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Rainier Beach station

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Rainier Beach Station Pictogram.svg
Rainier Beach
Link light rail station
Rainier Beach Station (Sound Transit Central Link).jpg
A test train at Rainier Beach station prior to its opening
Location 9132 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South
Seattle, Washington
Coordinates 47°31′21.4″N 122°16′45.7″W / 47.522611°N 122.279361°W / 47.522611; -122.279361Coordinates: 47°31′21.4″N 122°16′45.7″W / 47.522611°N 122.279361°W / 47.522611; -122.279361
Owned by Sound Transit
Platforms 1 island platform
Tracks 2
Connections King County Metro
Structure type Surface
Parking Paid parking nearby
Bicycle facilities Bicycle lockers
Disabled access Yes
Opened July 18, 2009 (2009-07-18)
Passengers 1,357 daily boardings (2015)[1]
Preceding station  
  Following station
toward Angle Lake
Central Link

Rainier Beach is a light rail station located in Seattle, Washington. It is situated between the Tukwila International Boulevard and Othello stations on the Central Link line. The line runs from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport to Downtown Seattle and the University of Washington as part of the Link light rail system. The station consists of an at-grade island platform south of South Henderson Street in the median of Martin Luther King Jr. Way in the Rainier Beach neighborhood, part of Seattle's Rainier Valley.

The Rainier Beach area was first proposed for light rail service in 1995, and included in the final plan for Central Link approved in 1999. Construction on Rainier Beach station began in 2006, and regular train service began on July 18, 2009. Trains serve the station 20 hours a day on most days; the headway between trains is 6 minutes during peak periods, with less frequent service at other times. Rainier Beach station is also served by three King County Metro bus routes that connect it to Beacon Hill, Downtown Seattle, Georgetown, Mount Baker and Renton. The station also has six art installations that were funded by a systemwide art program.


Rainier Beach station is located in the median of Martin Luther King Jr. Way at an intersection with South Henderson Street. The station is 12 mile (0.80 km) west of the center of the Rainier Beach neighborhood, where Rainier Beach High School and Beer Sheva Park are both located.[2][3] The Chief Sealth Trail crosses over Martin Luther King Jr. Way to the north of the station, continuing north to Beacon Hill and south to Kubota Garden.[4]

Development around the Rainier Beach station has historically consisted of single-family housing and low-rise multi-family residential complexes, as well as some light industrial buildings.[5] Within 12 mile (0.80 km) of the station is a population of 4,691 people and 811 jobs.[6] The City of Seattle has proposed redevelopment of the station area into a "food innovation district", with a farmers' market, food carts and restaurants to serve local residents and visitors.[7][8] The city also plans for improvements to the Henderson Street corridor and traditional transit-oriented housing and office development within walking distance of the station.[9][10]


A modern light rail system was proposed by a newly formed regional transit authority (RTA) in 1995, including a line running through the Rainier Valley on Martin Luther King Jr. Way with a stop at South Henderson Street to serve Rainier Beach.[11] The $6.7 billion proposal was rejected by voters in March 1995, and the RTA proposed a smaller, $3.9 billion transit system with an at-grade station at South Henderson Street;[12] the new proposal was approved by voters in November 1996.[13] The RTA, which renamed itself to Sound Transit, selected an at-grade alignment for light rail on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in 1999, with a station at South Henderson Street.[14]

Sound Transit awarded a $128 million contract to the joint venture of Robinson Construction and Herzog Contracting (forming RCI-Herzog) in February 2004 for construction of the Rainier Valley segment of Central Link.[15] Construction of the station at Henderson Street began in late 2006 and continued until late 2008.[16][17] Light rail test trains began running through the Rainier Valley in August 2008, with service expected to start in July 2009.[18]

The station was opened on July 18, 2009, on the first day of Central Link service from Downtown Seattle to Tukwila International Boulevard station. The line's opening celebration, which included free service and entertainment events throughout the Rainier Valley, was attended by over 92,000 people over a two-day period.[19][20] Parts of the station, including the platform and a train, were damaged by gunfire during an incident on March 24, 2016. The shooting suspended train service to the station for several hours for a police investigation.[21]

Station layout[edit]

The station's platform, 2009
Platform level
Northbound Central Link toward University of Washington (Othello)
Island platform, doors will open on the left
Southbound Central Link toward Angle Lake (Tukwila International Boulevard)

Rainier Beach station consists of a single, at-grade island platform in the median of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South on the south side of South Henderson Street. The station has a single entrance at Henderson, accessible via two crosswalks. A small plaza on the northeast corner of the intersection has seating, bicycle lockers, a bus stop, and public art.[22] Rainier Beach station, like others in the Rainier Valley, was designed by architecture firm Arai/Jackson.[23]

Immediately south of the platform is a operator's building with washrooms and workrooms for staff, a janitor's closet, and supervisor's office. There is also a 800-foot-long (240 m) turnback track in the median of Martin Luther King Jr. Way to the south of the station that is used to store two 4-car trains for emergencies and headway management.[24]


Rainier Beach station also houses six art installations as part of the "STart" program, which allocates a percentage of project construction funds to art projects to be used in stations.[25] At the station's detached plaza is Buster Simpson's Parable, a metal sculpture resembling sliced pears wrapped in metal wire; Simpson's piece is an allegorical commentary on the changing urban landscape of Seattle and the Rainier Valley, using recycled rails and rusted cast iron to form the major elements.[26] Darlene Nguyen-Ely's Dragonfly, an aluminum sculpture of a winged creature, is suspended above the station's lone entrance on Henderson Street; Dragonfly draws inspiration from the station's architectural elements and is meant to conjure the imagery of flight and wind.[27] Eugene Parnell's Increment on the station platform consists of four bronze columns with markings in relief representing systems of measurement used around the world as well as height comparisons with various animals. Three glass mosaics from Mauricio Robalino, Flores, Fishmobile and Pinwheel, decorate a nearby electrical substation with patterns inspired by Ecuadorian textiles.[28][29]

The station's pictogram depicts a heron, inspired by the theme of flight presented by Darlene Nguyen-Ely's sculpture Dragonfly. It was created by Christian French as part of the Stellar Connections series, another "STart" project, that projects destinations near stations onto fixed points within the pictogram. The points in Rainier Beach station's pictogram represent Rainier Beach High School, the Seattle Public Library's Rainier Beach branch, Beer Sheva Park, and Pritchard Island Beach.[30][31]


The station platform in 2015, looking from the east side of Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Rainier Beach station is part of Sound Transit's Central Link line, which runs from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport through the Rainier Valley and Downtown Seattle to the University of Washington. It is the fourth northbound station from Angle Lake and thirteenth southbound station from University of Washington, and is situated between Tukwila International Boulevard and Othello stations. Central Link trains serve Rainier Beach 20 hours a day on weekdays and Saturdays, from 5:00 am to 1:00 am, and 18 hours on Sundays, from 6:00 am to 12:00 am. During regular weekday service, trains operate roughly every 6 to 10 minutes during and between peak periods, respectively; trains operate at longer headways of 15 minutes in the early morning and 20 minutes at night. During weekends, Central Link trains arrive at Rainier Beach station every 10 minutes during midday hours and every 15 minutes during mornings and evenings. The station is approximately 12 minutes from SeaTac/Airport station and 26 minutes from Westlake station in Downtown Seattle.[32][33]

Rainier Beach station is also served by three bus routes operated by King County Metro that use bus stops adjacent to the station: Route 9 Express, which runs along Rainier Avenue during peak periods towards Downtown Seattle, First Hill and Capitol Hill; Route 106, which provides frequent-stop local service on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, parallel to Link, and continues southeast to Skyway and Renton; and Route 107, which originates in Renton and travels northwest to Georgetown and Beacon Hill.[34] Metro's Route 7, a major electric trolleybus route, stops several blocks east on Rainier Avenue.[35] Prior to March 2016, route 8 served the Martin Luther King Jr. Way corridor, terminating at the station and traveling north to the Central District, Capitol Hill, and Lower Queen Anne.[36] Metro also runs the Route 97 Link Shuttle, a shuttle service serving Link stations along surface streets during Link service disruptions, between Downtown and Rainier Valley stations.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Appendix D: Stop Level Ridership Data". 2016 Service Implementation Plan (PDF) (Report). Sound Transit. December 2015. pp. 169–170. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ Lucas, Phillip (July 11, 2009). "Rainier Beach light rail may shake up bus riders' routine". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  3. ^ Rainier Beach: Key Locations (PDF) (Map). City of Seattle. June 17, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Chief Sealth Trail". Seattle Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  5. ^ McNichols, Joshua (February 26, 2015). "South Seattle Development Is Slow, Despite Promise Of Light Rail". KUOW. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  6. ^ Growing Transit Communities Oversight Committee (October 2013). "Rainier Beach: Light Rail/Bus" (PDF). The Growing Transit Communities Strategy. Puget Sound Regional Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 25, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  7. ^ Aitchison, Sarah (November 25, 2014). "Rainier Beach craves food center near light-rail station". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Rainier Beach Food Innovation District" (PDF). Seattle Department of Planning and Development. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  9. ^ Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update (PDF) (Report). Seattle Department of Planning and Development. March 9, 2012. pp. 32–36. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  10. ^ Scigliano, Eric (March 26, 2015). "Think tank to Seattle: Forget redeveloping Rainier Beach. Try a little TLC.". Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Regional Transit System Proposal" (PDF). Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority. February 1995. pp. 1–2. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Sound Move: Launching a Rapid Transit System for the Puget Sound Region" (PDF). Sound Transit. May 31, 1996. p. 21. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  13. ^ Schaefer, David (November 6, 1996). "Voters back transit plan on fourth try". The Seattle Times. p. A1. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  14. ^ Fryer, Alex (November 19, 1999). "A milestone for light rail: regional board selects station sites, alignment". The Seattle Times. p. A1. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  15. ^ Hadley, Jane (February 24, 2004). "Sound Transit signs light rail contract". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 5, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Initial Segment—Rainier Valley". Link Light Rail Monthly Progress Report, December 2006 (Report). Sound Transit. December 2006. p. 25. 
  17. ^ "Initial Segment—Rainier Valley". Link Light Rail Monthly Progress Report, June 2008 (Report). Sound Transit. June 2008. p. 24. 
  18. ^ Lindblom, Mike (August 13, 2008). "Sound Transit to run test trains through Rainier Valley". The Seattle Times. p. B1. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Link light rail launches new era of mobility for central Puget Sound" (Press release). Sound Transit. July 18, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Opening weekend attracts more than 92,000 light rail riders" (Press release). Sound Transit. July 19, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2017. 
  21. ^ Takeo, Ryan (March 24, 2016). "Light rail train struck by bullets in Seattle's Rainier Valley". KING 5 News. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Rainier Beach Station" (PDF). Sound Transit. November 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  23. ^ Rainier Valley Link Light Rail Route & Stations (PDF) (Map). Sound Transit. February 2, 2004. OCLC 49259323. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 8, 2006. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Chapter 2: Link Initial Segment/Airport Link System Description". Central Link Operations Plan – Westlake to SeaTac/Airport (PDF) (Report). Sound Transit. July 29, 2008. p. 15–17. Retrieved September 10, 2016 – via Global Telematics. 
  25. ^ "STart Public Art Program". Sound Transit. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  26. ^ Farr, Sheila (July 6, 2008). "Get a head STart on light-rail artwork". The Seattle Times. p. I1. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  27. ^ Upchurch, Michael (July 12, 2009). "Sound Transit light rail's public art makes a big splash". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Guide to art on Link light rail" (PDF). Sound Transit. April 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  29. ^ "STart Art Guide – Rainier Beach Station". Sound Transit. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Stellar Connections". Sound Transit. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Stellar Connections: The story of the pictograms at Link light rail stations" (PDF). Sound Transit. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 8, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Link light rail schedule". Sound Transit. September 10, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  33. ^ Lindblom, Mike (September 17, 2015). "Light-rail trains to run every 6 minutes between Seattle and Sea-Tac". The Seattle Times. p. B1. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  34. ^ Ride the Wave Transit Guide (PDF) (September 2016 ed.). Sound Transit. September 10, 2016. p. 15. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  35. ^ Metro Transit System: Central Area (PDF) (Map). King County Metro. September 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Metro Transit Service Change: March 26, 2016". King County Metro. March 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  37. ^ "No Link light rail service on Nov. 15 for system upgrades" (Press release). Seattle, Washington: Sound Transit. November 3, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 

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