I wasn’t around for the public process of Central Link and I was curious to what was being considered before the preferred alignment was selected. I found a book of drawings from the 1999 Central Link Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at the UW’s Engineering Library. Combing through the pages, I took some photos of a few pages that I was interested in. You can view the entire set on Flickr. Here are some findings that you may find interesting. It would be nice if someone who was involved could share their stories.
Focusing on the south section, there were quite a few alignment options. Getting to Mount Baker, there’s a I-90/Rainier path and the SODO/Beacon Hill path. Between Mount Baker and Othello, Link could’ve gone down the side of Rainier with a station at Columbia City then tunneling to a Graham St Station or elevated down MLK to Graham. There’s even a cross-section of a Graham Station in a cut below grade.
There was consideration of a center platform for Mount Baker Station. The Mount Baker Transit Center was going to be right next to the station instead of across the street. Rainier Beach Station had a full-fledged transit center. Both of them would be served by trolley buses.
You can see what Boeing Access Road Station might’ve looked like, complete with a Sounder platform and bus bays. Then there’s the Tukwila surface alignment on 99 or a Southcenter alignment with a station by the mall and an integrated Tukwila Sounder & Link station. We all know what we got in the end.
What I wasn’t aware of was the multiple options for serving Sea-Tac. Yes, there was an option with a station next to the terminal. There’s also one that expected shuttle buses to get people to the terminal, one integrated with the automated airport shuttle trains, and one that actually veered away from the airport before heading back to a station at International Blvd and S 200th St.