Sound Transit
Sound Transit

Tomorrow evening Sound Transit is holding a meeting about the UW light rail station:

December 02 , 2009
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

McCurdy Gallery

2700 24th Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98122

Sources tell me there will be a little bit of news at this meeting, so show up if you can.

Edit from Ben: The news is likely that UW Station will undergo a design change, as was reported by the DJC (go here for an illustration). Instead of the pedestrian bridge Sound Transit has currently planned, the design may be closer to UW’s “Rainier Vista” plan (PDF) – without pedestrian bridges, but with a street crossing in the middle of the east side of the Pacific/Montlake triangle, and a land bridge built to connect the triangle to UW campus without a street crossing.

The new design would offer much better pedestrian access to the hospital, as well as increasing crossing safety by placing the crossing adjacent to the station. The land bridge is expected to cost $18.7 million, $12 million over the cost of the pedestrian bridge alone, with the additional cost split evenly between the city, UW, and Sound Transit.

108 Replies to “UW Station Meeting”

  1. Here is the link to the article by the Seattle Times UW beat writer about the different phases of the closures.

      1. Time to put on the Braveheat purple face paint!

        “They may take our tailgate parties, but they can’t take our freedom…” :-)

  2. Here is an old story about the UW/ST triangle land bridge.

    Here is a UW RFQ for the land bridge.

    DJC had an article yesterday updating the status of the land bridge.

    I requested information and comment from ST and UW and have yet to hear back from both of them. If I do I’ll share.

  3. I hope the bridge is used as an opportunity to make that whole intersection better for pedestrians, not just as a transit between the station and campus. It should serve people crossing from all different directions, including campus, the stadium, the Montlake Bridge, and the med center.

    In particular, a lot of bikes (me included) come down from Capitol Hill across the Montlake Bridge. Between the freeway merge, the steel grates on the bridge (forcing you to the sidewalk), it’s dangerous getting to the Burke or the med center.

    Some of this would get better if you could bike through the triangle (right now the only path is on a slope with obstructed sightlines, running the risk of a head-on with another bike). But it would be nice if the new pedestrian bridge has a ramp pointing towards the Montlake bridge. The uwnews story looks like it just has stairs. Even the ST plan looks like you have to go through the crowds around the station to get onto the bridge.

      1. No, I mean the ped bridge from the station to campus. That’s dropped as part of the new plan.

      2. Wow. What a terrible idea.

        There isn’t any way to make a street level crossing Montlake safe.
        Too many angry commuters.

        They want to spend more to accomplish less?

        What a way to crater ridership.

      3. psf – where are you getting that idea? There aren’t high reports of pedestrians hit at the existing Montlake crossings. What are you imagining?

      4. I can’t see anything in that little picture.

        There aren’t high numbers of pedestrian collisions at the mountlake crossings but there are fewer crossings know than there would be after the station opens (everyone has to cross the street instead of just some people). As long as pedestrian signals are often and are long enough to ensure successful crossings (those are wide streets, unfortunately) shouldn’t be a problem.

      5. Ben,

        There aren’t any pedestrians crossing Montlake now because it takes too long and is too dangerous.

        During commute hours, it is filled with type A red light runners, honking and cutting each other off. During evenings, it is a racetrack, with cars routinely speeding from one light to the next.

        Pedestrians and bikes either don’t cross, or go out of their way to use the existing Ped bridge by Hec Ed.

        I can see why UW would want to spend ST money to beautify their Vista.
        I can’t see why ST would want go along with it.

        As Adam points out in a post above, there isn’t anything wrong with the original Vista proposal, except cost.
        There isn’t anything good about a street level Montlake crossing.

      6. Yes, there are few peds crossing Montlake at the Link station site — because there’s no reason to cross until the rail service begins!!! (OK, except on football game days…)

        Reminds me of an old joke. Critic said there was no need for the SR-520 bridge, way back when — he went out to Evergreen Point one day and noted how few people were crossing the lake at that location…

        Mark my words: we will rue the day that rail station opens with only surface crosswalks on Montlake Blvd.

      7. Oh, and there are additional requirements for any changes to Montlake Blvd itself because it is … wait for it… a state highway! (SR-513)

  4. And still no tunnel to the garage under the triangle? Wow, how is that possibility being overlooked? It would give all-weather, no street crossing access to the hospital and, via the landbridge up one level of stairs, to the campus.

    Yes, it would cost X million dollars where X is somewhere between 10 and 20. And the garage would probably have to be spiffed up a bit. But it’s worth it to tie things together.

    1. Uh, there already is a tunnel from the Triangle Garage under Pacific and it is open to Rainer Vista on the north. Do you mean a tunnel under Montlake Blvd to the station?

      1. Joshua,

        Yes, of course under Montlake. I know about the tunnel to the hospital; that’s why I suggested it. The new one would go from the station mezzanine to the garage.


        Since I don’t know the layout of the garage I can’t give a specific suggestion how to make it work without crossing the traffic pattern, but it is true that the people who drive to the hospital “walk to their final destination through a parking garage”… As will those headed for the airport on Link.

        So far as the money goes, yes, it’s clearly a problem.


        I understand the potential safety — and smell — issue with a tunnel. Perhaps people would not use it at night and it should be gated, but during the day — when the hospital is open and thousands of people are headed there and to campus — it would provide a more attractive and quicker access than crossing that wide, noisy street. You can be sure that WADOT will make sure that the light cycle doesn’t impact the street too severely.

        If ST pays for it it could be included in the station monitoring. One can do a lot with lighting to make it inviting.

        Do you really think people prefer to cross streets at a light? I’ll certainly agree that they’d prefer an elevated bridge as originally proposed to an underpass, but either is better than crossing a huge, busy street like Montlake.

      2. I thought the plan was to connect to the garage. To not do so seems stupid in the extreme. It would be like putting the Airport Station across International Blvd from SeaTac and putting in a crosswalk. Tunnels (and parking garages) are an issue when they are dark and empty. I don’t see that as an issue. Maybe after a certain time at night that access would need to be closed but I doubt it. A major hospital, sports complexes, events on campus, transit transfers… I think it will only serve to make the parking garage safer. CCTV is cheap to install and monitor. Campus police and City of Seattle PD are never going to be far away.

      3. This is the main hospital parking garage, so it already has people in it at all hours of day and night. Also, if I recall correctly, the triangle garage gatehouse is open until midnight, so there is someone keeping an eye on things most of the time. It seems as though very little would have to be done to make the garage safe, maybe a security guard or two (if UW doesn’t already have one).

      4. eric, Bernie – perhaps you should ask Sound Transit why they’re not connecting to the garage?

    2. 1) Where would the 10 to 20 million come from?

      2) Could we expect people to walk to their final destination through a parking garage? And if so, would detractors complain because there are no moving sidewalks?

    3. Ananda – because it’s more pedestrian-friendly to have a street crossing, honestly. A tunnel creates a safety issue.

  5. Why is ST willing to split cost overruns for this land bridge, but not a Bellevue Tunnel?

    Simply a matter of cost?

    1. No, it’s that the U Link bids all came in under budget, so there’s budget wiggle room. There is no such room for ST2 projects.

  6. The UW wants the new Rainier Vista plan because it’s a way to get other people to help pay for something they’ve wanted to do with that area for a long time.

    Light rail users end up with a signalized street crossing over four lanes of traffic (Montlake) instead of a direct, safer, connection (via the ped/bike bridge) to campus and the BG trail. Drivers on Montlake get another red light a half block from the light at Pacific.

    Overall, it stinks.

    But a change of this size would likely require some sort of ST Board approval. So maybe the Seattle reps on the Board can scuttle this UW giveaway.

    1. Don’t make the assumption that the ped bridge is safer. Part of the problem with that design is that many users would have chosen to jaywalk rather than go up the stairs, especially if headed to the hospital.

      This also makes all crossings for the hospital users safer than they would have been in the previous design.

      I’m not actually sure how you’re even considering this less safe. The only safety issue that isn’t present in the other design is people running red lights. You’re probably more likely to have people fall down the stairs.

      1. No Ben, you see, it never rains at Montlake. So the stairs (and ramps) are always slick and safe.

    2. But then why not do both? It’s really foolish to get rid of that bridge considering 25,000 riders are projected to use the station daily. Even if half of them cross Mountlake, it’ll really clog things up.

      Again, the UW is trying to take a bunch of money from Seattle-area taxpayers to fund their projects.

      1. Mike, Montlake is already clogged, it’s often backed up well past Husky Stadium. Making a hole in the already-stopped cars for pedestrians will not have any impact.

        And even if traffic on Montlake were free-flowing, how would this be any different than any other stoplight? Just time it with the two on either side and it would add zero wait time.

      2. Two problems, the light cycles for the existing lights on Montlake are really LONG, almost Bellevue length lights (they may even be longer than the proposed headway between trains during peak at opening).

        The second problem is ensuring drivers don’t block the crosswalk when traffic stops, people seem to have a problem making sure there is a hole for their car on the other side of an intersection or crosswalk before pulling into it when traffic is stop-and-go.

  7. Is there any effort to co-ordinate what ST, the UW, SDOT, WSDOT, etc. are planning for the Montlake area?

    For example while the UW’s plans for the triangle and the crossings to the Link station and might make sense if Pacific and Montlake were lightly trafficked arterials. It seems the height of insanity to pump still more vehicles into a very congested intersection while also adding 70,000 pedestrians a day to the already heavy pedestrian traffic.

    All of the major parties planning changes for the area really need to sit down, co-ordinate their efforts, and come up with a sane design that works at least for pedestrians, bikes, and transit (SOV’s should just avoid the area).

    1. This *is* coordination between UW (for their rainier vista project) and Sound Transit. WSDOT’s work is pretty much all south of here.

      This design is better than the original design for pedestrian movement. It’s not like cars and peds are on the road at the same time. Look at Shibuya crossing in Tokyo – it moves more cars than Montlake, and it has 5,000 peds per light cycle at peak.

      1. Here’s a good video of Shibuya. The major problem I see with this plan is that people going to the Med Center will have to wait at crosswalks for both Montlake and Pacific; a small inconvenience, but an inconvenience nonetheless.

        Also, the phrase ‘light cycle’ makes me think of light cycles from Tron, not traffic signals. I don’t think 5,000 people could fit on one of those!

      2. Those last couple of dozen people are pretty blase aren’t they. The traffic is already moving around and among them and they just keep sauntering. Here in America some bozo would count them as “points”.

      3. People going to the med center can go underneath Pacific, there’s already a subterranean crossing.

        And perhaps we’ll make them a bigger ped crossing later.

    2. It seems the height of insanity to pump still more vehicles into a very congested intersection

      Exactly, the 520 proposals all make about as much sense as trying to increase the capacity of a 5 gallon bucket by filling it with a fire hose.

      1. Not really. None of the existing proposals really try to increase GP capacity. They make the bus a much more attractive option.

      2. Taking HOV traffic out of the two GP lanes across the lake doesn’t increase GP capacity? Doubling the number of lanes across The Cut(the minimum proposal) doesn’t increase GP capacity? How does that math work.

      3. It’s not HOV traffic as you might normally consider it – the lanes will be 3+, not 2+. They’re essentially bus and vanpool lanes. You’re talking about adding maybe a couple thousand cars a day to a 110,000 car per day piece of infrastructure. It’s really not significant.

        “Doubling” the number of lanes? No. Today the Cut has four GP lanes, two bus bays, and three ramp lanes, for about nine lanes. The addition would only add two HOV lanes to that. I don’t see how you’re getting “doubling” out of that.

      4. Adding a second bridge across the cut is most certainly a doubling of the number of lanes between 520 and the Triangle.

        Mind you, given my druthers I’d have only HOV entrances/exits for 520 at Montlake. I’d also close those damn ramps in the Arboretum.

  8. I think having a street crossing is either going to make it really difficult for pedestrians, make an already awful traffic situation worse, especially in conjunction with the new 520, or both. In order to accommodate the huge numbers of pedestrians, they will probably end up making the crossing quite frequent. Even when the Montlake Bridge isn’t up, traffic jams on Montlake frequently extend all the way up to 45th. This will make that traffic even worse. If they decide not to do this so that traffic can move better, then it will make it harder for the tens of thousands of riders to get to and from the station each day. In normal cases, it would be okay to have there be a grade crossing, but in a place where virtually every single one of the 25,000 projected riders (so 50,000 people entering and exiting the station total) will cross the street, it will be too hard to have just a grade crossing. I hope they in the end decide to include a pedestrian bridge.
    And anyone know how much UW Station ridership will drop once Brooklyn Station opens? Seems like far more people will use Brooklyn than UW.

    1. I don’t know why anyone thinks this would be any different than the existing Montlake pedestrian crossings at the ends of the triangle. The bottleneck for Montlake drivers is not the traffic lights – it’s the 520 bridge.

      1. Ben,

        Alex makes a good point: the number of people crossing Montlake will be a couple of orders of magnitude greater than any time now except on football afternoons and graduation. Either the pedestrians will be waiting for a minute and a half or two minutes and then rushing across in a great stampede, or the cars will be seriously impacted. A grade separation up or down is essential.

        If you don’t like a tunnel, why not ditch the arcing pedestrian bridge and just cross to the new elevated triangle directly on a short bridge perpendicular to Montlake. That would eliminate the objection of hospital-destined riders that “it’s too far out of the way!” They could descend to the existing tunnel under Pacific — without walking through the garage….

        It appears that the University is actively hostile to Link. It’s certainly being short-sighted by forcing both stations so far from the classrooms. That’s a shame.

      2. It appears that the University is actively hostile to Link. It’s certainly being short-sighted by forcing both stations so far from the classrooms.

        No it’s not. How many of the 35,000 undergraduates are going to be taking Link to get to class? Why would UW want 70,000 people and all the connecting buses intruding? It would be short-sighted indeed to permanently ruin the park like campus by moving the stations anywhere close to the classrooms, dormitories, research and library facilities, etc.

      3. It’s also important to remember that for now the med center is more important than serving the middle of campus—it has nearly as much office space (5,740,000 square feet) as all of downtown Bellevue combined. Plus, there’s extremely frequent bus service up Pacific and 15th from the station.

      4. No, you’re promoting urban legend there. The Health Sciences Complex is primarily a teaching institution. Most of the square footage is teaching space which is very different than office space. There’s very little “for rent” space available. But, it is a huge facility with a large pedestrian audience. It’s just that most of the access is students running (not walking) back and forth from the main campus.

      5. Parts of it are teaching space (mainly in the T wing), but the majority is lab space. I should know; I work there.

      6. And lab space at a university is academic research. I used that lab space as a student. A big difference is that office space has turnover once a day. Academic space has turnover every hour (classrooms) or every couple of hours (labs). But primarily these are people “commuting” to other locations on campus; often within Heath Sciences. No dispute that the Univeristy is a major employer. But the hospital is a teaching institution which is vastly different than commercial office space and even very different than a public hospital district institution. The UW’s interests are the university as a teaching institution. That’s very different than “office space” in DT Bellevue. If anything it presents an even better case for public transit support but the needs are also very different.

      7. You’re thinking of lab space as used in for teaching a lab class, not lab space as used for full-time research. The lab space I’m talking about is used by scientists working 9-5 every day, just like office space. For example, my lab has 10+ full time employees and we’re in there all day long. This is the case for most of the health sciences building; there are far more scientists, research assistants, and technicians than there are students in there. Also, once grad students finish rotations they too stay in the lab all day long until they finish their dissertation.

      8. No, it’s not “just like office space”. Most of the science is funded through research grants. Without the university (e.g. “students”) none of these jobs exist. “Research Assistant” sounds an aweful lot like “Grad student”. It’s entirely different than leasing DT Bellevue office space. Not to say the UW doesn’t provide a major boost to the Seattle economy. In fact it’s greater than private sector employment. Which is why the idea that UW is trying to “get something for nothing” from ST and the City is preposterous. UW brings in federal funding and private sector money from all over the globe. It’s like the ultimate “green” jobs already here. And that doesn’t even touch on the numerous private companies that have located in this area as a result of the UW; Physio Contro, ATL, ….

      9. Bernie, I’m not sure what your point is. As far as transit use patterns go, the Health Sciences Building is just like any other office space. There are some students, but most people arrive in the morning, spend the day doing work, then leave in the evening. For the record, my lab has 10+ people working there, none of whom are grad students.

      10. For what it’s worth, Health Sciences is out of “rentable” space (to UW groups of course). Our group was strongly encouraged to move to UW SLU (out of offices in the RR and T and H and I wings) when the big CTSA grant came in. I don’t know the teaching vs lab vs other space but UW is definitely trying to concentrate more on teaching in Health Sciences, though as ericn says there are a lot of labs.

        UW is also talking of building another “Phase III” research complex in SLU right next to the existing buildings. I’ve heard of similar things on central campus with postdocs and research professors getting offices over in Roosevelt Commons instead of their dept’s campus location.

        The hospital is another matter. I’m guessing nurses, junior doctors, paraprofessional lab techs, etc will be arriving on Link.

      11. Bernie, research grants are an entire economy that doesn’t rely on undergrad students at all. There are research profs who don’t teach, research scientists, professional staff like me, etc who rarely interact with students. The ones who do work with us are grad students looking for a thesis topic.

        I have to admit I don’t understand how this design works–I guess there will be more information soon. It doesn’t seem like it’s just for UW, there is a lot of transit on Stevens Way. Not having to cross the Burke-Gilman Trail and Pacific Pl at rush hour would be great for transfers, though I don’t really like the idea of crossing Montlake Blvd.

      12. I think we’re going down the rabbit hole here. The real point is whether or not UWMC has a lot of commuters or not. An actual number of people (which can be compared with DT Bellevue for reference) seems a lot more relevant than square footage.

      13. I think the number of people employed at the Health Sciences complex exceeds the number of employees in Downtown Bellevue. And that is before you add in any students or patients.

      14. Irregardless, it will be the same distance walk to the hospital/health science buildings with or without the new mid-block crosswalk.

      15. It’s hard to pull out the site numbers. Here’s some stats from UW Medicine:

        * More than 16,500 employees contribute to the mission of UW Medicine.
        * The School of Medicine has approximately 2,000 employed faculty members and more than 4,600 clinical faculty across the WWAMI program who teach medical students, residents, and post-doctoral fellows.
        * UW Medicine has approximately 4,500 students and trainees across a broad range of undergraduate, professional, and post-graduate programs.

        These numbers include Harbor View, South Lake Union and numerous other clinics across the region. According to the Bellevue Downtown Association:

        There are more than 35,000 workers and nearly 5,000 residents housed in downtown.

        So DT Bellevue is a lot bigger than Health Sciences and it has a mix of retail, restaurants and residences that add up to a lot more trips throughout the day. I’ve also heard Health Sciences compared to the Pentagon which has 23,000 employees. The Pentagon has 100,000 people tour the building every year and one would presume a lot more than that visiting on official business. Harbor View has 80,000 patient visits a year and I’m pretty sure it sees more people that UW. Health Sciences is a major employer but it’s not as big as people think.

      16. OK, here’s some more site specific info (although I’m not sure “clinic visits” are all on site). UW and Harbor View are very similar in size but very different in purpose (note ER visits):

        Harbor View
        Licensed beds 413
        Employees 4,432
        Physicians 1,216
        Admissions 19,424
        Emergency Department visits 65,515
        Clinic visits 224,769
        Surgery cases 13,455

        UW Medical Center
        Licensed beds 450
        Employees 4,311
        Physicians 1,823
        Admissions 19,322
        Emergency Department visits 27,046
        Clinic visits 333,675
        Surgery cases 14,853

      17. Bernie,
        Thanks for digging up the numbers. But remember the number of employees doesn’t include the non-hospital portions of the Health Sciences complex (and South Campus).

      18. UW Medicine includes the School of Medicine so those numbers might include most of them (though probably not librarians, psychology and so on). The wording is too fuzzy though–it also might just be clinical staff.

        Where are the numbers from Bernie? Does it also break out UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinics? (Belltown, etc.)

        In any case I think all the urban centers like Bellevue are going to have these issues.

      19. But a number of UWMC staff aren’t on campus either. For example Childrens is the clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington. Children’s is actually a very good comparison to UWMC. It has a 23 acre campus which includes a substantial amount of research. Another way to look at the size of the employment base is parking. Between the Triangle garage, Surgery Center Pavilion and the S1 lot there are 1,505 spaces (200 of which are handicapped) There’s another 94 in the smaller surface lots for a total of 1,600 south campus parking spaces. By comparison Bellevue Square alone has over 6,000 parking spaces. If you take the 1,600 spaces and allot a generous 2 per car and then figure another 20% arrive by some other means you come up with 4,000. So I think it’s safe to say UWMC and Magnuson Health Sciences combined are an order of magnitude smaller than the Bellevue CBD.

      20. Actually many of the people working in the Health Sciences complex may be parking elsewhere on campus such as the stadium lots, montlake, southwest campus, etc. Furthermore I suspect the mode share for transit/vanpool/bike/walk commuters is likely a bit higher than 20%.

        I’d say a fair guess is there are roughly 10,000 employees in the South Campus area. In addition you have whatever students are attending classes or doing research, plus patients and visitors to the hospital.

      21. Whoa there! I’m sure you’re right about UWMC being order of magnitude smaller than the Bellevue CBD, but Bellevue Square has a little different mode split than campus, where only 30% of people arrive on campus by car (including carpools):

        By the way, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is downtown at 1900 9th Ave, at Stewart… and SCH has clinics all over too. Also, thanks for reminding me of the big mess of SCH and UW employees (plus all the newborns are at UWMC). Oh, and if you deal with cancer or autoimmune disease the Hutch is probably also involved. For added “fun”, the compliance offices sometimes ask for data use agreement details on cross-institutional research. (Yes, this is my job: )

      22. Where are the numbers from Bernie? Does it also break out UW
        Medicine Neighborhood Clinics?

        Sorry, didn’t see the question earlier. About UW Medical Center. It’s hard to get a good breakdown. Children’s does a little better with that. I’m pretty sure there’s not 1,800 Physicians working out of the hospital on campus. Madigan has a similar case load, it’s also a teaching hospital and they have less than 500 doctors. Thanks for the link to Commuter Services. I’d looked there earlier but was only finding ten year old reports. While it’s true that the mode split for UW is very different than a typical employment center that’s skewed tremendously by students who live on or within a mile of campus and walk. Staff rides transit more but ~40% park and ride vs only 15% for Faculty. Faculty tends to live close to campus and drive the whole way. Faculty has a 47% drive alone share and staff is 34%. Round numbers call it 40% and let the number of South Campus parking spaces represent the faculty and staff at UWMC and Health Sciences which drive in. Yes, a small number park at other lots but I think that’s more than offset by the number of south campus spots used by patients and visitors (13% handicap vs a more standard 3% in the Central Garage) plus some of the south campus spaces are taken by carpools (~10%). Anyway, if you take the full 1,600 as the number of drive alone representing 40% of the staff and faculty you again come out with 4,000 employees which is right in line with other medical research facilities this size. I don’t count part time student employment. There’s about 8,000 students that have employment through the UW but their primary reason for being on campus is scholastic, not employment and it’s mostly very part time. Grad students, post doc and research assistants will be included in the staff figures. Some are probably double counted (i.e. both student and staff/faculty).

      23. That page says 4311 employees, plus however many doctors. Many of the physicians probably practice at various clinical sites (UWMC, Harborview, SCCA, etc) so who knows when they’re physically at the UWMC. I guess that’s one thing that makes it hard to break down!

        Anyway, 16500 UW Medicine employees total. Say 4000 at UWMC, another 4000 at Harborview, 2000 in SLU, 500 in clinics, there’s still 6000 more somewhere. My own totally wild guess is it’s more like 6000 at Harborview due to the 9th and Jefferson offices but the other 4000 are also in Health Sciences.

        As an aside, S1 parking by the South Campus Center is pretty much only for senior faculty and administration. Getting an S1 permit is a sign that you’ve really arrived. :)

      24. I think the 16,000 includes the whole 5 state area of WWAMI:

        The Colleges are named for natural wonders within the five WWAMI states:
        Rainier (Washington), Wind River (Wyoming), Denali (Alaska), Big Sky (Montana), Snake River (Idaho), and Columbia River (Eastern Washington).

      25. For the most part there are no UW employees at the WWAMI sites, they are partners like Montanta State or whatever. Med Students come to Seattle for regulatory-intensive courses like gross anatomy.

      26. Don’t know what the staffing numbers are but it’s a lot more than guaranteed spots at the UW School of medicine. My wife works with UW employees in AK with cancer registry information. In Ak the first year of med school is in Anchorage and the 3rd and 4th years clerkships can be in any of the five states but the program emphasizes returning doctors to the rural areas through internships in the students home state. Airlift Northwest is also active in AK. UW Medical receives half of all the grant money awarded to the UW (amounting to 1/2 a billion annually) and research projects are spread across the entire globe.

      27. Scroll down the staff for UW Psychiatry Residency Training Program; Idaho Advanced Clinician Track and see how many are listed as UW School of Medicine employees. They’re everywhere ;-) Although, given the sparse populations in these states it’s hard to know how it all totals up. From the Wyoming Tribune, “Though 2,376 physicians are licensed in the state, the study revealed that only 961 are actively practicing.” Yeah, in Seattle we have several hospitals that have more doctors than the entire State of Wyoming. Then again, the City of Seattle has more people than the State of Wyoming!

      28. I expect ST had ample transit ridership data plus by mode trip data UW has collected over the last decade to get their estimates. I doubt they tried to break it down by building. The UW is a destination and a transfer point. Where people go once they leave the train isn’t their concern unless it’s a transfer to bus transit. Hence, it’s UW’s call on where the pedestrian crossings end up. I’d hope ST concentrates their effort on how those transfers and bus routing are going to work. Would it make sense for example for eastside service currently destine for downtown to force a transfer to Link and the continue up Sandpoint Way to Children’s or even Magnuson Park? Children’s is as big of an employer as UW Hospital and there is quite a bit of interaction between the two. A Magnuson Park P&R would be great for those living North of the UW and working on the eastside; at least until Link is extended to Northgate. There’s already ample parking and bus layover space. Plus it’s designated low income housing. It might even help with the UW’s housing crunch (e.g. 15 freshmen housed in a dorm lobby this fall).

      29. As I said earlier my rough guess would be about 10,000 employees working on South Campus including the Hospital and Health Sciences complex.

        The UW has about 35,000 employees, the bulk of whom work on or near the main campus. I’m not sure if UWMC or UW Physicians employees are included in that total though there is some overlap as many UW Physicians doctors are also on the faculty. I think it is safe to assume South Campus is somewhere between 1/4 to 1/3 of that total.

        Of course an additional factor will be any students who are either using lab space or attending classes in South Campus some number of whom will be going directly to or from the station. Furthermore you have patient visits, hospital visitors, and people who are transferring as well as a smaller number who will walk or bike to their final destination.

        I doubt there would be a P&R built at Magnuson park. The City of Seattle has a rather strict policy against building any new Park & Rides or even expanding existing ones with the exception of Northgate.

      30. The triangle won’t be elevated; Pacific Pl. will be lowered and the ‘land bridge’ will be at the same level as Montlake.

      31. It’s already raised. There was no parking structure below the triangle when I graduated in 1980. Other than that the streets haven’t changed much (except get even more crowded). The lowering of Pacific and possibly Montlake would be a huge and perhaps overdue change. The Rainier Vista has changed continuously since 1909 so it’s work in progress. Just keep the focus on the original view and the ultimate configuration will turn out OK.

      32. Anandakos, it’s not like 25,000 people a day are going to cross at once.

        Stop trumping it up. A hundred or two hundred people crossing at a light will not have a significant traffic impact. This is just like the Lakewood nonsense – there are already traffic lights there, this will presumably be timed with the other two.

      33. Ben it’s 50,000 additional pedestrians per day (25,000 inbound and outbound), plus the current users, plus any additional people attracted due to the additional bus service. Not to mention all of the exsisting car and bus traffic, plus any additional cars attracted by the increase in road capacity, plus the buses added due to the rail station, plus the buses added for 520 mitigation.

        The pedestrian traffic won’t be even throughout the day either but it will be mostly concentrated during the current U District transit ridership spikes.

        I’d expect during those periods you’ll see pedestrian volumes similar to Westlake on a nice afternoon (or Black Friday).

      34. I think you’re right Chris, though no buses in service currently use Montlake Blvd north of Pacific St. (When the 44 terminates there it uses it to turn around and park on Pacific Pl.) I would love to see buses on HOV lanes there though!

      35. 50,000 crossings from light rail ridership alone is massive. To put this into perspective, total traffic volume (all lanes) at Montlake just south of the intersection at pacific place is about 40,000 vehicles per day. How’s that for a demonstration of the efficiency of two-legged transport?

        Source: 2001 data estimated visually from Figure 3-14 of . There’s traffic volumes for points all around the UW campus in there too.

  9. If they do away with the sky bridge can they lose the second story of the station or did ST just get a great deal on a used jetway? I don’t see the sky bridge having level access, and therefore elevator access to the second story in any of the conceptual renderings. If not I don’t see the point in the second story.

  10. Wish the meeting wasn’t held in a location that’s more friendly to cars than to bus-riders — it’s pretty dark walking from the bus stop over to MOHAI.

  11. This is a horrible proposal. We need to make it easier for pedestrians to get to the stations, not more difficult. A grade separation to campus makes things much easier for pedestrians (no waiting at signals, no temptation to jaywalk, simpler and more direct wayfinding to campus).

    And of course, as others have mentioned, adding thousands of pedestrian crossings per day to Montlake is idiotic.

    The existing footbridge works well between Schmitz Hall and the campus; I don’t see why a similar crossing near the stadium would add any issues with jaywalking, people slipping, etc.

    This is a dumb idea, planned by the University as a way for ST to build some infrastructure for them. ST shouldn’t take the bait.

    1. What is it with this response? No, this is a good idea. Urban planners say this is a good idea. All this FUD about the “traffic” is bull – there are already crossings right there, this won’t be any different.

      1. And again, it is the CARS that are the problem, not the pedestrians – let the Cars wait another 30-45 seconds for the crossings to clear – the drivers can text while stopped instead of while driving.

      2. What “Urban Planner” says this is a good idea? The only people I’ve seen openly saying this is a good idea are the folks from UW Capital Projects.

      3. My concern has much to do with how this area currently does (or more to the point doesn’t) perform for pedestrians, bicycles, and transit. Currently trying to walk or cycle between the BG trail and the Hop In market can be really scary, especially during rush hour. Drivers are extremely aggressive and won’t yield to either pedestrians or bikes. I’m frankly surprised there aren’t more accidents. Drivers also frequently block crosswalks and bike lanes when traffic slows to a crawl. In addition the severe congestion has a major impact on the reliability of transit routes passing through this area.

        Now careful design can reduce some of the issues, but I see little evidence WSDOT is treating pedestrians, bikes, or transit as anything more than an inconvenient afterthought that interferes with SOV flow in their plans for Montlake. The ST and UW plans are slightly better, but depending on some of the implementation details could actually make the situation worse.

        My specific concerns with the ST/UW plans are:
        1. Drivers speeding and not watching for pedestrians and bikes when volumes aren’t exceeding capacity. This is especially a concern after dark during inclement weather.
        2. Drivers blocking crosswalks when traffic on Montlake and Pacific backs up.
        3. Timing of the crosswalk signals. This is going to really set the tone for who this intersection is really for. I’m concerned that in the name of keeping the traffic moving really long cycles like we see in Bellevue or on MLK will be chosen. An extra helping of FAIL is in order if the light cycle time is greater than the headway between trains at peak.
        4. The bus stops for all travel directions need to be as close to the station as practical, don’t just re-use the current stop locations. In addition sufficient bus layover and turn-around space needs to be provided.

        I don’t see the problem with putting an entrance to the station in the Triangle itself. A connecting tunnel under the street would be no longer than the tunnel to Second under Benaroya Hall, or the tunnel to the SCCC entrance for Capitol Hill station. For that matter the path between the street and the station platform access in Westlake is pretty long. The key to making underground passageways feel safe and attractive to pedestrians is to make sure they are well lit and finished in a way that makes them feel less like and abandon storm drain and more like a building lobby. Also plenty of visible security doesn’t hurt either.

        I’d connect the passageway and entrance to the Triangle garage as well. If the UW is open to it I’d create a walkway through the garage to the tunnel to the hospital and possibly upgrade the tunnel to the hospital and its entrances as well.

      4. I’m sorry, but you’ll never convince me that thousands of pedestrians a day crossing an extremely busy (and extremely congested) roadway at-grade (at an extra cost of $10M – $20M) is a better option than a grade-separated pedestrian bridge. I don’t care what these “experts” in urban planning say – quit drinking the kool-aid.

      5. I hate grade separated sidewalk crossings – Why should I have to climb up twenty steps and then back down just to cross a street? That adds a lot of time to a pedestrian commute, and a lot of physical difficulty for people with less mobility than me. Why don’t we grade separate the road and let the pedestrians walk at the normal grade?

  12. Well put, Chris. How anyone can argue that crossing four lanes (for now, WSDOT will widen it with 520) of traffic at grade is safer than going above that street is baffling.

    With the current skybridge design you have a level, direct path from campus to the station elevators which can then take you directly to platform level and never have to wait for a ligth or worry about crossing traffic.

  13. I managed to go to the meeting. Andy Casillas’ represented UW Capital Projects and talked about the Rainier Vista plan. He filled in some details: the land bridge is 100′ wide, and covers Pacific Place with 17′ of clearance. I estimate from his diagram that the Burke Gilman has less than half that clearance, though it wasn’t specified. The additional at-grade crossing would be in sync with the current traffic light setup.

    I was pretty unimpressed. Certainly the plan improves the UW campus, but it doesn’t do anything for pedestrians and bikes at the intersection. Most of the questions had a similar axe to grind about the absurdity doing so little to help so many pedestrians.

    Andy was concerned about metrics like safety (presumably minimum sightlines around pedestrian crossings as determined by WSDOT) and assuring drivers they wouldn’t be inconvenienced by shorter stoplight cycle time. He was focused on trips from the light rail station to campus, unconcerned about the med center, stadium, and the Montlake neighborhood.

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