North Link Monorail Line (My Route 4)

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 and cheaper and have a number of advantages over light rail. I am calling the proposed line the Link Monorail line because it would take the place of Link light rail.

Downtown to the Ship Canal: Where the line begins Downtown will depend on the final routing of the Green Line of the Seattle Monorail Project. Current plans are to build this line along 5th Avenue, but there is considerable controversy regarding routing through the Seattle Center and planned demolition of the existing Seattle Center Monorail.

The North Link Monorail would begin at a station of the Green Line just north of Downtown or in Belltown, then follow Westlake to the South Lake Union area, then follow Fairview Ave. N. and Eastlake Ave. E. to some undetermined location where it would bridge the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Ship Canal to Lake City: After crossing the Ship Canal, the line would go through the University District or perhaps along the western edge of the University of Washington campus just east of 15th Ave. N.E. The route further north would mostly be along 15th Ave. N.E. to Lake City Way N.E., and then it would follow Lake City Way N.E. all the way through the Lake City business district. Near Lake City Way N.E. and N.E. 115th St. there would be a station that would also be the terminus of the Green Line monorail(extended), at this station Link Monorail riders could transfer to Northgate.

North of Lake City: At N.E. 145th St., the Seattle City Limits, the name of Lake City Way changes to Bothell Way. Link Monorail would continue along Bothell Way through Lake Forest Park and Kenmore to Bothell and probably Woodinville. This would be one of the routes proposed by a group called Citizens for King County Monorail that is promoting a plan for a system of monorail routes that would serve some of the suburbs of Seattle.

South Link Monorail would replace South Central Link light rail. The southern part of Link light rail would go from Downtown Seattle to Sea-Tac Airport by way of the Rainier Valley district of Seattle. I would like to see this project killed and a monorail built instead that I am calling South 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.

Huge cost savings by eliminating a tunnel under Capitol Hill: The monorail will along the west side of Capital Hill instead of tunneling under it.

Eliminating most of the expense of real estate purchases: The pylons (columns) supporting the monorail guideway (rail) take only small pieces of land, most of which can be on public property. The monorail won't require much purchase of private property, unlike a railway.

Save money building monorail instead of building underground light rail: In addition to a long tunnel under Capitol Hill, Sound Transit also proposes tunneling under much of the University District and perhaps areas further north. The monorail will cost much less to build than an underground railway. Sound Transit also proposes tunneling under the Ship Canal, however the cost of a monorail bridge would also be expensive, so the two may come out costing about the same traversing the Ship Canal.

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 University District to Lake City and beyond.

Please note that Sound Transit plans to build Link light rail to Northgate. I propose that Link Monorail go to Lake City instead. It is probable that the Green Line will be extended from Crown Hill to Northgate and Lake City, so it will be possible to transfer from the Link Monorail to the Green Line monorail for a connection to Northgate. It would take only about two or three minutes to get to Northgate from a station on Lake City Way near 115th.

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©2003 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated on 20 March 2013

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