More about Link light rail opening festivities

A Link train arrives at Othello Station in Rainier Valley. Photo by Oran Viriyincy.
A Link train arrives at Othello Station in Rainier Valley. Photo by Oran Viriyincy.
We mentioned the Link Light Rail opening weekend festivities the other day. Here’s some more information about the celebration. Opening Day is Saturday, July 18, with free rides from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm. There will also be free rides on Sunday, July 19, from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. (After opening weekend, Link will be on its normal schedule.) There will be a Welcome Portal located on South Lander Street, just north of the station plaza. Staff will be on hand there to answer questions.

Sound Transit tells us that there will be lines, and you should be prepared to wait. They expect from 50,000 to 100,000 riders to ride Link that weekend. (To give you an idea of how big that number is — the population of Seattle is 602,000. So potentially one in six Seattleites will ride Link on opening weekend.) Because of the large crowds, South Lander Street will be closed to vehicle traffic between Beacon and 17th; it’s been closed for several years already for construction, so we should be used to it.

If you need to ride the bus somewhere during that weekend, be aware that buses will not be using the tunnel, and tunnel buses will be on their surface routes instead.

Though rides opening weekend are free, after that you will need to pay. Consider getting an ORCA Card soon. You can use the ORCA on the bus, train, and ferry. (You can still pay with cash, but you’ll have to buy tickets in the train station. There won’t be fareboxes on the trains.)

A bit of station trivia: Each station has an icon, or “pictogram” that represents the station and its area, visually. Beacon Hill Station’s pictograph is a kite, representing “a sense of light and air, as well as community spaces and summer picnics, items that play prominent roles in Beacon Hill’s neighborhood plan and history.” See more about the pictograms and their meanings in this PDF from Sound Transit.

6 thoughts on “More about Link light rail opening festivities”

  1. Do they really expect 100,000 riders? Where would we all be going – the airport?! I am not looking forward to all the people and litter soon to be covering our neighborhood.

  2. I’ll probably walk down to the station to check it out, but I may not necessarily board depending on the crowds. Either way I’m definitely taking it to work Monday morning.

  3. Where would we all be going? Hmm, we could ride it to a movie in Columbia City, to the Sounders game, to the ID for Chinese food, to the Central Library, to Westlake to window-shop, to Vince’s in Rainier Beach for pizza… seriously, there are a ton of places worth taking the train to.

    I see the train as a positive thing for those of us who live here, not as a negative thing with “people and litter”. We can easily take a train to a lot of places, and if people want to come up here and shop, it’s easier for them, too.

  4. I found it strangely ironic that I received an email from Zipcar asking to volunteer for some Zipcar contribution to the celebration of the grand opening. Thanks Zipcar for removing one of the closest cars to a light rail station outside of the immediate downtown area.

    I will probably check out the train on opening day, but I can’t imagine the miracle the Beacon station contractor will have to pull off to get the station block finished for the opening. It seems like all of their effort over the past few weeks has been toward filling voids under lander and 17th. I’m totally biased, living barely two blocks from the station, but I have a long list of ways I will be taking advantage of the light rail station, including all of the things Wendi mentions. I do have to add that the ID station is quite close to my new favorite pho. Most importantly it will make for an easy commute to and from work downtown that doesn’t involve playing the odds with the 36.

  5. We’re excited to take the train to the Sounders game, but a bit nervous about the crowds on opening day. I hope they have a plan in place with Port-a-potties and litter control. I also hope neighborhood businesses stock up with goodies and specials–I’m looking at you, Baja Bistro! Do you have enough tequila for 50,000 people?

    Long term, the train is a huge boon to the neighborhood. We’re both taking the train to work. I hope that the 36 becomes less crowded and faster, but I’m relieved that I don’t have to rely on it.

  6. After years of waiting for the start of Seattle’s Sound Transit Light Rail you will be able to catch a free ride. Get ready for the July 18th starting day celebration, Sustainable
    South Seattle(S3), Julia from Sustainable Ballard, and Transportation Choices Coalition(TCC) will be a part of the event bringing Undrivers License to the Othello Light Rail Station.
    Undrivers Licenses will be issuing licenses with a creative picture of you on them. We are looking at a very fun event. They loved it last year on Rainier Avenue during the Car Free Sunday. If you would be interested in joining in the fun and volunteering for several hours on the 18th please contact Richard Wilson at 206-722-0548

    Also there are some events all along the rail. Columbia City has lots of stuff going on. Its too much to mention.

    Transportation Choices Coalition is having Tuxes and Trains, a very specially event celebrating the opening of link light rail. It takes place July 17th at the Union Station’s Great Hall.
    401 S. Jackson St. It requires reservations in advance. If interested call 206-329-2336 or go to

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