South Link Monorail Line (My Route 3)

My opinions about replacing the Link light rail project with a monorail ine.

by Bob Fleming

About the Seattle Center Monorail Seattle Center Monorail web site Advantages of monorail My opinions about Seattle area monorail Former Seattle Monorail Project A Proposed Regional Monorail System Arguments against monorail and my responses My ideas for monorail system design My ideas for routes (PRT) Personal Rapid Transit Vocabulary Frequently asked questions Links to other monorail sites Contact me

Other Sites of Mine

A Greater Seattle My mobility web site My transportation web site My mass transit web site The Fleming Family home page

This is an old page no longer relevant except for what could have been. The Central Link light rail line has been completed.

The Controversy

Sound Transit is intent on building a light rail line from Downtown Seattle to SeaTac Airport, passing through Seattle’s Rainier Valley district. I, and many other people, believe that light rail is too expensive and has a number of disadvantages. We want a more effective mode of mass transit. My personal preference is for monorail.

My Opinions

Monorail instead of Light Rail: I propose that Sound Transit abandon the light rail project and use the funds designated for light rail for monorail instead. I believe that the resulting monorail line would be longer, less expensive, and have a number of other advantages over light rail. I am calling the proposed line the Link Monorail line because it would take the place of Link light rail.

Map of Link Monorail route

King Street to Rainier Avenue South: The route I propose would start at the Weller/King St. station of the Seattle Monorail Project’s Green Line. The Link Monorail line would go along S. Jackson St. and then along Rainier Ave. S. to S. Dearborn St., and would serve the International District with a station around 6th Ave. S. and another at 12th Ave. S.

The Beacon Hill connection: The intersection of S. Jackson St. and 12th Ave. S. would be a logical location for a transfer to the proposed Gold Line and there could also be a switch at this point to permit trains to switch from one line to the other. Gold Line trains would go south along 12th Ave. S., across the José Rizal Bridge and follow Beacon Ave. S. along the crest of Beacon Ave. S. This line would much better serve Beacon Hill than the single proposed Beacon Hill Station for Link light rail at Beacon Ave. S. and S. Lander St. The money saved from not building the light rail tunnel and station would pay for a substantial part of the Beacon Hill monorail line from Jackson St. to Lander St. and beyond.

Rainier Valley: Once the line reaches Rainier Ave. S. it would turn south and follow Rainier Ave. S. to Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., and then the line would continue south on Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. to the Boeing Access Road, just south of Boeing Field (King County International Airport). Stations would be at the same locations as planned for light rail, except there should probably be another station someplace along Rainier south of Dearborn.

Airport to Airport (Boeing Field to SeaTac Airport): South of Boeing Field, the monorail would turn west by the Boeing Access Road to E. Marginal Way S., where it would follow E. Marginal Way S., and then Interurban Ave. S., crossing Interstate 405, to Strander Blvd. Here it would turn west and go to Southcenter Mall, then continue on west to Highway 99. The line would then follow Highway 99/International Blvd. south to SeaTac Airport.

The part of the line between Boeing Field and SeaTac Airport is somewhat circuitous in order to include Southcenter Mall, but portions of this part would probably eventually become parts of future lines. The portion of Link Monorail along E. Marginal Way S. and Interurbuan Ave. S. would eventually become part of a line continuing on to Kent via 68th Ave. S. The east-west segment from Interurban Ave. S. through Southcenter Mall to Pacific Highway S. would eventually become part of a line from Renton to Burien.

SeaTac Airport would be better served by a more direct and much faster route along East Marginal Way S. and Highway 99. A future line could branch off from the Green Line just north of Spokane St. and follow E. Marginal Way to where Link Monorail enters Highway 99 near S. 154th St., thereby completing the direct route to the airport. This future line would also intersect Link Monorail at E. Marginal Way S. and the Boeing Access Road, improving connections between the two lines.

SeaTac Airport and then further south: The monorail would deviate to the west to a station located at the main terminal building of the airport, then curve back to International Blvd. and follow that highway south as far as planning and funding will permit.

North Link Monorail would replace North Central Link light rail: Sound Transit also plans to build Link light rail north from Downtown Seattle to the University District and later to Northgate. I am in favor of killing this project also and building monorail instead along a similar route, except to Lake City instead of Northgate. Click here for information about my proposal for North Link Monorail.

Advantages of Link Monorail
Over Link Light Rail

Huge cost savings on Downtown Bus Tunnel: Link light rail will require major modifications to the Downtown Bus Tunnel, but Link Monorail will eliminate that expense because it will begin south of Downtown and not go through Downtown. Furthermore, the tunnel would still be used for buses only, permitting a larger number of buses to use the tunnel. Light rail and/or monorail alone are not enough to serve the region. Buses are a very important part of the transportation network and will increase in importance. Leaving the bus tunnel for buses is important for ever-expanding bus service.

Huge cost savings by eliminating a tunnel under Beacon Hill: The monorail will go around the north end of Beacon Hill instead of tunneling under it. This would eliminate one expensive station on Beacon Hill, but improved bus connections can be made to monorail stations to the north and east, and hopefully a future Gold Line monorail would run along Beacon Ave. S.

Eliminating most of the expense of real estate purchases: In order to widen Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. to make room for two tracks down the middle, Sound Transit must condemn and purchase property along the street, at considerable expense. The pylons (supporting columns) for the monorail can be placed in the two-way left-turn lane that exists down most of the street. Voila! The street doesn't have to be widened, saving those millions of dollars that would have to be used for buying land. This would also spare the hundreds of homes and businesses that need to be torn down to make room for light rail.

Save money building monorail instead of elevated light rail: A substantial part of Link light rail south of Boeing Field will be elevated. Monorail is also elevated, but the structure is less bulky, lighter, and much less costly. We can save millions of dollars more by using monorail instead of elevated light rail.

Save a lot of money or build a longer line: The hundreds of millions of dollars that would be saved as mentioned above will mean either that the project will cost the taxpayers a lot less money, or the same amount of money applied to monorail will result in a much longer line. The longer line could mean going past the airport to Federal Way, or building a monorail northward instead of the north portion of Link light rail, to the University District and Lake City. (Link light rail plans to go to Northgate, but I recommend Lake City instead for the monorail because a proposed extension of the Seattle Monorail Project’s Green Line will go to Northgate and Lake City, providing an easy connection to Northgate from Lake City. The Lake City route could also be extended to Bothell by a system proposed by Citizens for King County Monorail.)

Return to the monorail home page Contact Us

©2003 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated on 20 March 2013

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional