Your hopes of taking light rail from Capitol Hill to visit friends in Ballard and West Seattle are going to be even more expensive.
Sound Transit officials have unveiled new cost estimates for the “Sound Transit 3” package of projects including light rail connecting to West Seattle and Ballard that have risen nearly 50% from previous forecasts — a potential $5 billion to $6 billion surge.
The estimated cost of extending Seattle’s light rail system to Ballard and West Seattle, as well as several other components of the Sound Transit 3 plan adopted by voters in 2015, has risen dramatically since last year, Sound Transit staffers told the agency’s executive committee Wednesday. The main factors driving the increase, according to the agency, are higher than anticipated property acquisition costs, higher costs for labor and materials, and unanticipated “soft costs,” including additional funding for contingencies.
The SoundTransitboard of directors will vote Thursday afternoon on what the body is calling the start of “major reforms” for how the agency handles fare enforcement.
If approved in Thursday’s vote, the proposed motion (PDF) would direct the creation of “a new fare enforcement/engagement program” and suspend all “civil infractions for fare evasion” until the board can vote “on an updated fare enforcement policy.” Continue reading →
New tracks for Connect 2020 (Image: Sound Transit)
The past weekend was supposed to be the final in a series of closures in the push to complete Sound Transit’s Connect 2020 project to hook the coming East Link light rail expansion to the city’s existing underground transit tunnel running from downtown to Pioneer Square.
Looks like contractors will need some extra time after an issue was identified in some of the newly installed track: Continue reading →
Sound Transit contractors have reached the halfway point of this winter’s construction project to connect the coming East Link light rail expansion to the city’s existing underground transit tunnel running from downtown to Pioneer Square. What comes next this weekend is the second of three planned service disruptions with downtown stations completely closed from Friday 9 PM until Monday morning. “During that time, there will be no Link light rail service between Capitol Hill and SODO,” Sound Transit writes. “Shuttle buses will make surface stops at the closed stations. Fares will not be required for train or shuttle bus passengers.”
Then comes five more weeks of construction and a reversal of sorts for the single tracking solution Sound Transit has been using to keep trains running during the work:
When service resumes, Link passengers traveling through downtown will still need to make a transfer via the new center platform at Pioneer Square. However, the operating platform will have switched to the southbound platform at stations north of Pioneer Square and to the northbound platform at stations south of Pioneer Square. Extensive signage marking the change will be deployed, and Sound Transit ambassadors and security staff will be present to assist passengers in getting where they need to go.
Sound Transit says bikes will remain prohibited at Pioneer Square station throughout the construction. Riders with bikes must exit at University Street or International District/Chinatown stations.
The final planned weekend light rail closure is scheduled for March 14th and 15th.
2020 is already better than 2019. There are stairs to the platform in Capitol Hill Station. But like most things in these challenging times, you also need to get ready for a 10-week start to the New Year with Seattle’s light rail system slightly hobbled as it is prepared for big expansion ahead.
First, the good news. After months of waiting and a fair amount of systems and infrastructure updates to make it safe, Sound Transit announced the opening of the new stair access at Capitol Hill Station this week. Last March, CHS reported on the plan to repurpose emergency stairs to add an option for reaching the platform beyond the frequently busted escalators and elevator access. Continue reading →
A roster of King County and Seattle officials are asking for Sound Transit to have answers about how it will reform its fare enforcement policies early in the new year.
A letter signed by Sound Transit Board officials including King County Council member, Joe McDermott, Seattle Mayor JennyDurkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and SeattleCity Council member Debora Juarez calls on Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff to have findings and recommendations for overhauling how the agency manages fare enforcement by February. Continue reading →
Sound Transit is taking on some important social and operational issues to end 2019: fare enforcement — and the end of the unfortunate “Red Line” name for its future Seattle-side light rail routes.
When CHS has reported on light rail fare enforcement over the years, it has never been good news. Last year, we reported on a video showing a rough “use of force” arrest for a reported fare enforcement issue aboard a train in Capitol Hill Station. This fall, Sound Transit scrambled to explain aggressive fare enforcement efforts against students on the first day of school.
Now, following a Seattle Times report in October showing how Black passengers are cited and punished disproportionately by Sound Transit fare enforcement, the agency is beginning a process to collect feedback on how to address equity and safety issues related to how it collects fares: Continue reading →
Where you can catch the Sound Transit “bus bridge” this weekend
This coming weekend will be the first of three planned this fall with no light rail service between Capitol Hill and SODO as Sound Transit prepares for major construction of its coming new line:
We’re laying the groundwork to open the Blue Line, a new Link line that will begin taking riders from Northgate to Redmond in 2023. As part of that work, we need to reduce Link service for three weekends this fall. On the weekends of October 12-13, October 26-27, and November 9-10, there will be no Link service between SODO-Capitol Hill. Trains will run from Angle Lake-SODO and UW-Capitol Hill, and free buses will connect the six stations in between.
CHS reported on the planned closures in August when October probably seemed like a long time away. But now the first weekend of service disruption is here. To try to help cover the gap, Sound Transit will be offering bus service between Broadway and John, downtown, and SODO Station. Sound Transit says it chose these weekends because there are no Seahawks or Husky football games. Continue reading →
CHS reported in March on negotiations for Korean grocery chain H Mart to lease the centerpiece retail space in the development under construction atop Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station.
While the company and lead developer Gerding Edlen still won’t talk about the deal, permit activity confirms the plans are a go as the mixed-use affordable and market rate housing, retail, and community development moves toward a 2020 opening.
As CHS reported previously, the plans filed in August show H Mart’s project will take the prime Broadway street frontage near the north entry to the busy light rail station. Plans show a layout with more than 11,000 square feet of store space on the ground level plus a 5,000+ square foot mezzanine. Continue reading →
Seattle Police and King County’s Metro Police were searching the area and construction workers were sent home for the day after a bomb scare Tuesday morning at the mixed-use development construction site surrounding Capitol Hill Station.
A county spokesperson tells CHS that the Broadway light rail facility was also being searched and checked out clear. The facility appeared to remain in operation throughout the morning. Continue reading →