New light rail stations are now open in U district, Roosevelt and Northgate

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Sound Transit light rail trains arrived early Saturday to take passengers from Northgate to the airport, transport families from Roosevelt station to the city center and pick up students from District U station to workstations in the weekend.

John Williams, a University of Washington student studying biology and physiology, said the new station in District U would allow him to sleep another half an hour before leaving for work in Chipotle, near Westlake Center.

Calling the new tram extension a “game changer”, he said the new route would be “much more convenient”.

The start of the $ 1.9 billion, 4.3-mile transit extension on Saturday marks a milestone in Seattle history, some 25 years after voters passed the first of three tax measures Sound Transit to build a high capacity regional system.

The first train left Northgate station at the scheduled time of 4.51am towards a crowd of bravo from the passengers On the platform. On 150 people boarded the first train, according to Sound Transit. The cars will remain on the normal frequency of weekend trips every 10 minutes, except early in the morning and late in the evening.

Trains will arrive every eight minutes during rush hour. In a non-pandemic era, the ideal capacity would be just over 600 passengers per four-car train.

A few dozen people by train boarded Northgate station early Saturday as southbound traffic on Interstate 5 was congested during closures at Sodo for bridge repairs.

Jeff Foster, of Lake Forest Park, took the Northgate light rail to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for a conference in Dallas. His family dropped him off at Northgate instead of Husky Stadium station, saving him 15 to 20 minutes each way.

Foster applauded the new transit but complained about the cost of the project.

“I think it’s a ridiculous amount of money that we spent on it,” he said, “But just about every major city – Chicago, DC, Paris, Shanghai, New York – has all great transit systems, we’re late for the game, but it will be really great for the region.

Saturday runners can stop for music and food on University Way Northeast, next to the new U District station, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.,

A ceremony was scheduled for Saturday on the new pedestrian-bike bridge at Northgate Station over Interstate 5, which will be dedicated to the John Lewis Memorial Bridge, in honor of the late civil rights leader and congressman from Atlanta.

Ten years ago, the three stations were expected to add around 45,000 daily passengers to the 80,000 embarkations south of the U district station. Apartments and offices are being built faster than expected when ridership projections were made, but trends in COVID-19 and working from home could reduce the demand for public transit.

Many bus routes are changed to end at light rail stations, so many passengers will take both a bus and a train to reach their destination. Some bus lines are cut, including Highway 41 in North Seattle.

Sound Transit recently replaced its fare enforcement agents with “fare ambassadors” who will help non-paying riders obtain ORCA fare cards.

Concrete tracks and columns are under construction far north of Northgate Station, but this 8.5-mile segment to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood won’t open until 2024.

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