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New U-District light rail station to open this fall, will serve students and surrounding community

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New U-District light rail station to open this fall, will serve students and surrounding community

The U District station, located on Brooklyn Avenue Northeast between Northeast 45th and Northeast 43rd, is in the final stages of construction.

The new U-District Link Light Rail station on Brooklyn Avenue is set to open this fall, connecting the neighborhood more easily with Seattle’s downtown corridor. 

The station is part of the Northgate light rail expansion project approved by voters in 2008, which began construction in 2012. Roosevelt Station, Northgate Station, and the U-District Station are nearing the end of the construction process. 

Construction goes beyond the station itself, as workers have prepared nearby streets for a larger influx of pedestrian traffic by repaving and widening sidewalks, as well as installing trees and light poles. Work on the northern side of 43rd Street was recently completed, with the focus shifting at the beginning of this month to the area between the Ave and the station along the south side of the street, where new sidewalks are being poured and curb ramps are being installed. Construction on this street is anticipated to be completed by the end of March, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). 

There will not be any parking at this station or nearby, as it is intended to serve pedestrian and biking commuters.

“Construction has been in full swing, without much of an impact from the pandemic to date, with a number of additional safety measures and guidelines put in place to make sure the workers stay safe,” Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher said.

Gallagher said that most of the larger parts of construction on the station have been completed, and the Link trains are now being tested on the line to ensure that the tracks and the overhead electrical system are running smoothly.

The new station looks to ensure reasonable access to the light rail on both ends of campus, connecting the Ave and nearby neighborhoods to the rest of the light rail locations. 

Meanwhile, the Montlake station, which opened in 2016, serves commuters to Husky Stadium and UW Medical Center. This new location is also anticipated to help alleviate crowding at Montlake. Most of this area is currently connected through bus routes, some of which are going to be altered in preparation for the new light rail stations opening and for the Link to become more heavily used over buses as part of the expansion project. 

“This goes back to some of the conversations that happened in Seattle in the 1960s, about how we have a robust bus system but we need a separate grade rail system that helps get people around our region, and we were a fraction of the size we are today,” Don Blakeney, the new executive director of the U District Partnership, said. “There’s been conversations for a long time about what we need out of a rail system, and the University of Washington is one of the biggest economic hubs in our region.”

Many key Seattle locations will soon be just a short ride away: From the new station, it will take six minutes to get to Capitol Hill, eight to Westlake, 15 to T-Mobile Park for a Mariners game, and 46 to SeaTac airport.

Students can anticipate construction around 43rd Street finishing up this spring, and the opening of the new light rail station this fall, with an exact opening date to be announced closer to completion.

Reach contributing writer Kalina Mladenova at Twitter: @kalinamm_

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