Friday, July 10, 2009

Passing glance of public art riding Link Light Rail

I got the chance to take a preview ride of the Sound Transit Link Light Rail getting ready to open its' initial segment of the route that will take passengers from the downtown Seattle transit tunnel to the airport. When it opens on July 18, you will be able to ride the Link Light Rail from Westlake Station to Tukwila Station. By the end of 2009, the line will be completed directly to Sea-Tac International Airport.

As the train leaves the tunnel, its' first stop is Stadium station, almost within the shadow of Safeco Stadium. Prominently displayed throughout the cars are these signs complemented by a feminine voice announcing each station. Since we did not get a chance to tour every station, I will post more pics soon after the opening date.

The next stop is the SODO station with the Stabucks HQ mermaid peering over us nearby. Then the line climbs an elevated track overlooking the OMF (Operations and Maintenance Facility) where the trains are parked and serviced. The climb goes up and into the tunnel of the Beacon Hill Station and when it comes out the other end, Mount Baker Station is next, and then Columbia City.

Each stop along the way has a neighborhood name as well as a pictogram, created by artist Christian French. Columbia City Station gets the dove.

The station pictograms are just one part of a large scope of public art complementing the Link Light Rail route. Roadside art such as these colorful tiles brighten up otherwise drab concrete walls.

Each station has public art pieces such as this giant magnifying glass at the Columbia City Station. Tukwila International Blvd Station rises high above the street. We stayed only on the top platform as the main entrance below was still undergoing finishing touches. And then as we travel back, I caught sight of another piece of art I had missed going outbound. As we entered the Beacon Hill tunnel, I saw lights flashing on the tunnel wall. Actually, they are giant playing cards that flash briefly then change. I'm looking forward to return trips to see more art and will post my discoveries here.

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