I have a little list of things I’d like to see in the coming months. I don’t know if we’ll get any of this stuff, but these are things people have mentioned to me and I’ve thought of, they’re all relatively small, and I think people would really like them:
- Realtime arrival information. I know this is already on the way, so this is an easy one for Sound Transit to accomplish. In Paris, the platforms let you know when not only the next train is coming, but the one after as well. I’d like to see that.
- Anti-glare screens on the TVMs. They’re really hard to read in the sunlight.
- Better directional signage. In Japan, a station sign usually has the name of the station you’re at (big), as well as the name of the next station (small) and a big arrow in the direction you’re going. As it is, it can be hard to be sure of which way you’re going once you’re already on the platform. I want to see big signs with arrows!
- Wifi. This is a double ask – I’d like to see an agreement made with a cell network to provide service in the tunnel stations, and wifi on their network so it works the whole way. Mark my words, business travelers will never use shuttle express again.
- Turn off the platform lights at outdoor stations during the day. Mount Baker is wasting electricity. I’m sure just fluctuations in temperature in the transformers for traction power use more power than those lights are wasting, but it would make us feel good.
- More seating. Some of the stations are pretty good, but there are places where more benches are needed. Under Mount Baker should have several more. That’s going to be a great place for kids from the high school to go eat lunch on a hot day – with the foot traffic, that’s a good, safe place for them to be. The plaza in front of the station appears to have no seating at all – it should definitely have benches.
- Heat at Airport Station. These stations are going to get cold during the winter. Airport is where people are going to be waiting in the dead of night at Christmas for the train home. Those reflective heat tubes on the northbound platform – maybe just in one spot, ten feet worth would be awesome – will make a big difference to everyone, especially if they’re coming home from visiting parents in Florida.
- As ridership increases, the mezzanine at Tukwila and the space under Mount Baker really should get newsstands, coffee shops, or hot dogs – street food, gum, drinks, stuff. I’m sure there are other places where these would make sense too. I’m sure it’s not cost effective right now – that’s okay. Just tell us you’re trying.
- Finally, let’s tighten up the track down near 599. The train hunts quite a bit there – I don’t know if that’s fixable, but I’d like to know either way. I’ve been on similar systems that don’t rock like that.
Are there more things you’d like to see from Link? This isn’t really for “another station” or “build East Link faster” – but small stuff like this. After seeing a lot of bikes, I’m really not worried about the bike racks, although making the bike hang parallel to the train’s direction of motion in the future probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.