Sound Transit considers adding light rail station at Royal Brougham

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The Sound Transit Board today began looking at building an additional Central Link light rail station in Seattle's SODO area.

With light rail now one year into construction and contracts coming in below estimates, the Board is considering adding a station just east of Safeco Field at South Royal Brougham Way. Along with the International District Station, this additional station would see particularly high use by riders traveling to baseball and football games and exhibitions.

 "If the Board decides this station should be built, now is the time to do it," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. "It will cost less and we can provide additional service to the stadiums much sooner."

 In 2001 the Sound Transit Board deferred construction of the Royal Brougham station. Now, however, all but one of Central Link's major construction contracts has been awarded. Bids to date have come in 5 percent lower than Sound Transit's estimates. In SODO, Kiewit Pacific Company's bids came in 15 percent below engineers' estimates.

"This is encouraging news for Seattle's long-frustrated commuters and for the region's sports fans," said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. "I'll continue to work with fellow board members to achieve this enhancement of light rail service for Seattle and the region. Step by step, we are building the region's 21st Century transportation system."

"Trains are a great way to get to baseball and football games," said Sound Transit Board Member Dwight Pelz, chair of the Central Link Oversight Committee. "Our special Sounder commuter rail service to Mariners and Seahawks games is extremely popular. The Royal Brougham Station would provide a second station serving the stadiums, alongside the International District Station."

47,000-seat Safeco Field hosts more than 80 Seattle Mariners baseball games annually. Qwest Field, with 67,000 seats, is home to Seattle Seahawks games as well as soccer and college football games. The stadiums and the 525,000-square-foot Qwest Field Event Center also host numerous special events throughout the year. Each year an estimated 170,000 to 250,000 riders would use the additional station at Royal Brougham.

The Federal Transit Administration recently commented to Sound Transit that while increasing ridership, completing the station would also provide enhanced options for connections between light rail trains and buses.

The total cost of completing the station is estimated at $3.7 million. The possible addition received initial review today by the Central Link Oversight Committee. In the coming weeks it will be considered by the Sound Transit Board.

The Central Link initial segment is scheduled to open in 2009 and by 2020 is projected to carry more than 42,500 riders daily.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.