NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

LIVE from Link: All aboard to Angle Lake!

Good afternoon from SeaTac! Nearly eight years ago, I had the great privilege of joining fellow activists, elected leaders, and media for a preview ride on Sound Transit’s Link light rail system, which at the time was undergoing testing in preparation for its grand opening nine months later.

Today, Sound Transit has once again invited representatives of NPI to participate in a preview ride — this time from SeaTac/Airport Station to the brand new Angle Lake Station, which will become the new southern terminus of our growing light rail system when it opens for business this Saturday, September 24th.

Though we stepped aboard the train only moments ago, we’re already almost at our destination — it takes almost no time at all to glide between SeaTac/Airport and Angle Lake. Once we detrain, King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove will offer brief remarks at the new station, and then we’ll board a northbound train to return to SeaTac/Airport.

This post will be updated as this special event progresses.

Located at South 200th Street and 28th Avenue South in SeaTac, Angle Lake Station is an elevated station, similar to SeaTac/Airport and Tukwila International Boulevard Stations. Unlike those stations, however, it was designed as a true park and ride to help entice south county automobile owners to try out light rail.

Angle Lake Station from South 200th Street

Sound Transit’s Angle Lake Link Light Rail Station as seen from South 200th Street (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

The station garage can accommodate more than a thousand vehicles, and there are even more parking stalls located on the surface around the station.

Because Angle Lake is an elevated station, we have the ability to liveblog from Link again, just like we did all those years ago when Sound Transit invited us to try out Central Link (and later, Airport Link) before it was open. We weren’t able to liveblog the University Link preview ride back in March prior to Opening Day because that segment of the line is all underground and did not have cellular connectivity at the time (it does now) but we did publish photos immediately afterwards.

UPDATE: We detrained and were treated to brief remarks on the station platform by Councilmember Upthegrove and Executive Constantine. Upthegrove says his days of regularly fighting traffic on I-5 are over. Starting on Monday, he’ll be commuting to and from downtown Seattle using the new Angle Lake Station.

Constantine touted the early project delivery date and stressed the importance of further system expansion with ST3, which is on the autumn ballot.

After finishing their remarks, Upthegrove, Constantine, and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff took questions from reporters.

Media were given an opportunity to walk around the station platform a bit, then we boarded a train for the return journey to SeaTac/Airport Station. As mentioned, it’s a quick trip. The moment we pulled up to the SeaTac/Airport platform, our train went into service and became a regular train to University of Washington Station.

As we exited, we got some funny looks from bemused riders who were not expecting the train that was pulling up to have any people on it. After this weekend, though, SeaTac/Airport Station will cease to be the southern terminus of the line, and that distinction will pass to Angle Lake for the next few years.

A number of high quality photos from today’s preview ride and station walkabout have been posted to In Brief for your viewing enjoyment.

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