We’re on the next track of the Chapter 3 Seattle Squeeze journey: Link light rail expansion to I-90.
The Seattle Squeeze is the period from now until 2024 when private and public construction projects put pressure on our transportation system and change how we all travel through and around Seattle.
Starting January 4, Sound Transit will build new Link light rail tracks connecting International District/Chinatown Station across I-90 to Judkins Park, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond and it will result in ten weeks of construction and commute disruptions. It will be a short-term inconvenience for a long-term gain for you and our region. This Sound Transit project is called Connect 2020.
If you’re a Link light rail rider (especially if you’re planning to bring your bike on the train), you need to know about the details of Connect 2020 & plan your commute.
- Give yourself time – plan an extra 30 minutes into your commute.
- Trains will run every 12 minutes.
- There will be a train transfer at Pioneer Square Station to continue your light rail ride.
- There will be no bikes at Pioneer Square Station.
- There will be a few weekend closures.
- Sound Transit Ambassadors will be at stations to help answer your questions.
Read on for details.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Plan ahead! It’s likely that during peak weekday commutes both trains and buses in downtown Seattle will see more crowding and delays based on demand. Leave a half hour earlier than normal so you’re not stressed about being late.
There will be a train transfer at Pioneer Square through a central platform to continue your Link ride.
Except during weekend closures, four-car trains will run every 12 minutes and riders traveling through Pioneer Square Station will change trains on a new temporary center platform – as seen in the animation above – to continue on from either Pioneer Square to Angle Lake and Pioneer Square to University of Washington.
There will be no bikes allowed at Pioneer Station (fret not, use new protected bike lanes!).
You can expect more crowded Link trains during Connect 2020. Maintaining a safe environment is a priority. With hundreds of passengers switching trains at a time, Sound Transit is prohibiting bicycles at the Pioneer Street Station during the duration of the 10-weeks of construction. Southbound riders with bicycles will need to exit at University Street and northbound riders with bicycles will need to exit at International District/Chinatown.
People riding bicycles between University Street and International District/Chinatown stations can use new protected bicycle lanes on S. Main Street & 5th Avenue S.
New protected bike lanes were installed this year connecting the Dearborn Street bike lanes to the 2nd Avenue bike lanes. These lanes will come in handy during the Connect 2020 construction when bicycles won’t be allowed at Pioneer Square Station. Learn more about Seattle bike routes and how to bring your bike on Link.
These, plus new bike facilities on 7th Avenue and King Street, will take you from station to station and connect you to other downtown destinations. The new bike lanes are part of Seattle’s Center City Bike Network of protected bike lanes that make biking a reliable travel choice and calm traffic as more people compete for limited street space.
There will be a few weekend closures. Set up a reminder.
Depending on construction progress, Link light rail service between Capitol Hill and SODO will be closed on the weekends of January 4-5, February 8-9 and March 14-15. During the closure, use the free surface street Link shuttle bus that will depart every seven minutes (during normal Link hours). There will be signs showing you the way to the shuttles, and Sound Transit staff will be there to help navigate.
As seen on the Sound Transit map above, Link will run from UW-Capitol Hill and Angle Lake-SODO only during the weekend closures. Subscribe to email or text Link light rail alerts to stay up to date about the weekend closures.
Visit Sound Transit for more information about Connect 2020, train schedules, and station closures. Also, visit our seattle.gov/traffic website to help plan your commute and stay informed with all the changes happening from now until 2024.