Seven Things We Learned While Riding Light Rail for the First Time


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:

  1. Light rail is really f***ing cool (please excuse my lack of journalistic integrity, but many of my readers are Mormon)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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