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The author and his daughter's at Beacon Hill on Link's opening day in 2009 and today.
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The author and his daughters Georgia and Sadie at Beacon Hill on Link's opening day in 2009 and today.

Link turns 10: A look back

Publish Date

Link light rail in Seattle celebrates 10 years of service next Thursday, July 18.

As birthdays and anniversaries often do, this milestone is making The Platform nostalgic. We feel a little sentimental looking back to 2009 when Mayor Greg Nickels and a host of dignitaries cut the ribbon at Mt. Baker Station to launch a new era of mobility in Seattle.

Dignitaries led by then-Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels cut the ribbon to open Link light rail for service in 2009.
Dignitaries led by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels cut the ribbon to open Link light rail for service on July 18, 2009.

Over the coming week we’ll take a look at how Seattle has embraced Link and woven it into the fabric of the city, how Link has expanded the horizons for the youngest generation of riders who’ve come of age with the line and how Link has been the fastest-growing light rail line in the nation over the past 10 years.

But today we’re going back to the archives to remember the Seattle of 2009 and reflect on the changes Link has been a part of over the past 10 years.

A family photo celebrating Link's opening day in 2009 in the same place today.
Ric Ilgenfritz (Sound Transit's Communications Executive Director in 2009) with his family from left to right: Luke, 11, Ian, 6, Jen Lamson and Tessa, 9, in 2009.


A family of five today at the same place they were on Link's opening day in 2009.
The Ilgenfritz/Lamson family today.

Share your own memories of how Link light rail changed your life starting in 2009. Mention us @SoundTransit on your favorite social media platform or just use #Link10 and we’ll pick some highlights to share.

As timelines go, 10 years is not a wide span.

But the past 10 years in Seattle have arguably brought some of the most dramatic changes this region has seen over a single decade.

Over that time, Link has had more than 134 million total boardings and has seen ridership grow from an average of just over 15,000 weekday boardings to about 77,000 today.

Seattle then and now

When Link started service between Westlake and Tukwila International Boulevard Station on July 18, 2009 (SeaTac/Airport Station opened in December 2009), Instagram was still more than a year from launching.

Twitter and Facebook were still in their infancy after opening to the public in 2006 and neither was traded on NASDAQ.

A few other historical benchmarks from Seattle of 2009:

A father holds his 5-year-old daughter in his arms on Link's opening day.
Peregrin Spielholz (Sound Transit Safety manager in 2009) holding his five-year-old daughter Aubrey on opening day in 2009.


A father and his 15-year-old daughter on Link light rail today.
Spielholz and his daughter Aubrey today.

Join the conversation to share how 10 years of Link have changed your life at #Link10 on social media, and stay tuned for a special announcement as we celebrate a decade of connecting more people to more places.


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