Tag Archives: light rail

Planning your New Year celebration

Dog in a party hat
Photo by prettyinprint (CC BY-ND)

Going out and about?

Good news! Sound Transit has announced Link light rail will be running until about 1:30am on New Year’s Eve. Update: From the Seattle Times by way of the Seattle Transit Blog, the additional train runs will be departing Westlake, southbound, at 12:44am, 12:54am, 1:09am, 1:24am and 1:39am.

Staying on the Hill?

Good news! The Beacon Pub is celebrating the New Year all weekend long. They’ll have a DJ on NYE, and will be hosting their world-famous karaoke Friday and Saturday nights. On New Year’s Day, they’re opening early: 10am for both food and drink, and featuring drink specials all weekend long.

Got something else going on?

Let us know what you’ve got planned in the comments!

Beacon Bits: Airport train, ROCKiT for kids, and fewer matching cycles

Passengers exit light rail at the airport station. Photo by Willie Weir.
Passengers exit light rail at the airport station. Photo by Willie Weir.

Tried the ride to the airport yet? Willie Weir and Kat did and posted photos and a short write-up over at Yellow Tent Adventures.

* * *

ROCKiT space is gearing up for music classes for kids with Marc Smason beginning January 11th and 12th.

They’re also seeking volunteers to help with day-to-day tasks, fundraisers, programming etc. If you’re interesting in helping out, contact Jessie McKenna at 206-323-7115.

* * *

Due to budget cuts, there will be only two Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund cycles in 2010. If you have projects that the NMF could help with this spring or summer, be sure to get your applications in by January 11th. Second-cycle applications are due in July.

* * *

Get to know about City Year‘s mission and impact in Seattle and King County at their Breakfast of Champions, 7:30am on Friday, January 8th. For more information about the breakfast, contact Teresa Thomas via email or at 206-219-5002.

The source of this month’s Link delays

The rail grinding machine, shooting out sparks, passes through Mount Baker Station. Photo by Jason.
The rail grinding machine, shooting out sparks, passes through Mount Baker Station. Photo by Jason.
There have been delays on the Link light rail system after 7:00 pm every night for the last week. This photo shows the rail grinding machine that is the reason for the delays. The machine is smoothing the rails to reduce the train noise at certain locations, such as near Mount Baker Station near South McClellan. The delays will continue until December 30; in the meantime, if you need to travel on Link after 7:00 pm, be aware that you may need to wait on a different platform than your usual one, and the wait may be longer.

Light rail delays ahead for evening riders this month

Evening Link riders should be prepared for delays until the end of the month. Sound Transit tells us that starting Monday, December 7 and lasting until December 30, Central Link light rail will operate only every 15–20 minutes between 7:00 pm and 1:00 am due to track maintenance.

This maintenance will also temporarily close some platforms on one side of the track. If your normal boarding location is closed, you will need to board both northbound and southbound Link trains at the opposite platform, as was done at Beacon Hill Station during the derailment a couple of weeks ago.

Derailed train causing Link light rail delays

Closed doors to the southbound platform at Beacon Hill Station. Riders are currently directed to the northbound platform for all trips until the disabled train is cleared from the tracks in SoDo. Photo by Jesse Odam.
Closed doors to the southbound platform at Beacon Hill Station. Photo by Jesse Odam.
As Jason mentioned earlier, there was a derailment of a Link light rail train on the elevated section near the maintenance yard this afternoon. Sound Transit has been able to keep Link service running, though with notable delays, by using only the northbound track through Beacon Hill and Mount Baker stations. Trains are supposed to be running every 20 minutes for the rest of the day.

Reports from riders so far indicate that you should allow more than 20 minutes for the delay, though this may improve as the rush hour traffic dies down. Jesse Odam reports that his usual 15 minute Link trip from the International District to Beacon Hill just after 5:00 pm expanded to nearly an hour, including being passed by a jam-packed train, and then a half-hour wait at Stadium Station.

Sound Transit warns that Link service will be temporarily suspended later, during the removal of the disabled train, because both northbound and southbound tracks will be blocked. During that time there will be a shuttle bus (Route 97), which will operate between the Stadium and Mount Baker light rail stations. We aren’t sure yet when this will happen, but Sound Transit says they’ll update this rider alert page when they are ready to remove the disabled train.

Folks on Seattle Transit Blog are discussing the derailment, its possible causes, and Sound Transit’s handling of the situation, here.

Beacon Bits: Off the rails, on the record, at the party, and eating right

KING 5 has a slideshow and story of a Link Light Rail train derailment today in SoDo.

* * *

KOMO’s (and Beacon Hill’s) Travis Mayfield has posted an interview he conducted with Senator Patty Murray on health care. Travis also points out Mike McGinn‘s “Victory Party” taking place this Friday, November 20th, at the NewHolly Gathering Hall, to which everyone is invited.

* * *

The Seattle Institute for Biochemical and Clinical Research located at the VA hospital is seeking a full time Research Dietitian, if you happen to know a dietitian looking for a gig.

* * *

Supposed to get pretty windy tonight and tomorrow, like it was early this morning; make sure your garbage cans and lids and such are secure and aren’t blowing down the street.

County Council Town Hall meeting in Columbia City tomorrow

As posted earlier, there is a Town Hall Meeting of the Metropolitan King County Council in Southeast Seattle tomorrow, September 30. The topics of the meeting are the impact light rail will have on the regional transit system, and the fiscal challenges facing Metro Transit, which is facing a deficit of $213 million for 2010-2011. Presenters will take questions from the audience and Councilmembers will take public testimony on any issue at the end of the program.

The meeting will be held at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club, 4520 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. The site is only one block north of Columbia City Station. The public is invited to meet with Councilmembers at an informal reception starting at 6:00 p.m. The Town Hall will begin at 6:30 p.m.

This is an opportunity to meet with both officials from Metro Transit and the members of the County Council, including Larry Gossett, the Councilmember who represents the Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley communities on the County Council.

Here’s a video invitation from Bob Ferguson and Larry Gossett with more information about the town hall meeting:

Unfortunately this does conflict with the Neighborhood Plan Update Open House which is scheduled from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, but the site of that open house is just up the street, at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, 3639 Martin Luther King Jr Way South, so it may be possible to stop in at both if you need to.

Beacon Bits: Squeaky wheels on the Information Superhighway

The squeaks, screeches, squeals, and thumps Sound Transit’s light rail trains make as they round the bend and enter the Beacon Hill tunnel apparently exceed federal noise limit standards, so yesterday the agency’s Board of Directors approved emergency funding of up to $1 million to address the problem — Seattle P-I

* * *

Beacon Hill’s bandwidth problem was mentioned by mayoral candidate Mike McGinn at a recent town hall meeting. Glenn Fleishman delves into McGinn’s Internet platform plank in an interview at Publicola.

* * *

Craig Thompson is wrangling a number of SPU “CityQuest” community service volunteers (as well as willing neighbors!) this Saturday the 26th, living out SPU’s mission of “engaging the culture and changing world.” For details about the projects spanning the hill from Lewis and Jose Rizal Parks to El Centro to the Cheasty Greenspace and how you can help out, read Craig’s posting at Beacon Lights.

* * *

Our neighbor Sheba wrote to the mailing list:

Giddens School, where I work and my daughter attends school, is offering child CPR and First Aid training and certification for parents and caregivers this Saturday (9/26), 9 am – 1 pm. The class fee is $35 per person and there are still a few spots open. Giddens is located at 20th South and S. Lane Street in Judkins Park. Contact me directly at my work phone or address if interested: 324-4847 ext. 37 or sburney-jones@giddensschool.org.

Not just good looks: station lights indicate elevator position

And here we thought they just looked nice. Photo by Wendi.
And here we thought they just looked nice. Photo by Wendi.
Apparently the new lights on the Beacon Hill station that we featured in a photo post the other day are not just for looks. We’re told they have a function, too. The lights are blue when the elevator reaches the street level, then change to purple as the elevator goes down to the platform. If this is true, it makes it easier to see which elevator to stand in front of while waiting for the door to open — as long as it’s dark enough to see them, and if you are not color-blind.

Edited to add: I watched them tonight and the colors constantly change, whether the elevators are moving or not. When an elevator opens, the light over that elevator does turn blue — but it also turns blue randomly when the elevator isn’t even moving. When the elevator closes and goes down again, it does seem to turn purple. But since the colors randomly change, and the blue color change does not come until the doors open, it doesn’t seem very functional. It’s awfully pretty, though!

Beacon Bits, Getting Around edition: shuttling to Seafair, making light rail work, and who is riding Link?

This crowd of folks was in Mount Baker watching the Seafair hydroplane races in 1965. Plan to do the same this year? Light rail can get you there. Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.
This crowd of folks was in Mount Baker watching the Seafair hydroplane races in 1965. Plan to do the same this year? Light rail can get you there. Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.
Going to Seafair festivities this weekend? Forget your car, and take Link light rail! Take the light rail to the Othello Station and catch a free Seafair Express Shuttle to the front gate, or go to the Columbia City Station and walk approximately one mile to the main gate.


Roger Valdez of Beacon Hill writes in Sightline Daily about the long path to geting light rail in Seattle, and suggests steps the city will need to take to make it work in the long run, including smart land use policies that enhance and create transit demand by creating denser communities, and establishment of policies that will encourage and support transit ridership.


City Councilman Bruce Harrell reports his involvement in securing federal funds for lighting, pedestrian, and transit improvements at the Mount Baker light rail station and the Rainier Avenue South and South Jackson Street areas. The Rainier project will provide buses with “queue jumps” and traffic signal priority, as well as adding 15 bus bulbs. These changes will allow buses to save time by bypassing traffic and avoiding merges into heavy traffic. The Mount Baker project will involve lighting which will link the station with Franklin High School, and provide safer crossing for pedestrians on Rainier Avenue and MLK.


Nina Shapiro in the Seattle Weekly discusses issues of cultural disparity on Link light rail: is the train just “stuff white people like?” However, her article currently contains one big error — she suggests that riders of bus routes such as the #42 avoid Link because transfers from Link to the bus are not free. This is not true. Link tickets allow you to transfer to a bus for free. If #42 riders are avoiding Link for that reason, it is because of a misunderstanding of the fare system, and perhaps because Sound Transit/Metro haven’t yet done the best possible job of communicating how it works.