Roosevelt 60% Design Open House

by DAVID SEATER

South Entry Perspective View - 12th Ave NE looking Northwest

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.

Combination of South Entry and North Entry plan views

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.

Site Elevation

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.

Art Concept

Art Concept


 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 


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 northlink@soundtransit.org

South Entry Lobby Perspective View

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.

Comments

  1. Galen Weld says

    Did anyone notice the real-time arrivals monitor in the last photo, on the right? I don’t think any of the current Link stations have monitors, just the display board above the platform. Interesting.

    • Brent says

      With monitors, you can offer more information than that the next trains really are coming.

      You can say when the *less frequent* buses are coming. Now, that would be truly useful, and help increase “access” to the station.

      Speaking of which, was there anything said about how the bus/station interface will work? Will the buses have to add five minutes to their travel time to drop at the furthest access point from the street they were travelling on, pulling out of bus lanes into general purpose pick-up/drop-off traffic?

      • David Seater says

        During the presentation they repeatedly referred to bus access being on 65th and 12th (and, Roosevelt Way, I assume). My impression is that there will not be any bus diversions to the station. The current stops are all very near the station entrance. There are not bus lanes in the area that I know of. Changing that, shifting stop locations, and adding any curbs bulbs would be up to SDOT and/or KC Metro.

  2. mic says

    With so many ‘significant’ changes, I didn’t see any mention of the new price tag, or even the old one for that matter.
    Going to the ST Capital Cmmte meeting presentation will surely yield a clue about cost.
    http://projects.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/projects/link/north/Capital_Committee_Presentation_201112.pdf
    Nope. Nothing there either. OK, it doesn’t matter! Money is free and limitless.
    Lot’s of pretty pictures and drawings though.
    The platforms are 90′ below grade. If someone told me I could catch a train on the 9th floor of a building, “just take the escalators”, I’d wonder what they were thinking when they built it. I guess going down is easier than going up.

    • Mike says

      If ST were to release a cost estimate right now, it would only be 60% complete. That’s why you can’t find anything because it hasn’t been made accurate enough yet for public disclosure. But you could probably figure $200-$400 million for each subway station based on UWS, CHS, and BHS. Again, not cheap or easy, but god it will move a ton of people.

      The station has to be 90′ below grade to ensure the best track profile for the tunnels on either side of the station. Beacon Hill-style elevators would have been nice too since those elclators will take about 2 days to get up or down.

      • David Seater says

        There are stairs too (separate from the escalators) if you want to get your daily exercise.

      • mic says

        That’s better yet. Ditch the club membership. Maybe even run the escalators in countraflow direction. That’ll get you heart rate up.

      • Bernie says

        There are stairs too

        For when the esclators are broken, like they often are in the Bus Tunnel.

    • phil says

      90′ of vertical? Angel station in London has escalators that do that in one, 197 foot long, run. They switched from elevators to escalators in the 90’s. I used them quite a bit while staying in London a few years ago and never even thought about it.

      • phil says

        The Stockholm Metro and the Helsinki Metro both have slightly longer escalators.

        BTW – Angel station has a Total annual entry + exit of 17,820,000. Each weekday sees 50,000+ trips on those escalators!

  3. Groan says

    i love the use of the Standard facade! Although It would look great as the entry to the in station coffee stand

    • lazarus says

      Yep, I agree. I think it will work as they propose, but it would be a great entry to a coffee stand and/or news stand.

      Does anyone know the long range plans of QFC? Do they get the remainder of their parcel back after construction? If so, it would be great to see a new QFC go in with apartments/condos above built up to the zoning limit.

      • David Seater says

        The QFC parcel (“Parcel B”) will be sold by Sound Transit for TOD after construction is complete. I think it’s zoned for 85′ development.

      • alexjonlin says

        I think the Roosevelt Development Group talked about possibly putting a grocery store at the ground floor of one of its buildings along 65th between 15th and Brooklyn, which could presumably be a replacement for the QFC.

      • Mark Dublin says

        Interesting you should mention this almost-forgotten traditional transit presence, Sam. In the early 1950’s, the CTA’s famous Chicago “Loop” had two interrelated features: coin-operated peanut machines on every platform and a resident flock of pigeons.

        Every pigeon in the flock could hear the signature “click” of a peanut machine three precincts away, at height of rush hour traffic. You could see the feathery cloud lift off as a unit from one station, and land several blocks down the line.

        No pigeon-spikes in those days. And none of these sissified machines that don’t make any noise. Those contraptions were massive forged cast-iron products of American industry!

        Mark Dublin

      • Cheesewheels says

        God DAMMIT I hate birds. This is the worst thing about Union/IDS. I think we should have little tracking vulcan cannons atop every building to deal with the winged menace.

    • David Seater says

      I forgot to mention the coffee stand! During the Q&A someone asked about retail/commercial space inside the lobby. The response was that there is an area just past ticketing in the North Lobby designated for vendors, with the implication that it would be for a coffee stand of some kind. It will have electrical hook-ups for power.

  4. chrismealy says

    Half a billion dollars for a station in the urban village and there’s still above ground utility wires.

    • David Seater says

      This was brought up during the Q&A. ST said that they considered undergrounding the utilities, but that it would cost too much. However, they will be temporarily relocating the overhead utilities to the east side of 12th during station construction.

      • andy says

        sort of fascinating since the dwellRoosevelt condos (immediately next to the station) found it worth the money and not to spendy to undergroud the utilities in front of their building on 65th…..

      • Sevenless says

        @andy – did they just do that? Because it’s news to me and the Google Street View (June 2008) and aerial photos (Aug 2011) all still show wires running right in front of their building.

        If I was ever elected benevolent dictator I’d push a levy to bury lines on all major arterials, since not only are they visually ugly, but they also frequently disrupt the very narrow sidewalks and create awful blind spots at intersections, make walking miserable. However, I don’t imagine the city will even think about tackling that problem until other major utility work needs to be done, such as replacing the ancient water mains and sewer lines.

    • lazarus says

      If the residents of the Roosevelt neighborhood wanted to raise their local taxes to pay for undergrounding neighborhood utilities, then I’m sure they would be allowed to do it. But that really has nothing to do with ST, and I don’t see any interest locally in such a thing.

    • RobertSeattle says

      A personal pet peeve of mine as well but it does cost big bucks to bury wires. I live in West Seattle with a nice view of the city and Rainier “behind” the wires. :-0

  5. Michael says

    There is something very attractive about the protruding ventilation shafts. I think people will realize they like them the way they have realized a nostalgia for non-polluting industrial features like smoke stacks or gas silos. It gives a sense that something very large is happening just beyond view; it contributes to the authenticity of the project.

    • Groan says

      On NYC and Chicago subway stations, where the entrance is just a stairway down, where are the ventilation shafts?

      • Gordon Werner says

        the NYC subway has gotten really creative over time hiding ventilation shafts … but I do not think that they have as many as we are building at each station … possibly due to the fact that most stations on the NYC subway were built looooooooong before such a “thing” was required

      • Zed says

        Here are the ventilation towers for the new 2nd Avenue Subway

        http://secondavenuesagas.com/2009/12/01/the-sas-neighborhood-impact-ventilation-structures/

        The size and number of ventilation shafts generally depends on the depth of the tunnel, the slope of the tunnel, and the distance between stations/ventilation points. ST has been able to limit the number of ventilation shafts on U-Link / North Link by building tall, high-capacity ventilation shafts at the stations.

      • aw says

        Here’s another example of NYC subway ventilation. As noted, in the 2nd Ave. Sagas article, these are no longer allowed by the building code.

  6. Gordon Werner says

    is the final station going to be canary yellow? or was that just done to hi light what was station and what wasn’t

  7. Bernie says

    It seems silly to not have the entrances facing each other; like maybe next to where the bus bays will be. For that matter, why not one building that leads to one place (i.e. center platform) where you catch the train. People are going to go down the wrong rabbit hole and spend another four days getting back to the other side of the tracks.

    • Zed says

      Why would you want them facing each other? If you’re coming from the north you’d use the north entrance, from the south the south entrance.

      It’s a center platform station, so you don’t have to worry about people ending up on the wrong platform.

      • aw says

        But why do you have to walk over half a block from the kiss & ride and bike parking area on NE 66th to get to an entrance? I realize there is a grade involved, but couldn’t they find a way to put a walkway directly into one of the lobbies from there?

      • Bernie says

        So they really are building two stations right next to each other that do exactly the same thing. Double your money double your fun I guess.

      • d.p. says

        Overbuilt = waste of space.

        The north entrance is across the street from a damned football field. It’s providing convenient access to whatnow?

        The Canada Line has essentially no stations with multiple entrances, even though almost every station on the line gets higher ridership than Roosevelt ever will.

        Stupid is as stupid does.

      • Bernie says

        Other than the actual platform what do these “two entrances” use in common? They enter completely separated buildings and have duplicated escalators. Is one of the “entrances” going to be the dedicated ticketing location? I would hope not since anyone walking into the wrong one has to backtrack and go all the way around the block to find it. And I guess the bike lockers will only be in one so you have a 50/50 chance of your prefered coffee cart being there. Sure seems like two stations making it twice as hard to use.

      • Miles Bader says

        @d.p.

        Hmm, but the scuttlebutt seems to be that the Canada line was underbuilt, with little allowance for expansion, and will likely have problems in the future…

      • Nathanael says

        Dual entrances are traditional in stations expected to have really high ridership. If there’s really nobody coming from the north, then it’s silly, but if there are significant numbers from both north and south, it balances out the passenger flow on the platform.

        I have no idea if Roosevelt actually has enough demand for that.

        Obviously you have to have ticket machines at both ends.

      • Bernie says

        Why not start with one “station/entrance” and add the duplicate one later if demand warrants? In Capitol Hill it looks like they are eliminating the need to duplicate services at each entrance by moving all that to the mezzanine. It’s only 60′ down to the bottom of the station box at Capitol Hill so it seems like they could just reuse most of the design at Roosevelt and save even more money. And the area would be left with a large public space that could be park or bus bays or developed latter.

      • David Seater says

        The Capitol Hill Station has three entrances. It also does not have a central mezzanine connecting them with a shared ticketing area. I’m using this cross section [PDF] for reference.

      • d.p. says

        If you look at all of the Capitol Hill diagrams, it becomes clear that the entrance at the southern end of the platform (where Espresso Vivace used to be) will be like one one of the lesser/hidden DSTT entrances — spare, spiraling concrete stairs, hidden behind heavy double-doors at both street level and platform level. Clearly designed to discourage usage, sending most people into the Broadway underpass to emerge at the southwestern entrance.

        So really, there will only be two real entrances/headhouses.

        Having multiple entrances is not inherently bad, especially when the entrances are far apart or on opposite sides of busy streets with long waits to cross. You could even have made a case for separate Roosevelt entrances on the north and south sides of 65th.

        But building two back-to-back headhouses separated by only a minor side-street, with the north entrance located by nothing but a football field, is pretty pointless. The small number of people walking from the permanently single-family (!!) neighborhoods to the north only save 30 seconds on their walk, and central Roosevelt loses some prime street frontage. It’s all pretty silly.

      • Bernie says

        I believe one of the Capitol Hill entrances is just to a tunnel so that students don’t have to cross Broadway to get to Link from campus. I can see Capitol Hill being busy enough to warrant more than one head house. But they’re small and leave a wide open pedestrian space above the station box. Not sure what will go on there but with the flavor of Capitol Hill I’m sure it will be interesting. Roosevelt OTOH just gets two giant Greyhound like stations. Sundodger Station I’d bet dollars to dog poop will be serve far more people and it looks to get by with a much more modest foot print.

      • Mike Orr says

        Two or three entrances is good. It extends the psychological reach of a station, putting more things in its walkshed. Capitol Hill station should have an entrance on Pine Street. Yes, the Roosevelt mini-buildings are rather large but that’s not a reason to eliminate entrances.

      • Bernie says

        Splitting the entrances splits the foot traffic that would be in front of any neighboring business. So a coffee cart for instance only has the fraction using their entrance. Capitol Hill is projected to have three times the ridership of Roosevelt and it’s really only two entrances with a tunnel under Broadway for the campus. If it was a HS rather than a college ST probably wouldn’t have installed the third entrance. A useful second entrance at Roosevelt might have been on the east side of 12th or south of 65th to save crossing a major road. Kiddie corner could have set up an effective N/S E/W bus transfer. I just don’t see any benefit but lots of negative for the current locations.

      • d.p. says

        What Bernie said. Multiple entrances can be great when they actually do different things. That’s not the case in Roosevelt.

    • Margaret says

      In reply to the north Roosevelt entrance being “across from a football field”, it’s actually directly across from Roosevelt High School, so it will be a much shorter walk for students and staff (which adds up to a few thousand people) to that north entrance. It’s not there to serve the single family homes north of 67th per se. Also, there will be ticketing at both entrances, and bike storage at both, although a much larger area for bikes at the north building.

      • Bernie says

        Students living close to any other station on the line will be attending other high schools. Maybe as many as a dozen teachers will use Link. A few students will use it to go to the mall after school.

      • Mike Orr says

        Many Seattle students nowadays ride Metro instead of school buses. There’s no reason to believe they won’t use Link the same way, and as time goes by they’ll increasingly use Link to go places other than home because it’s there. Some Seattle schools have magnet programs, attracting students from all parts of the city. We don’t know how many teachers will use Link, but over time the trend for teachers will probably be the same as other workers; i.e., increasing ridership.

      • Bernie says

        students nowadays ride Metro instead of school buses. There’s no reason to believe they won’t use Link the same way

        There’s a huge difference. Buses stop every couple of blocks, light rails stops every couple of miles. The adjacent stops, Northgate and Brooklyn are well outside the feeder boundary for Roosevelt. The number of trips generated by the HS won’t be zero but it won’t be statistically relevant.

        the trend for teachers will probably be the same as other workers

        Right, meaning the HS is about as important as an employer with about 100 people; 10-20 people at best people added to the ridership. The difference is that’s static. A HS is not a growth industry and it precludes any high density use effectively forever.

      • d.p. says

        Margaret,

        Really, it’s across from the track and field. You’ve got to go the long way around that field to access any part of the school from the station. Are you saying that students can walk the 400-900 feet from the school’s various entrances to the north station entrance, but couldn’t walk the 350 feet between the north and south headhouses?

        And anyway, the doors to the school’s main building are on 66th street, which puts them no further from the 65th headhouse than from the one at 67th.

        Aleks and Mike,

        I don’t disagree that students will use it after class, but it’s certainly not going to be on their primary home-school commute.

        Aleks, you went to BU Academy, if I recall, so every student was likely to be travelling some distance, and was likely to wind up on the B or C lines at some point in their trip. At Brookline High, for which only one of the T’s radial lines was remotely useful, the vast majority of students arrived on foot.

  8. Mike Orr says

    Thanks for the article. I forgot about the meeting, and wouldn’t have known what they said otherwise.

  9. Brett says

    I’m just thankful it is a center platform – more center platform stations please! I still wish this station didn’t have such a large footprint, but oh well. Not like this neighborhood is going to get all that much density anyway (at least this time around – 20 years from now they’ll extend the 65′ limits outward I hope).

    • Zed says

      Yes, having proper emergency ventilation is truly a tragedy and will obviously limit the usefulness of the subway itself.

      • d.p. says

        Follow the links. I’m pointing out Ben’s habitual intellectual dishonesty, which I fear will fuck Seattle transit prospects for another generation. He flatly denies the existence of ventilation mandates or the effect they will have on the cost of his preferred alignments.

        That said, the Fed’s ventilation demands are excessive to the point of prohibiting subways, essentially failing to distinguish between electric vehicles and gas-guzzlers in tunnels and therefore grossly overbuilding for the former.

      • Zed says

        He flatly denies them and you exaggerate them, neither one of you are civil engineers, so why argue about it?

        “That said, the Fed’s ventilation demands are excessive to the point of prohibiting subways, essentially failing to distinguish between electric vehicles and gas-guzzlers in tunnels and therefore grossly overbuilding for the former.”

        That is pure BS.

      • d.p. says

        That is pure BS.

        No, it’s not.

        How many true subways have been built in the U.S. in the last 20 years?

        How much is New York’s Second Avenue subway costing per mile?

        Why are we building so few stations on Link as to make it useless for intra-urban travel?

        (Let me answer that last one for you… because reasonable stop spacing would be “too expensive.” And why is urban-scaled stop spacing too expensive?)

      • Zed says

        Your asserting that all of this has to do with ventilation requirements? Do you have any proof whatsoever? Remember, correlation is not causation.

      • d.p. says

        The causality is the cost of construction. Anything that has significantly increased construction costs can be included. This is not mere “correlation.”

        This is slightly more costly than this.

      • lazarus says

        Dude (dp), you have exactly zero idea what you are talking about.

        Ventilation is not the cost driver in these systems, and ventilation certainly has nothing to do with why more new subways haven’t been built in the US.

        You’re just trolling……

      • Zed says

        You can have street grate ventilation in modern subways when the stations are shallow and close together, just look at the DSTT. The only reason they’re not using that method in New York is because the city has outlawed street and sidewalk ventilation grates, not because of modern safety codes.

        U-Link and North Link have five ventilation points for seven miles of what is effectively a chimney, that’s hardly excessive, and I doubt it added much to the cost. They were even able to eliminate a ventilation building at Montlake by increasing the size of the fans at UW Station.

        Again, offer some concrete evidence, instead of links to pictures and more conjecture.

      • d.p. says

        Yeesh. Thanks for reminding me why I’m trying to break up with this dumb blog and this dumber city.

        Again, get back to me in five years when Ben has completely fucked your last real chance for transit, and you’re stuck with a bunch of silly streetcars.

      • Zed says

        Whatever you say, d.p..

        I think the real reason you have your panties in a bunch is because Ben is actually doing something in the real world to try to improve transit here, while you’re just moaning on and throwing tantrums in cyberspace.

      • Bernie says

        the Fed’s ventilation demands are excessive to the point of prohibiting subways, essentially failing to distinguish between electric vehicles and gas-guzzlers in tunnels

        I think the reason for the “excessive” ventilation is in case of fire. Not because of a failure to realize that an electric railway doesn’t produce emissions. Remember the monorail burning up; or the fire in the Chunnel? if that happened in a tunnel there’s a chance of people dying from asphyxiation. Safety regulations always seem excessive until somebody dies.

      • d.p. says

        Bernie,

        Your point is valid, but the last few decades have seen Americans swing the “safety fence around the safety fence” pendulum so far in the other direction that very little gets built.

        How many will die in at-grade collisions because grade separation was priced out of reach? How many will die in car accidents because public transit doesn’t get built at all?

        Zed,

        Whatever you say. [rolls eyes] I’m no longer inclined to indulge those who have caught “Ben Fever.” He’s a demagogue, he’s disingenuous, he’s brimming with conviction but most of the time those convictions make zero sense — tell me again about the sea of high-rises that will appear in Interbay again (next to your all-important maintenance base???).

        Again, talk to me in five years. I don’t want it to fail, but it will.

      • Mike Orr says

        “I’m pointing out Ben’s habitual intellectual dishonesty, which I fear will fuck Seattle transit prospects for another generation.”

        Ben’s arguments make more sense to me than anyone else’s I’ve heard. We know ST can build and operate light rail because it’s doing it now. It has support from the region’s governments so we don’t have to start over on that. And Link is built more like a subway than any other light rail system in the US, which shows they’re doing something right. It has gone the furthest in fulfilling my longstanding vision than any other transit project around here, and is probably the most we’re likely to see in our lifetimes.

        “Thanks for reminding me why I’m trying to break up with this dumb blog …”

        The thing is, where will you go? I expect you’ll find there’s no better place to discuss Seattle’s transit, and the signal-to-noise ratio here is pretty high compared to many sites. If you end up missing having people around to talk transit with, you’ll probably end up back here.

        “… and this dumber city.”

        That’s another possibility, and more likely to be satisfying. I’ve thought many times about moving to New York or Chicago. But I always wonder, would I really be happier there, or would I end up spending a lot of money and end up no happier than I am now? I’d probably still have the same 30-60 minute commute to work and wherever I go; the only difference is all the trains and buses would be frequent so I wouldn’t need a schedule, and I wouldn’t have to walk through boring single-family neighborhoods. But is that really enough to make up for the moving expenses and finding another job and not knowing hardly anybody there? Whenever I travel I miss my Evergreen trees and mild temperatures. The politics is pretty clean here, and the government spends its energy trying to increase voting rates rather than preventing people from voting as in some other places. So it’s hard for me to move because this is home for me, but if you have lesser attachments you might as well look at moving to a place with better transit.

      • d.p. says

        Mike,

        Indeed, it is absolutely the right choice to engage and work with Sound Transit to expedite in-city transit building and to leverage their experience and already-forged local connections. (This is obvious even if, like me, you are critical of their individual station designs and inclination toward anti-urban stop spacing.)

        But aside from that, I don’t understand what is so novel about Ben’s “arguments” that has “fulfilled your vision” or is “likely to happen.”

        Ben’s complete network, as a commenter pointed out at The Stranger‘s article, is nearly identical to the one proffered by the Monorail Project a decade ago: http://www.seattlemonorail.org/images/sysmap.jpeg And that entire network is not going to happen, because the citizens of Seattle are simply not going to excise-tax themselves extensively enough.

        So Ben’s “arguments” wind up being all about where to start, and how to do it. Has he provided cost estimates? Of course not, because the downtown subway with which he insists we must begin is going to be exorbitant! He has gone out of his way to declare the current DSTT “full,” which almost anyone who’s lived in a city with actual high rates of usage on high-frequency subways knows is a crock of shit. He has gone out of way to insist that an Interbay alignment is immutable, even though there has never before been a study of subterranean alignments.

        As far as I can tell, Ben’s only “innovation” here is his ability to sell himself as Transit’s Golden Boy to hungry transit geeks and to a disgraced ex-mayor. Sorry, but you can’t run a subway on snake oil.

      • Mike Orr says

        Of course it’s nearly identical to the Monorail map; the needs in Seattle are clear and haven’t changed change in ten or twenty years. Everybody who has looked at Seattle has recommended an X pattern, which is what all these plans have in common. The problem with the monorail was not the routing. It was the financing, the maximum speed (40mmph), single-track segments, a cost that prohibited multimodal transfers, and being proprietary technology.

        I liked the full Monorail 5-line system for the same reason I like Seattle Subway: it allows you to get to most parts of the city without ever getting on a bus. We don’t know what people will tax themselves for until we ask. Hopefully ST will study two corridors initially (Ballard-West Seattle, and 45th) so we can get a cost-benefit comparison between them. I’ve said many times I think 45th should be the first route because crosswise lines serve more trip combinations than parallel lines. But I’m hardly going to complain if Ballard-West Seattle comes first, because that has been a longstanding problem and they’re the parts of the city furthest from ST2 Link. The second DSTT issue, again, just needs a study and a cost analysis; then we can argue about something concrete. It doesn’t matter what Ben thinks about the DSTT’s capacity; it matters what ST thinks. I assume Ben is reflecting ST’s opinion.

      • Andrew Smith says

        We don’t know what people will tax themselves for until we ask

        Mike speaks the absolute, important truth.

      • d.p. says

        I assume Ben is reflecting ST’s opinion.

        Then you assume wrong. For reasons that are utterly beyond me, Ben has decided how he want to proceed and advocates for studying only that.

        This is at the root of every argument I’ve had with him and his minions.

      • Mike Orr says

        If we ask ST the right way and persistently enough, they’ll include in the studies (1) an “add a line to the DSTT” alternative, and (2) a Ballard-south vs Ballard-east alternative. Then we’ll see whether they’re feasable, and if not why not, and how much they’ll cost. If ST starts making noises about putting a surface track downtown or on Westlake, we’ll have to tell them they need to study an underground alternative. But there’s plenty of time for that later when they actually get down to doing the studies.

      • d.p. says

        Mike, if you want all of this to happen, you need to advocate for reducing Ben’s role as Seattle Subway’s Supreme Leader. Because he opposes everything you just wrote.

      • says

        d.p. You are just plain wrong. At no point anywhere in the process have I seen Ben or Seattle Subway demanded a specific route, a specific technology, station placement or anything of that nature. The whole time the intent has been to combine the desire of the people of Seattle for a comprehensive transit system and our willingness to pay for such a system with ST’s experience and expertise. They would study the routes, layout alternatives, do design reviews, etc. etc. just like they have done for Seattle’s other subway lines. Seattle Subway just wants to raise the money so they can start the process now, and not 5 years from now, or whenever Sound Transit wants to hold ST3.

      • d.p. says

        [cough cough]

        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/23/lets-build-a-seattle-subway/#comment-196971
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/23/lets-build-a-seattle-subway/#comment-196976
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/23/lets-build-a-seattle-subway/#comment-197051
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/23/lets-build-a-seattle-subway/#comment-197337

        http://seattletransitblog.com/2012/03/28/dont-sign-the-monorail-petition/#comment-219511
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2012/03/28/dont-sign-the-monorail-petition/#comment-219544

        If you don’t realize that Ben wants to put the very expensive and therefore politically risky downtown-Ballard segment before the voters first, and if you don’t get that Ben’s approach to Seattle Subway is “this way or the highway,” then you’re not paying attention.

        Keith Kyle started Ballard Spur with a competing vision. So Ben sweet-talked him and now he’s a co-opted lackey.

        I continue to disagree with Ben’s approach, and point out its financial risks, so I’m now Enemy #1. He tries to discredit me with totally erroneous claims about how I’m “preventing” less than 8-minute service on North Link and how Link’s FTA grants would be at risk to even consider any other proposal than his. Bull-freaking-shit.

        They would study the routes, layout alternatives, do design reviews, etc. etc. just like they have done for Seattle’s other subway lines.

        Unless they only get hired to study one thing at a time, starting with Ballard-Interbay-downtown… which is currently what Ben is aiming for. Then we don’t get to make an educated decision, which also seems to be what Ben is aiming for.

        It would be funny if it weren’t so risky.

      • says

        Again, I don’t mean to be rude but you are just plain wrong. Your entire post is nothing but conjecture and projection. Seriously, I’m not sure where to begin with that post, so I will just ask that you please respond to what Ben and Seattle Subway actually say, instead of just making things up.

      • d.p. says

        The subtext is and has always been that this is Ben’s plan, that it can ONLY be executed according to his vision, that it CAN’T happen any other way but his.

        More than just expressing preferences or beliefs, he engages in actively undermining the POSSIBILITY of any alternative, to the point of deeming the spur option not worth studying because it would “endanger” North Link grants. To this end, he has employed mountains of credulity-straining propaganda about tunnel capacities, political feasibility (because downtown property owners are going to LOVE digging up 2nd Ave), and a freaking forest of skyscrapers that he thinks will be built in Interbay in the not-too-distant future.

        But don’t take my word for it, dude. ASK HIM!!!

        “So, Ben, the plan is to authorize an independent study of multiple north-south and east-west options in order to determine how best to proceed with our voter-ask, right?”

        I’ll actually be curios to hear how he tries to weasel out of such a direct query about his intentions.

        Or you could just stick your head in the sand, hope that Sound Transit will just happen to study all options out of the goodness of its heart, and then be super-surprised when Ben jumps straight into a Ballard-Interbay initiative that the voters bludgeon with a brick. That certainly seems wise.

      • d.p. says

        I would be thrilled to be proven wrong, no matter the sub-thread.

        I eagerly await the status reports on the corridor studies.

    • Chris Stefan says

      The ventilation requirements aren’t by the FTA but are a result of modern fire codes. Check out the NFPA model code. Mind you this hasn’t just increased subway costs but construction costs of high rises, road tunnels, and other projects.

      That said we do have a baseline with U-Link and North Link as to what building rail tunnels and stations will cost if more are built in the future.

      Any future westside line though very likely will go above ground (surface or elevated) in Interbay and SODO which makes it slightly cheaper than tunneling all the way.

      • d.p. says

        Basically, that’s the very point that I was making above, though with less specificity. Codes requiring exponentially more powerful ventilation have jacked up the cost of tunneling regardless of the mode of throughput or the relative likelihood of a fire event occurring.

        (Of course, two separate people told me I had “exactly zero idea” what I was talking about for saying what you just said. Gotta love the internets! Zed’s “Evolution of Tunnel Ventilation” link below is actually quite interesting from a technical perspective, but does not actually contradict my point.)

        It’s all well and good to plan reasonable safety features to allay reasonable worries. The South Korean subway disaster wouldn’t have been nearly as deadly if flammable materials hadn’t been used on the trains, and if operators and controllers had been trained to make better decisions.

        But when the insistence on planning for a “500-year event” results in no or few transit projects getting built at all, that too has deadly consequences. How many thousands of people will die in car wrecks this year because the public transit in their cities sucked too much to consider using?

        Any future westside line though very likely will go above ground (surface or elevated) in Interbay…

        Yeah, you would think. But Ben keeps yelling “dig, baby, dig” about his core segments! And anyway, the tunnel from Pioneer Square through LQA would be the egregiously expensive part of this alignment; if that’s too costly to stomach, the grade through Interbay won’t matter.

    • Chris Stefan says

      Oh and all Ben is asking for at this point is to provide some money to study alignments and to do the necessary planning and environmental review required to put together a construction ballot measure. The final result might very well be an E/W line between Ballard and the UW, though my money is on a Ballard/downtown line via Interbay, LQA, and Belltown.

      • d.p. says

        Have you been engaging the same Ben as I have?

        Honestly, Chris, if that were true, I would be lining up behind him.

        But it’s not. Ben explicitly does not want to see multiple possibilities studied, lest it undermine his grand plan.

        If one is even considering tunneling north-south, one should at least explore the costs of boring under Queen Anne to take advantage of a subway’s ability to connect our vertically disparate landscape. But to Ben, Interbay is non-negotiable for some reason.

        And given the number of people (including supporters of Seattle Subway like Aleks, Mike Orr, Fnarf, and Keith/Ballard Spur) who feel strongly about the advantages of starting with the east-west connection, logic would suggest studying both north-south and east-west simultaneously* so as to have the best cost/ridership/total-benefit-to-urban-mobility information to go on. But Ben is loudly and stupidly opposed. His alignment is fixed, and his mantra is “study only that.”

        *(That means studying all possibilities, including separate lines with a forced transfer at Brooklyn, or a through-routing. Ben is the most vocal claimant that 4-minute headways equal “DSTT capacity”, so I have no idea what ST’s line is on that. But the rest of the world says that absolutely incorrect! Any truly neutral study would find interlining feasibly.)

      • Mike Orr says

        I don’t know if you’re hearing different things from Ben than I am. But Seattle Subway is more than just Ben, as a Seattle subway is more than just Seattle Subway. As I understand it, Seattle Subway’s goal is a set of lines crisscrossing the city. The map is just a suggestion of the kind of connectivity they want, not a statement that it must be exactly this routing and this order of building or they won’t support it. The reason the map exists is that the first question people ask is, “From where to where?”

        It should be clear that the Seattle Subway supporters have a variety of opinions; not all identical but going in the same general direction. It’s ultimately ST’s decision, not Seattle Subway’s, what the routing and order will be. There will probably be several ballot measures, one for the studies, and one for each line or pair of lines. Because people want to see engineered proposals by ST before approving construction, and they’ll probably want to pay for the lines one or two at a time rather than all at once.

        In my opinion, this movement is the best chance to get anything done. If all transit fans support it, it’ll have the best chance of success. If transit fans are divided, with some opposing it because they’re holding out for something better, we may all end up with nothing. If you think Seattle Subway is being too narrow, start a “Friends of Seattle Subway” group that endorses the general goal of accelerating ST’s line-building process and makes an alternate specific proposal for the map. But if you just take your marbles and go home, or encourage people not to support Seattle Subway, it’ll ultimately hurt your transit goals and make Seattle wait even longer for rapid transit.

      • d.p. says

        [cough cough]

        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/23/lets-build-a-seattle-subway/#comment-196971
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/23/lets-build-a-seattle-subway/#comment-196976
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/23/lets-build-a-seattle-subway/#comment-197051
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/23/lets-build-a-seattle-subway/#comment-197337

        http://seattletransitblog.com/2012/03/28/dont-sign-the-monorail-petition/#comment-219511
        http://seattletransitblog.com/2012/03/28/dont-sign-the-monorail-petition/#comment-219544

        If you don’t realize that Ben wants to put the very expensive and therefore politically risky downtown-Ballard segment before the voters first, and if you don’t get that Ben’s approach to Seattle Subway is “this way or the highway,” then you’re not paying attention.

        Keith Kyle started Ballard Spur with a competing vision. So Ben sweet-talked him and now he’s a co-opted lackey.

        I continue to disagree with Ben’s approach, and point out its financial risks, so I’m now Enemy #1. He tries to discredit me with totally erroneous claims about how I’m “preventing” less than 8-minute service on North Link and how Link’s FTA grants would be at risk to even consider any other proposal than his. Bull-freaking-shit.

        It’s ultimately ST’s decision, not Seattle Subway’s, what the routing and order will be.

        And Mike, ST has no interest whatsoever in wading into the political side of this. Essentially, they would be hired as contractors by the city and by Ben’s board. The funding initiative — and in particular its routing details and segment order — would be written by Ben and whatever politicians are willing to buy his love potion.

      • says

        d.p. Please point out where in that Ben says anything along the lines of only funding study of Ballard Downtown. I’ll accept anything remotely in the ballpark of such a statement.

        You can’t, b/c such a statement doesn’t exist.

        All those posts demonstrate is Ben’s belief that DT to Ballard will be built first for x, y, z reasons, not that Seattle Subway is wedded to such a line.

        I say again, Seattle Subway is not an engineering firm. The routes pictured are estimates based on passed studies, but are only a vision of what could be. All those decisions will be made by ST.

      • d.p. says

        The subtext is and has always been that this is Ben’s plan, that it can ONLY be executed according to his vision, that it CAN’T happen any other way but his.

        More than just expressing preferences or beliefs, he engages in actively undermining the POSSIBILITY of any alternative, to the point of deeming the spur option not worth studying because it would “endanger” North Link grants. To this end, he has employed mountains of credulity-straining propaganda about tunnel capacities, political feasibility (because downtown property owners are going to LOVE digging up 2nd Ave), and a freaking forest of skyscrapers that he thinks will be built in Interbay in the not-too-distant future.

        But don’t take my word for it, dude. ASK HIM!!!

        “So, Ben, the plan is to authorize an independent study of multiple north-south and east-west options in order to determine how best to proceed with our voter-ask, right?”

        I’ll actually be curios to hear how he tries to weasel out of such a direct query about his intentions.

        Or you could stick your head in the sand, hope that Sound Transit will just happen to study all options out of the goodness of its heart, and then be super-surprised when Ben jumps straight into a Ballard-Interbay initiative that the voters bludgeon with a brick. That certainly seems wise.

      • says

        By subtext you really just mean ‘what I THINK he is saying’ as opposed to what he has actually said right?

        “So, Ben, the plan is to authorize an independent study of multiple north-south and east-west options in order to determine how best to proceed with our voter-ask, right?”

        This Seattle Subway Board member says yes, that is the plan. And unless things have changed since our discussion last Weds, this is how Ben feels as well. Sound transit has already identified corridors for future study (and has even allocated money for it, but in the future). All Seattle Subway wants to do is generate money NOW so that we can jump start the process.

        Is there anything else you would like answered?

      • Ben Schiendelman says

        I’m loving this conversation! Yes, Matt, you’re absolutely right – I think that we’d need to fund at the very least the alternatives analysis of all three corridors (West Seattle, Ballard, and Crosstown), because the only way to accelerate Sound Transit is to accelerate their planning, and they plan to study all three. My expectation is that if you have to pick one of the three, Ballard would make sense first, but that’s just from the digging I’ve done and the previous study work out there – it’s a reasonable expectation, all previous planning has chosen the west corridor over the crosstown corridor. The definitive answer would come after analysis, ridership and cost estimates from Sound Transit or a contractor for them.

    • Zed says

      Fans exhausting through street grates, take a look some time. Unless you’re implying that a modern subway could somehow be built with passive ventilation, well that’s just silly. I doubt if a subway with passive ventilation has been built since the early 1900’s, because we know better now and have different standards for safety and comfort.

      Read this, you might learn something.

      http://www.ctta.org/FileUpload/ita/2009/papers/O-12/O-12-10.pdf

      • d.p. says

        Ahem and ahem. Vent shafts were also built into the Nordstrom building and elsewhere.

        I will give the DSTT credit for doing a much better job of hiding, minimizing, and working above-grade vents into the urban fabric than, say, the impending New York overbuild. Of course, that was 25 years ago, and perhaps the regs have gotten even more strict…

      • Zed says

        Your point is? I didn’t say that the DSTT didn’t also have above ground vents.

        Like I said before, the reason the 2nd Avenue Subway has so many huge above ground ventilation buildings is because street and sidewalk grates are against NYC building codes, not federal regulations. Plus the fact that the tunnels and stations are air-conditioned. It has nothing to do with too stringent safety regulations.

        Take a look at Link, they’re managing to build 7+ miles of subway with vents only at the stations, you really think that infrastructure is such an excessive burden that it’s prohibiting the construction of subways? So far you still haven’t offered any actual evidence to support that theory.

      • Chris Stefan says

        The “vent” you show at Westlake isn’t for the tunnel but for the elevator shaft and associated machinery. The one at Benaroya is for the parking garage and not the tunnel itself.

        The vents for the DSTT are the big grates you find in the street on 3rd and 4th.

        I’m not sure if grates like the DSTT would still be allowed, but it really doesn’t matter. Seattle, even downtown, isn’t the Upper East Side. There are enough parking lots, garages, and functionally obsolete buildings along the proposed alignment to allow the construction of above ground vents shafts with minimal property acquisition costs. I see no reason downtown stations or tunneling will cost any more than U-Link or North Link.

        Again I will point out that all Ben is asking at this point is that money be provided to ST to do corridor selection and the necessary environmental, engineering, and financial studies needed to have something ready to go to the ballot. Essentially something at the level of detail of the ST2 proposal. Once we have that we can put it on the ballot and see what the voters have to say.

    • Gordon Werner says

      I am confused … are y’all arguing that more underground light rail tunnels cannot be built because we have to add ventilation shafts? what’s the big deal? there are plenty of vacant lots / vacant storefronts in seattle that could be repurposed for that requirement.

      Also … aren’t the grates on third avenue actually for ventilation?

      • d.p. says

        The DSTT has extensive ventilation infrastructure underground, that intakes/exhausts BOTH through those center-street grates and through a number of above-ground vents that are well-integrated into the surrounding buildings.

        If the Second Ave Subway is anything to go on, even the DSTT’s extensive venting would not pass muster under 2012 requirements. (Those Roosevelt shafts are about 4.5 stories themselves, judging by the condos next door, and there are two them.)

      • Bernie says

        Could be they are that tall because the condos are. If these are used to vent toxic fumes in the event of an accident you really don’t want them a street level. “Smoke stacks” really aren’t that expensive to build. They’d be hidden if ST built one four story building instead of sprawling across two city blocks.

      • Charles says

        Interesting. I think the air quality in the DSTT is generally pretty good. I’m surprised it wouldn’t pass current standards. It certainly beats the outside air quality in the Loop of downtown Chicago.

      • Gordon Werner says

        yeah … d.p. but ventilation is such a minor issue in the grand scheme of things engineers who can mine parallel tunnels that arrive on target some three miles from their start can figure out ventilation.

        Even if in-ground vents wouldn’t work anymore … and we would have to build the tower/smokestack type of vent … all we need to do is send out a call to local artists to make the vents into pieces of public art … that would a) obfuscate their true purpose, and b) make the city more interesting place to look at when walking on the street

  10. Miles Bader says

    How many passengers do they expect at this station?

    Judging from the pics, and roughly comparing to stations around here, I’d say it looks sized for maybe 50,000+ boardings / day.

      • aw says

        For the purposes of the EIS, I believe that can’t include any added ridership from a station area rezone or the extension of the line north from Northgate or east to Redmond.

      • d.p. says

        I think you’re right on the first point… except that the rezone is, of course, negligible.

        I don’t think you’re right on the second point. Why would the “upper” estimate not be required to reflect the maximum ridership that could be expected with the system that is on track to be built by that time?

      • Ben Schiendelman says

        Why? Because the study work was done before ST2 was approved, and the agency doesn’t want to waste someone’s time studying the same station again when it’s already being built to accomodate more. It’s paying for that, or paying for something that gets us closer to opening service.

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