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Sound Transit held an open house for Brooklyn Station last night. This station is the southernmost station of North Link, and one of three that is planned to open in 2021 (Roosevelt and Northgate are the others). The main purpose for this open house was to gather public feedback about two options for the station. Both options are underground center-platform underground stations in the 4300 block of Brooklyn Avenue NE, immediately east of the UW Tower (formerly Safeco Tower). These two options are the final choices of the many locations Sound Transit has evaluated throughout the University District, including some north of NE 45th. This location was selected by the Sound Transit board due to its proximity and (lack of) risks.

Option 1
Option 1 is an in-street station that would be located directly underneath the current Brooklyn Ave NE. The station would have two entrances—one on NE 45th and one on NE 43rd, and will be accessed via elevators and escalators. The station will have a mezzanine and separate elevators will take riders between the mezzanine and the surface/platform. The station box—the area excavated and later partially filled in to construct the station—is only a few feet narrower than the space available between the UW Tower and the Neptune Theater. This narrow buffer equates to a higher cost and higher risk than Option 2.

Option 2
Option 2 is similar to Option 1 but is shifted slightly east. The station would be located half under Brooklyn and half under the Chase Bank and parking lots located on the east side of Brooklyn. It would extend to the south end of NE 43rd, coming close to the University Manor Apartments, which may have historic significance. Sound Transit would acquire Chase and both parking lots, which would later be ripe for TOD. This station would also be underground, accessed by elevators and escalators, but would have only one entrance. The elevators would go directly to the platform, whereas the escalators would switchback at the mezzanine level. This option would require about half as much special shoring due to the extended buffer on all sides. During construction, NE 43rd would be closed between Brooklyn Ave and University Way (“The Ave”) but the sidewalk on the south side would remain open.

More after the jump…

Both Options

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The station will be similar to the stations in the downtown tunnel. One or more entrances from the surface, escalators and elevators to a mezzanine, and a platform below. There will not be any restrooms (Sound Transit’s policy is to only install restrooms at terminus stations). The station will accommodate four-car trains and will feature some covered bicycle parking.

During construction, Brooklyn Ave NE would be closed between NE 45th and NE 43rd during construction. It is assumed that Brooklyn Ave NE would return to its present use as a two-way street after construction is completed, however it is SDOT that will decide. One citizen in attendance suggested that the area could be used as a pedestrian plaza. Sound Transit will incorporate some sort of an allowance for drop-offs in a 30% design.

Option 1 would cost about $10 million more than Option 2, would have greater risk, and would require approximately five additional months to construct. Option 1 expects 12,000 daily boardings in 2030, and Option 2 expects less than one percent fewer boardings simply due to the entrances being less visible. Additional signage around the station would be necessary for Option 2. Due to its entrance on NE 45th, Option 1 has slightly better bus connections. Option 1 also provides about 10% more land for TOD (no TOD projects are planned yet, and current zoning laws would limit any structure to 65 feet high).

While it is not Sound Transit’s intent or responsibility to modify area bus service (Metro does that), the walk times from the current area stops have been taken into account, along with projections that assume higher bus ridership and better route connections. Due to its NE 45th entrance Option 1 has slightly better bus connections.

From the surface, it would take approximately 250 seconds to reach the platform in Option 1, and 287 in Option 2.

Final Thoughts
The main factors to consider between the two options are visibility vs. risk. Option 1 has higher visibility but higher risk. Option 2 has less visibility due to its single entrance but lower risk since it won’t be built in the middle of the street. While two entrances are definitely a positive aspect, Sound Transit rates the pedestrian circulation inside the station to be better in Option 2. Also, as Ron Endlich, North Link Deputy Project Director points out, the University of Washington Station, Beacon Hill, and Mount Baker have only one entrance.

Sound Transit will hold a 30% design open house with the chosen option in the spring. Sound Transit is continuing to accept public feedback and will talk to the UW and other stakeholders (Neptune Theater, University Manor apartments, etc.) and will present all of this to the Capital Committee on February 10th.

241 Replies to “Brooklyn Station Open House Report”

  1. I lean strongly toward option 1 due to the visibility of station entrances and the ease of bus connections.

    Though depending on how much risk there is with option 1, I’ll take option 2 over more delay.

      1. As I said I strongly prefer option 1, but depending on what exactly the risks are I’d take option 2 over signifigant delay.

  2. +1. $10 million is a drop in the bucket in the cost of Link. This station going to be a major bus transfer point for the 71/2/3, 44, 48 and 70 (or, even better, an Eastlake extension to the SLUT). Also like the ped mall idea.

    1. While it is not Sound Transit’s intent or responsibility to modify area bus service (Metro does that) […]

      That sentence, incidentally, perfectly symbolizes so much transit planning in Seattle.

      1. That’s true as far as it goes, but the fact is there’s a lot of trolley wire investment on University Way. So regardless of who’s planning the buses there’s serious difficulty in reorienting service to go down Brooklyn and drop people right in front of the Option 2 entrance.

      2. My comment below crossed with yours in the tubes.

        I guess I’m an optimist and I’m hoping that we’ll have an Eastlake streetcar within the next five years, which would ideally include paying to move the trolley wires to Brooklyn. With either option it would seem most sensible to split the arriving transit foot traffic between Brooklyn and The Ave.

      3. Unless they added it recently there’s no trolley wire on the Ave. It’s all on 45th, 15th, and Campus Parkway (other than the turn-around loop for the 43/49).

      4. @Martin

        I highly doubt buses will be routed off the Ave and 15th. I just don’t see the possibility of that many buses going down Brooklyn (residential street; buses turning off the Ave for a few block to come right to the door wouldn’t be faster walking too)

        So… I think option 1 is probably the best since it has a good connection to the Ave and UW Via 43rd Ave. I have already seen some people put out the idea of turning 43rd into a pedestrian only street connecting the UW (there is a nice connection next to the law building) and Link. It would make sense to concentrate all transfer on this street over 45th.

    2. “We’re putting in this brand new, high-capacity, fast, fantastically expensive transit service, which any halfway intelligent connecting agency would restructure its bus service around, BUT we would never presume to demand that they do so, therefore we will perform the engineering with the current service in mind.”

      1. Actually, I specifically asked about this. Engineering has been performed with reasonable expectations about the cancellation of service like the 41.

      2. It’s pretty clear that the express parts of the 71/72/73 and 41 will go away. What Metro does beyond that they don’t know, so they have to make sure the design works for the current bus stops and routes, as well as plausable changes. Just like how the 520 bridge has to connect to either the new west approach or the existing west approach because they can’t guarantee the new one will be in place by then.

      3. That is pretty much the word going around, but it’s pointless to try and discuss what will change 9 years from now. Who knows, Metro might even consolidate the 71/72/73/74 express portions before 2020.

      4. For the 7xX busses I think they’re planning to do it in 2016. They’d be utterly foolish not to.

        I’m must admit I’m gaga at the possibility of an Eastlake streetcar connecting to Link here at the Ave. That would make all of Eastlake an excellent transit corridor, with great potential for TOD on the north end.

      5. “For the 7xX busses I think they’re planning to do it in 2016.”

        How will the buses get to UW station without making Pacific Street a worse snarl than it already is? Nor is it realistic to truncate the routes at Campus Parkway and force people to make their own way to UW station or take the 70. (Hint: you’d need a lot more runs on the 44.)

      6. I think they were going to make people walk a few blocks to a transfer point. I forget exactly, that part was something I read in the comments at STB.

        It may suck for people until Brooklyn station is built, but the cost-savings for Metro will be compelling. Moreover, I just don’t think you can fit all the 7xX busses on downtown’s streets at rush hour. It’s going to be bad enough with all the other frequent tunnel busses that can’t be eliminated like the 41X and 550.

      7. The map shows express/limited stop routing, and those busses are always placarded with “EXPRESS” in the windshield. Same with the 66[X]. That’s why I tend to refer to them as express, I guess because I think of all one- and two-digit busses as local unless noted otherwise.

      8. Honestly, this location regardless of the entrances, is terrible for bus connections. The city isn’t going to let buses go down 43rd (there’s even the proposal to make it pedestrian only) so that means they all have to go on 45th, which is increasingly a parking lot.

      9. Any chance of putting in a bus lane? The 44 is worth spending money on.

        I’m only personally familiar with the U-District in the evenings and the weekends, so I don’t know what traffic is like at peak times.

      10. Regarding a bus lane on 45th: At peak times, there’s about a bus a minute on 45th (and they’re pretty packed), so a bus lane would probably be justified.

        But don’t hold your breath. Traffic is awful on 45th at peak times — especially when 520 is backed up (as it always is), people use 45th as a cut-through from I-5 to U-Village and Laurelhurst, and the powers that be can’t afford to piss off either U-Village or Laurelhurst.

        Note that this is one of the reasons that even the intellectually honest BRT advocates (that is, people who actually want better buses, not just less money for rail) tend not to focus on places like the U-district, where the only way to improve transit is to spend enormous sums of money (e.g. for another bus tunnel) or to take away lane space from cars.

      11. “Honestly, this location regardless of the entrances, is terrible for bus connections. The city isn’t going to let buses go down 43rd (there’s even the proposal to make it pedestrian only) so that means they all have to go on 45th, which is increasingly a parking lot.”

        I think the proposal is to make Brooklyn pedestrian only, but it does limit the potential to make it a loop. This is why I doubt Brooklyn Station will be much of a bus terminus and thus why, long-term, the 70-series, 67, and other such routes will focus on ending near UW station. (The 70-series less so because they stop a block away on the Ave, but there’s no point in sending them downtown so they need to end somewhere.)

    3. As a cut-through to U-village and Laurelhurst? There’s no cut-through about it, it’s the primary arterial between goes there and I-5! 45th is not a local road by any stretch of the imagination.

      There’s no room for bus lanes on 45th and there probably never will be. Cutting it down to 1 GP lane each direction is a political impossibility, and would create a bottleneck for GP traffic with all kinds of echoes on connecting streets.

      1. I remember there was talk of putting in a westbound BAT lane from 15th to I-5 by SDOT, which would change the center turn lane into a new WB lane and the current right lane would become the BAT lane. I don’t see why this hasn’t been done already, as it would speed things up a bit through there since left turns would be banned as well. The only tricky part would be left turns from westbound 45th to Roosevelt, but since WSECU abandoned that parking lot they could possibly fit a left-turn lane in for just that block.

      2. A westbound lane doesn’t make much sense. The only buses that would use it would be the route 44 and the evening Community Transit buses (and 43/49 headed to their layover). An eastbound lane would make a lot more sense.

  3. “From the surface, it would take approximately 250 seconds to reach the platform in Option 1, and 287 in Option 2.”

    These people apparently don’t walk up or down escalators. 4-5 minutes!??!

    1. At Beacon Hill Station, it’s maybe 50 seconds, to get all the way to a train platform.

      1. Steven, that’s clearly not the elevator estimate. The (single) elevator will be substantially faster in option two, since it won’t require crossing mezzanines and waiting for a second lift.

        (The latter scenario is the dumbest part of modern overbuilt subway design: it transforms the only inherently 100% accessible form of transit into a total pain in the butt for the disabled, and makes it twice as likely that an out-of-service elevator will negate the station’s accessibility.)

      2. d.p. I’m not exactly sure what the measurements are, the slide moved by too fast for me to read the whole thing.

        The station also has more than one elevator, and since the elevators are bi-directional the station never becomes inaccessible.

      3. I never suggested it was the elevator estimate, but what Transit Guy was suggesting is that it is 50 seconds at BH. It’s not comparable exactly because ST were obviously citing the escalator times. I was pointing out that elevators will not be high usage at the station, they won’t. And, their figures are obviously extreme anyway.

      4. Tim, I’m not nuts about Option 2 as a whole, with its mid-block entrance and giant surface plaza.

        But Option 2’s elevators are side-by-side, which is the ideal form of redundancy.

        In Option 1, a disabled person might drop down to the mezzanine, only to discover the lower lift on the fritz. Then she must return to the surface, brave the weather to the other entrance, and take 2 more consecutive elevators. With four lifts to potentially break, this is going to be a regular occurrence.

        I prefer the end-of-block entrances, even though they preclude side-by-side lifts. But there’s no good reason that a cut-and-cover under-street station couldn’t be a bit shallower, eliminating the mezzanines and permitting shorter escalators and one lift to the platform.

      5. But you can’t put a direct elevator to the center platform if it’s directly under the street. Or they create a ramped walkway from the street to an underground passage with an elevator. Or they build the elevator in an island in the middle of the street (or just close the street and turn it into a ped plaza).

      6. I’m not nuts about Option 2 as a whole

        Nor am I. Nor do I like that they named the option with two entrances as 1 and the one with one entrance as 2.

        In Option 1, a disabled person might drop down to the mezzanine, only to discover the lower lift on the fritz. Then she must return to the surface, brave the weather to the other entrance, and take 2 more consecutive elevators.

        The mezzanine is continuous. Just like the downtown tunnel. If the Mezzanine to Platform lift is broken on one side, you just go to the other side and go down to the platform. It’s center platform so you don’t have to worry about which side is which.

        But Option 2′s elevators are side-by-side, which is the ideal form of redundancy.

        If there was only one elevator, you couldn’t have people going up and down at the same time.

        But there’s no good reason that a cut-and-cover under-street station couldn’t be a bit shallower

        There is a good reason, but you just don’t know what it is. If they could have been shallower, Sound Transit would have made them shallower to save money.

        There needs to be a buffer between the tubes and the property above them. The tops of the tubes will pass about 40 feet underneath the foundation of the University Manor Apartments. So if you figure the distance between the top of the tube and platform level is about 10 feet, and the U Manor has a basement that extends at least 10 feet (and yes, it does have a basement, I’ve been in the building) below the surface, you’re right in the ballpark of 75 feet.

        Since the platforms are only 75-85 feet below ground, it’s shallow enough to use escalators. But that’s too deep to do one continuous escalator run, so you need switchbacks, and in this case ST used mezzanines for switchbacks.

      7. The one problem with having direct elevators is that they will be so much faster than taking the escalator that able bodied people will start to use them. This could make it hard for people that actually have to use it.

      8. “But you can’t put a direct elevator to the center platform if it’s directly under the street.”

        Umm… oops. Somehow, I was imagining side platforms, though apparently I wasn’t imagining thoroughly enough to envision the portals/elevators that would need to flank both sides of the street for that to be the case. Again, oops. (Though for what it’s worth, I think separate platforms and no mezzanines beats consecutive-use elevators and center platforms any day. And most side-platform subway stations I can think of are on the shallower side.)


        “The mezzanine is continuous.”

        My prior error aside, the mezzanines in the Option 1 diagram are clearly not continuous. Think University Street and Pioneer Square stations, not Westlake.

        “If there was only one elevator, you couldn’t have people going up and down at the same time.”

        I called dual side-by-side redundancy “ideal.”

        “If they could have been shallower, Sound Transit would have made them shallower to save money.”

        A recent thread noted how much habit, inertia, and “the way our agency is used to doing things” frequently trump a rational determination of the best and most user-friendly option. Sound Transit is in the habit of overbuilding things, not of building them with an eye to saving money or passenger egress time.

        “The tops of the tubes will pass about 40 feet underneath the foundation of the University Manor Apartments.”

        Probably not so in the under-street alignment.

        “But that’s too deep to do one continuous escalator run, so you need switchbacks.”

        Well, there are some really long escalators in the world, though admittedly they wind up very, very far from any potential elevator shafts:

        But regardless, you can have switchbacks with mini-mezzanines. It’s only when you start building oversized mezzanines that you succumb to the temptation to make lift passengers cross them as well.

      9. the mezzanines in the Option 1 diagram are clearly not continuous.

        My bad, I keep getting options 1 and 2 mixed up.

        “The tops of the tubes will pass about 40 feet underneath the foundation of the University Manor Apartments.”

        Probably not so in the under-street alignment.

        Yes so because the tubes are coming from the same place. They just get shifted a few feet either way depending on if we build the box under the street or half under the street.

        But regardless, you can have switchbacks with mini-mezzanines.

        Look again at option 2. Then remember that these are initial designs, not even 30%. It’s not like this is final.
        Also, without mezzanines, where do you plan on putting TVMs?

      10. “Also, without mezzanines, where do you plan on putting TVMs?”

        As usual, it’s about knowing what else is out there. Hundreds of subway systems have full-fledged, fence-segregated fare control areas where the escalator/elevator landings meet the platform. Full fare control also exists in (small and non-intrusive) headhouses at street level.

        The diagrams above don’t show any headhouses, but well all know they’ll wind up “needing” them, so why not put fare control there especially since we’re talking about a couple of TVMs and an imaginary line? 60 square feet, tops.

        Someone mentioned future turnstiles as the justification for the DSTT’s giant mezzanine. Bollocks! We could have a dozen turnstiles and NYC-like boarding volumes and still not need that much space! Especially since the stairways aren’t particularly wide — they would become a choke-point long before the fare-control area would.

      11. You still haven’t answered my question. I know you COULD put turnstiles in, but that doesn’t answer where you’d put the TVMs. Also, the system currently does not use that type of system. It’s POP. Since payment issues are beyond the scope of station design, address station design features only.

      12. Oy, Tim!

        Put the TVMs on the surface or on the platform-level escalator landing. They’re vending machines! They take up exponentially less space than the turnstile configuration I cited in my counterexamples!

        They don’t need their own entire floor!

      13. You know that the “turnstile configuration” usually means turnstiles plus emergency gates plus TVMs plus archaic ticket booths, right? Yeesh!

      14. “Especially since the stairways aren’t particularly wide — they would become a choke-point long before the fare-control area would.”

        That’s like saying the highway after the toll booth is the choke-point, not the toll-booth itself.

      15. Oran, your joking analogy is essentially correct. If the tollbooth had a dozen lanes and the highway beyond it had only 2, then the highway would be the chokepoint rather than the tollbooths.

        (Real-world example: Mass Pike meets Route 128, westbound. The backup is always after you get through the tollbooths.)

        That’s essentially the ratio we’d have in our gigantic DSTT mezzanines. You could fit 12+ turnstiles in that space, easily, and yet the staircases are only 2 or 3 people wide.

      16. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting to hear why Tim thinks a couple of vending machines require more space than an entire controlled-access entry area PLUS vending machines. Why are our TVMs are so special that they need an entire level devoted to them?

      17. d.p., where did I say that TVMs require their own level? You want turnstiles, even though Sound Transit is not considering them at this time, and want to eliminate mezzanines. I’m curious where you’re going to put TVMs if there are no mezzanines.

      18. Tim, TVMs are just vending machines. They’re four feet wide by two feet deep. They can go literally anywhere.

        And thank you, Zed! (Although you shouldn’t have to repeat something I’ve already written twice.)

      19. Oh, and Oran:

        The highway analogy is fun, but it is completely unnecessary.

        In New York, it is a common experience for the stairways to bottle-neck at high-volume times of day. The turnstiles almost never do.

        And they’re dealing with much higher volumes than we’ll ever see, and fare-control thresholds exponentially smaller than the DSTT’s mezzanines.

        (Heck, NY has entire station complexes with less floor-space than a DSTT mezzanine. Those things are ridiculously oversized!)

      20. So what do you plan to do with all that dead space if you don’t build/build a tiny a mezzanine? The platform has to be a certain depth (which I’ve proved yet you failed to acknowledge).

      21. Please tell me you’re kidding.

        Even a deep platform doesn’t require a massive box:

        And even if you want a huge, airy box for some reason, you shouldn’t force patrons to linger in it by making them walk hundreds of unnecessary feet:

        “We’ve got all this extra space! Let’s grow a hedge maze so it won’t go to waste!”

        Do you have any idea how ludicrous your question is?

      22. d.p. does has a point. Just got off the train at Beacon Hill. If that is sufficient, why build extraneous spaces that need to be maintained? The First Hill station was going to be similar to Beacon Hill and with high passenger volumes.

        However, constructing deep mined tube stations (like Moscow’s) carry high risk compared to simple cut and cover structures. The Beacon Hill tunnels and station were the critical path and almost delayed Link’s opening. The choice depends on the local topography and geography and funds.

      23. Deep bore or cut-and-cover, big and airy or low-ceilinged with maintenance rooms above… any way you slice it, there’s no need for more floor space — actual two-dimensional square footage for public to traverse and occupy — than Beacon Hill has.

        Adding extra 30-second-across mezzanines just to fill “dead space” is a literally backward approach to design. It’s transit. It’s functional. Form needs to follow function. That very suggestion is function following form.

      24. Seems like a coffee cart could be put in at Bacon Hill right in front of the planets, but that would block the planets and could potentially negatively affect circulation.

        Not to mention Seattle’s silly street vending rules.

      25. For this station, it looks like the mezzanines are little more than enlarged landings for the escalators/stairs/elevators with enough space for passengers to dequeue and requeue for the next stage of the journey downward. Plus room for Orca readers to tap on/off on the way. Although I wouldn’t mind having a coffee/news stand here too.

        For option 2, it looks like it’s possible that the entrance would be integrated into adjoining TOD, so maybe useful services could be provided there. Also, given how the escalators/stairways connect to the grund level, I expect this “one entrance” option would actually have two entrances; one oriented toward the north and one toward the south.

      26. And even if you want a huge, airy box for some reason, you shouldn’t force patrons to linger in it by making them walk hundreds of unnecessary feet

        Feel free to make your point at any time. You linked to an image of Pioneer Square that has one escalator and no stairs or escalators.

        Next, look at the designs we’re questioning and not d.p.’s fantasyland overblown projections. Tell me how any of that is more than fifty feet of walking from the entrance on the surface to the platform below. Remember–you can only critique the red stairs since the yellow stairs at the emergency exit stairs that are not open to the public.

        Also, d.p., I’m interested in hearing your opinion on Hollywood/Vine.

        I expect this “one entrance” option would actually have two entrances; one oriented toward the north and one toward the south.

        Nope, look at the diagram. Just one square entrance that would probably look something like this.

      27. I expect this “one entrance” option would actually have two entrances; one oriented toward the north and one toward the south.

        Nope, look at the diagram. Just one square entrance that would probably look something like this.

        The diagram doesn’t show me much, just a large “station entry” area, about a half-block square, with no indication of ingress and egress points. And your photo of the Hollywood/Highland station wouldn’t be representative since in the internal circulation diagrams, there are clearly two escalator/stairway sets from the surface to the first underground level.

      28. Holywood/Highland is almost identical to Option 1. You take the escalator from the sidewalk down to a mezanine and then another one to the platform.

        For Brooklyn Station, it’s surrounded by TOD on either side, so you can’t orient the entrance either way. It’s in the middle of the block. The only way to orient it one way or another would be to push it out on to the sidewalk. And that’s not in this plan. Since it’s in between two other things, it has no choice but to sit flush with everything else on the block. It’s exactly like this.

      29. What do you mean by set? As in one set goes from the surface to the mezzanine and one set goes from the mezzanine to the platform? Or one set is on the north end of the station and one set is on the south end? Either way, Hollywood/Highand and Option 2 are identical.

      30. By set, I mean one up escalator, one down escalator and a set of stairs between. There are two of these in the option two circulation illustration, separated by probably 100 feet.

      31. In that case, the only difference is that H/H has one escalator in each direction with stairs in the middle. One elevator is off to the side.

        Option 2 has two pairs of escalators. All four are oriented east-west. You can’t orient them North/South because there’s buildings on either side. Unless you had them parallel to the sidewalk and interleave them (mall style) so that when you stand on the sidewalk and look in to the station you’re seeing the sides of the escalators. But that doesn’t seem friendly (to me) and really doesn’t do anything to help get people in to the station. If anything, it creates a choke point getting people to the entrance of the escalator.

      32. From the information I’ve seen, there’s no indication of what’s at the top of the exits from the underground in option 2. Is it a plaza, is it some covered entryway like what’s envisioned for Capitol Hill Station, or will it be some TOD building? In any of these cases, one of the exits is more northerly and one is more southerly. If I’m coming up out of the ground intending to go toward NE 45th, I’ll pick the more northerly exit, and at the top of the stairs/escalator, I want to turn left and not have much of anything obstructing my way to the street.

      33. From the information I’ve seen, there’s no indication of what’s at the top of the exits from the underground in option 2. Is it a plaza, is it some covered entryway like what’s envisioned for Capitol Hill Station, or will it be some TOD building?

        Whether it’s a plaza or box won’t be decided until they start working on the 30% design, but ST said it would likely not be TOD.

        In any of these cases, one of the exits is more northerly and one is more southerly.

        Again, HOW? Option 2 has only one exit. Look at the diagram again. I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of Option 1.

      34. I’ll admit I was misinterpreting the patron circulation diagram. I see now that the perspective is toward the west and the escalator stairs exit toward the street. It doesn’t change the fact that there are two sets of stairs/escalators and two elevators going to the surface. Depeding upon which way I want to exit the station, I’ll prefer to take one or the other (if I’m taking the elevator, I’ll take the first one that comes). In your diagram, if I want to go toward NE 45th, I’ll take the escalator/stair to the right. It would be brain-dead if the designers put a box around the exits and forced everyone to exit the area at the point facing the street between the two elevators. It may be one exit area, but it’s not a single point of exit; the patrons are distributed around the area to go their own way.

        Now, if you wanted to reinforce the north-south orientation of the street, you could add a landing that turned the escalator/stair sets away from each other so that they were parallel to Broadway at the exit points.

      35. “Again, HOW? Option 2 has only one exit. Look at the diagram again. I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of Option 1.”

        In option 2, there are two exits separated by perhaps 100 feet. In option 1, there are two exits separated by perhaps 800 feet (there really ought to be four in option one, two each on either side of Brooklyn to save a street crossing half the time).

      36. Please substitute “In option 1, there are two exits separated by [however long two blocks is].”

        Where’s the edit button?

      37. OK, I see what you mean now. In my mind, looking at those diagrams, you’d pick the stairs that were closer to your end of the train. On the mezzanine, you might criss-cross to the other set if you were in the front of the train but wanted to exit south.

        there are two exits separated by [however long two blocks is]

        Both options are contained within one block.

        I don’t think there is a need to have four exits here. The block that the station will occupy currently has an unsignalized mid-block crosswalk. It’ll be SDOT’s decision as to whether or not that returns. Four exits would protect you from incliment weather while crossing (underneath) the street, but then you have to pop back up on the other side. The intersection to the south is a 4-way stop for vehicles, and it’s atrociously easy for pedestrians to cross without looking (it’s even easy to cross it diagonally, which is both illegal and a good way to really piss off motorists). The intersection to the north is signalized. Can’t comment on the timing of that as I rarely used it.

      38. @ Everyone who says escalators cannot be continuous for 85+ feet: Wheaton Metro Station, DC: escalators are 230 ft in length and rise 115 feet between the mezzanine/surface and the platforms.The ride is roughly 2 min 45 sec without walking, though. Continuous escalators at Brooklyn between the surface and the platform(s). would not be a promlem.

      39. The DC Metro may not be the best example, because they have a tendency to break down. In any case, 85 vertical feet is nothing:

        Moscow’s escalators, Likhachev says, are in a class by themselves. They’re deep – the deepest are at Park Pobedy station, 717 steps long, in one big loop, carrying passengers 230 vertical feet from the platform to a mezzanine, in a trip that takes precisely three minutes. And they’re strong, able to carry 60 tons of people plus their baggage and groceries and purses and umbrellas and gloves.

      40. Using some basic math on your given figures of 230 feet long and 115 feet high, that gives us a slope of 26.57°. Because these platforms are only about 85 feet below ground, we’d only need an escalator that’s 170 feet long (which would travel a distance of 190 feet). I’m no escalator expert, but that sounds ridiculously expensive, and if it breaks, that would suck because your only alternative is the elevator.

        Also, the travel times mentioned in the post are average walk times from four different points around the station. Dig through the comments here to find the specifics.

    2. They have to measure it for the average person, not people who walk up escalators. Some people will have heavy groceries or can’t climb stairs easily.

    3. From the surface, it would take approximately 250 seconds to reach the platform in Option 1, and 287 in Option 2. It’s an average walk time from four different points (N,S,E,W) to station entrances.Sound Transit

      1. They should have weighted the walk time by number of current boarding/aligning. That would probably make the option 1 look better and option 2 worse.

  4. Definitely Option 1. I hate fiddling around looking for an entrance if I’m on the other side of a block at a subway. Given the ridership numbers and the attractions north and south, this stop needs more than one entrance to reduce walk times and street crowding. Not only that, 45th and 15th have many buses that stop on them. Option 1 addresses both of these better than Option 2. Option 1 also provides closer access to the U. What I don’t understand is that if the box is such a big issue, why is it not possible to maintain the idea box from Option 2 under Option 1 and provide smaller corridors to the exits to deliver Option 1. There seems to be an over-reliance on the mezzanines. Not saying get rid of them, but they are dead, awkward, and ugly spaces in DTTT.

    1. Stephen, you’re absolutely right about the present condition of some of the mezzanine space in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel- though I don’t think terms really apply to the south end of Pioneer Square, with the cable-car wheel, or the electronic displays at University Street, or the linear balcony at Westlake.

      Correct term for DSTT mezzanines is “currently being expensively wasted.” The Tunnel mezzanines were specifically designed above all for future off-board fare collection. Platforms were to be “Proof of Payment” areas. And most important, Tunnel service was not supposed to be slowed one iota by onboard fare collection.

      Flash ahead to, say, January 2011, going on twenty years after opening. After 7 when the Free Zone closes, both buses and trains are routinely delayed while bus drivers collect fares. Bus drivers often force deboarding passengers to leave by the front door before loading, luggage and all, converting their coach to a 60′ one-door bus.

      On game nights, I’ve timed boardings at going on five minutes at International District and Westlake- with trains stuck in staging. Experience with Rapid Ride proves off-board fare collection works. The Tunnel was designed for it almost thirty years ago. ORCA should make this easy. Public talk with both Metro and Sound Transit is in order on this one.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Good points all around. Just, if I can remember, isn’t the tap on/tap off readers for Orca at a floor or entrance before the mezzanine at the University Street stop? I know probably some might disagree, but I really wish we moved to the London design for entrances/exits at subway stations like those of the DTTT and elevated stations.

      2. I don’t think ST needs a talking to about this, they want POP on the platform more than anyone, it just can’t be done while the RFA exists. Even afterward, there’s the issue of divvying up revenue from the machines on the platform: which line and agency does it go to?

        One thing they could do to make the mezzanines less dead is to allow concession stands like on London Underground.

      3. @Bruce And it’s just that, concessions. I think it was the Transport Politic that noted that BART are expanding that at their stations. Nothing like having a newstand, hot dog or coffee (Starbucks even *gasp*) vendor there. Heck, even public art or something of interest for the pedestrian. I do realise that POP isn’t compatible with FRA as long as that exists in the tunnel. Personally, I love the FRA as when I’m in Downtown, I’m inclined to use public transport. I don’t see the value in paying a regular one-zone fare for a two- or three-stop distance, which should be encouraged in fares (a solution that POP can offer and that Link fares discourage).

      4. An earlier post said that ST will install platform-level ORCA readers at all tunnel stations this year. The main problem seems to have been the cost of the readers, and the fact that ST initially thought they wouldn’t be necessary. They didn’t take into account that people would be transferring between bus and train at all stations, and that many people wanted to take the first vehicle that comes whether bus or train.

      5. …and cue my irritated reminder that RapidRide — including the in-city lines — will be one-door-boarding only after 7:00…

      6. I don’t know but when riding it the other day people definitely got on the middle and back at TIBS and the operator didn’t seem to care.
        I only rode to observe. I live a few miles away from the A line and needed to get to the post office across the street from TIBS. Driving would have been much faster since I wouldn’t need to stop and I could have used the freeway, but I wanted to see how RR was doing.

      7. The September copy of The Book basically eliminated the “front door only after 7” rule, so I don’t think there’s technically any reason why RapidRide couldn’t continue all-door boarding. That said, some operators still adamantly enforce the old rule.

      8. Tim:

        Did the driver continue allowing all-door boarding at the other stops, or only at the terminus?

        Also, it’s interesting to hear that one of the staunchest defenders of Metro’s operations approach on this blog actually owns a car. Hmm…

        Angry Transit Nerd:

        If Metro’s fare enforcement officers only work until 7, RapidRide drivers might be expected to encourage rear-door exit while making all boarders scan-or-show at the front.

        Tim & Angry Transit Nerd:

        This is entirely commensurate with Metro’s fundamental after-7 problem: some rules are horrifying stupid, others are improvements, but all get enforced unevenly. The customer never knows what to expect; there is no uniformity to the experience. Also, trip speeds vary wildly as a result of this sort of driver “preference,” putting as much as 45 minutes between vehicles. And RapidRide refuses to uniformly fix anything.

      9. I’m not sure what the correlation is between car ownership and riding the bus. Nor do I think Metro is perfect. But that’s not the point of this thread.

        Yes, the operator did continue to open all doors at the remaining stops where I was on board.

        I was also fare checked. The fare inspector boarded at 272nd at 19:19 and stayed on board until 240th.

        And remember, the operators are just people. Not robots. They all have their own opinions, and some are unaware or refuse to comply with certain rules.

      10. I’m not asking for drivers to be automatons.

        I’m asking for the transit administration to research best practices, to set policy according to best practices, and to properly train the drivers to follow best practices, and for the drivers to do so with a modicum of reliability.

        The way any other high-paid professional would have to.

      11. And this demands a response:

        “I’m not sure what the correlation is between car ownership and riding the bus.

        Because, Tim, you are invariably the first to defend every minutiae of Metro operating procedure. Moreover, you gleefully cite whichever contorted contorted rationale Metro has chosen to spin its operational failures, then clap your hands and exclaim that this “proves” the need to function as they do.

        You consistently defend one-door default operations, 30 minute frequencies, labyrinthine routes, downtown transfers, and the resultant need to allow multi-hour windows for trips that in other cities could be taken impromptu.

        And you have partake in the infuriating habit of “argument from ignorance:” because you have never personally experienced and lack the imagination to picture a more functional transit experience, it does not exist anywhere and is not possible. This is why I accuse you of being an accomplice to the status quo, and why what you presume is my negativity is in fact my ardent belief that what is broken can be fixed.

        But it turns out you own a car! So you actually know, despite all your defensive logical contortions, that Metro fails for many potential trips! (Otherwise, why would you need one?)

      12. Because I can’t carry all my camera equipment to a location on the bus. It requires at least two trips between the house and the car to load all the equipment in–no way I could carry all that on the bus.

      13. Fair enough… if you use it primarily for shoots and little else.

        But if you frequently make a mental calculation that “I might as well drive this [minor non-photography-related outing] because it’s vastly easier, more reliably, and less stressful than the bus,” then Metro has miserably failed its own loudest defender.

      14. That’s just one example. Cars will always offer more cargo capacity than public transit can.

        A car can also connect to places that it is uneconomical for transit to connect: a) rural areas and b) low-density areas during off-peak times. There’s an hourly feeder that comes within almost a mile of the place I’m currently living. I rarely use it since it stops running after 6pm. But if I knew I could get back to Federal Way before 6pm, I’d be more inclined to use it. Metro could, and in your opinion should, extend the operating hours of this route to 10pm or later, but I find it hard to justify paying an operator $20/hour plus gas and maintenance for a route that a dozen or fewer people would use. Farebox recovery would be dismal and not a good use of Metro’s money. Instead, I’ll move to a denser place once again when I can afford to.

      15. I actually didn’t realize you live full-time in the exurbs at this point.

        In all seriousness, this is why city and county should be approached as two separate systems, operated on essentially unrelated principles.

        You’re right; you can’t cover exurban sprawl frequently, or well, at all times. Moreover, transit centers and 30-minute headways are perfectly acceptable in parts of the region where most — including you — take short trips by car and use transit only for longer journeys.

        So focus on areas of density and centers of transportation. Those that wish to live car-free can do so there; others will indeed need cars. Stop wasting money on infrequent feeders to nowhere and use it to make the core routes awesome — since most will drive to the transfer point anyway.

        But in the city, infrequent routes with no core services and dysfunctional transfers and excruciating unreliability are literally crippling. Driving and transferring is not a good urban option, so transit must have full urban penetration, and real headways.

        The approach must be fundamentally different. As I’ve said many times before, when you treat urban service like suburban service, you end up with a city population that mostly drives, just like the suburbs. You can defend Metro in Federal Way all you want, but when you defend their approach to Seattle service, you reinforce a paradigm that is destructive.

  5. What is the total cost of both options? I’m trying to put that extra $10 mil in perspective.

    I prefer option #1 as well for the increased visibility of the entrances.

    1. Did they quantify the additional risks for option 1? How much more contingency money would they need?

      1. Yeah that is a question of mine as well.


        A total guess is somewhere in the range of 200-400 million. I couldn’t find exact numbers, probably because ST isn’t too sure yet and they don’t want to put out a figure.

      1. Theft? Really? So, when people construct buildings and services, they should just be bland? Sorry, but urban design and the public realm are important. 1% is actually too conservative of a figure.

      2. I think the 1% for art law was approved by voters in the early 70s; it was certainly very popular at the time. Some art is better than no art, even if it seems laughable at times (the sculpture in front of the 1001 Fourth Avenue building across from the library; and the graduation cap at Othello Station).

      3. It’s popular on libertarian and conservative corners of the Internet to mix up the maxim “taxation without representation is tyranny” with a shorter saying, reading just “taxation is tyranny.” There’s an easy way to tell the two apart, though: just keep in mind that the former saying is from the American founding fathers and serves as a foundational principle of representative democracy, whereas the latter saying is just dumb.

      4. I’m pretty sure the 1% for art was a reaction to civic works being built as spartan and cheaply as possible for much of the 50’s and 60’s not to mention the taste for stark moderist or brutalist architecture.

        Compare to civic works prior to WWII which were usually built with some style and panache.

      5. The Libertarian Party has long had “Taxation is Theft” as one of its core priciples. The only legitimate functions of government are national defense, preventing “force and fraud” (violent crimes, property crimes), and enforcing contracts (unless the signer was coerced, lied to, or underage/incompetent). Limited taxation for these functions is tolerated as a necessary evil. So “taxation without representation” or “taxation is theft/tyranny” are related but are not quite the same thing.

        (Truly no taxes implies no government, or an anarchist state. Most libertarians see that as too utopian to pursue. Note that right-anarchism requires some mechanism to enforce property rights, so some kind of court/police/militia system is necessary. Some say this alone is too minimal to be called a “government”; others say it is a government no matter how you look at it.)

      6. @MikeOrr , Dude, are you not aware that the sculpture in front of the 1001 4th Ave building is a coveted piece of art? It was also the source of a public relations embarrassment for then SeaFirst Bank (I think post acquisition by BofA ) when it decided to sell the piece only to be stopped by the city after a huge public outcry. Then, the artist died and the value of the piece skyrocketed. The bank had to buy the piece back for more money than it got when it sold it.

    2. Because these are preliminary estimates, even the $10 million is not a hard fact. The exact cost wouldn’t be determined until final design is complete, although a better idea will be available in the 30% design.

      1. Just one option will be at the 30% design. Somewhere between February 10 and that meeting someone (presumably the Capitol Committee) will make a decision as to which one. Your feedback will be one of the factors that will influence the decision.

  6. The public feedback link in the post is broken. Everyone here in favor of option one should pile on and send feedback once that link is fixed.

  7. I don’t see any obvious reason why they can’t design two entrances into Option 2. Did they provide any rationale for this at the forum?

    1. Or a single elevator trip in option 1. And yeah, 4-5 minutes once you’re at the station to get to the train?? Additional risk; At they really afraid that the Neptune or the Safeco building are going to fall into the pit? Additional cost I can understand but I risk? Risk of what? Also, “This location was selected by the Sound Transit board due to its proximity” Proximity to what? Everywhere in the U-district is close to something.

      1. The reason there has to be two elevators in option 1 is that it looks like there is going to be a center platform. If they had just one elevator the entrance would probably be in the street.

      2. there has to be two elevators in option 1 … If they had just one elevator the entrance would probably be in the street.

        That makes sense. It wasn’t specifically mentioned in the post but I’d assumed option 2 would also be center platform but because part of it isn’t in the street ROW they can use a single elevator? I guess that’s one reason to push for the pedestrian plaza on Brooklyn.

      3. It wasn’t specifically mentioned in the post but I’d assumed option 2 would also be center platform…

        “Both options are underground center-platform underground stations…”

      4. “Or a single elevator trip in option 1.”

        I asked a rep about that. He said there were logistical problems with a top-to-bottom elevator shaft due to the limited space they’re working within.

    2. Nobody asked. It was on my list of possible questions, but I had already asked two others.

      I would imagine that if they were to build a second entrance for Option 2, they would want to put it on 45th. This would create a rather long underground passageway to the station box. This would be a big security concern in this neighborhood.

      Also, the UW might be less inclined to grant a permanent easement for an entrance at the UW tower plaza if the station placement didn’t absolutely require it.

      1. Also, the UW might be less inclined to grant a permanent easement for an entrance at the UW tower plaza if the station placement didn’t absolutely require it.

        I love when it comes to planning, public entities like to be at odds with one another. Let’s just hope the U, should it be required, doesn’t unduly stand in the way of a necessary public service.

      2. I would like to point of that my post above is entirely speculation, since nobody asked the ST representatives during the Q&A period.

        My speculation is derived from other points made during the session.

  8. If they’re going to be that much closer to the Ave, why not put an entrance there? Imagine how great it would be to have an entrance across from the bookstore on one of the the busiest ped areas in the city? You wouldn’t have to do anything fancy or big- just make the connection.

    1. You have a point. Of course, there is the risk of having to demolish/evict a shop on the street to achieve that. But, ST really could do that quite easily. I would say the south exit wouldn’t be necessary then. I would also be really good for the future streetcar too.

      1. It looks to me like they could get a right-of-way THROUGH one of the existing buildings without completely demolishing anything, and with only a partial eviction.

        Why not a passageway to the east from the Option 2 headhouse? It sounds like *exactly* the right thing to do.

    2. Keep in mind that the proposed option 1 south station is about 100 feet from the Ave. Condemning a bunch more property at this stage is going to be expensive for minimal gain. Option 2 is maybe 200 feet.

      I think the main advantage of option 1 is that is that half of the transferring pedestrians don’t have to cross Brooklyn.

  9. They were really pushing Option 2 at the meeting. It was apparent that the audience was not sold.

    1. I sort of felt that way too, thinking that this $10 million estimate has the potential to grow once the shoves start digging, but the more I think about it, the less I like the single mid-block entrance.

    2. Why shouldn’t they have a preference? They’re the ones who have to deal with the consequences of whichever option gets chosen. Less construction risk, a wider buffer around the station box, and lower cost are significant advantages for them. Don’t forget that an unexpected problem could appear during construction, like the ground shifting and collapsing above Beacon Hill station. That could prevent the station or even North Link from opening on time, which would be worse than having a smaller and slightly less convenient station.

      1. I think it certainly is reasonable for ST to like one over the other, but it looks like they are mostly taking into account, as you said, the things they have to deal with. Well as a group we are the people that will use this station and rightly I and most people have a preference for a station that is that is the most user friendly.

        This also follows a trend of lack of concern on ST’s part about pedestrian access. Just look at the UW station, Mt. Baker, Northgate, or the future Overlake station. All of them really have failed to meet the needs of pedestrians and mostly because ST wants to save a few million.

      2. And why does ST want to save a few millions? Because of all these people who want to pay little taxes, who think ST is a total waste and should be abolished, and who will be screaming if there are any cost overruns.

      3. Oh add the Hospital Station too that as well. They aren’t moving forward with the station that bridges NE 8th, which from an access perspective is great. I’m not 100% sure though how it affects walking to the Overlake Hospital. I think it is neutral but I’m not 100% sure.

      4. Mike that is fine. They are responsible to do what they think is best but we as users shouldn’t just rubber stamp what they want to do.

  10. this area needs some serious urban design attention. many of the streets around this station are traffic sewers especially 45th. plus many have abysmal streetscapes

    1. Redevelopment was mentioned (Option 1 offers about 10% more opportunity for redevelopment ground-to-sky under current zoning classifications), but we won’t be able to meaningfully discuss specifics until a few years before the station opens.

  11. What is the critical path of North Link? It almost always is the tunneling. If that is the case the additional construction time is noteworthy but not a deal breaker.

    As I have said before ST is building a multi-billion dollar transit system that is going to last for hundreds of years. ST can’t start skimping on one of the most used stations because it save a fraction of the cost for just that one station and is less risky.

    What is more frustrating is that it feels ST is consistently skimping when it comes to pedestrian access to stations. ST needs to understand that access to stations, especially at high ridership stations is very important. It’s not a luxury.

    1. I absolutely agree that Sound Transit skimps on station access.

      > the University of Washington Station, Beacon Hill, and Mount Baker have only
      > one entrance.

      This statement by Sound Transit reads to me like “We have skimped on station design at the other stations. You guys should just get used to it.”

      1. Agreed, and essentially what I wrote in my public comment on the design. This station is hugely important for transfers and UW access, and needs (as Jonathan says below) great visibility on the arterials, and 43rd. I don’t see how Option #2 gets that.

      2. I dislike that they’re even making that comparison. Husky Stadium and Beacon Hill are perfectly logical choices for single-entrance stations, as they face prominent thoroughfares with 360-degree access and visibility. Mount Baker is elevated, prominent, and faces onto a major intersection, albeit with less access from the rear. Brooklyn, despite being in a very busy area, is not a busy street—the bustle of the streets only a block to the north and east make Brooklyn into a blind spot. I don’t think it’s logistically comparable to existing single-entrance stations in the slightest, so I think the argument that other stations also have single entrances should be rejected as immaterial.

      3. Those were just pointed out in the Q&A period, I don’t think they are official justifications for building a single entrance station.

      4. Yeah, Brooklyn Station is a bit too invisible to have a single entrance. Between the Ave and the campus, there will be a massive human train on 43rd if Option 2 is chosen.

    2. The ST reps were pretty cagey about the scale of Option 2’s savings relative to the overall project. The slide made no mention of [the overall construction timeline](; someone asked about that in the Q&A, and the speaker mentioned the timeline poster in the back of the room. But he then (thankfully) mentioned the Brooklyn station project is expected to take about 7 years.

      We’re talking 5 months out of 7 years here. The time savings is immaterial.

      No mention was made about the cost of Brooklyn Station, so the “$10 million less” figure is meaningless without context.

      1. I think the speaker said the cost difference was 10%. But he noted that it’s still early design and most costs are not known yet. They’re just going with the basic construction cost of any station this size, not including idiosyncratic site costs that will become clear when engineering is further along.

      2. @Mike The posters say 10 million. If 10 million is 10% then the station is much less expensive than I expected.

      3. As I tried to say, this figure is just the fixed, generic costs. The total cost of the station will be higher, but they don’t know how much because the engineering hasn’t been done yet.

        (This does make me wonder how likely it is that the unknown costs might change or even reverse the net cost ratio of the two bids, and thus whether these figures may be irrelevant anyway.)

  12. Is there any engineering reason that the stations have to be aligned with the street grid? I can’t think of any reason why you couldn’t make the station a little crooked in relation to the streets above. What if you were to rotate Option #1 counterclockwise a little bit, maybe five or ten degrees. If you went too far you’d run into problems with the Safeco Tower’s foundation I imagine, but maybe there’s a happy medium where you could pick up a little more room between the station and the Neptune, and thereby make it less risky. I wonder if anyone’s thought of that?

    1. It is conceivable for stations not to be aligned with the street grid, but Option #1 could not be rotated even 1%, as the width for the rectangular station box consumes the entire width between the foundation walls of existing buildings, and those are aligned with Brooklyn Ave.

    2. They gave two numbers, one of which I missed. The first was the width of the station box: 66 feet. The second was the width they’d have between the foundations of the buildings on either side of Brooklyn. I believe it was 77 feet–it was definitely between 70 and 79.

      Since it’s cut and cover, you need to shore either side, and this only gives them a few feet on either side.

  13. Option #1 has a shorter walk to buses and the UW campus and much greater visibility to many tens of thousands of pedestrians, bus riders, and drivers every day.

    Option #2 is invisible from the Ave., 45th and 43rd Streets, to say nothing of 15th Ave., all of which are major transit throroughfares. It’s completely hidden from the campus. Mid-block on Brooklyn is where you put something you want to hide. We need significant visual presence for this station on 45th and 43rd, day and night, regardless of which option is chosen.

    Option #2 is not without some benefits. It offers a single elevator ride from street level to the platform, whereas Option #1 requires two elevator rides for both entrances, as is the case in the DSTT.

    Although the walk to buses is longer for Option #2, there’s another signalized street crossing (Brooklyn Ave.) for E-W bus connections on 45th. This could potentially be mitigated by closing Brooklyn to vehicular traffic.

    The $10M cost difference is digital dust in the big scheme of things and should not drive this decision, though it probably will.

      1. As ST said, it’s not their decision since it’s SDOT’s street. They can certainly persuade SDOT one way or another, but ultimately it’s SDOT that will decide what (if anything) to do with it.

  14. Build option #2 with the entrances from option #1. Problem solved. They did a similar layout with the Capitol Hill station, just copy & paste.

    I think it’s critical to have entrances on the street and not hiding in the middle of some TOD where no one will find them without searching. 43rd is a main connection to the UW and 45th has buses, seems pretty simple to figure out where the entrances should be.

      1. Duh. You don’t remember how many iterations the Capitol Hill station went through before they settled on the final design? It would surprise me if the North Link stations don’t go through a similar process.

      2. So make more options. It is really really normal to create “hybrid options” in response to community feedback.

  15. Apparently Sound Transit originally wanted to demolish the Neptune Theater to make all this easier. I am glad that didn’t happen, even if it makes for a tight fit. Option 1 is definitely the best, but ST is extremely risk-averse and cost-sensitive. We need to be very vocal about this. I would also echo someone else’s comment that it is about time ST allowed concessions at stations. These sterile, lifeless stations are lame.

    1. Yeah, it’d be nice to be able to get a snack or a newspaper while waiting for the train. Maybe they’re worried about litter? I suppose you could always hire a few extra janitors and build the cost into the vendor’s leases.

      1. They might be taking a cue from WMATA, which bans all food and drink on the DC Metro to avoid vermin.

    2. It’s good the Neptune building is staying, but did I read somewhere that the Neptune Theater is closing in a year? Maybe I just imagined reading it, but tt wouldn’t surprise me because all other large one-screen theaters have closed except the Egyptian, it must be an expensive space to maintain, and with the recession and Internet people aren’t going to movies like they used to.

    3. I’ll settle for restrooms at the stations. It seems like Seattle wants to force everyone to buy something in order to answer nature’s call.

      1. I’d really like to see more public restrooms in Seattle. It might keep all of our alleys from smelling like piss.

        We don’t even have to build them publicly, just offer tax breaks to businesses that provide them. Businessmen will do anything for a tax break.

    4. I heard something a while ago about them not allowing concessions on tr mezzanines because of some kind of safety concerns. I seem to remember it being something about concessions hindering safe and fast evacuation from the station.

      1. That sounds ridiculously bogus. No-one’s suggesting we turn the Mezzanines into a middle-eastern bazaar. Maybe I’ll ask ST on twitter.

  16. I prefer Option 2, because of the reduced risk, lower cost and direct elevator from surface to platform. I also am in favor of turning Brooklyn into a pedestrian plaza between 45th and 43rd to accomodate large scale bicycle parking, & greenspace. I think Metro could move the eastbound bus stop on 45th to the entrance to this pedestrian plaza making the connection closer. I live and work in this immediate vicinity and would like to see mid block Brooklyn become an attractive, transit friendly destination.

    The Neptune has been purchased by the Seattle Theatre Group who will be converting it to a live performance venue, for music, comedy, theatre and the occasional film screening. A pedestrian plaza would be very handy for those sold out shows with long queues that will wrap around the block.

    1. Sound Transit already has provisions for covered bicycle parking in both options. Also, it is not ST’s decision as to what to do with Brooklyn Ave after construction.

  17. All the arguments I’ve seen about the entrance location(s) seem to assume that trips will only begin at this station. If your trip ends at this station, you’re exiting the station and you know exactly where it is since you’re coming out. A bit of signage might be needed to jog your memory for the return trip, but you know the station exists because you came from there.

    1. Tim,

      The signage issue has always been a problem with tunnel stations. The entrances are quite difficult to find, unless you’ve already come out, and paid attention to what the exit looked like from the outside.

      There are several tunnel entrances downtown I still don’t know how to find, and I’ve been here 12 years.

      1. You’re right about that, those tunnel entrances are pretty difficult to spot, even when you’re looking for them. I’ve made an effort to find them all, and even still I have trouble.

      2. I’m with Brent on this. I’ve lived here since before the bus tunnel opened and I still have to think about where a couple of the entrances are. Especially the NW entrance to Pioneer Square. This is somewhat ironic as the other two entrances are the easiest to spot of any of the underground stations.

      3. Tim,

        What if I’m not near the tunnel entrance I know about? Personally, I don’t spend a lot of time downtown. The only tunnel entrances I know the location of are two at Westlake and the ones at IDS. I know the other for University Street and Pioneer Square exist, but haven’t a clue where they are. While I could do some hunting on Google, that’s a big barrier to a lot of people who aren’t willing (or able) to make that effort. If people can’t find, or don’t know about, the stations then they’re probably not likely to use the transit available inside.

      4. David–it sounds like the only stations you disembark from are Westlake and IDS. If you’re not ever in the area of University or Pioneer Square, why would you need to know where they are?

      5. David, at Pioneer Square; the entrance is at 3rd & Yessler. At University Street; it’s in Benaroya Hall entrance hall on the University Street end and another on 2nd & University.

  18. The biggest problem with the station is that it’s too far west. Most pedestrians are coming from University Way, 15th, and campus. However, turning 43rd into a festival street could mitigate that. That would be a good case for a LID to make sure the improvements are more substantial than Othello Street and Lander Street turned out.

    The difference between one entrance or two is less than the difference between locating the station at Brooklyn vs under the U Bookstore. So let’s not get too agitated about whether the entrance is on one side or another.

    I like the two entrance alternative better. It’s not only physically closer to people’s destinations but also psychologically closer. It makes the station seem closer if you’re just walking “to 43rd” or “to 45th” as opposed to “go around the Brooklyn corner and then another block to 44th”. If you’re coming from campus or 52nd or 7th, that one block can make a difference in how far it seems.

    The visibility problem can be mitigated by large signs. In fact, with a pretty walkway and faux entrances (e.g., archways) at 43rd and 45th, it can give the psychological impression that you’re already “at the station” when you turn off those streets. That could give some of the benefits of two entrances at lower cost (and construction risk). One problem though is the wind tunnel on Brooklyn, but again that could be mitigated.

    1. Have you ever been on the UW campus? Walking two blocks is nothing.

      You should look at the North Link EIS–many other locations were considered but rejected for various reasons.

      Also, there is no 44th.

    2. Yeah I’ve been thinking about the possibility of making 43rd from 15th to Brooklyn pedestrian-only for a while. Along with making it feel much easier to get from Campus and the Ave to the station, it would allow lots of extra space for bike parking (for people going to the station or just going to the Ave – bike parking on the Ave right now is far too limited), give extra space for sidewalk cafes and vendors, and make it easier to walk along the Ave, as you wouldn’t have to wait for the light just so one or two cars can cross. Closing 43rd is much better than closing Brooklyn, since 43rd has/will have the critical mass of pedestrians to support a plaza while Brooklyn doesn’t and probably won’t.

      1. That would make the left turn lane that SDOT is putting in on 15th pretty pointless.

        And bicycle parking is only an option outside the hippie veggie buffet place at 43rd/The Ave. Especially on Friday nights, where you’ll commonly see a dozen hippie roadsters locked up to each other on one rack.

      2. That would make the left turn lane that SDOT is putting in on 15th pretty pointless.

        Oh come on, it wouldn’t be Seattle if we didn’t change our minds and do something totally different every five years.

        Actually, this station is nine years out so it’s not like it would be a total waste.

  19. Does anyone else find it odd that the option 2 station is significantly shorter (and wider) than the option 1 station? I can understand the width somewhat, since that’s the reason for the shift, but the length? Is it for maintenance/vent space or something? It’s not like the Link trains will be shorter depending on the station design. :)

    1. This graphic should answer your question.

      Also, Option 2 has columns (not shown) in the center of the platform, effectively reducing the square feet of the platform making it nearly the same as Option 1. The width of the entire station, and thus the platform, is limited in Option 1 due to the width of the street.

      1. Ah, got it. I’d forgotten about the (invisible) columns, and overlooked that there’d have to be width to comfortably walk *around* the elevator shafts in the middle of the platform.

  20. After careful thought, I prefer option 2.

    Transfers are not a huge concern at this location. Most of the nearby buses are ones that duplicate the service, not branching. The only major likely transfer is from the 44. Metro’s not likely to move the stops on 45th; they’re carefully placed where they are due to extremely limited room in the ROW. So with that in mind, the entrance to Option 2 eliminates a street crossing vs. Option 1, at the expense of a slightly longer walk. I’ll take the extra 30 seconds of walk time any day.

    Due to the depth of the station and the length of the switchbacking escalators, there’s likely to be heavy use of the elevators in either option. Seriously, screw that escalator ride. The twin direct elevators in option 2 will provide much better service than the 4 distributed elevators in option 1, for the mobility-impaired and able-bodied alike. This could possibly regain some of that lost 30 seconds of walk time.

    And seriously, making the mobility-impaired transfer elevators is really a dick move, although the distance from one to the next isn’t that bad.

    I really do think 2 is a good option. Signage is all that’s needed.

    1. I have to say, I disagree on every single point. This is going to be a pretty big transfer station, probably the biggest outside of downtown. The 66 and 71/2/3 expresses will almost certainly be truncated at the U-District so there’s thousands of guaranteed transfers a day. The 44, 48, 49, and 70 (which might become a streetcar) are all very busy routes and they extend the catchment area for this station out to Fremont and Maple Leaf and down to the northern part of Eastlake and extreme north Capitol Hill.

      I’m also puzzled that you’re willing to all force all the passengers walk an extra 30 seconds across a street, but you consider making the mobility impaired change elevators a “dick move;” I would think that description more appropriate to the former. I have never taken an elevator on any Link station (except Beacon Hill) and I suspect I am in a majority in that respect.

      I really do think 2 is a bad option. Your reasons for saying otherwise baffle me.

      1. The bulk of the ridership on routes 71, 72, and 73 are between NE 50th and downtown. Do not expect them to contain the same ridership after they are truncated at Brooklyn station as they’ll turn into feeder routes instead of trunk routes.

        Route 48 will essentially be a fill route in between Link stations. While it doesn’t follow the route exactly, it will come pretty darn close once we get this portion of North Link and East Link open. Roosevelt, Brooklyn, Husky Stadium, Capitol Hill (sorta), Rainier, and Mount Baker. I can’t imagine there will be a lot of passengers transferring to Link via Brooklyn station since it’s roughly halfway between Husky Stadium and Roosevelt.

        Route 44? Again, you have the other station at its eastern terminus, and you won’t get too far past Wallingford before it gets faster to take 16/26/15/17/etc downtown.

        49’s northern terminal is a block from Brooklyn Station. And then it passes by Husky Stadium station. If you’re coming from south of the Ship Canal, it’d make much more sense to transfer to HSS than Brooklyn.

      2. “Route 44? Again, you have the other station at its eastern terminus, and you won’t get too far past Wallingford before it gets faster to take 16/26/15/17/etc downtown.”

        By the time Brooklyn Station is open, perhaps it would make better sense to run the 44 further east on NE 45th to serve U-Village and Children’s Hospital. There are probably plenty of riders that aren’t interested in going downtown.

      3. By the time Brooklyn Station is open, perhaps it would make better sense to run the 44 further east on NE 45th to serve U-Village and Children’s Hospital. There are probably plenty of riders that aren’t interested in going downtown.

        Or they could use routes 25, 30, 65, 68, 75, or 372.

      4. How about one frequent route that serves NW 45th/NE 45th between Market St. and Sand Point Way? Those others you suggest go all over the place.

      5. Granted, of course, many of the riders now on the 7xX busses will not transfer, but Brooklyn is still closer to a lot of the busiest bus routes and we should optimize this station for transfer access, which also happens to optimize pedestrian access generally. I really struggle to see anything good about Option 2 except cost and the single-elevator issue, and I do not find those persuasive.

        This is something of a tangent, but I’d actually argue that the best bus-equivalent route to Link is actually the 7+43+north half of 66. I wonder whether, once Link is well-established, it would be worth running night busses on that alignment, maybe even down as far as SeaTac, with a timed transfer to Line A night service. Just an idea that popped into my head.

      6. Metro apparently doesn’t think there’s a market for night bus service past NE 80th; otherwise, the bus you described does exist, as both route 7 and route 83 (and to a minor extent, 280).

      7. How about one frequent route that serves NW 45th/NE 45th between Market St. and Sand Point Way? Those others you suggest go all over the place.

        Is there high enough demand to add wire all the way down 45th? Or can you just simply transfer to one of those routes that do go down 45th east of 15th?

      8. I don’t personally have a need to go between Ballard and Children’s. The point is, such a route would be useful for many trip pairs, would be very easy to understand, and with the connection to light rail, add lots more useful trip pairs.

        I wasn’t considering that it’s currently a trolleybus route. An even better idea would be to co-opt route number 45 for this.

      9. Route 75 already goes from the U District to U VIllage to Children’s, and has 15-minute frequency during peak between UW and Lake City. All you’d have to do is make it more frequent at other times of day, and extend the terminus north a couple blocks to Brooklyn Station.

      10. I’m not forcing transfers to walk 30 seconds across a street; I’m forcing them to walk 30 seconds to NOT cross a street. The station entrance would be on the East side of Brooklyn, as are all the bus stops. I strongly believe it’s better to have a half-block walk than a street crossing. And if you are coming from the West, there’s a mid-block crosswalk right there already, basically in front of the proposed station.

        I can’t vouch for the other routes, but as a regular 48 rider, I’d be more likely to transfer at the Roosevelt station, UW station, or Mt. Baker station, depending on my destination. As for the truncated routes, there’s plenty of room on Brooklyn for their new terminus. The station entrance is going to nix the parking structure (and its driveway), giving a half block of uninterrupted pull-out space on either side the road.

        Also, the single entrance can be made more noticeable than the 2 small entrances. Look at what happened with the DSTT, where just about every station has 4 different entrances – great path efficiency, but infrequent riders wander around aboveground looking for the tiny, unobtrusive entrances. With a single, large entrance, it can made into something that is visually obvious as the entrance to a transit station, even if you’re looking from far away.

      11. I expect the 66 not to be merely “truncated”, but replaced with doubled 67 frequency. The 67 is basically the “north half of the 66” except it diverts down Campus Parkway and the campus to become the 65. In so doing, it passes by Rainier Vista, where it’ll be a straight shot to UW station.

        The 49 will become MUCH less popular once North Link and the First Hill Streetcar open. Its main purpose will be to serve 10th Ave E; I’m not sure it’d even still go to the U-District at all, or stay on trolley wires. I could see it completely replaced with some completely new kind of route, possibly connecting to 12th Ave service.

        There isn’t really a route that approximates the 43; the 83 is a straight shot down Eastlake (but it does go to 65th and 15th). The 49 does have one 2:15 trip. My thinking is that the 82 is a more logical choice to serve Northgate, especially if you want night service to Lake City too; keep in mind the night buses need to be back downtown by 3:30 to start another run. On another thread (the proposed Rainier Valley revamp?) I suggested turning the late-night 7 into the 87, running on a loop on Rainier and MLK, better approximating Link’s route.

        As mentioned, Brooklyn Station will never be a good terminus, but Frat Row does deserve better service than the 25, a.k.a. the “Neighborhoods That Never Ride The Bus” route. I would ride the 75 more often if it ran closer to 45th rather than terminate at Campus Parkway – perhaps use the loop currently used by the 43 and 49, or through-route it with what’s currently the 30? (I can’t imagine the path down 50th and Ravenna is very high-ridership; the main problem would be near Hawthorne Hills, a.k.a. Neighborhoods That Never Ride The Bus.) Or even merge it with the 44 to make it a closed loop!

        Metro doesn’t like reusing numbers ever – witness the 6. That hurts both the 45 and 65 ideas (and the 100 doesn’t even fit Metro’s route numbering scheme). The north part of the 75 is pretty much already the “100”, save the NSCC diversion, and the “65” is basically the proposal a lot of people have proposed for merging the 48’s Loyal Heights leg with the 71’s View Ridge leg.

    2. Tim said “[route 45] The Queen Anne–U-District peak-only route?”

      Yes, the one that has a total of seven trips per day. Replace it by some other route (or eliminate it if it’s not particularly productive), then in a few years, after everyone has forgotten where it went, put it on 45th, end-to-end. Use a route 65 to serve Roosevelt station east-west and route 100 to serve Northgate station along Northgate Way.

      ericn said “Route 75 already goes from the U District to U VIllage to Children’s, and has 15-minute frequency during peak between UW and Lake City. All you’d have to do is make it more frequent at other times of day, and extend the terminus north a couple blocks to Brooklyn Station.”

      What’s so hard to understand about a route that travels down a busy street from one end to the other? At the ends you could go a ways into some neighborhood if it was useful, but the point is to start at one end of the street, go to the end, turn around and go back. Terminating a route at a high transfer location like the station doesn’t make any sense when the direction of travel of the bus is orthogonal to the diretion of travel of the train. Some riders will have destinations in mind beyond the train station.

      Coming back to this point: “Is there high enough demand to add wire all the way down 45th? Or can you just simply transfer to one of those routes that do go down 45th east of 15th?”

      It occurs to me that there might be issues with installing trolley wire on the viaduct. Would a hybrid ETB have enough juice to get from the end of the wire as far as Children’s? Would it have enough oomph to get back up the hill?

      1. Or just use route 30 as it currently solves all the “problems” you describe. The only thing it doesn’t do is come as close as it could to Children’s, but if you run it down 40th Ave between 55th and Sand Point Way, you could have stops just outside the hospital. This routing would only shaft the stop pair at 45th Ave, as the other stop pairs at 40th Ave/55th and 55th/Princeton would esentially just move a block south.

      2. Tim, I don’t think you’re fully comprehending the problem I’m trying to solve. Repeat this mantra:

        grid-based network
        frequent service
        no timetables/route maps needed

      3. I think you’re trying to have one seat grid networks. The U-District is a transportation hub, and I don’t see any problem with having a transfer in the U-District.

        Route 30 does travel East-West as you suggest an extended 44 would.

      4. Route 30 goes all over the effin place. In a grid-based network, if I want to get from the U-District to Fremont or Queen Anne, why shouldn’t I take one route on 45th to Stone Way or Phinney Ave, then some other route to the destination? One-seat grid-based network is a non-sequitir.

      5. You’re obviously not from the area. 45th/46th has many lights and can back up during peak. 40th has few lights and doesn’t back up nearly as far.

        And, if you wanted to do that, you could. Take route 5, 15, 17, 358, or one of the many other routes to 46th and hop on a 44. It’ll take you significantly longer, but hey, you’ve got your “efficient” grid.

  21. Does option 2 really mean that the bored tunnels to the north and south will be under private property rather than the street right-of-way? That seems like it’d add significant lawsuit risk. Or am I missing something?

    1. The tubes will be in the same place regardless of which option is chosen. The two options only place the station box a few feet away from each other.

      The tubes can’t follow the street right of way the entire path between stations as that would require too many sharp angles. Check out this map and this map.

      Sound Transit purchases right-of-way underneath the properties that the tunnels pass under. There’s a more specific term for it, but the name escapes me.

  22. I like the two-exit plan because it has a better walkshed (in addition to better options for bus connections, should Metro decide to allow buses to connect to it).

    RBS would have been better moved north, to have useful exits at both ends. MBS would have been better, and safer, with elevators at both ends of a center platform, rather than forcing most riders to exit down the stairs at the far-south end of the station. Ditto TIBS.

    In case of fire or other catastrophe, two emergency exits are better than one. I’d hate to see some freak accident happen that leads to dozens of people being trampled/crushed in a stampede into a dead end. We’ve seen too many such freak accidents in dark, crowded facilities.

    Of course, there’s always the possibility that ST is just playing us here, by pushing one obviously inferior option in order to goad us into bringing the political pressure to get them to choose the better option…

  23. What about the Option 2 box with the entrance moved to 43rd? That would be better for the southeast where the largest number of riders are, although of course it would be worse for the west and north.

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