NHL Seattle transportation plans include revitalized monorail

SEATTLE — The Seattle Monorail is an icon, first made famous by Elvis Presley in the movie, "It happened at the World's Fair."

Now, NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke says the monorail, built for the 1962 World's Fair, will be used by hockey fans starting in 2021.

“For us it’s really exciting that after all of this history we think the monorail’s best days are in front of it,” Leiweke said at a Tuesday press conference.

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NHL Seattle and the monorail's private operator plan to spend up to around $10 million upgrading the stations at Seattle Center, and, especially at Westlake Center, to move fans to and from the new arena.

People will be able to come and go through all eight doors, making the turnaround quick enough to double the monorail's capacity.

With both trains running, they could leave every three or four minutes.

“We think the monorail is going to unlock a whole lot more transportation choices than folks might not otherwise have,” said Rob Johnson, a former City Council member who now heads up transportation for NHL Seattle.

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Johnson said fans who drive to games can find cheaper evening parking downtown and face less traffic heading home.

"We have a goal that as many as 25% of fans come on some sort of transit," Johnson said. A hockey ticket will include a transit ride from most anywhere in King County.

Sound Transit's Northgate Link will open sometime in the fall of 2021, promising a 14 minute ride from Northgate to Westlake.

For drivers, there will be 1,400 garage spaces near Seattle Center.

NHL Seattle is also working on plans to manage Uber and Lyft pickups after the games.

Watch a replay of Tuesday’s news conference below:

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