Matthew from Bothell said it best this morning, “This is my first time riding the light rail. I’m hoping to make this a regular thing.”

The latest light rail extension from the Husky Stadium station to Northgate opened this past weekend and today was the first commuter workday for the new light rail extension. Community Transit and Sound Transit ambassadors along with many signs were on hand at the Northgate, Roosevelt, and U District stations to help commuters easily navigate the transition from buses to the light rail, and all looked to run quite smoothly.

Rachel of Lynnwood said, “I am excited, a lot of people will be happy about this new connection.” Students, nurses in scrubs, and people in suits were among the commuters giving this new mode of transportation a try. Several students noted, “Glad it’s finally here!”

Many Community Transit and Sound Transit bus routes have changed to connect with light rail at the new Northgate, Roosevelt, and U District stations instead of running to downtown Seattle. For Community Transit, the 400 numbered buses still make the drive down I-5 into downtown Seattle.

 

The new light rail connections remove many of the congestion issues that can arise on the Interstate. The light rail run from Northgate to the Westlake Mall in downtown Seattle takes only 14 minutes.

Connecting the changed bus routes with light rail is quite convenient. Community Transit spokesperson Monica Spain noted, “During peak commute hours, buses arrive and leave no less than every 8 minutes.” That bus run frequency easily matches the light rail trains that also arrive and leave around every 8 minutes.

To use the buses and light rail, all you need is your pre-paid Orca card. Spain highlighted, “Your fare is good for 2 hours. So if you wanted, you could stop and do shopping or run errands along the way.” That also includes walking the short distance to the new Seattle Kraken facility at Northgate.

And just in time for the Seattle Kraken’s first season of National Hockey League (NHL) action to drop the puck later this month, the remodeled Seattle Monorail will resume service on October 9th to and from Westlake Mall and the Seattle Center. So, many hockey fans will not need to drive into downtown Seattle and can take the bus or park at the Northgate park ‘n ride or parking garage, ride the light rail to the Westlake station and easily transfer to the monorail at no extra cost.

Alan Hart, the principal for designer VIA Architecture for the refurbished monorail said, “Kraken hockey fans, and those attending concerts, will be able to catch light rail, and ascend shopping-center escalators to the monorail, which can carry 3,000 people per hour to Seattle Center.”

For more information about the new Sound Transit light-rail extension to Northgate, visit https://www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion/northgate-link-extension

Sound Transit also has information about their bus route changes at https://www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion/lynnwood-link-extension and Community Transit also has complete information with their bus route and light rail connections at https://www.communitytransit.org/news/community-transit-news/2021/09/20/plan-your-trip-for-bus-to-light-rail-connections-at-northgate

Now for North Sound residents, there is a new more convenient, timely, and cost-effective way to commute to downtown Seattle or other destinations. As one rider toting a rolling suitcase at the Northgate station said, “It’s only about 50 minutes to SeaTac Airport.”

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.