Today, Phillip and I went to the opening of Link Light Rail’s two newest stations: Capitol Hill and University of Washington.
We stated off by walking over to Phoenix Comics for some shopping. Then we walked to the station entrance on the west side of Broadway, just north of Denny. There, we discovered that it was temporarily “Exit Only”. (Crowd control, I’m guessing.) So we walked through the festival of booths along the newly re-opened section of Denny Way, temporarily closed for the festival, and around the back of the station area. The station entrance on Denny Way was temporarily “Staff Only”. (Crowd control?) We had fun looking at all the booths, which were mostly information about Seattle’s transportation options.
We made our way over to the station entrance at the corner of Broadway and John. It was open. We weren’t sure if we should tap our ORCA cards or not, but we did, just to be safe. There was a huge crowd inside the station.
We wanted to go see the University of Washington Station. The northbound side of the station was jammed with people, so Phillip had a brilliant idea: We should take a less-crowded southbound train to International/Chinatown Station, go shopping in Uwajimaya, and go northbound from there. The trains were running every 10 minutes today.
Link was running 3-car trains today. Until today, I’d only ridden in 2-car trains. (3-car trains look huge!) The trains had a new voice for stop announcements. It’s more robotic-sounding, like the First Hill Streetcar. Phillip wasn’t convinced, at first, that it’s a new voice. Later, I had him compare the station voice, which is still the old voice, with the train voice. I may have convinced him.
After shopping in Uwajimaya, we returned to International District/Chinatown Station. There were plenty of seats on the train. By the time we got to Westlake Station, the train was standing-room only. Phillip is a genius.
It was a strange feeling to have the train continue on north past Westlake Station. It was strange to see the train turn inside the tunnel, branching off before Convention Place Station. It was strange to be underground in a Link train for as long as we were.
We wandered through the festival booths between University of Washington Station and Husky Stadium. It was mostly the same information, but enough variety to keep it interesting. Both festivals had live bands playing.
We took a Link train back to Capitol Hill Station. Then we had a mid-afternoon lunch at Pinto. We did some shopping at QFC, and stopped into the Capitol Hill Library, on our way home. It was an exhausting, but fun, day.
It’s amazing to me: We left home at 11:00, did all this, traveled from Capitol Hill to the International District, traveled up to Husky Stadium, and then back To Capitol Hill, and we were home by 2:00. If we’d driven, we’d still be hunting for parking. I love our Link light rail.