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How will your life change when Bellevue’s light rail opens?

At the bus transit station in Bellevue’s downtown, commuters say they can’t wait until the nearby light rail opens on April 27.


il Hinett is waiting for a bus in Bellevue. It’s part of her four-bus commute — twice a day — to get to and from her home in Lynnwood and job at Bevmo in Overlake.

“Eight buses a day?” I ask.

“Yeah,” she says.

“That’s the most arduous commute I think I’ve ever heard of.”

“I’ve been doing it for 25 years,” she says.

And she lugs a bike along the whole route.

Light rail will simplify her life dramatically, she says, cutting out some of those transfers.

“I’m excited for the light rail. I’ve just been going, ‘Just a little bit longer! Just a little bit longer!’”

Dana Jane sits on a sunny bench nearby.

“It’s a good thing to Bellevue,” she says. “And we look forward to start using it.”

Jane adds that she plans to use the light rail on opening day on Saturday to make several trips. As she speaks, she looks off into the distance, seemingly dreaming of that day.

Many people I spoke to shared this sense of wonder about their idealized future commutes.

For some, the payoff will come on April 27, when this little stub of a light rail line starts carrying passengers from South Bellevue near I-90 to the Redmond Technology Station near Microsoft.

Others have to imagine themselves in a more distant future, when this short line is connected over I-90 to Seattle and beyond.

Nate Mati said when that happens, he’ll live out his perfect day: going to a Mariner’s game.

“It’s going to be easier to take the light rail,” he says.

Not everyone is so enraptured with the rollout of light rail, though.

One man who wouldn’t give his name says, “It’s unfair that it hasn’t made its way down south yet, considering everybody in the Tacoma area has been paying for all this. But they got no access and nothing in the near future.”

Light rail isn’t expected to reach Tacoma until 2035.

KUOW Reporter Joshua McNichols would love to hear about your first time riding light rail in and around Bellevue and Redmond after the service opens there on Saturday, April 27.

If you’d like to participate, please share your feelings in a voice memo on your smart phone.

Please be sure to include:

  • The spelling and pronunciation of your name.
  • Where you’re traveling to and from.
  • What it means to you.

If you’re riding light rail while you record, that’s even better. We love background noise.

Then send the recordings to [email protected]. Thank you!