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.

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Sound Transit inaugurates service on Angle Lake Link, bringing light rail to S. 200th Street

The communities of South King County, and leaders from around the Puget Sound Region gathered this morning in Seatac to officially inaugurate service to and from Sound Transit’s newest Link light rail station at South 200th Street and 28th Avenue South. Angle Lake is the first of several new Link extensions approved and funded under the 2008 Sound Transit 2 regional ballot measure.

Originally slated to open in 2020, Sound Transit is delivering light rail service to Angle Lake four years early and $40 million under budget. The early win was made possible thanks in part to federal grants and a leadership team that took advantage of low construction bids during the Great Recession.

This investment in public infrastructure, strongly supported by NPI, also solidifies living-wage jobs at a time of great instability, and will continue to expand access and opportunities to south King County residents for generations to come.

Click the photo below to browse a selection of images from yesterday. An additional collection of images of the station dedication can be viewed on In Brief.

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The station itself, which is expected to spur economic development and draw 5,400 daily riders by 2018, is a dazzling new landmark for the neighborhood.

The elevated platform crowns a once-drab stretch of International Boulevard (Highway 99), and frames spectacular views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountain range from nearly every angle.

The colorful public art, including Laura Haddad’s “Cloud”, blends perfectly with the architecture. Even the 1,050-stall parking garage could be mistaken for a work by Frank Gehry or Renzo Piano thanks to an abstract facade made up of flowing blue steel beams. It is topped with solar panels that will generate fourteen kilowatts of power, according to data provided in Saturday’s presentation.

The pleasing curved lines of the platform and garage are linked by a large central plaza and walkway covered with matching blue glass. The energetic colors will certainly bring a refreshing tone to Seattle’s many dark and dreary days.

Thankfully though, the sun was shining on the hundreds gathered to mark Saturday’s grand opening ceremony.

The revelers were as varied as the surrounding community, home to some of the nation’s most ethnically and linguistically diverse zip codes.

King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Board member Dave Upthegrove emceed the speaking program, which featured remarks from:

  • Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff,
  • Federal Transit Authority regional administrator Linda Gehrke;
  • 33rd Legislative District State Representative Mia Gregerson;
  • Seatac Mayor Michael Siefkes;
  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman;
  • Alaska Airlines community relations director Shaunta Hyde;
  • Washington State Building & Construction Trades executive Lee Newgent;
  • King County Executive Dow Constantine, Chair of the Sound Transit Board.

Also in attendance were Seatac resident and former King County Councilmember Julia Patterson and former Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl, both instrumental in the planning of Sound Transit 2, which overwhelmingly passed eight years ago.

Perhaps the most resonating speech came from former Highline College student body president and current Seattle University student Pa Ousman Jobe.

Jobe’s activism was fueled by a vision for better transit options that could open doors people in the Highline area. He cited the importance of providing reliable transit as an issue of equity and opportunity.

These now-tangible benefits of our investment in Sound Transit serve as a timely reminder of the importance and urgency of finishing what we have started.

In November, voters in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties will be asked to approve the third phase of Sound Transit’s regional transit plan, which appears on the ballot as Regional Proposition 1. Mass Transit Now campaigners were out in force and organizing a canvassing event immediately following the celebration.

The inauguration at Angle Lake Station brought the community together to celebrate the achievements of yesterday and today. Now, that message must inspire much-needed action to help keep our region moving.

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