The PI ran an article a couple of days ago about the new subway station on Capitol Hill misplacing some businesses. The article focuses on Cafe Vivace in particular but I know that Everyday Music is also closing. Vivace is staying in the neighborhood but who knows about Everyday Music. This post at Orphan Road gives an idea of how expansive the station will be.

Hey, but at least Sound Transit is paying some money for displacement, unlike Vancouver’s Skytrain. According to this article, the construction of Vancouver’s new Canada line is harming a lot of businesses in its wake.

Petri winces at the notion that $1.3 million is much help. “Look at Seattle,” he says. “They know what help is.”

But Seattle apparently took a much more proactive approach to making sure businesses had a chance to survive the loss of traffic and that the area retained its character.

Seattle created the Ranier Valley Community Development Fund (CDF). The fund’s website said it would provide a source of investment that was concerned with the area’s well-being, its cultural diversity, livability and sustainability. Its aim was to strengthen and preserve the community, “not only by investing in tangible assets such as businesses and facilities, but also by building networks of relationships and trust that would allow the community to participate in determining their future well being.”

In 2006, The Beacon Hill News and South District Journal reported that the fund was succeeding. It had approved $7.5 million in mitigation funds” to help affected businesses through loans. In the beginning of the project, the fund had identified 274 businesses along the corridor. Of those, 230 still remained.

“Businesses that stayed were eligible for $30,000 payments, while those that relocated could receive $50,000,” the newspaper wrote. “Exceptional hardships entitled businesses to an additional $20,000,” said CDF director Jamie Garcia. Garcia said he expected the Seattle city council to approve an additional $50 million to pull the area through to completion of the line.

It’s not often someone says “look at Seattle” when it comes to transit successes. The article also highlights the differences between cut-and-cover and bored tunnels. Cut-and-cover is much cheaper, but is much more disruptive to neighborhoods:

The line will be the third in Vancouver and will connect downtown Vancouver to Richmond and the international airport. In the beginning of the project, merchants were told that construction would move quickly from block to block and sidewalk access would be maintained. That was when public consultations led merchants to believe that construction would be bored tunnel. But when SNL-Lavalin got the contract to do the construction, the project shifted to the cheaper, more disruptive method of cut and cover.

When the method was revealed in winter of 2005, one city councillor accused RAV backers of pulling a “bait and switch” on citizens who would feel the impact.
Today, the tunneling is at the core of the sense of betrayal that shrouds the business closures, Petri said. It’s taken far longer than many business owners say they were led to expect. It has snarled traffic and forced many smaller businesses to close as walk-in and drive-by customers have dwindled.

So it seems Sound Transit is a better community citizen than Vancouver’s rail company, and that is a bit of consolation for the longer time frame.

2 Replies to “One More Reason Sound Transit’s Rail Costs More than Vancouver”

  1. I think Sound Transit (ST) has been proving that they are focused on the community as well during the process. The MLK way portion that is being built has endured some of the toughest times during development. I think that ST tried the best they could with the businesses that were in that area by advertising their business and helping them with money. I know it probably to them felt it wasn’t enough, but at least they tried. I think that ST will do the same for the remaining stations. This really says a lot about the integrity of ST.

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