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Sound Transit adds six light rail stations to busker program

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Street performer program now includes eight light rail stations, stainless steel stars mark approved performance sites

Sound Transit has expanded its street performer program from test sites at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill Link light rail stations to its Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, Tukwila International Boulevard and Angle Lake facilities. The expansion comes after months of study that began with a pilot project at the UW and Capitol Hill stations, followed by a survey of transit riders and street performers that revealed wide support for expanding the busking program. 

"After finishing the pilot project in February, we used feedback from communities and peer agencies to devise a set of guidelines for expanding performance sites to select stations," said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff. "Our goal is to create a welcoming experience for light rail riders. By providing opportunities for street musicians to perform at more stations, we help support the unique character of those neighborhoods served by Link." 

The program now allows as many as five performers at a time, up from a limit of three during the pilot. Performance locations are marked with stainless steel stars to help prevent performers and audiences from blocking station traffic. Busking will not be allowed during high-ridership events like Husky Football games and graduation. Audio amplification and use of risky props such as knives or fire during all performances are prohibited.

Prior to the pilot program, Sound Transit did not allow street musicians to perform at its light rail facilities. During the pilot, buskers were allowed to perform at designated areas inside on mezzanines and outside the stations, though not on platforms due to congestion concerns. As the agency looked ahead to opening stations in communities where busking is commonplace, it began researching street performance programs and interviewing representatives from transit agencies such as King County Metro, Metro Vancouver's TransLink, Calgary Transit, the Bay Area's BART, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York. Agency staff worked with the Seattle Music Commission and Seattle Department of Transportation to launch the pilot program in September 2016. 

Busking guidelines and a detailed list of performance sites are available on under "Rider Guide."