On Saturday, March 19th, 2016, public transit on Capitol Hill changed in a big way. The Sound Transit light rail U-Link extension connecting the downtown transit tunnel to Husky Stadium and the University of Washington via Broadway opened. Capitol Hill Station has been the Seattle Subway-level success most predicted. To celebrate, Sound Transit is planing a little fun this Friday:
Friday from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. we’ll have ST staff greeting riders for U-Link’s Happy 1st birthday at the UW and Capitol Hill Stations. Folks will see/hear staff passing out Happy 1st birthday stickers and birthday cards, live music by street performers, and, at Capitol Hill, a Sounders FC pop-up tent with giveaways.
It is a pretty modest celebration. We suggest you hold a light rail party or two of your own this week. Send us pictures.
The scale of success has been much larger.
Officials are touting U-Link-boosted “record transit” numbers as we get the first looks at longer term ridership trends for the Seattle area and clear evidence of many Capitol Hill riders trading the bus for light rail. Along with the system’s first Christmas, this week marks an important milestone for Capitol Hill Station.
CHS Capitol Hill Station Opening Coverage
- Now open: Capitol Hill Station
- 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
There are still issues to work out. Escalator and even elevator service has been an ongoing challenge for the new stations. Increased pedestrian activity around Broadway/John/E Olive Way has made the busy intersection even busier and more dangerous. And real estate near the station seems to be undergoing some of the changes longtime merchants feared with a marked increase in empty commercial spaces thanks, in part, to high rents near the transit facility.
There is also much more change to come. Construction on four seven-story buildings including thousands of square feet of commercial and community space plus affordable housing is destined to begin construction around the station next year.