Sound Transit’s new U District, Roosevelt and Northgate stations will open Oct. 2, agency leaders announced Friday.
The $1.9 billion, mostly tunneled extension is expected to add 45,000 daily passengers, who can travel from Northgate Station to downtown’s Westlake Station in 14 minutes.
The NHL Kraken hockey-team headquarters and ice rinks that are being developed at Northgate and a walk-bike bridge across Interstate 5 to North Seattle College should attract train riders. King County Metro Transit will increase bus trips to the three stations in a service change this fall.
The grand opening comes later than the September target set by Sound Transit. Agency staff attribute the delay to COVID-19 related construction disruptions. An Oct. 2 start date is also more manageable because there’s not a Huskies football game that Saturday, said spokesman John Gallagher.
Officials have yet to determine what celebrations will occur in the stations Oct. 2, but parties were held in 2009 and 2016 grand openings.
Along with the three stations, new Siemens trains built in Sacramento, Calif., will join the 25-mile corridor, with wider midsections to hold about 10 more people per rail car.
This week, the city reopened Brooklyn Avenue Northeast alongside the U District Station to include car lanes and wider sidewalks.
Voters approved a sales-tax increase in 2008 to pay for the Northgate extension, as well as future track ways being built to Overlake, Lynnwood and Federal Way. In 1996, elected officials said, as Sound Transit was being formed, that they might reach Northgate in only 10 years.
Seattle transit ridership showed the nation’s fastest growth in the 2010s, to include 80,000 light-rail trips on busy days before the pandemic.