This article by Dominic Holden and Jonah Spangenthal-Lee of The Stranger informs us of the experience of getting a sneak peek at Seattle‘s new light rail project, Sound Transit. The seven things they learned were:
- Light rail is really f***ing cool (please excuse my lack of journalistic integrity, but many of my readers are Mormon)
- We’re about to hear a lot of self-congratulation from Seattle politicians – a consortium of candidates for office were on the ride and will certainly mention it in their runs for office.
- The Tukwila station is really, truly in the middle of nowhere – the station that will connect the airport to downtown (Tukwila) was cheaper than putting it closer to Southcenter Mall, and the constant din of airplanes would make it a rough place to develop TOD.
- During the span of track between Tukwila and Seattle, you get a look at parts of the city you never knew existed – a variety of abandoned strip malls and run-down housing.
- No one knows what to call this thing yet – Sound Transit needs a flashy name, like BART or The Tube. Feel free to leave comments with your suggestions.
- The first weekend of light rail is going to suck – letting people on for free will bring an expected 100,000 onto the system, and it will be cramped.
- We need to do everything possible to get new stations built quickly – and not just the stations themselves; if that happens, there will just be a bunch of Tukwila-esque islands. The stations need to be reinforced with dense housing, shopping, attractions, and other TOD standards.