The streets around the U District Station for Link light rail are reopening to the public starting today, a milestone in the progress of construction for the Northgate Link extension.
Brooklyn Avenue will open to traffic and pedestrians today, while NE 43rd Street is opening today to pedestrian traffic.
“The street openings are yet another sign of how close we are getting to the opening of the Northgate Link extension,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “Sound Transit thanks the businesses and residents of the area for their patience in spite of all the inconveniences during construction. We are confident that they will soon see that it was all worth it.”
The streets around the U District station were closed in 2013 in preparation for the start of construction on the Northgate Link extension with the delivery of the two tunnel boring machines. The streets remained closed to allow for ongoing construction activity.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is completing a new streetscape construction project on NE 43rd Street that connects the University of Washington campus to the U District Link Station at 43rd and Brooklyn. The design of this project includes wider sidewalks, bike lanes, a natural drainage system, and new street trees.
“SDOT is a partner with Sound Transit in the work to prepare the streets and sidewalks for the new light rail station opening. This milestone of re-opening 43rd is an exciting step towards connecting those who walk, bike, and take transit to and from the U District,” said SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe.
NE 43rd St is open from 15th Ave NE to University Way NE for all travel modes and is one-way westbound only for vehicles. The sidewalks on NE 43rd St from University to the U District Station are open for pedestrians but this portion of the roadway will remain closed until the Light Rail Station opens in the fall, at which time it will be one-way westbound transit only.
“We are thrilled to begin the exciting work of reconnecting our business district with the reopening of Brooklyn Ave NE and NE 43rd ahead of schedule,” said Don Blakeney, executive director of The U District Partnership. “These are important connections in our neighborhood, especially this summer as we begin to expand outdoor dining opportunities in advance of the light rail station opening.”
The newly reopened streets will have significant improvements to make it easier to walk, roll and bike through the area and transform how people get around the neighborhood.
When finished, the 4.3 mile Northgate light rail extension will offer riders reliable, traffic-free travel between Northgate and downtown Seattle in just 14 minutes. Trains traveling in 3.5-mile twin tunnels north to and from the University of Washington Station at Husky Stadium will stop at underground stations in the U District and Roosevelt neighborhoods, exit the tunnels at First Avenue Northeast and Northeast 95th and transition to a 0.8-mile elevated guideway to reach the Northgate station.
Sound Transit is simultaneously working to extend light rail north, south, east and west. Northgate Link will be followed in 2023 by the opening of service to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond’s Overlake community. Additional extensions to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Kent/Des Moines, Federal Way and downtown Redmond are planned to open in 2024.