Thursday’s photo of UW Station set up a barrage of complaints in the comments about how ugly the station is. Art-hating barbarian that I am, my problem is much less the design of the station than the fact that it’s an isolated structure.
The quarter-mile radius around light rail stations are extremely valuable properties with which to do intensive land use. There’s a somewhat less valuable band out to a half-mile, and of course that’s often further constrained by topology, etc.
I’ve already ranted about how Husky Stadium isn’t very intensive land use, but Sound Transit isn’t doing us any favors by falling in love with the plaza-in-a-park design. You see this at Husky Stadium, Beacon Hill, to a lesser extent at Mt. Baker, and to a small degree even the other Rainier Valley stations.
I’m sure that promising to bring a plaza or a park is a much better selling point to the community than saying you’re going to bring a whole bunch more residents. Nevertheless, I’d be all for incorporating stations into a much larger building built directly on top of, or immediately adjacent to, the station, as is done at many of the downtown stations.