The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Seattle Light Rail Extension’s Path to Opening

Seattle Light Rail

The nearly decade-long project of the Sound Transit Light Rail is about to make traveling to and from Mercer Island easier and safer. The East Link extension, traveling through Bellevue, Mercer Island and Seattle, began construction in 2015. With the recent delay, the Light Rail is estimated to be finished within the next two years.

The popular belief is that the cementing company’s use of improper materials is the cause of the delay of the construction. However, Rachelle Cunningham, the Public Information Officer for Sound Transit stated, “It’s unknown if the cementing company had used bad quality supplies. What is known is that the connections of the rails to I-90 wouldn’t hold the rails to the bridge … The issue that we’re having is with the clamps, those are the attachments to the pavements. That’s what caused the delays because now we have to demolish and replace those track attachments,” Cunningham said.

Some people think that graffiti is the most common incident that occurs on trains and buses, but it’s shown through statistics from the Rider Experience and Operations Committee that assault happens more frequently. In the month of May this year there were four to five counts of graffiti but there were 28 counts of assault, which was the most in one month for the entire year. Other things that are more common than people think are biohazard-related incidents, medical emergencies and trespassing.

Sound transit is keeping the increased amount of assault in the Seattle area in mind.

“We’ve hired more security since the beginning of the year. We [now] have four firms that are doing security so we have a greater presence in the space [where incidents happen] and on the trains,” Cunningham said.

Along with the extra security, Sound Transit has added extra training and other precautions. Even though it might not seem like much, it can make a big difference.

“We’d ask people when they see something on trains to call security,” Cunningham said.

For the people of Mercer Island, this transit extension will help travel significantly by allowing them to skip the traffic. The Light Rail goes through many of the larger cities of Washington, reducing traffic in many major areas.  This will allow the people of Mercer Island to travel through cities with ease and timeliness.

Many teens who don’t have their driver’s license struggle to travel off-island if they can’t get someone to drive them. With the light rail being free to people under 18, traveling off-island will be much easier and economical.

Transit is free [to teens], that includes [things] like Light Rail and buses … We at, King County Metro and the other regional transit partners, are making travel by Transit more accessible to teenagers and other students, teenagers and young people,” Cunningham said.

With this new extension, the students of Mercer Island will be able to access many more places in the area. Even for people who can drive, this extension will not only help to avoid traffic but also to save gas. The light rail is set to be complete by Spring 2025.

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    Paelun BissonnetteJan 8, 2024 at 2:03 pm

    Interesting article.