The monorail, which cost $3.5 million to build, opened on March 24, 1962 for the Century 21 Exposition, a World’s Fair being held at the current site of Seattle Center. Eight million people rode the monorail during the half year the fair was open; today, annual ridership is around 2.5 million. At the northern end of the line, the Experience Music Project building was designed so that the monorail passes through it on its way to the terminal. Originally, the south end of the line was a large station in Westlake Park that formed a lid over the park. In 1988, the station was moved north a block with the construction of the Westlake Center shopping mall. In order to fit the design of the mall the tracks were moved closer together, such that there is only room for one train to occupy the Westlake Center station at a time. This design decision introduced a collision risk at the station that was eventually realized in 2005.
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