Today marks 6 Month Anniversary of University Link Extension Opening - September 19, 2016 - Mass Transit Now
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Today marks 6 Month Anniversary of University Link Extension Opening – September 19, 2016

Media Contact: James Canning

September 19, 2016

Today marks 6 Month Anniversary of University Link Extension Opening

Business thrives, ridership grows, and Proposition 1 is the opportunity to deliver more  

SEATTLE The opening of the University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations in March has helped generate record-breaking Link light rail ridership; and assisted in bringing more customers into local commercial corridors. Today marks the six-month anniversary since the University Link light rail extension opened ahead of schedule and $200 million under budget.

The Executive Director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Hansen, says the Capitol Hill light rail station has brought customers and activity to the neighborhood.

“For the past six months, Capitol Hill businesses are thrilled to see an increase in customers using light rail to shop, dine and drink,” said Hansen. “Broadway and surround areas are abuzz with new visitors from around the city, region and world as folks realize they can travel to the coolest neighborhood from downtown in under 10 minutes.”

One of those businesses is a southern inspired craft cocktail bar and restaurant called Witness, which is about a 3-minute walk from the Capitol Hill light rail station.

“Light rail to Capitol Hill has increased our business about 15% since it started running compared to last year,” said Witness General Manager Gregg Holcomb. “North Capitol Hill has been noticeably more vibrant this summer with increased foot traffic into the evenings and on the weekends.”

Link light rail ridership showed strong growth during the second quarter of 2016, increasing 77% compared to the same period of last year. The ridership growth was largely due to the opening of the University Link extension on March 19, which achieved 419% growth over the fourth quarter of 2009 right after light rail initially opened.i

“In a very short period of time, the University Link extension has proven the vision of extending high-capacity light rail throughout Seattle and across the Puget Sound region is a worthwhile investment,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.  “Our businesses are reaping the benefits and residents are better able to avoid traffic gridlock to reach their favorite destinations.

“The demand for more light rail has never been stronger.  Voter approval of Proposition 1 in November will ensure we are able to provide the fast, reliable transit network our growing region demands.”

Long-time transit advocate and Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson says, “The University Link extension has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Its success in just six months is a testament to the continued popularity of transit in our region. From Everett to Tacoma, from Bellevue to Seattle people want more reliable, on-time bus and light rail service. Proposition 1 is our community’s opportunity to finally build a regional transit network that will work everyone throughout the Puget Sound.”

To learn more about the Mass Transit Now effort, and the growing coalition that supports Proposition 1, visit