CHOKEPOINTS

Sully’s wild Link Light Rail ride to the Mariners game, was it worth it?

Apr 4, 2023, 6:55 AM | Updated: Apr 6, 2023, 1:01 pm

light rail...

Northgate Light Rail Station (Photo from Sound Transit)

(Photo from Sound Transit)

Since I recommended that Mariners’ fans should try the Link Light Rail to get to the games over the weekend, I figured I would take my own advice.

Our neighbors had a few extra tickets for Saturday, and I decided to do an experiment. I took the light rail to check it out for myself.

More Chokepoints: The no fuss guide to getting to Mariners Opening Day

First, let me say that the light rail doesn’t work for me. I live in south Everett, and light rail is not an option and won’t be for more than 20 years.

But considering it was Julio Rodriguez bobblehead night, and the Saturday game was sold out, I decided to drive to Northgate and catch the light rail. I figured I would save on the ridiculous parking prices near the stadium and have a hassle-free experience.

Boy, was I wrong.

We got to Northgate more than three hours ahead of the 6:40 p.m. first pitch. I figured that was plenty of time to get to T-Mobile and grab my bobblehead.

Nope.

Every parking space in the Northgate station parking garage was full. I went down every level and had to return empty-handed. The surface lot across the street was full too. Thirty minutes were lost trying to find parking. I eventually had to park in the pay garage, which turned out to be $20. Really not too bad considering what I would have likely paid downtown.

We got into the train near the back. There were a few people passed out — no big deal — but as we moved forward to find seats, there was a lot of garbage. Again, no big deal.

But the promoted 20-minute travel time to the stadium station turned out to be a lot longer. We didn’t make it to T-Mobile until closer to 5 p.m.

The total time from entering the parking lot in Northgate to the T-Mobile gates was more than an hour. It was likely longer than it would have taken to drive, even though southbound Interstate 5 was a mess.

But we got there, and we got our bobblehead.  That was before the game.

I was not prepared for what happened after the game.

Our travel mates, who had taken light rail before, told us we had to leave our seats at the top of the 9th inning and watch the final inning from the concourse in centerfield. I was a little confused since we had great seats.  There were already people bailing down the stairs behind me, and as soon as the Mariners recorded their final out, the race was on. I was caught in a current of people bolting down the stairs and then up the stairs to the walkway over the road down to 4th Avenue.

When the police stopped pedestrians at 4th Ave, the sidewalk turned into the starting blocks for the final sprint to the train. The red lights were flashing, and the sound was going off at the tracks, but that didn’t stop anyone. Dozens of us crossed the tracks with the signals blaring, all racing for a spot on that train.

The one ambassador there was telling everyone to get to the final car. We squeezed in as the door closed because I grabbed the door and kept it from closing.

Not many, if any, people were stopping to tap their ORCA cards.

The ride to Northgate was fine, but not the 20 minutes as promised. As we drove home, Holly and I decided that it would have been better to drive.

Now to be fair, this was a bobblehead night during the opening weekend of a much-anticipated season. The Kraken had a home game. The monster trucks were at Lumen Field.

I need to know from regular passengers if this was just a wild weekend or if this is normal. Did I catch a perfect storm?

I’m willing to try again, but I’ll probably just stick with my car.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Sully’s wild Link Light Rail ride to the Mariners game, was it worth it?