Whenever I travel places where there’s a viable rail solution to the airport, I always get jealous. I flashback to the scene in the movie Singles when the protagonist, who is an urban planner, has his idea of rail in Seattle completely shut down by the mayor. But last week’s ribbon cutting for the Seattle-Seatac light rail link changes all that (at least a little bit).
And today, in order to learn where to go and to determine how difficult it’ll be so that I don’t have to explore under duress, I took my daughter and a friend of hers on the train that “launched” last week from downtown Seattle to the airport.
the Verdict: It was absolutely wonderful! I can’t recommend it highly enough! Some comparisons:
- Cost: Way cheaper: Light rail – $2.5o one way for adults (free under 6); typical car service/cab: $45.
- Timing: Net Neutral: Light rail – Consistently 40 minutes from Westlake to Seatac (plus time from home to light rail stop); driving can be anywhere from 20 minutes from my house to an hour.
- Comfort: Way better -smooth ride, nice seats and kids aren’t strapped into a car seat
- Considerations: if you need to have car seats at your destination and can’t rent them from a rental car company (most rent them), it is a pretty heavy shlep. For a business person, it is an absolute no brainer
- For a general outing: If you have a child who’s into trains, it’s an easy and cheap outing – make it a picnic!
- Parking: Unfortunately, there aren’t park & rides or long term parking lots near the stations that I’m aware of yet. I think there’s one down near the king street station which is the international stop. But then again – at more than $20/day at/near the airport – it’s worth just getting a cab to the Westlake tunnel and going from there.
- Lastly – it’ll be phenomenal for people who live at/near the other stops along the way for communting in to downtown. Ie – From Columbia City to Westlake felt like about 5-10 minutes. By car on a busy day, that can take about 30-40 minutes!
For the environment, for your sanity and for the fun of it – I recommend taking the light rail to the airport the next time you go.
Here’s the video version of our adventure