SEATAC - Sound Transit today unveiled a cloth-draped digital clock that's counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds, to the opening of its new Angle Lake station for Link light rail.
The agency took the occasion to announce it'll open the station in exactly a month, on September 24th.
In the meantime, there's lots of training going on. Drivers are moving 20 trains a day through the station, to get used to the feel of the ride.
"It's another milestone in an incredible year for mass transit in our region," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "And by the end of the year, we will complete the environmental work to extend light rail from this spot right here, right down the Highline College, so students can get an education and get home again."
The $383 million extension will open $40 million under budget and four years earlier than planned in Sound Transit 2, the ballot measure voters approved in 2008.
Trains are expected to run every six minutes, giving riders fast service to jobs, schools, and Huskies, Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners games.
The station has an elevated guideway, a 1,050-stall garage, parking for van pools and a passenger drop-off area.
There are also covered waiting areas, a nearby transfer area for local and RapidRide bus connections, and secured bicycle storage.
"It is going to be a very important step forward, in what has become one of the larger frustrations for Sound Transit users, the absence of availability of parking," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. "In the next few years we will continue to deploy light rail to Kent-Des Moines. And if the voters approve, we will continue on to Federal Way and south to Tacoma."
The 1.6-mile extension from Sea-Tac Airport to South 200th Street and 28th Avenue South will serve as the southern terminus for Link until the extension to Kent-Des Moines opens in 2023.
"The people of south King County and Pierce County will have a reliable commute, no matter what the weather conditions are, no matter what the traffic conditions are on I-5," Rogoff said.
A prominent feature of the station is a public art sculpture entitled "Cloud," by artist Laura Haddad. The sculpture, installed on the elevated platform straddling South 200th Street, consists of 6,000 hanging disks that change appearance, depending on variations in light, weather or the approach of a train.
The Sound Transit Board approved accelerating the project by four years after U.S. Senator Patty Murray and other congressional leaders helped secure $10 million in TIGER funding. That's a program that stands for "Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, a grant program included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The extension will be the first design-build project completed by the agency.
By 2018, Angle Lake Station is expected to see 5,400 people board trains every weekday. So how long will it take to get where you're going?