Topic: Link light rail
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October 31, 2013 at 8:20 PM
Sound Transit announced it opened 62 extra park-and-ride spaces this week on the roof of the SeaTac Center Garage, about two blocks from the Tukwila International Boulevard Station.
The entrance is off South 154th Street, just west of the light-rail station that flanks Highway 99.
The 600 spaces in the transit parking lot usually fill before 9 a.m. Many commuters park on residential side streets. The new off-site spaces are for transit riders only, weekdays from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Sound Transit is paying the city of SeaTac $4,410 per month to lease the space, said spokesman Bruce Gray. If the spaces are filled, this translates to about a $3.40 subsidy per parked car.
September 26, 2013 at 3:12 PM
Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl is looking into whether Link light-rail trains can reach Capitol Hill and the University of Washington months earlier than the official start date of Sept. 24, 2016.
An early opening would certainly be good news for students, staff and medical-center personnel who often must cram into UW-bound buses downtown.
Sound Transit leaders are feeling optimistic because there is still six months of “float” in the construction schedule after finishing 75 percent of the heavy work, including the tunnel tubes. And the $1.95 billion, 3.1-mile project is trending toward having $105 million left over, she said.
“We’ve asked our contractors for cost proposals on what it might take to move the start date up,” she told the transit agency’s governing board Thursday. In other words, spend down some of the $105 million to accelerate the work.
It’s not a sure thing. The U-Link team would need to test the trains to meet federal requirements, and satisfy the Seattle Fire Department’s rigorous fire-suppression and safety codes for tunnels. There can be glitches in train-control software that eat days or weeks.
Earl said she will report again in October or November on whether builders can deliver an early-2016 launch.
“That would be fabulous, fabulous,” said board Chairwoman Pat McCarthy, the Pierce County Executive.
Meanwhile, the agency said it plans to release the land around the future Capitol Hill Station for redevelopment in March 2016.
July 18, 2013 at 6:45 PM
Thursday marked the fourth anniversary of Link light-rail’s grand opening, and ridership continues to grow, to an average 31,953 weekday boardings in June — a 14 percent gain over a year earlier.
The $2.6 billion, 16-mile route from Westlake Center to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport set a record Tuesday, June 11, by carrying 38,362 riders, new Sound Transit figures show. The airport station is beating original predictions, while sports fans in Sodo flock to the system.
Trains are also popular for transfers, such as south-end students who continue north from Westlake Station onto buses bound for the University of Washington. The three Rainier Valley train stations are lagging, as a housing boom has failed to materialize.
Ridership charts and commentary can be found here from Seattle Transit Blog, and at Public Interest Transportation Forum by John Niles, who opposes light rail in favor of rapid buses and self-driving cars.
Link extensions are being built to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium, and south to Angle Lake just beyond the airport, to be completed by 2016, followed by voter-approved extensions to Northgate, Lynnwood, and Overlake in the early 2020s.
April 26, 2013 at 10:11 AM
Sound Transit held groundbreaking ceremonies Friday morning to launch the $383 million, 1.6-mile extension of the Link light rail system from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to South 200th Street, where a new light rail stop will open in 2016.
It will be called the Angle Lake Station, named after the small body of water that’s barely visible amid the bustle of International Boulevard South.
The station was originally supposed to get built before 2006, but unforeseen high costs in other parts of the system, and slow planning, delayed the job many years.
The site is surrounded by gas stations, strip malls, a federal detention center and parking lots, but will have good connections to the RapidRide A Line bus and serve airport workers living to the south, and some apartments nearby. There will be a 700-stall park and ride garage, and 400 surface slots, taking pressure off the busy park-ride lots at Tukwila International Boulevard Station.
Sound Transit expects the new station to draw 5,400 riders a day.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., was the featured speaker at the groundbreaking. SeaTac Mayor Tony Anderson said the elevated station, on a hill, will become a landmark where people can take pictures of two mountain ranges and Puget Sound from the 40-foot high boarding platform. “This will provide the residents of Seattle the opportunity they’ve been clamoring for, to get to the great city of SeaTac,” he told a crowd of 250 people.
The elevated trackway and station will be constructed by PCL Civil Constructors, which delivered the five-mile Tukwila segment of Link on time, before the line from downtown to the airport opened in 2009.
April 18, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Duane “Ranger” Heier, who was hit by a light rail train April 8 at Rainier Beach Station, died of his injuries Tuesday.
Heier, 62, the co-owner of Steamboat Island Nursery in Olympia, was on his way to the Mariners baseball home opener with friends, and decided to park near Link to avoid driving around Highway 99 construction in Sodo, said his partner Laine McLaughlin in an interview Thursday. Other coverage is here from The Olympian.
Police say he was walking across Martin Luther King Jr. Way South about 5 p.m., when he was struck by a southbound train. Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray said the train was already decelerating to stop at the station, and its operator threw on the emergency brakes. Heier was knocked down by the train and sustained head injuries. A followup check showed signals were working properly, Gray said. Video from the station platform indicates he looked right toward the train he was about to catch, but didn’t see the other one approach from his left, a preliminary Sound Transit report said.
The agency says there were two previous pedestrian fatalities in Rainier Valley: an elderly woman in a walker died weeks after a train struck her at a crossing September 2012, and another woman was hit walking in the trackway in May 2011, an incident officials suspect was drug-related. Official data weren’t immediately available, but news archives indicate two suicides in Sodo, a few incidents in which pedestrians were hurt after they walked into a moving train, and at least nine when motor vehicles were hit making improper turns over the tracks.
February 3, 2012 at 4:37 PM
Police have made three arrests, and say more arrests are likely, in connection with a series of cases in which phones or other electronic gear were snatched out of the hands of Link light rail passengers.
Ten incidents were reported in January under similar circumstances, with items being grabbed away from passengers as the trains arrived at station platforms. Sound Transit Police have been working with Metro Transit Police and Seattle Police to track down suspects.
Most of the incidents occurred in the Rainier Valley and involved teenage suspects, police said.
Compact, handheld electronic equipment has been the favorite target of opportunistic thieves who take advantage of riders who may not be paying attention to their surroundings, police said.
Police said all Sound Transit light rail trains and platforms are equipped with surveillance cameras, and that uniformed and non-uniformed police patrol the trains and platforms, along with security guards and fare-enforcement officers.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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