SEATTLE—Three years ago, this fast-growing, hilly city of 725,000 people took a huge leap toward a longtime civic dream: becoming a place where it’s easy to live without driving every day or without owning a car at all. In March 2016, the region’s Link light-rail system, which ran through 13 stations between the airport and downtown, added two stations, one in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and one at the University of Washington. “All of a sudden, you could get from Capitol Hill to downtown in two minutes,” says Keith Kyle, president of the advocacy group Seattle Subway. “Compared to what people were used to, you might as well be teleporting.” New riders flocked to the trains. “Even though we extended only two stops, we brought light rail to two of the densest-populated sections of the entire state,” says Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit, which operates the rail line. By tunneling under the ship canal that bisects Seattle, the light-rail extension created a connection to downtown from the north. The 4-mile trip from the university, which could take 20 minutes by car on a good day or 40 minutes on a gridlocked day, shrank to eight minutes. Buses from across… Read full this story
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