swedish hospital or the Yesler Terrace housing development is in front of you.

      1. I used the live train tracker function on ST’s website and those appeared to be accurate yesterday morning. There must be complications in getting that info to the signs reliably. ST said they are overhauling the sign control system by the time East Link comes online.

      2. It’s definitely a technology that is imperfect. Sometimes TriMet next destination announcements are wrong side of town level wrong. TriMet only has * one* underground station to contend with, rather than Link’s dozen or so. With such things as Doppler effect triggered crossing gates you’d think the vendors for this stuff would have come up with a better solution by now.

        Sadly, the ads I see in the transit magazines are all oriented around turning station signage into “infotainment revenue stream” systems rather than improving the actual information displayed.

    8. ST uses “southbound” and “northbound” (or SB and NB) sometimes — but directions have almost no reference to help a new rider. Yesterday, I noticed the directional reference popping up in new places (Northgate signs mentioned the next “SB” train). 2 Line will have trains going somewhat in all four cardinal directions so directional references will be increasingly impractical.

      In other cities, each platform is given a number. I don’t think it would that helpful until we get to stations with four platforms.

      Some metros have two voices making announcements — one high pitched and one lower pitched — and regular riders get conditioned to know which voice goes with which direction.

      The tried and true method for riders anywhere is to look at the ultimate destination listed on the front of the vehicle. Incidents and odd train runs can change the destinations listed on the fixed signs in stations. Destination signs are sometimes visible on the lit signs on the side of the train too.

      And getting on in the wrong direction is an easy correction. Just get off your comfy train and wait at the other platform for a comfy train going the other way. If you paid with an Orca card you don’t need to tap off and pay a new fare. You may lose a few minutes of your life (maybe as much as an hour if you go several stations) when it happens, but at least the remedy only consists of an extra short walk, getting on a different train (hopefully you can get a seat) and maybe a second fare payment if you can’t get to your final destination in 90 minutes.

      I cringe every time I learn that someone got on a wrong direction train. However, it’s not a problem exclusive to transit. The problem exists when a new user uses any transportation mode (unfamiliar people occasionally drive onto freeways in the wrong direction). We are all error-making humans — and any regular rider has made a similar mistake a few times (maybe just a missed station). It’s no reflection on a rider’s overall intelligence unless it’s a frequent mistake.

      1. “Northbound” and “Southbound” will have to be revised when East Link has an L shape. I’ve heard “Inbound” and “Outbound” a couple times this past month, and I hope it doesn’t take over. MUNI Metro uses “Inbound” and “Outbound”, even on the segment southeast of Embarcadero where “Inbound” is really outbound and “Outbound” is really inbound. So will East Link from Bellevue to Redmond be “Inbound”?

      2. All trains heading south from Northgate can be announced as “Southbound.” It indicates which platform is about to have a train. It doesn’t matter which was the station in oriented; in Westlake, the train will be facing west but it is still a southbound train.

        Only at the ID station itself will the western platform announcements need to iterate between “southbound’ and “eastbound’ trains.

        I agree “Inbound” and “Outbound” is not good. It would be meaningless in the downtown core. One of the central features of a metro system, rather than a commuter rail system, is the indistinguishability of inbound and outbound traffic.

      3. Southbound and northbound in the announcements will have to be revised once trains have multiple destinations on multiple lines. “The next 1 Line train to Angle Lake is in 2 minutes” “2 Line train to Redmond now arriving.” It would also be consistent with the signage.

        At Northgate they are using NB and SB to refer to the side of the platform that the next train (all going south) is departing from even though the platforms are not signed that way. It is assumed that people will know somehow which direction is north to orient themselves and then the rules of the road (traffic drives on the right) to figure which is which.

      4. I think it’s important to distinguish between fixed signs and electronic changing signs. No fixed signs appear to have “***bound” anywhere that I see. If so, it’s hard for a rider to find them.

        In contrast, the electronic signs and sometimes announcements do use them. That’s when confusion arises. A rider may hear “southbound” but not see any reference to which direction this is on a fixed sign. It’s not so much what term gets used; it’s more of an issue that there is usually no general guidance available to tell a rider which direction is being announced.

        Usually, the destination station is consistently used in most transit systems. ST fixed signs are already set up this way.

        Some systems will list two destinations (an intermediate control pont). BART in the East Bay announces “San Francisco/ (end station)” for example. I wouldn’t object to signs listing “Central Seattle” or “Downtown Seattle” in addition to the end station. With that convention, the announcement would be “Downtown Seattle/ Downtown Redmond” for one train leaving Northgate and “Downtown Seattle/ Federal Way” for the other — making it clear that both trains go downtown.

        I’ve had more than a few riders ask me which direction Seattle is on the Seatac Airport platform. Inserting a second popular control point really makes it much clearer to a new rider.

        I’m not a fan of the words inbound and outbound either. With many important destinations on the system, it gets confusing pretty fast.

      5. A limitation of using the line’s terminus is that sometimes the terminus is not well-known. I reckon a considerable portion of people taking Link to the airport don’t know where Angle Lake is. Seems like it could be good to include both the terminal station and the largest station along the way. “Angle Lake / Airport” or “Angle Lake / Downtown Seattle”

        Related, are there still signs/announcements that say “to Seattle” at stations within Seattle? I vaguely recall that Husky Stadium trains said something like that and it was common on buses like the 522 that went to downtown Seattle via a few Seattle neighborhoods.

  19. My main takeaway from checking out Northgate Station:

    The mall is mostly gone, and the main attractions are the public ice rink(s?) and the acres and acres of parking garages.

    Years from now, we’ll be kicking ourselves that we stuck with naming it Northgate Station, instead of calling it Ice Rink Station or Ice Rink Park&Ride Station.

    Also, the Kraken will be kicking themselves that their arena will be at the Seattle Center rather than Northgate.

    And that NWHL plays in the autumn and winter, making it very difficult for Seattle to host a franchise. The same may be true at lots of other arenas hosting N(m)HL franchises. If I were into playing hockey, I’d want to play it in the summer, when the ice rink is a refreshing escape from global heating.

    1. Simon who owns the Northgate site has major plans that are still going through the permit process but they include apartments, an office building, a park and about 400,000 square feet of shopping that is down from about 1 million square feet before. It is going to take several years before it is all completed.

      I have been to the Kraken complex and outside there are signs with maps outlining what the complete site will be like when it is completed.

    2. The Kraken practice rink has stands for a few thousand, correct? Looks like the NWHL averages just under one thousand fans at a game, so the Northgate facility could host NWHL games, alongside other events like high school hockey games.

      1. There are 3 rinks at the Kraken Community Center and the stand at the main rink where the team practices can hold about a 1,000 people while at the other 2 rinks it is about 500 at each.

        I have not heard if the NWHL will play games there but there will be games from kids to adults. It will also be used for figure skating and skating for the general public. The day I was there on rink #3 there were a lot of people who were enjoying themselves skating.

        There is a team store, obviously and selling a lot of different Kraken stuff and it was busy as people were walking out with full bags. Across from the team store is a Starbucks as they are the sponsor of the facility and opening up later this fall on the same level will be a restaurant and bar that will overlook the rinks.

        For someone who shopped at the mall for years it is quite a change and it will be interesting to see what it will look like in several years when all of the rebuilt is completed. The Kraken facility is a good addition as it can become a neighborhood hub for people to enjoy and with the plans to put in a park and walking trail will add to the area.

    3. My two observations from Northgate were:
      1) The mezzanine level is split. Wife and I tried to head to the Thornton Creek building (movie theater) but walked down to the North Mezz which left us with having to cross 103rd once we reached street level. Could have gone up and back South instead but good lesson learned.
      2) Also noticed the top deck of the new P&R garage is not a ST lot but run by Denison (sp?) and charges $15 per day. We walked through and noticed folks were paying that on Sunday for the Sounders game when they could have parked 1 level down for free in the actual ST garage. Buyer beware!

      1. I think it’s more about demand management than revenue; Kemper Freeman charges for daytime parking in his giant underground garages east of Bellevue Way (the mall lots west of Bellevue Way remain free for short term parking). $15/day likely doesn’t cover cost of construction for structured garages.

  20. Did anyone see Greg Nickels yesterday?

    I did not, but I am sure he was lurking around somewhere taking data and working on the details of ST5, and playing some masterful three dimensional chess, while the average rider was still trying to figure out how to spell O-R-C-A.

    Overheard a kid yesterday who kept calling it his OKRA card. Back to 5th grade for him!

  21. Nice choice of photo! I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed in ST’s twitter photo that Board Chair Keel was the only elected not wearing a mask at the ribbon cutting.

    There is little that annoys me more these days than people not wearing a mask on transit or in stations. It’s like manspreading, but worse, as other riders feel forced to move to another section of the traincar for their own safety, and the safety of the underinformed maskless person.

    On one of my rides yesterday, I wanted to hand a mask to a maskless rider, but the single receptacle on the train was empty. On another, it was almost empty, but I was able to get back to the guy and hand him a mask, just as he was alighting. He thanked me. If you see someone who seems oblivious to everyone else having masks on, go find the receptacle and offer them a mask. If they refuse, at least you tried, but don’t argue. If they accept, you might have saved their life.

    I heard the mask-required message played just once while I was on board yesterday, but there were quite a few who did not wear them over their nostrils, or even their mouths. Yes, they were wearing their masks, under their chins. That actually annoys me even more than the maskless.

    Perhaps the messages need to be more specific. It goes over your nose. It goes over your nose. Like a sock goes over your toes.

    1. To be clear, Board Chair Keel wore a mask during the event. He only removed his mask for the ribbon cutting photo op. The speakers also removed their masks only while speaking at the podium.

    2. Just stay home and hide under your covers. Honestly people like you are pathetic. It’s people like you that let me know that most Seattleites want to live this way forever.

      1. Why is taking a simple precaution to avoid spreading a deadly disease a bad thing?

      2. The only way to stop the spread of covid and defeat it is vaccination and mask wearing. Why Luke are you sabotaging the effort to defeat this disease? Do you even realize there are people who are immunocompromised, who really do rely on the rest of us to do the right thing?

        A little short term pain (a pin prick), and short term inconvenience (mask wearing), will get us back to normal for the long term quicker!

        Seriously pull your selfish head out of your ass, and wear a mask.

      3. Well, there is some irony when thousands of people gather to cram into light rail stations and ride enclosed trains together, although the trip is totally discretionary to celebrate the opening of NG Link, to call out others for not being serious enough about Covid 19.

        If I am not mistaken the reason for masks (if it is the proper mask and worn properly) is if there is no way to maintain a 6′ distance from others (“social distancing”), especially strangers in confined spaces. It is kind of like someone going to Disneyland and complaining others in the crowded park are not wearing a mask, or wearing it correctly.

      4. Even if we don’t go to Disneyland, we still have reason to complain about masklessness at Disneyland, since the people involved would be growing the petri dish that may evolve a new variant that gets around the vaccines.

      5. It’s people like you that let me know that most Seattleites want to live this way forever.

        Nope, we follow the precautions recommended by health officials because we do not want to live this way forever.

        You’re welcome.

      6. @Luke,

        I don’t know about you, but I love what Benjamin Franklin said about Seattleites. He said, “They are healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

        As a Seattleite I’d be happy being just one of the three, but being all three at the same time is just awesome. I can’t believe how lucky I am.

        I wish this pandemic was behind us. Get vaxed, wear a mask, and social distance when you can, and it will be. I don’t see why that is a problem.

        I love doing my small part for the betterment of society. You?

    3. I have not ridden Link for at least a year, but really wanted to try it today. Very exciting. I saw the masks worn most of the time. Thank you. I also saw the dispensers in the trains. Most of them broken in to from the top and damaged or 8 or 9 masks laying on the ground next to them. For what is is worth, I got my shot and believe in masking. But I also see the public mask dispensers being the new fast food restaurants versions of napkin dispensers. They will get abused and wasted. Hope I am wrong.

      1. How does one abuse or waste a single-use mask? If someone wears it, and then throws it away, that was the intended use

      2. If someone breaks the top of the dispensor, puts their dirty hands inside the dispensor, grabs 8 masks with their dirty hands, and throws 7 on the floor, and walks off the train. Maybe or maybe that is not abuse. You can judge. I saw that yesterday. That means all of the rest of the masks left inside are not sanitary anymore.

      3. This is the it-can’t-be-done-perfectly-all-the-time-so-it-should-not-be-done-at-all argument.

        Even if a few masks are spoiled, the ones that aren’t definitely make it worth it to have them on board. I have not encountered any receptacles broken into at the top. Directions taped onto the receptacles, for how to pull just one out, could help.

        For what fare ambassadors will now get paid, they could be distributing lots of medical-grade reusable cloth masks for a small fraction of the cost of the ambassador program. They could hand them out to all the riders who are wearing single-use masks, not just the maskless ones. The bag containing the mask could contain a piece of paper showing how to wear the mask properly, in multiple languages, how to wash the mask, and locations for vaccination and testing clinics, without having to go online.

        They could also save a tiny amount on typesetting by taking the word “fare” out of their job title.

      4. I saw the mask dispensers Saturday on three trips and there wasn’t any vandalism then. Hopefully any abuse was short-lived and related to the opening day. I was thinking before the opening that there should be mask dispensers on Link and I’m glad there were.

        Everybody I saw was wearing masks: on Link, on the bridge, at the bridge ceremony, and at the Roosevelt and U-District events. The only exception was one guy watching who had it pulled down below his mouth, and maybe event speakers (who were too far away to see clearly). There were a few hundred at the event, so while there were thousands of people over the whole day, there weren’t “thousands” together simultaneously.

        I’m wondering how full trains will be this week.

  22. Even though I know that the “4” signs on the platform are for four car trains, the signs look silly since there are no longer “2” signs that I saw.

    Since we now have numbered lines with those numbers in circles, shouldn’t this sign lose its digit?

    Suggestions:

    – Four LR vehicle logos stacked
    – Two horizontal lines to resemble an intersection stop bar
    – A silhouette driver logo
    – A simple star or triangle
    – Blank
    – Removal
    – Line number (both a combined “1/2” needed soon)
    – A word like “stop” or “stop here” or “end of train”

    It’s not detrimental to the system and not urgent, but I could see it confusing people looking for the 1 Line ( and soon the 2 Line).

    1. I guess ST could alternatively replace the circle outline and have the signs be diamonds or triangles instead. It’s the number inside a circle that makes the sign a bit confusing.

      1. Who uses these train stop signs and how do they use them? Able-bodied people can just run to wherever the train is, and now that two-car trains are gone they won’t have to run very far. I understand disabled people use the signs to position themselves at the front of the train and so they don’t have to run. Is this accurate? Perhaps we should just ask them what works for them, and say we must away from a number in a circle because it’s too similar to line numbers now. I’m not sure a number in a diamond is better; it would still look similar. Does Japan have line numbers in a circle alongside car counts in a diamond? Would an icon of four trains work? It may be hard to distinguish at a distance, but it would solve the problem of using numbers.

      2. Actually, the primary users are people with limited or no vision. By using the tactile flooring, the stop location that the operator uses lines up tactile markings on the platform with the last door of the second car and the first door of the third car.

      3. If the primary users are people with no or limited vision, is it even necessary to have a (4) sign? I don’t recall seeing a Braille plate or tactile identification on those.

      4. The train operator uses it to know where to stop the train for the people with limited or no vision who are standing on the platform where the tactile flooring leads them to a door. However, at this point, it does not necessarily need to have a “4” on it – unless Sound Transit goes back to using two-car trains.

      5. If it’s true that the signs are for train placement, then they should be hung from the ceiling or roof of the station.

      6. …or attached to the wall. It has to be somewhere that the train operator can see and line up to as they come to a stop.

    2. Do Link trains really have to rely on a human to stop in the right location? When I rode the 1st Hill SC it seemed it was automagically stopping at the right place. Also, nobody ever did answer a previous question about whether or no Link has some sort of PTC.

  23. I found it curious to ponder how easy it will be to add the 2 Line reference (a “2” on a round circle next to each “1”) in less than two years. In some cases it looks like it will be easy, and in other cases it looks like the entire signage must change. I’m a bit surprised where new signs were installed that didn’t allow for this impending additional line reference.

    1. The Northgate stand-alone and Roosevelt side mounted line ID signs have enough room for two lines.

      1. Yes! The sign shown in the photo above on Roosevelt station has room for the 2.

        The 1 Angle Lake signs in the photo look like they could have room for a second line that says 2 Redmond ****** but only if they make 1 Angle Lake higher on the sign. Of course, Angle Lake won’t be the final destination after 2024 so the sign must change no matter what.

        The 1 Link sign in the Roosevelt mezzanine photo above has a light rail symbol next to the 1 that could easily be overlaid by a 2.

        It will be interesting too if some of the new long station names (Lynnwood City Center and Redmond Technology Center) get shortened for new signs.

        That sign shop is going to be busy!

  24. There used to be an Egghead Software store on the corner of Northgate Way & Meridian. There also used to be an arcade called Fun-n-Games at the north end of Northgate Mall. I was going to buy some software and play Mortal Combat. I walked there from Northgate Station. Does anyone know where they relocated?

    1. Ican remember buying software from that egghead store back in the day. Unfortunately they gave up their physical stores a long time ago (late 80’s/early 90’s I think), and moved to online only. Then I think they went bankrupt. Doh!

  25. Metro needs to put up the sign at bus bay 3. Right now the is the stick cone with a sign saying bus towaway zone, which is the bus stop. Was very hard catching the 522 coming home from the Mariners game that night.

  26. Last week on my way from Friday Harbor to Portland, I took the 512 from Lynnwood to King Street Station. Even at 1 in the afternoon, the mess where the HOV lanes end was pretty awful.

    I’ll miss the view of Seattle and Lake Union from the I-5 bridge, but I sure won’t miss the traffic mess.

    And I can always take the Amtrak bus or the Airporter if I must see the view from there again.

  27. Congratulations Sound Transit on (kinda, sorta, almost) finally finishing Sound Move’s initial segment. It only took an extra 15 years but we’ll take it.

    Some other thoughts….

    The Seattle Times article today reported that:
    “At least three escalators stalled in the U District Station, though not at the same time. Sound Transit staff blamed one stall at Roosevelt Station on a software flaw. All three new stations also have staircases.”

    Ooops. Thankfully these stations didn’t get the “value engineering” treatment a la Lynnwood TC.

    It will be interesting to see how much use the pedestrian bridge over I-5 ultimately gets. I would imagine that cyclists and NSCC students will greatly appreciate the direct connection. It’s really rather pathetic that SDOT couldn’t fully finish the project by the Northgate Link opening date. Aesthetically speaking, I have to agree with Mike Orr’s comments in that I too don’t find it all that visually appealing. The phone element adds a bit of interest but I have to wonder how long these things will remain functional.

    Finally, I think the window/fire escape artwork at the U-District Station, while sparse given the volume of space involved, looks quite nice and seems to add visual interest to an otherwise “blank slate”. I disagree with the author here though as it doesn’t necessarily evoke images of Brooklyn for me, whether that reference is to my original home city or the Brooklyn plats that were annexed to Seattle in the late 1800s. Fire escapes were (and still are) ubiquitous to any number of urban areas that were constructing residential buildings of this type in the same era. I think some sort of mural depicting the University Bridge would be more evocative of Moore’s nod to the Brooklyn name. Of course, artwork and the public’s reaction to it is a very subjective matter and, regardless of what one may think of the installation here, I still think most riders will appreciate not having to stare at just a plain, expansive gray wall time and time again.

    For those who enjoy historian Paul Dorpat’s work, I’m including a link here to some of his musings about this particular neighborhood and some of its most recognizable locations. Be sure to check out the notice giving away Brooklyn Addition parcels for the promise of building a house on the plot of land. What a deal!

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/pauldorpat.com/2014/07/12/seattle-now-then-a-brooklyn-home-taken-for-the-cleaners/amp/

    1. The phones play Halloween-y messages and have a skull in the center of the dial, so they may just be for this month. ST has some opening exhibits that it’s leaving up for a month so that people can interact with them while social distancing.

  28. Rode Link to the M’s game yesterday. No parking hassles, post game traffic hassles, or worries about drunk drivers. Just like a real city. I’ve been waiting for years to do it.

    I boarded at Roosevelt. The train was PACKED. Absolute total SRO, and standing very close together at that.

    And this was at Roosevelt. Basically the train left Northgate as SRO. That is a lot of people intercepting the train at the terminus. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues.

    At the other stops people still managed to squeeze in. Don’t know how, but they did. We did leave a few at the platform at Cap Hill. Don’t know what their plan B was.

    The train worked perfectly. Smooth, quick ride. Unbelievable really.

    I had given up on transit to games after a few really bad experiences on Metro buses after Husky games, but I’ll be taking Link to every large event from here on out.

    A truly fantastic experience that will only get better after E Link interlines.

    1. Once Link is built to Lynnwood and Redmond I’m wondering if the platform at Stadium Station is going to be large enough… especially during seahawks games!

      1. okay disregard the above post. doh!

        I don’t believe East Link will stop at Stadium, and because the International District Station can also be used the crowd might be spread between the stations.

        I’m sure however, that there will be a lot of people using the platforms at both stations!

  29. I felt a little dizzy on my way down the escalator into the U District station. I think it may have been because the seams in the wall paneling were parallel to the angle of the escalator instead of parallel to the ground, which made it feel as if I was in a tilted tube or something like that. Did anyone else experience this?

    1. I felt a little vertigo on some of the longer escalators. The wall treatments can affect that, but for me the general length of a moving escalator seems to be the root case of the vertigo. I got vertigo on long escalators that I’ve ridden in other subways.

  30. It was weird having the line end at UW. This feels more natural having Line 1 start and end at elevated stations.

  31. I’m starting a new job tomorrow and am looking at my options. I live in Shoreline and don’t see any bus to get me to Northgate in a reasonable time. I looked into driving 2 miles to the Aurora Village TC, but the busses to Northgate are once every half hour during rush hour. I think we need more options to get to Northgate quickly. I could take the train to Mount Baker Station and walk 6/10 of a mile to work. I’ll stick with a bus only option that gets me to work in a reasonable time.

    1. Here’s Metro’s system map, service changes list, and schedules & maps central. The 301, 302, and 303 all run peak express from Aurora Village to Northgate Station, with 15-minute service in the 6 o’clock hour and 15-25 minute service in the 7 o’clock hour. The 301 also serves at the Shoreline P&R. Local routes 345, 346, 347, and 348 also serve various parts of Shoreline to Northgate, each with 20-minute peak service. At worst you could drive to Northgate P&R, which would only be for three years until Shoreline South and Shoreline North stations open.

      It’s fortunate you work near another Link station. Since it’s as far south as Mt Baker, there’s no bus alternative that would match it. Buses between downtown and Mt Baker (7, 106) take longer than Link. With the peak downtown expresses gone, there’s only the E (which takes 45 minutes from Aurora Village to downtown) and the 16 (aka 5 express, which takes 45 minutes from 145th to downtown). Some First Hill expresses may somehow transfer to routes to Mt Baker, but that’s not very likely.

      So with a Link Northgate-Mt Baker travel time of 27 minutes, you can’t beat that, so it’s worth getting to Northgate Station any way you can, by bus if feasible, or driving if not.

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