trains-lakewashingtonHey, Seattle area commuters. It is going to get a bit easier to cross Lake Washington — in about nine years.

video-trains11Sound Transit this week released an animated video showing what it will be like to take the East Link rail line between Seattle’s International District and Redmond along Interstate 90— one of the most important transit corridors for connecting the tech-heavy Eastside with the tech-heavy downtown.

“Welcome to Sound Transit’s East Link Extension,” the narration of the video begins. “The year is 2023 and trains are running every few minutes between downtown Seattle and Mercer Island, Bellevue and Overlake and Redmond.”

Initially, the 3-car light rail train will have capacity to carry between 150 and 200 passengers per car. But a fourth car can be added, boosting capacity to as many as 800 people per trip. Trains will arrive and depart every eight to 10 minutes, stopping along the way at 10 stations. Total trip time is estimated at 30 minutes, with final stops near the Microsoft campus in Redmond.

You can check out the videos here, and read more about the $2.8 billion project here. A public meeting will be held Thursday from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle.

(Hat tip to the PSBJ)

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  • Slaggggg

    They need to make sure it’s fast. Taking a light rail train from downtown to the airport takes twice as long as it takes to just drive it, mostly because it goes at a snail’s pace through Tukwila. I think that’s a big reason people don’t use the train to the airport.

    They need to avoid making those kind of sacrifices with this Redmond line and keep it fast.

    • Ryan Parrish

      Tukwila isn’t the slow part, South Seattle is, down Rainier Ave since it’s at street level instead of elevated. If it were all elevated they could do 55mph in the straights, like it does right before the turn in Tukwila.

      • Ryan Parrish

        It’s the level grade sections that kill it. If it were grade separated it would be much faster. If the transit tunnel were train only, for example.

        • Slaggggg

          Yes you are right – I was referring to the very slow section on the street. They should do whatever is needed to make it fast…

  • Slaggggg

    BTW ,the animated flyover video is cool, but I should be able to hit space bar to start shooting at stuff.

  • @CascadeRam

    It seems too late and too little and not well-planned.
    Overlake is at the southern tip of Redmond and it is unfortunate that they didn’t connect to downtown Redmond. It also seems like they don’t plan to build any additional parking for the Overlake train station and they are unclear on what if any new feeder bus services will be added to connect Redmond, Kirkland etc. to the new train station.

    • redmondjp

      You nailed it. And I don’t see this line connecting to downtown Redmond until, well, realistically, never (no $ to do it).
      Why would anybody in Ballard or Greenlake ever take this to the Eastside when they can sit in their car on 520 and still get there in half the time. And Microsofties already have their private, air-conditioned, wifi-equipped buses to use.

    • AgentJ

      Downtown Redmond is part of a future plan, from what I’ve read.

  • Patrick Husting

    Should have built this instead of the Tunnel.

    • TheMoreYouKnow

      Separate budgets run by separate organizations. Especially ‘budgets’ or funding approved by separate initiatives and separate votes.

      Just like a corporation has separate BUs with separate budgets and spending.

      • Kary

        Separate needs too. Light rail to the east side would not in any way replace the viaduct.

  • wut

    why does this take nearly a decade? a lot of things could change by then for a project that was planned 9+ years beforehand #fail

  • BigGreenFrank

    So just about the same time as driving with no traffic, and 10-15 mins faster in rush hour? Meh…

    • Kary

      But no parking. And when it snows it’s probably a 12 hour difference in commute time. ;-)

      • KachunK

        * better for the environment
        * if more people ride the train, there are fewer cars on the road.
        * On the train you can do any number of things (work on laptop, sleep, read) during your commute.

  • Just Wondering

    I-90 express lanes to be closed for a minimum of SEVEN years! That’s the estimate…reality is more like 10 … just to put the tracks in. Crazy. Should have been a second story for the bridge for the train.

    • AuContraire

      Have they yet found an engineering firm that is willing to put their professional stamp on the design of the rail interface between the floating and fixed portion of the tracks?
      This is key – if they can’t figure this little detail out, the entire line to the Eastside is entirely theoretical unless they switch to a tunnel.

      • Kary

        I’ve been wondering about that. How do they do expansion joints in regular rail tracks? I would assume they have to do something. But this would be seemingly much more extreme due to the level of the lake going up and down.

  • sooooooo slowwwwwwwww

    2023? Hopefully I’ll still be ALIVE then.

    It is just me, or does Seattle do transit like 100x slower than anyplace else?

  • foulkeyu

    I eagerly anticipate the video showing drivers’ blood pressure rising as, for several years, the express lanes are taken out of commission for construction with no means for offsetting that loss of capacity.

    (They could follow that up with the video showing the relatively small extent to which this actually will relieve congestion once the system finally is operational in 2019, should it be completed on time.)

  • Bart C

    By that time we’ll all be sitting in self-driving shared cars that will pick us up in front of our houses and drop us off in front of our offices while we all laugh with this stupid train that is slow as hell, not frequent enough and probably serves neighborhoods that are no longer hot. This development shows poor planning and a lack of a vision for the future.

  • Tom Scearce

    The video took an eternity to load on my phone – a perfect metaphor for the Eastlink delivery schedule.

  • Jack Davis

    Wonder if the cost to commute will vary based on the time of service (like now, during heavy commute hours you pay a premium). Perhaps by 2023 there will be drones that can just fly us over.

  • kurt

    8 years? When I lived in Shanghai, they built 12 new subway lines in 3 years (they hired the Germans for much of the design), then worked their butt off in 3 shifts. We voted in the light rail in 1996, it launched in 2009. Our tunnel is currently at a standstill. We need to make changes in how we do infrastructure.

  • Betty

    I was excited about the East Link rail line until I saw it didn’t go to downtown Redmond, which I’d love to get to in order to explore. I rarely go to the Eastside because I don’t know the area. On another note, one correction in the John Cook article: the correct name of our district is Chinatown International District, according to Seattle City Ordinance 119297. The boundaries are Yesler Way to Charles Street and 4th Ave. S. to Rainier Avenue (Seattle Chinatown International District Urban Village Neighborhood Plan (1998). Within this district are the three neighborhoods of Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon. Also in the CID is the Seattle Chinatown Historic District, as listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1986).

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