Seattle and Southern Snohomish County residents celebrated the new light rail Northgate, Roosevelt, and U-District stations.
Sound Transit celebrated the grand opening of three new rail link stations and a pedestrian bridge Saturday, October 2nd in Northern Seattle. From north to south, the rail links are called the Northgate, Roosevelt, and U-District stations. The new John Lewis Memorial Bridge is located at the Northgate station and crosses over I-5, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to cross the freeway safely.
Saturday’s Grand Opening celebrations included ribbon-cutting ceremonies with public addresses from local leaders and community members, live music, food trucks, and the U-District’s $3 Food Walk raffle — not to mention some smooth transitions between stations thanks to the light rails.
“The opening of Northgate Link marks the start of a transformational period for transit in the region,” says Sound Transit’s Public Information Officer, John Gallagher. According to Gallagher, Sound Transit plans on expanding its rails into Snohomish County. “In the next three years, we will be opening extensions north to Lynnwood, south to Federal Way, and east to Bellevue and downtown Redmond,” he says. “That growth will nearly triple the size of the light rail.”
As Gallagher explains, this continual growth in public transportation will result in “greater connection within the region and a fast, reliable alternative to grueling highway congestion.” Having a way to bypass city traffic will be a great relief for Seattle and Southern Snohomish County residents — as the average Seattle commuter spent 77 hours in traffic in 2019, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Insitute’s Urban Mobility Report.
Another noteworthy feature of Sound Transit’s links is that they’ve achieved carbon-free operations, running entirely on hydroelectricity and wind instead. “It is the first major light rail system in the country to do so,” according to Gallagher.
The Northgate Station
The Northgate Light Rail Station will be the destination for travelers who wish to shop at the Northgate Station mall, check out the ice rinks and the Seattle Kraken’s headquarters, or hop on a bus at one of the state’s busiest transit stations. With the addition of the John Lewis Memorial pedestrian bridge, Northgate will also be ideal for students and employees of the North Seattle College and UW Medical Center-Northwest.
The Roosevelt Station
The first stop south of the Northgate is Roosevelt Station, which brings travelers to some of the city’s best parks and grub spots. The station also brings commuters close to the beautiful Green Lake, just on the other side of I-5. For a comprehensive list of all the sites to see and spots to stop, read The Urbanist’s Destination Guide to the Roosevelt Station Area.
The U-District Station
The appropriately named U-District Station is the south-most link to be operational starting October 2. The station is right near the University of Washington and will be the ideal destination for students and faculty. For the non-student commuters, the university’s “Quad” has over 200 cherry trees to stroll through. There is also a Farmer’s Market every Saturday, year-round.
The John Lewis Memorial Bridge is a Significant Connection
Located at the Northgate link, the John Lewis Memorial Bridge arches over the I-5 freeway. Sound Transit’s John Gallagher explains that it “joins two neighborhoods that were severed when I-5 was built. It makes accessing light rail easier and connects the Northgate Station and North Seattle College.”
Public figures referred to it as “truly a peoples’ bridge” during the ribbon-cutting ceremony and spoke about how it wouldn’t have come about without the advocacy efforts from the community and the leadership of local officials.