by DAVID SEATER
On Wednesday Sound Transit hosted the Roosevelt Station 60% Design public meeting at Roosevelt High School. The purpose of the meeting was to show the updated plans for Roosevelt station, present the concepts for the exterior and interior art programs, and get feedback from the community. For those who aren’t familiar with Roosevelt Station, it is part of the North Link project, scheduled to open in 2021 and add 62,000 daily boardings to Link in 2030 (of which 8,000 are expected at Roosevelt).
The station design has undergone significant changes since the initial 30% design concept, which was presented at the first open house. The large glass structures from that design have been scaled back significantly to much more modest forms, though there is still a significant emphasis on the use of glass to promote natural light. Rather than the large lobbies seen in the early concepts, there are now smaller lobbies with covered “porch” areas just outside the entrances. These areas will include bike racks for riders who prefer not to use the lockers or bike cage that will be provided in the bike storage area just off of 66th Street.
Another significant change to the design is the increase in size of the plaza on the corner of 66th Street and 12th Avenue NE. This space was created by shifting the escalators in the North Entry further to the north. The plaza will include some “informal seating” on small walls and blocks, and is adjacent to the bike storage area as well as a covered waiting area (the curb in this area will be a 3 minute loading zone). Parking along 12th Ave was also removed and replaced with a “green edge” and wider sidewalks. The sidewalks meander slightly, which the architect says helps to lessen the slope of the hill along the station to improve ADA access.
One part of the station design that stood out was the emergency ventilation shafts. The reduction in size of the rest of the station has, perhaps inadvertently, made these appear much larger in the elevation plans. However, the architect pointed out that these shafts are somewhat set back from the exterior of the structure, which should make them less apparent from street level and help to scale the station to the neighboring buildings. A concern at previous meetings from the residents of the Dwell condominiums (directly adjacent to the station) has been addressed by aligning the southernmost vent shaft with the windowless stair tower on the condo building. For those who are interested in such details, the larger ventilation towers at the ends of the station are for tunnel ventilation, while the shorter ones toward the center are for the station itself.
In regards to the STart program at this station, Sound Transit has selected two artists. R&R Studios will be designing the exterior art, and is focusing on a theme of “building blocks” that will likely be a sculpture of some kind on the southwest corner of 66th and 12th, across the street from the large plaza. Luca Buvoli is designing the interior artwork and will be focusing on the theme of mobility, using imagery of bicycling, running, and trains to provide a sense of continuity and fluidity as riders enter the station and proceed to the platforms.
The Q&A session involved a number of comments about the height of the structure and its proximity to the Dwell condominiums (Sound Transit reps said that the station structure was only one story, but the plans show it exceeding 20 feet), the operation of the ventilation system (used in emergencies only, it will blow air east away from the neighboring buildings), and the zoning of the “remainder” parcels that will be released after construction is complete. A surprising number of questions were about the trees planned for the site, based on a desire to have them integrated with the City of Seattle’s plan for a green street along 66th. Sound Transit says that they are working closely with the City on this.
Sound Transit was particularly interested in comments regarding the re-use of the Standard Radio facade. This is an iconic part of an existing structure on the site, and is planned to be incorporated into the design of the station. In the renderings shown at the meeting it was serving to frame the ticketing area in the South Entry, very near its current location. There were mixed feeling about this design: while some liked it, others felt that it trivialized the character of the sign. All seemed to agree that it should be included in the design. You can let Sound Transit know your opinions by emailing Ellen Blair, the North Link Community Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking ahead, demolition in the station area will start later this summer, with station excavation and tunneling planned to run from mid-2013 to early 2017. Station construction is expected to be complete in mid-2019. Systems installation should complete in late 2020, and service begins in 2021 in conjunction with the opening of Brooklyn and Northgate Stations. Sound Transit will be hosting another open house this summer to discuss construction plans, while the 90% design open house should happen towards the end of the year.