On Saturday, Sept. 16, the community is invited to the Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center (TUPAC), 1105 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, WA 98405, by the new Hilltop District T Line station, for a 10 a.m. celebration of the beginning of service and a ribbon cutting. There will be remarks by elected officials and community leaders and performances by TUPAC dancers and NW Sinfonietta. Trains will begin running on the new alignment at approximately 11 a.m. Regular T Line service will operate to Commerce St. prior.
“The Hilltop extension is a major step toward creating a more connected Tacoma and region as we continue expanding our transit network,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “With this opening, riders will have even greater access to opportunities and the communities connected by this new service.”
“Connecting our historic Stadium District, Wright Park, medical facilities downtown, and the Tacoma Dome, to the rest of our city and the broader region, these light rail stations represent our ongoing commitment to sustainability, equity, access and mobility for all,” said Sound Transit Board Member and Tacoma Deputy Mayor Kristina Walker. “Today is a big day for Tacoma.”
“Sound Transit thanks all the federal, state, regional, and local project partners that put in so much hard work and dedicated effort to plan, construct, and open the T Line,” said Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm. “This new extension connects residents and visitors to the heart of Tacoma more sustainably and more equitably from small local businesses and housing to parks, hospitals and museums.”
Passengers will be invited to participate and win prizes in the “Discover. Scan. Win.” digital scavenger hunt promoting local businesses. Commemorative free T Line posters will be available as well as commemorative maps. Several community-focused displays will also be installed along the alignment. Follow along on social media with the #HelloTacoma hashtag.
The 2.4-mile Hilltop extension more than doubles the length of the T Line and includes seven new stations.
- St. Joseph (Martin Luther King Jr. Way south of South 17th St.)
- Hilltop District (South 11th and M.L.K. Way)
- 6th Avenue (at M.L.K. Way)
- Tacoma General (M.L.K Way at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital)
- Stadium District (North 1st St. at North G St.)
- South 4th (at South Stadium Way)
- Old City Hall Station (Commerce St. north of South 7th St.)
Passengers will have access to Wright Park, major medical facilities and regional transit via the Tacoma Dome Station. Trains will run at approximately 12-minute intervals during peak periods Monday through Saturday and 20 minutes off peak and Sundays.
Sound Transit will begin charging fares via ORCA and paper tickets ($2 per trip for adults; $4 day pass or free for youth 18 and under) and also conduct a targeted ORCA LIFT reduced fare promotion and awareness campaign in Tacoma. To ease the transition, 10,000 ORCA cards will be distributed to people living around the Tacoma Link alignment.
As part of the expansion, five new light rail vehicles were purchased from Brookville Equipment Corporation of Pennsylvania, doubling the previous fleet. Each of the 66-foot-long cars is designed to carry more than 100 passengers. The eight-foot-wide car has seating for up to 26 passengers with accessibility seating for passengers using wheelchairs and mobility devices and space for bikes.
People in the Stadium and Hilltop areas should stay alert and be aware of the regular trains now traversing the neighborhood. Pause and look both ways before crossing any intersection and use crosswalks not shortcuts, and look for winning Tacoma STEAM student safety poster contest winners onboard light rail vehicles.