For decades, Seattle Center and KeyArena have been hosting major events and millions of visitors per year in our region. That’s why the prospect of continuing the tradition with a revitalized KeyArena is so exciting.
There’s a big advantage to opening a remodeled KeyArena at Seattle Center: superior transportation options.
KeyArena is in the bustling, transit-rich Uptown neighborhood adjacent to Downtown and South Lake Union (SLU), with lots of bus lines and rail connections. There are over 80 bus lines originating from every corner of the city and converging around SLU, Westlake, and Uptown near KeyArena with easy transfer opportunities from many Seattle neighborhoods like the:
- Rapid Ride E Line from North Seattle,
- Rapid Ride D Line from Ballard/Crown Hill,
- Rapid Ride C Line from West Seattle,
- Route 8 from Capitol Hill, and
- Route 26X from Northeast Seattle.
By bus, you can get from the Ballard neighborhood (Leary Way & NW Market Street) to KeyArena in 28 minutes or from West Seattle’s Alaska Junction to KeyArena in about 45 minutes.
You can also get to KeyArena by Link light rail from downtown Westlake and transfer to the Monorail. The Monorail goes directly to Seattle Center and then a five-minute stroll through the ped-friendly park grounds to Key Arena. When the KeyArena opens in 2020, you’ll be able to seamlessly transfer from light rail to Monorail using your Orca card!
Link Light rail service, which currently serves South Sea-Tac’s Angle Lake to Seattle’s Husky Stadium, is set to expand its reach in 2021 (just a year after the revamped KeyArena opens). This will bring new light rail stations to U. District, Roosevelt, and Northgate – giving tens of thousands of N. Seattle residents improved access to KeyArena.
In 2023, Link light rail service will expand again with a completely new light rail line to open in the Eastside suburbs, providing direct transit access to KeyArena for people in Bellevue and Redmond. All told, light rail will run 360 daily trips.
By 2024, Link light rail will expand further north to Lynnwood and further south to Federal Way, creating more opportunities for access to Key Arena via downtown Seattle. It’s also worth noting that in 2035, two light rail stations will open near SLU and Seattle Center, which is just a few blocks from the Arena.
Ultimately, leveraging all these existing transit investments around KeyArena—already a magnet for so many spots in our regional transportation network is a heads-up strategy for the future.
The City’s infrastructure investments around KeyArena is also pedestrian-focused. With the new Uptown neighborhood plan to create walkable connections through to Seattle Center, the new green street design on Thomas St., and the refurbished and reopened Denny Park, we’re creating a seamless public realm in the heart of our city. Given that KeyArena is located at the heart of this urban upgrade– next to some of our city’s densest neighborhoods like Uptown, Belltown, and SLU, thousands of neighbors will have the option of strolling to events on pedestrian-friendly routes, dispersing foot traffic before and after.
This pro-pedestrian environment around the KeyArena is symbolic of another big plus about the Uptown location: Uptown is a hopping, mixed-use neighborhood that encourages visitors to “come early and stay late.” The crowds for KeyArena will have places to go and things to do beyond seeing their event, making the new arena just another part of the exciting Uptown business ecosystem.
Driving to KeyArena is also an option. With 7,400 neighborhood parking spots, which has admittedly faced traffic challenges for big events, is also poised to be a reliable and practical option.
With the brand-new smart-technology system on Mercer, we’ve successfully decreased the time drivers sit in traffic along the corridor. Soon there will be three new major east-west corridors there. Currently, Denny and Mercer are the only major through streets between I-5 and Seattle Center. But when the Viaduct comes down in 2019, three new arterials will open: Harrison, Thomas, and John. In addition to providing more capacity, five major east-west I-5 connections will help disperse traffic before and after KeyArena events.
In sync with the active, surrounding downtown neighborhood—upgrading KeyArena will simultaneously serve and build on the existing infrastructure for residents and businesses. This is a hallmark of efficient city planning. KeyArena is in the heart of the vibrant Uptown Arts & Cultural District that already entertains 12 million people every year.
Sam Assefa, director of the Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development, says: “A new plan for Uptown will create more walkable streets, active storefronts with restaurants, and a transit-oriented neighborhood with great connections to the entire region.”