UW Link open

After several years of waiting, the new Sound Transit Link Light Rail stations by Husky Stadium and on Capitol Hill are now open. There was quite a bit of fanfare this weekend, and Melody and I went to scope things out and ride the new segments.

We started out at the UW Station near the stadium, and the above-ground section is quite striking with all its glass. Melody wanted to be at Seattle Center in the early afternoon, so she had figured out the route she would need to take in case the trains were too crowded, but we thought we would want to at least try to get on. Since we arrived about an hour after the station opened up, we thought there would be big crowds, but even though there were quite a few people, it was easy to get around. We checked out the food trucks, but Melody opted to try to take the train downtown and then walk to Lower Queen Anne; I was going to ride down and then go back north.

As you go down the station the first thing you seen is a bunch of tile along the walls. With the lighting, it evokes the Husky colors of purple and gold. The next thing you notice is that the station feels deeper than the downtown stations. It's probably due to a combination of going under the Montlake Cut and being deep enough to not impact instrumentation and experiments on the UW campus (Husky Stadium is currently the northernmost station, but in 2021 the next one in the University District has the train cutting directly under campus).

As you proceed down the escalators, above you is a set of panels named Subterranium by Leo Saul Berk. To give you a feel for the station's depth, this photo was taken on the level above the train platform, and the ceiling is below street level.

To handle anticipated crowds, we needed to go into the station at one specific entrance, and people were directed to exit out another. There were a lot of people on the platform itself, but we were able to get seats on the train that was waiting. Within a couple minutes, we were off for our first trip on the new segments.

We stayed on the train through Capitol Hill, and as Melody started heading to Seattle Center, I went to the other side of the station to grab a northbound train.

As with the UW Station, the Capitol Hill Station funneled people in and out via different street-level entrances. On the way out I saw one of two Ellen Forney installations; the first being Walking Fingers. The matching piece at the North Entrance is Crossed Pinkies.

Above the Capitol Hill Station platform is another piece, Jet Kiss by Mike Ross. It's made of pieces from two U.S. Navy A4 Skyhawks.

As I left the tunnel back at Husky Stadium, I heard drums, wondering if the Husky Band was performing. Instead, a percussion group, VamoLá! was performing to lots of people who had gathered around.

Husky Stadium was also open, so you could take a quick peek inside. You could only just inside the east entrance, but that still gave you a good look at the field.