GREAT NEWS! On Saturday, March 19, the light rail stations at the UW Stadium and at Capitol Hill finally opened. Don and I were among the thousands who gathered to celebrate and ride free. We did it all: left our house at the top of the hill and walked down to the Center for Urban Horticulture, walked across the landfill that is now a nature reserve, and made it to the celebration, 2.2 miles. We walked around, talked to different groups about other ways to get to the station, ate fried chicken sandwiches and rode, free and standing up, from UW Stadium to Westlake and then back. (Several people offered us seats in the section for elderly and disabled, but we declined.) Back at UW, we re-traced our steps, across the nature reserve, up the hill that is called “suicide hill” by the athletes who train by running up and down, and home, another 2.2 miles. Altogether 4.4 miles.
Next day, Sunday March 20, we had tickets to a play at the Seattle Center at 2, and there was a Bernie Sanders rally scheduled for that same afternoon, doors opening at 2. We knew parking would be difficult. Time for public transportation!
Don researched the available buses available on Sundays, and found three, the #65, #45, and #32, all stopping at 40th NE and Sand Point Way. We parked our car at noon near Children’s Hospital, and just as we were leaving it we saw a #65 pulling away. OK, two hours until curtain, that should be enough. We waited and waited. Finally a #32 arrived and took us on to the UW campus, $1 each on our senior ORCA cards. It left us at a stop near the HUB, and we walked about two blocks to the next stop at Rainier Vista, which wasn’t marked for a 32 stop. Too bad, because there is a lovely walk from that stop directly to an overpass and into the light rail station. We swiped our ORCA cards, again it was free, and took the elevator down many feet to P, which we decided stands for “Platform.” (There were no explanations for the other abbreviations.)
Once on board the train, we zoomed to Westlake Station once again, walked up three or four flights of stairs to the Monorail ($1 apiece for seniors) and rode sitting down to Seattle Center. We walked through the Armory, cut through several lines of well-behaved citizens waiting to enter the Key Arena, and arrived at our theatre at 1:25. One and a half hours from leaving home to entering the theatre.
When the play was over, we could have re-traced our steps. Instead we decided to take a bus all the way back. We walked to First Ave W, and waited across the street from the post office. There was an unmarked bus parked in front of the arena, no driver in sight. We decided the driver was on a break. While other buses passed, none worked for us. Finally the parked bus started up–it was the #32! Hooray! We hopped on board, swiped our senior ORCA cards ($1) and rode by a very circuitous route north on 15th W to Nickerson, over the Fremont Bridge, up Fremont about one block, and then circling through the residential neighborhoods, the UW campus and finally Sand Point Way, we found our car at Children’s Hospital. Total time for the trip: one hour. Total cost: $1 twice for two bus rides, $1 each for monorail, $3 apiece for transportation, $6 for two. If we had paid for the light rail, it would have cost $2 more for the two of us. Could we have found parking at Seattle Center for $8? Possibly for even less.
Now watch for Part 2.