Now open: Capitol Hill Station

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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

Saturday''s festival on E Denny

Saturday”s festival on E Denny

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.

Murray and Governor Jay Inslee shake on it during Friday night's VIP ripe (Images: CHS)

Murray and Governor Jay Inslee shake on it during Friday night’s VIP ride (Images: CHS)

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2 thoughts on “Now open: Capitol Hill Station

  1. This IS awesome, but we really need to put in the people mover at the airport for us to have a world class Lightrail. It amazes me every time I have to walk that extremely long, unprotected walkway in the howling wind that we don’t at least have free luggage carts, heat lamps or something to lessen the impact of the elements and distance there.

    • careful with your reasonable ideas. you’ll cast a shadow over all the politicians patting themselves on the back for this thing opening up (late, but when you change the schedule several times you can hide that)

      I absolutely agree, they need it to go TO the airport, not “near” it. It should also have gone past Southcenter Mall and have a couple outlying park and ride lots associated with it so it would be useful, but I don’t think that was part of their plan.