Thursday, May 4, 2006 at 11:15 pm by Darryl
Have you heard that light rail is coming to Seattle? I really look forward to it. The News Tribune has this little piece about Sound Transit:
Last Thursday, amid remarkably little fanfare, the Sound Transit Board approved a plan to build â€“ with existing taxes â€“ light rail from downtown Seattle to the University District.
That decision, which depends on $700 million in expected federal grant money, culminates one of the most dramatic turnarounds by any public agency in state history.
Just a few years back, Sound Transitâ€™s light rail project in Seattle â€“ the core of the mass transit system it was charged with building â€“ was collapsing. After indulging in optimistic cost estimates and free spending, the agency had hit the hard concrete wall of reality.
The original plan was to build a 21-mile line from just north of the UW campus through downtown Seattle to just south of Sea-Tac Airport. By 2001, the agency had lowered its sights to just getting light rail from downtown to the airport.
Whatâ€™s happened to Sound Transit since then qualifies as a resurrection. New board members set out to shake up the organization. Vigilant cost control and project management under a new executive director, Joni Earl, instilled an ethic of getting jobs done within budget.
As a result, Sound Transit now looks as if it can get light rail to the U District â€“ though a stop short of its original destination on N.E. 45th Street â€“ with the original tax package approved by the voters in 1996. It helped that the agency last summer had to abandon plans to create a costly and increasingly risky-looking station underneath Seattleâ€™s First Hill. But better management and oversight is the chief reason a new terminus at Husky Stadium now looks feasible.
Outstanding!!!!! Hardly a week goes by these days without me breathlessly talking about how great it will be when I can head to Seatac from the U.W. campus via light rail. (And sometimes I talk about Nathan’s terrific Nurd Stations Map.) You see, I work on the UW campus. And, because of my job, I spend a lot of time driving to and from Seatac—for my own somewhat-frequent trips, to transporting visiting scholars, or to transport the other scholar in the household. In fact, just this morning, I dropped Kathy off at the Airport. I think it was 6:00 a.m.
You don’t have to just dream about this anymore…check out the Link Light Rail animations. Next on my personal light rail agenda…Light Rail to Redmond!