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light rail

Detta Hayes, 9 year driver for Microsoft's connector bus and vanpool service. Hayes is prone to frequent bursts of laughter, such as when I asked her if her bus ever gets stuck in traffic.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Chuck Collins is the guy who ran Metro in the 1970s.

He should be the kind of guy who salivates over light rail. But instead, he’s dreaming of more vanpools.

Amy Walgamott at her home in Shoreline, where homes have been rezoned so that developers may erect 70-foot apartment buildings.
Courtesy of Amy Walgamott

Sound Transit's light rail expansion project is changing neighborhoods.

People who use the train generally like to live near the station.

Sound Transit's light rail shot from the SeaTac Airport Station.
Flickr Photo/Michael @NW Lens (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/

In one month, Sea-Tac airport will no longer be the last stop on the Sound Transit light rail line. Sound Transit plans to open the Angle Lake train station on September 24, several years ahead of schedule.

A stairway descends into Capitol Hill’s light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s been three months since two light rail stations opened in Seattle, bringing tens of thousands of riders to the system. 

But if you've had trouble with your cell phone down in those tunnels, here's why: There's no working network there yet.

Sound Transit

Everett could get light rail in 20 years instead of 25 under a new plan discussed by the Sound Transit board Thursday afternoon.

Light rail would reach Ballard in 19 years instead of 22.

Around the world, subway projects are booming. New metros have sprung up or are in the works in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India, and China announced several years ago that it would build 25 new subway systems. But in the United States, investment in new subways has lagged.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Fred Salvucci, senior lecturer in civil and environmental engineering at MIT and former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation, about what state and local governments should be doing about transportation for the future.

Sound Transit's Capitol Hill Station, prior to opening, 25 January 2016.
Flickr Photo/Don Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Light rail ridership has hit all-time highs since two new stations opened in Seattle on Saturday. On the heels of that success, Sound Transit revealed its newest proposal Thursday.

It would expand the light-rail system to 108 miles total — but take decades to get there.

Faces of commuters who passed through University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations Monday morning.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke talks with KUOW's Joshua McNichols about the opening of new light rail stations on Capitol Hill and near the University of Washington. Radke also talks with Zach Shaner, staff reporter for the Seattle Transit Blog.

On Saturday, March 19 light rail stations opened serving Capitol Hill and the University of Washington (pictured).
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This weekend, Sound Transit stations at Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium open to the public. It’s a big deal, because it extends light rail through two of Seattle’s most heavily populated neighborhoods.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols got a sneak peak at the stations – and a ride on the train.

Sound Transit Senior Planner Val Batey on First Avenue in Seattle. Batey says her agency is exploring First Avenue as a possible surface route for trains serving Ballard and West Seattle.
KUOW Photo / Joshua McNichols

This fall, voters will decide whether to extend Sound Transit’s light rail farther, like to Everett and Tacoma. The ballot measure is called Sound Transit 3.

Planners are deciding now where to put the trains that the measure would bring into Seattle because there isn’t enough room in the existing downtown transit tunnel.

Miranda Redinger, Shoreline city planner, at the Shoreline Center, a former high school that she says is likely to be redeveloped once the transit station gets running.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Shoreline, just north of Seattle, is a classic suburb facing a very urban challenge.

It is gaining a light rail station at 185th Street and I-5. And that new station is kicking off a vast redevelopment that will change the shape of the city. In all, 1,400 homes have been rezoned for a densified redevelopment that will change this part of the city into something that looks as though it were born in Seattle.

U District Station, 90 percent designed, shows conservative art referencing the neighborhood's architectural heritage.
Sound Transit

The public will have its last chance to weigh in on the design for the University District light rail station this Thursday. The project is 90 percent designed and shows a conservative approach to its public art.

At least, it's conservative compared to Capitol Hill Station. That station features two fighter jets, which appear to explode like brittle origami cranes in a jet kiss over the station platform. 

The 73 currently runs from north Seattle to downtown via the U-District. Under the new plan, riders will have to transfer to light rail to get downtown, which can't get snarled in traffic. Some buses will still go downtown during peak periods.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It used to be if you wanted to take the bus across town in Seattle, you often had to ride all the way downtown first. But now light rail does some of that heavy lifting, getting people from north to south. And next spring two more light rail stations are opening at Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium.

Under its new plan for rebuilding the bus system in northeast Seattle, Metro isn't going to waste so much time now fighting traffic to get downtown.

A bus moves into traffic on Delridge Way in West Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Ross Reynolds speaks with King County Executive Dow Constantine,  who also chairs the Sound Transit Board, about a planned transit expansion in the Puget Sound region known as Sound Transit 3. Public comment on the first phase of planning can be submitted until the end of the day on Wednesday, July 8.

VelBusDriver / Flickr Creative Commons

The 2015 state legislative session kicks off on Monday. One issue that is top of mind for lawmakers around the state is transportation. For King County Executive Dow Constantine it means getting approval from the state to continue moving forward on a Sound Transit high capacity rail program. Constantine sat down with KUOW's Ross Reynolds to discuss his vision for Light Rail in the Puget Sound region.