As Heidi mentioned this morning, members of the media got to ride between the new Husky Stadium and Capitol Hill light rail stations yesterday.
During the press event, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff called the station openings "a game-changing development in mobility around the Puget Sound region." And I think he's right – the ride from Husky Stadium to Capitol Hill felt impossibly fast and, while it has no impact on transit times, the UW station is absurdly gorgeous and looks like a futuristic science museum.
But for University of Washington students, taking the light rail won't be a better transit option until the NE 43rd St. and Brooklyn Ave. station opens up in 2021 – especially if they're trying to get to Sea-Tac airport.
When I attended UW, I lugged my suitcases from my dorm (and later, my apartment) to and from the airport using a bus and the light rail. Current students and other University District dwellers will still have to do just that.
According to Google Maps, the Husky Stadium station is about a 15 minute walk away from the center of campus. Whether you're a sleep-deprived college student running late for class or simply trying to catch a flight home, having to trek up hills and stairs to get to the station would be less than ideal.
To be fair, the new station obviously has its merits. After all, having more transit running to and from the university is much needed, especially considering how uncomfortably packed the 70-74 bus routes are during commuting hours.
Additionally, college sports fans commuting from the south will definitely benefit from the light rail stop. While crowded trains filled with excited, die-hard sports fans would be my personal hell, I'm sure stadium-goers are stoked that they won't have to sit in traffic to attend a game.
In the meantime, until the next University District terminal opens up in 2021, using the light rail will likely be an inconvenient option for students whether they're saddled with two suitcases en route to the airport or simply slogging to class.