Starting very early Saturday morning, Capitol Hill light rail riders will have another 4.3 miles of track to explore. October 2nd brings the opening of three new light rail stations stretching beyond the University of Washington on the new Northgate Link.
Sound Transit says the first trains will begin service on the $1.9 billion line early Saturday. Bring your mask.
The North Link openings come as Capitol Hill Station marked five years of service earlier this year, a milestone partly obscured by a plunge in ridership due to the ongoing pandemic. Like on Capitol Hill where construction of the station also brought carnage and rapid transformation for the immediate area’s businesses and neighbors, hopes of redevelopment and growth are also following the light rail line north. Capitol Hill Station’s development mix of affordable and market rate housing has been opening to new residents over the past year and its commercial tenants are still planning their openings after pandemic delays.
After nine years of construction on the new line, hopes of economic growth and an improved streetscape will be celebrated at the closest new stop to Capitol Hill. The U District Station celebration Saturday will include a “$3 food walk,” festival streets, and a beer garden.
A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 11:00 AM in front of the new station with remarks from elected officials and local leaders including Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
The new Northgate Link stations:
- U District Station: located on Brooklyn Avenue Northeast between Northeast 45th and Northeast 43rd streets, serves University Way Northeast (“The Ave”) retail and businesses, nearby residents and the west side of the University of Washington campus. Two entrances along Brooklyn Avenue Northeast connect passengers to the platform, about 80 feet below ground. The University of Washington will be developing the station area.
- Roosevelt Station: Near Green Lake, Roosevelt High School, and growing residential development, this underground station is located on 12th Avenue Northeast between Northeast 65th and Northeast 67th streets. In partnership with Bellwether Housing and Mercy Housing Northwest, a daycare center and approximately 245 units of affordable family housing will be built on station property.
- Northgate Station: Northbound trains emerge from the Maple Leaf tunnel portal and rise to the elevated Northgate Station spanning Northeast 103rd Street. Station entrances are located on mall property near the Northgate Transit Center. Extending north of the station the turn-back tracks mark the start of the Lynnwood Link Extension, opening in 2024.
The opening of the new stations will be followed in 2023 by Judkins Park Station — and its Hendrix inspired design — as part of the 10-stop East Link. The Central District station, tucked into I-90 between Rainier Ave and 23rd Ave, will be the first stop on the line that will connect Bellevue, Redmond, and Seattle across the I-90 bridge.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Sound Transit’s “realignment plan” adjusted schedules for new Seattle light rail for West Seattle to 2032 and Ballard to 2039.
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