A lollapalooza of public transit celebration is planned for both ends of the U-Link tunnels as UW Station and Capitol Hill Station mark their grand openings Saturday, March 19th with music, games, parades, and food trucks.
It’s not often you get to plan a party with elements connected by 2 miles of twin tunnels beneath Capitol Hill. Revelers brave and patient enough for what are expected to be long lines will be able to travel back and forth between the two sites as service begins that morning with the first train slated to begin carrying riders at 10 AM. Rides are currently planned to be full-fare so bring your ORCA card — but stay tuned. Officials are considering a plan for free rides to be part of the fun.
With details of Sound Transit’s party plans for the March 19th launch of the 3.1-mile line connecting Montlake and downtown via Broadway still in motion, the schedule and roster of participants has been posted to ulink2016.org/launch-day:
We’re kicking off U Link service with a free community celebration March 19 from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stations and train rides open at 10 a.m. Here’s a sample of what we have in store at each station:
Self-guided tours of University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations
A variety of live music, including instrumental, jazz, rock and hip-hop
Wave of the Future Pavilions featuring games, photo booths and more
Food for purchase from your favorite local food trucks
Farmer’s market at Capitol Hill Station
Free commemorative items (while supplies last).
At Capitol Hill Station, the 9 AM to 5 PM fun will include DJ Riz Rollins and street musician Pasquale Santos, giant Jenga, a temporary tattoo parlor, and a “Eurodance Party” parade (we don’t even know what that means!). You’ll be invited to take a “self guided” tour of the stations, enjoy some interpretive videos, and grab some undisclosed “commemorative items.” “Ambassadors in teal vests will also be available throughout the event to answer any questions that may arise during your visit,” Sound Transit assures.
Sound Transit also wants you to bring your patience. “The opening of U Link is a special occasion, and we expect crowds. Staff will be on hand to make sure wait times are kept as low as possible,” the agency notes. “Please listen to directions from staff and plan to spend some time in line.”
After more than six years of demolition, tunnel boring, and construction, what’s a little more time in line, anyhow?
Meanwhile, the area around Capitol Hill Station is being prepared for the opening. Friday — for the first time in more than six years — E Denny Way (and its new connection to Nagle Place) will be reopened through the station campus between Broadway and 10th. It’s now one-way only westbound — for street traffic, of course. Pedestrians can finally get back to cutting through the block. As for all those blank walls around the outside of the station, those will be covered in a few years by a cluster of transit-oriented development projects.
Wondering what stood here before? We’ll have more from Capitol Retrospective writer Tom Heuser soon — you can check out his ongoing series featuring addresses where Capitol Hill Station now stands on recapseattle.blogspot.com.