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Bite Of Seattle

Bite Of Seattle

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The light rail trains have filled up.

I've ridden two times between Mount Baker and Rainier Beach, and once all the way to Westlake Center.

It was standing-room only on each ride.

Sound Transit officials say people are waiting in lines for 30 minutes in some places.

Most of the lines appear to be outside the Othello Street and Columbia City stations in the Rainier Valley.

UPDATE: Sound Transit officials have counted about 13,000 riders so far.

On board this morning for the inaugural ride was Mark Landreneau, who works for the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind.

He is deaf and has some impairment to his vision, and sat on Sound Transit's Citizen Accessibility Advisory Committee.Landreneau, speaking through a sign-language interpreter, said Sound Transit's work on accessibility was great.

He pointed out the yellow "bubble" stripping on the station platforms along the tracks, so blind people can feel when they're near the tracks.

He also talked about the with vibrating pedestrian signals in crosswalks around stations for the hearing and sight-impaired.

Landreneau, 49, said he's used to rough rides on transit, but that the light rail is "fast and smooth." He gave it a thumbs-up.A West Seattle resident, he won't have a direction connection to the light rail line.

But he plans to ride the light rail every so often; his office at the Seattle Lighthouse is just north of the Mount Baker station.

He said the light rail gives people with disabilities a convenient and reliable option for transportation and he expects many of the 369 employees at the Seattle Lighthouse to use the light rail.A lot of people flocking to the Bite of Seattle, or Sounders' fans headed to today's match with Chelsea FC at Qwest Field, also were riding.

The Stadium Station was a sea of green and blue T-shirts.

Tony Eder and Cathlyn Fraguela, a Burien couple getting married in August, drove to Tukwila, where they caught the train to get to the game.

They appreciated that there were no fares for light rail this weekend.

They said they'll ride again to games or when friends are in town."It's definitely saving us money on parking downtown," said Fraguela, 27, while sitting in a long row of seats in the light rail car's mid-section.

The train had just shot out of the Beacon Hill tunnel headed toward Qwest Field.

"We'd probably be stuck in traffic right now," Eder said.Fraguela, like me, also appreciated the views from the train.

From the overpass outside the Beacon Hill tunnel, riders get a clear glimpse of the downtown skyline.

She compared it to the view from the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which, of course, will be torn down and replaced with a tunnel.

"It will be nice to have that perspective while you're on the train," she said.Another rider, Tasha, who was with her family from Kent, said she's a bigger fan of the Sounder.

A little overwhelmed by the crowds on Saturday's light rail, she was talking about Sound Transit's other commuter rail, which she rides to work, and not the soccer team.

So what did she like about the light rail so far: "It runs one weekends," she said.
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