by TIM BOND
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 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 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…
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.
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.