Sound Transit light railLast Thursday, Seattle city officials laid out start dates and a more definitive timeline for the implementation of an major transit overhaul for the entire Puget Sound region.

Nothing major has changed since Sound Transit first released the estimated completion dates, but in case you didn’t know them before, maybe brace yourself before reading the next line.

Light rail completion for Federal Way won’t happen until 2024, West Seattle until 2030, and Ballard until 2035.

However, since voters authorized a 25-year, $54 billion package to fund the next expansion of transit, including 62 new miles of light rail, despite the far off completion date, Seattle area residents can at least be sure that they’re getting new transit eventually. Well, unless the federal Department of Transportation suffers budget cuts, which would imperil federal support for the Sound Transit project.

Sound Transit busOf more immediate impact will be improvements in commuter rail and expansion of bus service. Already, Puget Sound region has seen the largest surge of bus ridership in the nation over the past year, even more than the bus system it was modeled on in Houston.

There is a concern that the far off completion dates for these projects may mean that, by the time the projects are complete, technology will have already rendered them moot. By which I mean, driverless cars. Not all transportation experts are convinced that driverless cars are the future or that they will improve traffic more than continuing to invest in mass transit.

Until the transit improvements are implemented though, or we’re in an unimaginably futuristics utopia, perhaps you can make your commute a little bit better with these traffic hacks.

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