Seattle Monorail to be made ADA accessible with federal grant

Dec 21, 2022, 2:54 PM
As part of the federal infrastructure spending, the City of Seattle will soon be receiving $15 million in funding to make the Seattle Center Monorail station fully ADA accessible. (Photo from Kate Stone/KIRO Newsradio)
(Photo from Kate Stone/KIRO Newsradio)

As part of the federal infrastructure spending, the City of Seattle will soon be receiving $15 million in funding to make the Seattle Center Monorail station fully ADA accessible.

The $686 million in grants provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is set to modernize transit stations and improve accessibility in the U.S., the Department of Transportation says.

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There is a long list of improvements that will be made to the station, which was built in the 1960s for the Seattle Worlds Fair, including new ramps, an elevator, installing tactile wayfinding features, and improvements to paths of travel for individuals with mobility devices.

Currently, the only ADA-compliant access to the Seattle Center station platform is via a roundabout route through the Armory building

“Every day, millions of people rely on our public transit system to get to work, buy groceries, and see their loved ones — yet today, three decades after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, hundreds of transit stations are still inaccessible for travelers with disabilities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The All-Stations Accessibility Program is going to change that by adding wheelchair ramps, elevators, and more.”

The official monorail website says: “The Monorail opened to the public on March 24, 1962 nearly one month before the start of the World’s Fair. At a cost of $3.5 million, the trains carried more than eight million guests during the six months of the fair, easily paying for the cost of construction.”

U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, worked to pass the legislation.

“Public transit is meant to serve the public, which means that it has to be accessible for everyone who needs to use it. The Monorail has not been updated in over 60 years and is inaccessible for too many individuals,” Murray said.

“Every year, more than a million riders rely on the historic Seattle Monorail to get them where they need to go. But for passengers with disabilities, the Seattle Center station just isn’t accessible,” Cantwell said.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide $1.75 billion for the All Stations Accessibility Program over five years, according to a news release.

In addition to the $15 million FTA grant, the project will receive $5 million from Move Ahead Washington and $3 million from the Puget Sound Regional Council.

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Seattle Monorail to be made ADA accessible with federal grant