In light of Bellevue routing and whatnot, East Link’s first two stations outbound from International District Station have been somewhat of an anomaly, at least up until now. The Central District News has some new information about the I-90/Rainier Ave. Station, which is currently a freeway stop. There will be platform entrances from 23rd Avenue on top of the Mt. Baker tunnel entrance, as well as an entry ramp to the Rainier Avenue bus stops below I-90. More below the jump.
From the Central District News:
Due to space restrictions, the station will be sited closest to 23rd, with elevators, escalators, and stairs to get down to the level of the station. On the west side, it will connect with Rainier via a 600 foot long ramp to get down to street level, providing access to the #7 bus route. Sound Transit is actively exploring ways to brighten up the area below the underpass there to make it more inviting for pedestrians.
Among the issues that Sound Transit is still wrestling with is how to protect riders from the noise and chaos of the freeway. The platform sits right in the middle of ten lanes of traffic, so they’re looking for ways to use landscaping and/or physical barriers to help deflect some of the traffic noise.
At its workshop last week, Sound Transit also revealed some information (PDF) about what the Mercer Island Station will look like. The station will sit between 77th Ave SE & 80th Ave SE with platform access to both streets, which riders can use to connect from the park and ride. The design is typical of many freeway rail stations in both Portland’s MAX and Los Angeles’ Metrorail systems. In pure speculation, however, Mercer Island has tremendous TOD potential with a future lid or cap over the station, due to I-90’s retained cut.
The key feature we like most about the two stations is the center platform. While neither station will be a rail-to-rail transfer point (at least not until an Eastgate/Issaquah Link extension is conceived), center platforms are good for riders who overshoot their stops.