Year In Review: Commerce Street Link Station

Sound Transit and the City of Tacoma held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in September to officially open a new Link light rail station in downtown Tacoma. The new station at 11th and Commerce Street marks the sixth stop on the 1.6-mile line that serves as a major connector in downtown Tacoma.

The project was paid for and led by the City of Tacoma in coordination with Sound Transit. It includes two 40-foot platforms — one on the west side of Commerce Street for southbound riders and another on the east side for northbound travelers — platform lighting, accessibility ramps, security cameras, and passenger shelters that incorporate etched glass artwork by Tacoma artist Chandler O’Leary. According to the Tacoma Arts Commission, According to the commission, O’Leary’s design pulls inspiration from Tacoma’s rail story — past, present, and future — and consists of two distinct rail lines. One represents traditional railroad tracks, while the other represents our modern light rail tracks. The traditional railroad track branches out into many tracks, symbolizing Tacoma’s transition to an urban hub. The light rail line, on the other hand, begins as several tracks that converge into one, depicting the end of Tacoma’s streetcar system, and the city’s path into the future with Link light rail.

The new station opens at a time when ridership on Tacoma Link is growing, increasing 16 percent in the last year to 3,330 riders a day, according to Sound Transit officials.

Last year, the City of Tacoma proposed adding a Tacoma Link station north of Convention Center Station to expand commuter access to the business district and improve mobility in downtown Tacoma. The two agencies reached an agreement in September to build the new stop.

Sound Transit completed the Tacoma Link light rail line in 2003. The line connects the downtown business district with commuter rail and bus service at Tacoma Dome Station, with stops at South 25th Street, Union Station, Convention Center Station, and the Theater District. Peak service operates every 12 minutes (instead of 10 minutes) between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays to accommodate the additional stop. Tacoma Link service is available from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and holidays. Riding Tacoma Link is free. Additional details about riding Tacoma Link are available online here.

Tacoma City Councilmember Jake Fey, Sound Transit Executive Director of Communications and External Affairs Ron Klein, Tacoma City Councilmember and Deputy Mayor Lauren Walker, Tacoma Economic Development Board President and CEO Bruce Kendall, and Tacoma artist Chandler O'Leary attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to officially mark the opening of a new Link light rail station in downtown Tacoma. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)