Changes to bus routes in March 2019 pave the way for LINK light rail to expand

Do you remember when there used to be buses and LINK light rail in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel?   

On March 23, 2019, those buses moved permanently to downtown streets as a key step in the transition to light-rail-only in the tunnel. This big change was in Chapter Two of the Seattle Squeeze, with downtown bus riders finding their bus stops in new locations, and a new bus-only lane on 6th Avenue.   

There are two reasons that caused the buses to move permanently to the surface on March 23, 2019: 

  • To continue preparing downtown tunnel stations for Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail expansion to the Eastside in 2023 
Link light rail construction at Northgate.

Light rail expansion.

Just south of International District/Chinatown Station, Sound Transit is preparing to expand light rail to the Eastside in 2023. As part of that project, Sound Transit built track connections that will allow trains from the Eastside to travel into downtown Seattle and on to Northgate. That work was called Connect 2020 and it finished on schedule. Read more in Sound Transit’s blog post.   

When the Northgate extension opens in October 2021, Sound Transit will operate longer four-car trains. In 2023, trains from the Eastside and from SeaTac will both continue through downtown Seattle all the way to Northgate. These two lines will mean trains run as often as every four minutes at shared stations.  

Integrated buses and trains are the future!

We’re about to see our whole region connected by light rail. The extensions to Northgate (October 2021) and Mercer Island, Bellevue and Overlake (2023) are under construction. ​Trains will then reach Lynnwood, Federal Way and downtown Redmond in 2024; West Seattle and Tacoma in 2030; Ballard and South Lake Union in 2035; Everett in 2036; and South Kirkland and Issaquah in 2041. The future is buses and trains, people!