As light rail expands, so do housing options for UW students

The continued expansion of light rail would be really helpful for commuting students, as some using commuter townships travel from as far north as Everett or as far south as Des Moines, where they live with their family, said Angelica Lucero, a student assistant at the center.

“I know people who just can’t afford to live in the area and have to commute from Tacoma — it’s already so expensive to have to pay for gas and parking. You could also avoid a lot of traffic, so that’s a plus,” Lucero wrote in an email.

A spokesperson for Sound Transit said that while the agency worked with UW officials when planning the U District and University of Washington light rail stations. When planning future station locations, the rep said Sound Transit gathers input from community stakeholder groups.

UW freshmen Sydney Colescott and Ellie Anne Pratt live in dorms on the north end of campus. Next year they are looking to find off-campus accommodation, but want to live within walking distance of their classes, if possible.

If it were necessary to live somewhere farther from campus, Pratt said, access to direct public transit, such as light rail, would definitely be something to consider. With classes on campus and a job at the nearby University Village mall, however, somewhere close to both is ideal.

While living on campus, Pratt said she frequently used public transportation for leisure activities, such as exploring Seattle with friends or going to the waterfront.

For UW students, the U-PASS fee is included in the tuition fee. The pass provides unlimited access to Seattle public transportation via their Husky ID card. In fall 2021, the mandatory cost was increased to $92 per academic termfollowing the recent extension of the Link tramway.

The U-PASS isn’t cheap, Sales said, but it’s much cheaper than the cost of buying train tickets five days a week for an entire term. The pass also allowed him access to other neighborhoods outside of the UW, as having a transit route that runs through the heart of Seattle allows him to explore new places at no additional cost. .

“I used the [light rail] to go to the Seattle Aquarium, I went to Pike Place Market,” Sales said. “I haven’t been to Northgate, but I kind of want to explore that one day.”

Jose P. Rogers