There are a bunch of inaccuracies in Erica Barnett’s rant on Publicola Monday:
As Seattle Transit Blog has noted, the distance between stations on the south end of the line is much longer than in the central, north, and (planned) east portions of the line: Nearly two-and-a-half miles from station to station, compared to just over 1.5 miles for the north section and just over a mile for the central portion.
Erica is quoting the station spacing on South Link, Seatac to Federal Way, not “Central Link”, which includes long, stationless stretches outside Seattle. The actual station spacing is reproduced below:
[Sound Transit] eliminated or indefinitely “deferred” two at-grade stations in South Seattle—the Graham Street Station between Columbia City and Othello Station, and the Boeing Access Road Station, between the Rainier Beach Station and Tukwila—in part so it could build the costly underground Beacon Hill station.
This isn’t a fact-check, but I think it’s a bad argument. First of all, BAR would be an elevated station, so it’s far from clear it would be cheap. Second of all, Beacon Hill is the highest ridership station in Southeast Seattle, so it’s reasonable to assume that Graham St. would perform worse than Beacon Hill. BAR, at the base of a runway, has poor ridership potential unless freeway express buses are terminated here to force a transfer.
Moreover, a tunnel station would be very difficult to install after the fact, whereas Graham St. should be relatively inexpensive.
Although Sound Transit initially estimated 3,000 people a day would board at Beacon Hill, currently, only about 1,000 do—about two percent of the total number who board the train over the course of the route on weekdays.
The link provided is broken at the time of this writing, but the 3,000 figure is for 2020, not today. The station data was taken when daily ridership was about 20,000, making it 5%, not 2%.