We were lucky enough to get a front-row seat for the breakthrough of the tunnel boring machine at the eastern portal of Sound Transit’s light rail tunnel through Beacon Hill. A video with the most exciting portions of the nearly 30-minute long event is attached above (double-click the player to see the higher-resolution version).
Although the Central District has pretty good bus service, so far we’ve been mostly overlooked in the planning for high-capacity, high-speed transit service. It would be fantastic if we had a subway stop that could get people to and from downtown in just 4-5 minutes instead of the usual 25 minute trip on the #3 or #4 buses.
However, I think Link Light Rail may be useful for us for southbound trips, especially to the airport. If you’ve ever tried to take a metro bus to the airport from around here, you’ve probably had some aggravation added to your trip. The buses are always crowded – there’s no room for your bags. And the frequent delays makes it difficult to make a downtown connection that guarantees that you’ll make it there in time for your flight.
But starting sometime in the 2nd half of 2009 we’ll be able to take the #48 or #8 bus south for 5-8 minutes, then hop onto light rail at the Mt. Baker station at McClellan & Rainier, and be at the airport about 20 minutes later. That should be as quick as a cab ride when I-5 is busy (not to mention $35 cheaper), and way more dependable and less stressful than the downtown bus transfer.
Now if only we could get a subway that went from Bellevue, under Lake Washington, a couple of stops here in the CD, and onwards to downtown. Ultra-unlikely, but we can dream…
Woohoo! Every time this comes up, my wife and I start talking about moving to Beacon Hill so we can take the train to work downtown… and then we remember how much we enjoy being able to walk to work.
Isn’t there a station on Capitol Hill somewhere? Maybe you live on the south end of the neighborhood, so that Rainier station is your obvious choice, but I’ll have to do more checking into where the Cap Hill one is…too bad they nixed the First Hill station—that would have really been a dream location. :O)
Capitol Hill Station
The underground Capitol Hill Station will be built just east of Broadway Avenue and south of East John Street, beneath Nagle Place and adjoining properties. This station will serve the densely populated neighborhood and the Broadway business district, as well as Seattle Community College, Group Health Medical Center and other nearby employers. Locating the station east of Broadway and west of Cal Anderson Park reduces construction disruptions in the Broadway business district and the recently developed park.
The Capitol Hill station includes three station entrances: a north entrance on the east side of Broadway at the corner of East John Street, an entrance on the west side of Broadway just south of East Denny Way, and a south entrance at the corner of East Denny Way and Nagle Place.
That one will be nice to have too, but we’ll have to wait until 2016 for it.
The trick is that Capitol Hill is really hard to get to from the CD unless you’re in the NW corner of the neighborhood where it’s close enough to walk. There’s no good bus connections to get you there unless you put up with at least one transfer.
That’s why Joanna’s suggestion would be so good to get a new bus or streetcar route that would connect us directly with the broadway area of Capitol Hill.
However, the Mt. Baker station is well connected to relatively speedy bus lines that run N/S through the CD, so it may be a better option for most of the neighborhood.