UW Light Rail Station show-and-tell tour (PHOTOS)

On Friday, January 11, I was invited to a tour of the University of Washington Station (UW Station). While the station is still under construction, it is over the halfway mark, and both on-time and under-budget.

WHY tour the UW Station, which will be two stops away from Ravenna’s closest station, in Roosevelt? Turns out, the designs for underground portions of both stations are similar (though the UW Station is at a larger scale):


Click the picture above for a larger version of the graphic.


Prior to heading down into the station, everyone on the tour had to don the collection of safety gear pictured above.


Start of the tour view, looking north across the top of the UW Station. Husky Stadium is on the right.


Out of the elevator, down on the platform level. We walked north along the northbound side of the platform to the presentation area.


The group standing on the platform at the base of the north-facing escalator (not yet installed; same with all escalators), listening to King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Board Member Larry Phillips talk about the station.


Platform level again, taken to the right of the previous picture, looking down the southbound side.


And the other side, on the northbound trains side.


You can currently find a little sky from nine stories down on the train platform.


Q13 drops the mic sets the mic down carefully.


Gaggle of Sound Transit folks, plus Seattle Transit Blog’s Bruce Nourish at the far right.


Cienna Madrid of The Stranger takes notes while Ellen Banner, photojournalist for the Seattle Times, takes some shots.


 Media getting more info on the station construction progress from University Link Executive Project Director Joe Gildner.




Next stop, the area above the platform level, where the first set of escalators meet. This shot is taken from the south end of the station, looking back north towards the south-facing platform escalator (middle) and the two escalators which will carry people up and down from ground level.


Scaffolding was removed from much of the station, the exception being the southernmost portion. Bit of a Steampunk Mines of Moria vibe, with metal columns extending in every direction.


Another view of the scaffolding.


Past all the scaffolding, at the southern end of the station, we reached an overlook of the tunnels leading to and from the Capitol Hill Station. Northbound is on the left, southbound is on the right.

Close-up of the southbound/Capitol Hill Station tunnel entrance.


Close-up of the northbound tunnel exit.

And my favorite picture of the set.

Notice the pinkish-red cross in the center of the wall. Bruce Gray,Sound Transit Media Relations, told me that that cross is the spot where a tunnel boring machine, starting from the Roosevelt Station construction site, will enter the University of Washington Station (northbound side), connecting the Northgate Link to the University Link.

The cement block partial wall that you can see on the left side of the photo will continue over and meet up with a similar bit of wall on the other side. This wall will be in place as the UW Station


Climbing back out into the daylight.

For more pictures and information from this tour, please visit:

Many thanks to Sound Transit’s Bruce Gray for the invite.


  1. Roger Dodger says:

    “WHY tour the UW Station, which will be two stops away from Ravenna’s closest station, in Roosevelt?”

    Maybe the question should be, why were YOU invited? Maybe because you’re a Ravenna blogger and this is part of a placating PR scam? How could it be anything else?

    Let’s face it, Sound Transit has royally screwed Ravenna/Bryant. We got nothing out of this billion dollar shuttle to Northgate Mall. No stop at University Village, the most popular and car-intensive mall in the city. So car-intensive, btw, that they’re building a second massive parking garage on the south end of it, and QFC wants to build a THIRD massive parking garage in the northeast corner. Any planner with a functioning brain stem would have put a stop there, but obviously none of Sound Transit’s planners have functioning brain stems.

    What about Childrens Hospital, adding 300,000 square feet and more than doubling its beds in Phase I alone? Wouldn’t you think the thousands of parents and relatives visiting their sick kids, or the sick kids themselves returning for treatment, would love to ride a rapid direct rail instead of being stacked up and stewing in stalled cars on the ever-gunnysacked Montlake Boulevard?

    For all practical purposes, Sound Transit has all but told Northeast Seattle to stick it. Given the opportunity, I would wish them the same!

    • Roger, given that we’re only building one line right now, I don’t see how having a stop at University Village makes any sense, especially at the expense of a stop at the stadium. That stop will serve South Campus — surely you know how many people work at the UWMC and the rest of Health Sciences, let alone the rest of the area, and that’s not even counting students. But it’s also within a few blocks of 520 and Montlake. And the U-District stop at 43rd and Brooklyn is a given. So the only way to get to U Village would be adding a stop, and making the line turn hard left right afterwards. I don’t know how much extra that would cost, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be pretty.

      I’d like northeast Seattle to have more transit, but this is just a first step. I know there are grassroots proposals out there that involve extending rail to Children’s, and I’m sure a stop at U Village would be part of that. But the current routing makes sense. Lots of density is going to go in Roosevelt and Northgate. I can’t, frankly, picture a rail station ever being put in Ravenna/Bryant themselves, and if so, would the neighborhoods be willing to accept the buildings and people that would come along with them?

      Something going up 522 makes more sense to me, honestly.

      At any rate, you may not want the attention of Sound Transit. Remember the last time transportation planners were taking a good, hard look at Ravenna and Bryant? It was when they were planning to run the Thomson Expressway through U Village and up 25th, and planning to build a bridge from Sand Point to Kirkland and turning 45th and Sand Point Way into an expressway…

      • Hank Williams says:

        Benjamin, thank you for rationally blowing Roger’s comments out of the water.

        Good lord, how myopic can someone be?

      • Mindy the cat says:

        Yep. Much though I would like the line to serve *me*, as a Wedgwood resident I have to admit we lack the density of U District-Roosevelt-Northgate, and that’s the tradeoff you make for a sleepy quiet neighborhood. Just give me a bus down 35th to the new station and I’ll be happy.

        R. Dodger’s bit about the sick kids was a nice bit of rhetorical opportunism, though.

    • Randy McFlandy says:

      Right on, Dodger! I’m so sick of people talking about Northgate being a really big mall. U-Village is HUGE! And Children’s, it is so enormous. When are ppl going to wake up and build the airport Ravenna deserves!

    • Sound Transit is studying a line from Ballard that may connect with Northlink at Brooklyn or UW which eventually could continue east towards sand point and Kirkland. Look for it on a ballot as soon as 2016. Google “Ballard Spur” for info and volunteer opportunities.

    • Given where the line is coming from, if they wanted to go from Husky Stadium to University Village, they’d probably have to tunnel through or under the old landfill that’s under the parking lots north of Husky Stadium… which sounds like a really bad idea. Plus then it probably would be too deep to turn and climb up to Brooklyn.

      If you agree there should be mass transit to University Village/ Children’s Hospital, you’ll want to check out the Seattle Subway group. They’re advocating for an east-west line between Children’s Hospital and Ballard.

    • Katherine says:

      Dodger et al,

      The line decisions were made years ago, based on analysis of ridership. It’s going to UW stadium as well as the Brooklyn stop because the potential ridership to and from UW is phenomenal. University Village – though I love it so – is a yuppie paradise of soccer mom/dad drivers. Nary a transit rider in sight! Are you going to buy a couch at Pottery Barn then schlep it on the train?

      Northgate isn’t just a mall, it’s a neighborhood. Try visiting it sometime. Have you been there lately? It’s a growing commercial and neighborhood hub where many many people stop to get on transit to get into downtown seattle for work, etc. Northgate Mall isn’t getting light rail, Northgate NEIGHBORHOOD is.

      Classic Johnny Come Lately. Sheesh.

      And Rebecca, thanks for the photos. Nice to have the update!

      • Indeed. Remember, folks — North Seattle Community College is right across I-5 from Northgate Mall, as well. A station at Northgate makes all the sense in the world. In fact, if there weren’t going to be one, it would be proof positive that we’d lost our collective minds.

  2. Thanks for taking and sharing all of these pictures! I can’t wait til opening day. (It looks like my guess for the pink cross was pretty darn close, too.)

  3. Speak up for better transit connections from NE the station. Metro, left to it’s own devices, is likely to fail to execute on that

  4. Local Yocal says:

    What if people were to ride to the Husky Stadium station, and wait for it, WALK 10 minutes north to UVillage? DEAR GOD, NOOOOOO! This is Seattle after all, maybe we should assign government officials shifts at the station to give people piggy back rides up to UVillage.

    • Local Yocal Rick says:

      So, besides your ability to play the a$$, what other hidden talents do you posess. Maybe insulting the elderly a little more? Or poking more fun at the infirm. Or just being inconsiderate?

  5. I live in the Southend (Puyallup area) and have almost quit going to Husky games because I can’t drive at night anymore and it seems like almost all of their games are going night now. Will the UW Light Rail get me downtown – close to where I can catch the Sounder back south?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. You can take the rail to and from the International District station, which is right across from King Street Station.


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