With hundreds lined up to watch — or queued up for their first rides — Capitol Hill Station opened Saturday morning with a slice of a giant pair of scissors and a few booms of confetti.
“We’re building neighborhoods you can walk in. We’re building neighborhoods with great transit,” Mayor Ed Murray said before doing the honors with King County Exec Dow Constantine. “And right where we are, there will be affordable housing and open space. That’s the future.”
Capitol Hill Station Grand Opening
Saturday, March 19th — 9 AM to 5 PM
- ‘A monument to confidence,’ VIPs and officials take ride to Capitol Hill as U-Link set for grand opening
- Grand opening: a CHS user guide to Capitol Hill Station
- Capitol Hill Station by the numbers
- A light rail preview ride to Capitol Hill Station
- Demolition, construction, and twin tunnels: Capitol Hill Station in pictures
- Capitol Retrospective | Two months of carnage that brought light rail to Capitol Hill
- Light rail’s arrival has Broadway merchants feeling a mix of excitement and hesitation
The development of the property will bring yet another phase of construction to the block. The large, empty lots around the station will remain closed in anticipation for a four-site development project that will include housing, retail, and community space. Portland-based Gerding Edlen is leading the development planned to meet community priorities for 418 apartments with 38% of units to rent for below market rate for 12 years and 86 units designated for “permanent affordable housing.” Plans for a Broadway retail “bazaar” at Site A-North, called The Market Hall, envision “a mix of local retailers, served by booths of varying sizes to accommodate the start-up entrepreneur as well as more established specialty retailers.” Construction is expected to begin in 2017 following planning and design review.
But Saturday was about taking first rides and getting first looks at the new stations on the $1.9 billion light rail extension paid for with a package of sales tax, MVET tax, and massive federal grants. Hundreds also attended a farmers market-style fair on the new “festival street” version of E Denny or checked out the large “expo” tents with information tables, games, and the very popular coloring tables.
UPDATE: Sound Transit released opening day ridership estimates:
Sound Transit estimates we topped 30,000 boardings at the two new University Link stations on Capitol Hill and UW between 10 and 5 today with steady, full, trains all day.
Sound Transit said systemwide ridership numbers will be available in the coming week.
Meanwhile, Friday night brought VIPs and officials for speeches, under four minute train rides from UW to Capitol Hill, and some disco train action.