by TIM BOND

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On Tuesday Sound Transit held an open house for Northgate Station. Northgate Station is the northernmost station of North Link, which will stop at Roosevelt and Brooklyn stations before connecting to U-Link. This $1.35 billion (2010 dollars) ST2-funded extension is expected to open in 2021. Northgate station alone is expected to add 15,000 daily boardings by 2030; the entire North Link segment is expected to add 62,000 daily boardings. Both numbers assume a full ST2 buildout to Lynnwood.

The alignment consists of 3.3 miles of twin bored tunnels and one mile of retained cut/fill and elevated tracks. The cut/fill section will be very similar to the segment that currently parallels I-5. Previously the alignment was to transition from below to at grade at NE 75th, however last year Sound Transit revised this moving it north to NE 85th which will save approximately $10 million. The retained cut/fill section will parallel I-5 and will become elevated at NE 95th and will continue to the elevated station to be constructed just west of the Northgate Transit Center.

Lots of diagrams and details below the jump.

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The elevated station will span NE 103rd Street. A stub track will extend north over the Northgate Mall parking lot and will eventually continue to Lynnwood. The station will have two entrances—the north entrance will connect to the mall, and the south entrance to existing transit center. Sound Transit currently has 15% designs of two alternatives for the station.

Alternative 1

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The layout and access of this alternative is very similar to the existing Tukwila/International Boulevard station with a ground floor, mezzanine with Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) and a platform level. Due to the surrounding grade, there wouldn’t be a mezzanine at the north end of the station.
Alternative 2

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This alternative would not have a mezzanine forcing all the TVMs to be on the ground floor. This alternative reminded me a lot of Lougheed Town Centre Station in Vancouver, BC.

Sound Transit did not have cost differences available but noted that a station with a mezzanine would be more expensive. Having a mezzanine frees up some space on the ground floor that would otherwise be used for equipment rooms. An important note is that a proposed pedestrian bridge from North Seattle Community College (being designed by Metro) would easily connect to the mezzanine level.

The current Northgate Transit Center has 993 parking spaces. This includes some spaces from the garage shared with JCPenney and spaces in the Thornton Place garage. Sound Transit is not considering building a parking garage at any of the stations inside Seattle. Further, Metro owns the parking lots immediately surrounding the transit center and is considering redeveloping it with TOD after the station opens. Currently the zoning allows buildings of up to 125 feet.

During construction, much of the nearby parking will be used for construction staging. This includes all parking east of the transit center—including the strip of parking owned by WSDOT next to the freeway—and some parking at Northgate Mall. While Sound Transit hasn’t finalized any plans, they do intend to mitigate this loss, perhaps by leasing additional spaces from JCPenney.

While Metro’s service planners wouldn’t commit to any specific changes, they did mention that bus service changes could begin happening as early as 2012, and that the real service changes for North Link would start happening about 18 months prior to the line’s opening. The Northgate-Downtown portion of the 41 will be eliminated, but the Northgate-Lake City portion will live on.

The public comment period had comments ranging from “the station is too close to the freeway” to “the station is too far from the freeway”. Residents of Maple Leaf were concerned that they’d have to drive eight blocks to the station and suggested that the station be moved closer to their neighborhoods. Others suggested that commuters driving from Lynnwood would have to travel too far off the freeway to reach the station. Sound Transit insisted that they place stations in central locations near big attractions and where buses can easily come to drop off/pick up passengers. The station, of course, is located within spitting distance of one of the region’s largest shopping centers, which will no doubt attract thousands of riders.

Sound Transit expects to have a finalized alignment and a 30% station design this fall. You can send your comments regarding the design to Sound Transit.

113 Replies to “Northgate Open House Report”

  1. I think having the sky bridge directly tie into the station is fairly important. I wonder if a scaled down mezzanine, like a large landing, could reduce cost but allow for the sky bridge to tie in directly.

  2. Ridership for this station could take another leap forward if there was a pedestrian crossing over I-5 connecting it to North Seattle Community College, rather than assuming people will walk on Northgate Way under I-5 or uphill to NE 90th.

    1. The post says “An important note is that a proposed pedestrian bridge from North Seattle Community College (being designed by Metro) would easily connect to the mezzanine level.”

      I’m more concerned with access to the mall itself. Seems like the distance to the nearest poing (JC Penney) from the north exit is kind of far. Maybe in the next ten years or so the mall could add a building there to bridge the space?

      1. It does seem a little far, but at worst people would be exiting the station at the same place they’d be walking from if they parked a car there now.

    2. A pedestrian/bicycle bridge heading straight west from the Link station would make a huge difference for that whole area. It would be worth doing even without the Link station. The transit center and much of the commerce and employment is on the east side of I-5, while NSCC and its 18,000 students plus a residential neighborhood are on the west. The Oak Tree Village between Aurora and Stone Way is only a 2/3 mile quiet stroll to the west of the station, with the bridge. It would be great if the bridge could be completed well before the station opens, like the one across Montlake Blvd. NE at UW station.

      1. I agree, the pedestrian bridge is an important element. Also, looking at these maps makes me wish there’d be a station at 85th.

      2. Barman,

        There’s no “there” at 85th, except a strictly residential community on the upper side of the eastern freeway berm. To the west the topography falls steeply down to Wallingford with little or no pedestrian facilities provided. A station there would suffer exactly as those on the Green Line in Portland do: half the walkshed is cut off by the freeway, and the other half is of limited desirability for walkable development by the roar and fumes of the freeway.

        I’m glad they’re finally doing the obvious and connecting the Northgate TC with NSCC. It should have been done years ago.

  3. Does anyone know if the Metro handout about the I-5 pedestrian bridge is available online anywhere? I got there just as the presentation was starting and didn’t see where people had picked those up. Haven’t found them online with some casual searching either.

  4. Metro is NOT designing the ped bridge. King County is very supportive of the ped bridge and has been working with North Seattle CC and others to seek funding.

    1. Given the terrain (I-5 sits on top of a 30-foot earthen berm at 100th), a tunnel under the freeway would be a far more pleasant walk. Any elevated crossing would involve climbing 4 stories. An awful lot of NSCC students would rather wait for one of the 5 decent-frequency bus routes out of NTC that go directly past NSCC.

      1. We all know how efficient, reliable, and clean public elevators are. Just look at Westlake!

      2. I second the call for a tunnel underneath the berm. At least cost it out. It may be a better, faster connection. Elevators add much more operating expense to the path.

  5. I wonder if there has been any thought of extending 100th Street over I-5 so it could help alleviate stress on Northgate Way and provide pedestrian access from the west side of I-5.

    1. I think that’s exactly how Bellevue would solve this problem. They’d punch through N 100th and/or N 103rd, add direct access HOV ramps to and from the north on I-5, and zone for 400 feet on both sides :)

      1. A slightly pricier solution could involve lidding I-5 all the way through north Seattle. ;)

      2. As much as many of us gripe about Bellevue dragging out East Link you have to admire how bold and fearless they are when it comes to things like rezoning (especially for taller buildings) or building new crossings and interchanges for a freeway.

        Seattle could really stand to fix the mess I-5 made of the street grid. Furthermore there is really no reason not to zone the area around stations for 400′ towers.

      3. you have to admire how bold and fearless [Bellevue is] when it comes to things like rezoning (especially for taller buildings) or building new crossings and interchanges for a freeway.

        I’m not sure admire is the right word. There’s plenty of fighting in Bellevue over freeway ramps; not 405 so much but big time on 520. And the rezoning for height is pretty easy since it’s in light industrial areas. The 405 issue in Bellevue is relatively easy since the freeway was a reality before Belleuve had tall buildings. In Seattle a trough was carved through an existing city. Also, as freeways reach capacity it’s important to remember that on/off ramps create problems. Seattle is being bold in moving toward eliminating some of the I-5 access in DT; it really does make access better.

      4. Bernie,
        I must admit I’m not a fan of the freeway ramps other than the HOV/Transit ramps on 6th. On the other hand I like that Bellevue is bridging most of the major streets across I-405 through downtown. It helps both the local traffic and pedestrian/bike access.

        As for zoning/land use Bellvue has been much bolder over the past 20 years than Seattle has been. I’m not just talking downtown or Bel-Red (though Bellevue has allowed the towers to encroach on areas that used to be SF), but the city as a whole.

        To loop back if Bellevue was in charge of the Northgate Urban Center they would put a new I-5 overpass in at 100th NE and zone most of the land inside the urban center for much higher densities than the City of Seattle currently allows.

    2. A good deal of the Northgate Way congestion is due to the I-5 ramps at that location, not due to a real east-west capacity issue. Still, any way to punch across the freeway and reconnect the neighborhoods is a good one.

      That said, extending it over I-5 would be a tricky project.

      The highway sits up on top of a several story high earthen berm, so any elevated crossing would have a very steep grade from 1st Ave. Just eyeballing the measurements, it’d have to be close to a 40% grade – impossible without an expensive spiral ramp, a la 3rd & Royal Brougham. You could take the edge off by elevating 1st ave near the intersection, but you’d cut off the surrounding businesses, Underground Seattle style.

      Cutting under the freeway would be the most reasonable solution, but is not without it’s own complications. First, you’d have to build 12 lanes of overpass to support for I-5 where you’re digging (expensive). Then, you have to deal with the express-lane on/offramp, which starts to drop down into a retained-cut under the northbound mainline right around that area, and might interfere with an underpass.

      So basically, reconnecting 100th would be quite a megaproject for the city. Although its sidewalks would provide an excellent pedestrian route to NSCC.

    3. Are there any low overhangs in the potential paths for CT double deckers should CT want to terminate their commuter routes at Northgate Station?

      For that matter, I think ST double deckers would be cool, too. Tourists need 2-way service.

      1. Although the Alexander Dennis double-deckers are attractive as commuter buses, CT has had a ton of problems with them so far. Their operation service hours to breakdown ratio is not good. But I think Alexander Dennis is pretty set on making things right. Maybe we’ll see ST use them someday, but they don’t even use the MCIs north of Seattle.

  6. This can’t be right:

    “… 18 months prior to the line’s opening… The Northgate-Downtown portion of the 41 will be eliminated…”

    1. No, those are separate. We could see additional service on, say, route 67 that early, but route 41’s downtown portion won’t go away until trains are in revenue service.

  7. They said the pedestrian bridge depends on a HUD grant for funding. A few people spoke up to stress the importance of the bridge, including somebody who lived near the college who said it would benefit the whole neighborhood. There was general concern that east-west connections to the station from the Meridian and Maple Leaf areas need to be improved. I mentioned that the bridge would also allow the 75 to avoid the College Way detour, which is significantly increasing its crosstown travel time.

    One person was concerned that ST wasn’t considering alternative sites enough such as Northgate Way or 5th Ave NE, and was focusing too much on current traffic patterns rather than on future patterns over the station’s lifetime. But he didn’t mention any specifics. Somebody else said ST did hold neighborhood brainstorm meetings in the past, and the station location is in fact right where the community had said was the best place for it. One of the officials mentioned that the station had to be next to the bus transit center to facilitate transfers, implying that it would be hard to re-site the transit center and parking.

    1. You did a better job than I at deciphering that guy. I was near the front and could hardly understand him.

  8. the path of routes 5, 75, 345, and 346 via North 92nd Street is more reliable than using NE Northgate Way, as the latter is congested with I-5 interchange traffic; the current routing provides access to NSCC that generates significant ridership.

    1. “8 trips per hour” from Northgate TC to NSCC is what the service planner quoted. He didn’t say how many hours of the day have those headways.

      1. Well, it’s certainly more than that if you don’t care which way you go. I think with the 16, it’s more like 11 trips per hour today. At night, I think it goes down to 4 or 5.

    2. The current paths of routes 5, 75, 345 and 346 may be reliable, but they’re slow enough so that travel time from Meridian to 5th Ave along Northgate way is actually considerably faster if you get out and walk.

      If we want buses that offer travel that is time-competitive with a car, we need buses going straight through down Northgate way, not meandering off on side streets and transit center bus bays.

      A lot of the unreliability of the 16 on Northgate way is the uncertainty of how many cycles it has to wait for the light to make the left turn onto Meridian. Buses going straight won’t have to deal with this. There is also, of course, the option for signal priority to make travel times even more reliable.

      In order for a 75 going straight through on Northgate Way to provide good connections to the station, we need the north entrance of the station to be as far north as possible, to minimize the connection distance.

      Nevertheless, the top priority in designing bus routes needs to be directness and frequency. If people transferring from 75->Link have to make a 3-5 minute walk to connect, that’s not such a big deal. If everyone going East->West across the area has to suffer a 10-minute minimum delay (currently, it’s more like 15-20 minutes), this is a huge deal, as you effectively limit your ridership to people either going to the mall or transferring to Link, as this arrangement guarantees that virtually everyone else will be driving a car instead.

      1. Eric, can’t the 75 still serve the Link station if it hangs a right on 1st Ave N to get to the Transit Center?

      2. It can, but not without causing significant delays for through riders.

        Here’s the numbers and I don’t think it’s worth it:

        – People going to/from the station:
        – 3 min. on bus vs. 7 minutes walking (a 4 minute savings)

        – People going to the mall:
        – 3 min. delay because you have to ride to the south end of the mall before you can get off.

        – People going on through:
        – 6 min. delay because the bus has to go south and then back north again. (I’m not counting the time loading and unloading passengers here, because the bus would still need to stop for that, regardless).

        Conclusion: If you really believe that more than half the people traveling East/West on Northgate Way want to turn south at I-5, this detour makes sense. Otherwise, it does not make sense.

        To get an idea of where people are actually going, stand at the corner of Northgate Way and I-5 and observe what percentage of the cars are turning south onto I-5 vs. going straight. While the percentage of cars turning south is certainly far from trivial, it is not the majority.

        A couple more points that also encourage the staight-through route:

        1) The straight-through route means that the end-to-end travel time of the bus is less, which means each trip consumes less money on fuel, wear-and-tear on the bus, and driver pay. This means that the same budget can allow the bus to run more frequently, reducing wait time.

        2) The above time calculations assume that human-powered transport is limited to a 3 mph walk. The reality is, it’s not. Even if the bus goes straight through, you always have the option to turn the 7 minute walk into a 3 minute run or a 2 minute bike ride without inconveniencing everyone else.

      3. I think much of the E-W traffic is trying to get to 99. But that’s just an educated guess.

        Walking along Northgate Way is not a pleasant experience. I do it frequently enough for the very reason you state—it’s a lot faster to get to the Best Buy if I get off at Meridian and walk. But I’ve gotten drenched far too many times from that.

        Continuing to 1st Ave and stopping at a pullout just south of Northgate Way would serve the Northgate Way and north-end-of-the-mall customers. (A similar stop exists on the other side of the mall on 5th Ave). Then the transit center stop would serve the south end of the mall/adjacent commercial, and a pedestrian bridge would serve NSCC.

      4. Kyle, I completely agree about the walk under I-5. I used to live in an apartment complex just off Meridian and Northgate Way, and I absolutely hated the walk to the mall area. It was almost worth it to catch a 16 just to go one stop to get to Target.

        I wonder if buses could use that circular drive at the north end of the mall somehow? You know, the spot where the underground delivery road empties out, and there is a landscaped area? That would be great as a bus stop for buses heading east. I’m stumped for something similar for buses heading west, though, since you can’t turn left out of that area.

  9. I’d like to see it built a little further east. It would be easier to get the mall and all of the apartments/condos nearby. Some of the surface parking lots could also be converted to mixed use.

    1. Yes, all that surface parking (College included) is very ripe for being ripped out and converted to other uses.

      1. I don’t think NSCC is ready to sell off all its parking. Not everyone can or wants to take transit to school/work.

      2. Yeah, but the nice thing is that, like many other mixed use buildings in this area, they can simply add the equivalent spaces in as underground parking.

  10. the eight trips per hour is provided Monday through Saturday, about 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, Route 16 does the loop with three trips per hour in the opposite direction through the NE Northgate Way congestion.

  11. I’m delighted to read that ST is making bus access a priority for this station.

    That pedestrian bridge over I-5 really needs to happen. The loop to serve NSCC is an expensive outlay of operating hours. I hope a little more clarity can be added about how it would be funded, and who we need to lobby to make the pedestrian bridge happen. Indeed, can the pedestrian bridge be done early, independent of the station coming online?

    There also needs to be some reworking of the street grid. With more buses coming under I-5 on Northgate Way, some sort of lane priority would be in order.

    1. Expensive maybe, but what else are you going to do with the routes? They need to get to the other side of the freeway, Northgate Way is unreliable, and Metro can certainly make money off customers moving between NSCC and NTC.

      If the pedestrian bridge is going to connect to the station mezzanine, you can’t have it open before the station does. If you built it today, it would hang 25-35 feet above the ground because there is nothing to connect it to. You could build a temporary stairwell beneath it, but that would have to come down when the station is being constructed. And because of liability and security issues, you can’t open the bridge while the station is under construction.

      I don’t think you could add a bus-only lane to Northgate Way. While I don’t have numbers in front of me, I know that the segment in question carries a significant volume of cars. Taking away a lane, while definitely a good option for improving transit quality, would be politically unpopular.

      1. I don’t think it would make sense to have the bridge itself feed into the mezzanine, especially if everyone who uses the bridge then has to tap an ORCA. Many of the bridge users will not be boarding or coming from a train. I certainly wouldn’t want to see the bridge get blocked at night when the station closes down.

        Having a spur walkway from the bridge into the mezzanine might have possibilities.

      2. As for the bus lanes, I would hope the opening of Northgate Station would relieve some of that congestion. I think most Seattleites get it that bus lanes actually increase the people-carrying capacity of a road. If they don’t, then ST faces much bigger problems.

        HOV lanes might be sufficient for Northgate Way.

      3. As part of the bridge project, I think it would be good to cost out installing moving walkways, and then do a travel-time alternatives analysis to see what would suffice to justify eliminating almost-front-door service for NSCC.

      4. SeaTac/Airport station has a pedestrian bridge, and you don’t need to tap an ORCA card to use it. It closes at night because the bridge was built to serve the station, not the airport. And if we’re getting a similar service span on North Link as we have currently on Central Link, that would mean that the bridge would only be closed from 1am to 5am. I don’t think night classes go that late.

      5. Brent has it nailed. The bridge should exist to tie the community to the west of the freeway to the TC and retail core. It makes the most sense to me, now that the placement of the station is fairly clear, to design a bridge that terminates in a “T” at the east end, with the arm of the T connecting to the station remaining unbuilt. The stairs down to ground and the existing TC would be completed though.

        About the up-thread discussion of a pedestrian tunnel, it is sadly very true that such a facility would probably be used by homeless people and fairly rapidly become unacceptable to students. So, even though it’s a huge hill to climb over, the freeway crossing probably has to be aerial rather than underground.

    2. Honestly, it’s probably a faster and more reliable trip for those routes to continue to use the southern I-5 crossing at 92nd and go past NSCC, rather than to get caught up in the on/offramp traffic at the congested Northgate Way I-5 crossing.

      1. The traffic at the Northgate Way intersection is a problem. But the detour causes the bus to go south to 92nd, west, north to Northgate Way (effectively 108th), southwest (because Northgate Way goes diagonal west of Meridian). All those turns and backtrackings add up.

        The priority of factors is:
        (1) The 75 must stop at the station, or there should to be two routes, one that stops at the station and one that doesn’t. Having two routes is not cost-effective, so the 75 must stop at the station.
        (2) East-west travel time needs to be improved.
        (3) The NSCC stop. This is third priority because there are other ways to serve NSCC besides forcing all east-west riders to detour to it.

      2. The 92nd Ave crossing doesn’t really avoid the Northgate traffic jam. 5th Ave. often backs up at the traffic lights leading to Northgate way eastbound and waiting for the left turn light to go from Northgate way westbound to 5th Ave southbound can also take several cycles.

        Given this, the best we can do is:
        1) Make buses go straight through on Northgate Way
        2) Provide signal some priority (hold lights green when there’s a bus approaching)
        3) Provide frequent service so that whatever time one spends walking to the bus stop is compensated for by less wait time.
        4) Provide good signage so that people coming off the train can find the bus, and vice-versa.

  12. “Residents of Maple Leaf were concerned that they’d have to drive eight blocks to the station and suggested that the station be moved closer to their neighborhoods.”

    Gee, if only they had their OWN station… (Okay, I’ll stop beating that dead horse.)

    1. But this is a regional transportation system, not a local connector. If you want a stop nearby that you don’t have to walk very far to, grab a bus.

      1. It sounds rather foolish to build stations away from people and then tell them to take a bus to get to them. You build the station next to where the people already are. That’s how every other city does it.

        Northgate Station serves a different market than a local Maple Leaf station would.

      2. The population of “downtown” Northgate might be small, but remember King County wants to build TOD on top of the current Northgate TC.

      3. “Regional system” is the dead horse. And each new flog justifies it no better it makes it no less justifiable, no matter how predetermined a result it may be.

        Kyle is absolutely correct: it is absurd-bordering-on-perverse to build a shiny new rapid transit line and then tell people directly on the corridor to keep taking a slow, infrequent, unreliable, unappealing, totally-defeating-the-purpose bus to access it.

        This is, for the foreseeable future, Seattle’s only rapid transit corridor. There is no excuse for it not to function as a corridor.

        “But it’s too expensive to have stations anywhere but the major nodes.” Then you’re spending too much per station. Full stop.

        “It’s impossible in this day and age, in an already built-out area unlikely to see drastic immediate change.”
        No. Sorry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_Line

        Vancouver recognized the value of thoroughly serving this corridor and anywhere that can be reached from this corridor, even if some individual stations landed in less-than-major locations. They built cheaply enough that all stations could be completed (there are already calls to fill in the 2 missing ones). And the line is successful beyond the city’s wildest imagination.

        In fact, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_Line for pretty much all refutations of flawed Link-routing methodology.

        Build a “regional system” that ignores the needs of many right in its own corridor, that makes judgments about the value or priority of your ride right from the outset, and you’ve built yourself a glorified commuter railroad that will never be anything else.

      4. slow, infrequent, unreliable, unappealing, totally-defeating-the-purpose bus

        Pics or it didn’t happen.

        And the line is successful beyond the city’s wildest imagination.

        Apples to oranges. Public-private.

        you’ve built yourself a glorified commuter railroad that will never be anything else.

        We’re not forcing you to ride it…or not ride it.

      5. The big difference between Link and commuter rail: with link, stops are about 2 miles apart, which puts everyone along the line within a 15-20 minute walk (or a 4-5 minute bike ride) of some stop. With commuter rail, the stops are much further apart, so station access for people living in between stations is a much bigger problem. For example, if Link were commuter rail, there would have been stops at downtown, U-district, maybe Northgate, and then Lynnwood, with nothing else in between.

        There is always a balance between providing fast service and providing service that goes close to where people are. I believe that for able-bodied people, a 2-mile stop interval for a rapid transit line does a pretty good job of striking that balance.

      6. “it is absurd-bordering-on-perverse to build a shiny new rapid transit line and then tell people directly on the corridor to keep taking a slow, infrequent, unreliable, unappealing, totally-defeating-the-purpose bus to access it.”

        Then add frequent buses so that people can get to the station.

        It totally irks me when I get off a train running every 10 minutes and have to wait for a bus running every 30 minutes. Examples: Arapahoe stn (north Dallas), West Lawrence stn (Toronto). That really extends the benefits of rapid transit to the surrounding neighborhood, not.

        But still, the 75 has multiple jobs, and forcing people to walk from Northgate Way to the station (5 blocks) is the opposite of a fully-connected transit network that makes people want to use it.

      7. d.p.
        You are making the mistake that bus service to stations from the surrounding area must necessarily be slow, infrequent, unreliable, and ever other adjitive that describes “crappy bus service”.

        Interesting that you use Vancouver and the Canada Line as an example. One thing you’ll note Vancouver does is run frequent grid bus service along artierials and connect the bus lines to the Canada and Expo lines at stations. This means people who are going to/from somewhere too far to walk from a skytrain station can use a bus as connecting service.

        Even in cities with very extensive rapid transit service like NYC, London, Paris, or even Tokyo there are areas that are a bit of a walk from the nearest station. Good bus service can and does fill this gap every day.

        Now I’ll grant you there is little evidence so far that Metro will get a clue and restructure to a grid rather than the slow and indirect one-seat ride everywhere and infrequent neighborhood circulator model they follow now. The key is to ensure Metro and ST restructure service appropriately to feed link rather than try to drastically change the Link alignment this late in the game.

        That said, Maple Leaf enjoys reasonably decent frequent and reliable bus service to Northgate, Roosevelt, and the University District. The only real complaint is span of service which is easier to fix if the midday weekday service is already there.

        After watching the process for both U-Link/North Link and for East Link I’m fairly convinced ST is building the best lines they can given the financial and political constraints they are given to work with. If you don’t like what they are coming up with then your efforts are much better spent changing the political and financial constraints than bitching about what they’ve come up with.

        The cheap option for a Maple Leaf Station is to drop one in at the tunnel portal at roughly 85th. This station would lose a good chunk of its walk circle to I-5 as the line is right in the freeway ROW. Beyond that the neighborhood is unlikely to support any upzones so the station is serving mostly single family with a modest level of low-density multifamily.

        The other option, though a bit too late at this point, would be an underground station at either 5th NE or Roosevelt Way. Even if you build a “cheap” station underground stations are expensive.

      8. Why is nobody willing to say “Fuck the neighborhood?”

        We’re building a multibillion dollar subway system. The mode tribes on dense, walkable communities. There is no need to simultaneously subsidize single-family living through artificially low zoning restrictions.

      9. *sigh* Of course I meant “thrives.”

        My point is that we need to start treating Link as a corridor, not an invisible line between nodes. It’s too late to move the line away from I-5, so instead we should start thinking of ways to convert the area around where the line will be into a dense, walkable neighborhood. Driving down I-5 from Lynnwood to the U District, the east side of the roadway should be uninterrupted 8-to-20-story buildings.

        But Seattle is too timid.

      10. Chris Stefan:

        “Bus service to stations from the surrounding area [can hypothetically be good].”

        Agreed. 100%. Thus my stating that the Canada Line refutes all arguments that the Link approach is the only one available under modern conditions.

        The Canada Line is able to exert such a vast gravitational influence largely because those bus services run usefully perpendicular, justifying frequent and predictable service even from a distance — the exact opposite of any proposed feeder to “cover the gaps” in Link’s corridor.

        “There is little evidence so far that Metro will get a clue…”

        You said it yourself.

        But it’s not entirely Metro’s fault. Feeders to nodes are inherently clumsier and build less demand (thus justifying less frequency) than perpendicular services to corridors. And when your stations are 2 miles apart, you’re gonna get some funky feeder routings.

        (p.s. Maple Leaf’s 15 or 30 or 60-at-night or whatever are indeed an insulting way to get to Link line that advertises its speed and convenience.)

        “Even if you build a ‘cheap’ station underground stations are expensive.”

        But man, didn’t Vancouver get a lot out of its cut-and-cover-whenever-possible decision.

        Eric:

        “The big difference between Link and commuter rail: with Link, stops are about 2 miles apart, which puts everyone along the line within a 15-20 minute walk of some stop.”

        Wrong and wrong.

        Check Metro-North. Check Metra. Check the MBTA. And yes, check BART. 2 miles apart is incredibly standard for commuter services, and leads to the exact walkshed problem you claim Link doesn’t have. In all of those places, suburban commuters drive and park, and demand for services along 2-mile-spacing lines drops precipitously in the off-hours, as it’s just not a convenient trade-off.

        2-mile spacing puts the mid-point between stations “within a 15-20 minute walk.” But if you’re 15 minutes from the corridor, now you’re up to a 35-minute walk. And that a presumes an uninterrupted grid, which in many places is not to be expected.

        “I believe that for able-bodied people, a 2-mile stop interval for a rapid transit line does a pretty good job of striking that balance.”

        All statistical evidence refutes you.

        Kyle S.:

        When you invest in the corridor paradigm, some natural adjustment follows even in the face of resistance. Some of the lowest-density stops on the Canada Line are already seeing the early stages of density-upping investment.

        Node-based building, as you imply, only responds to present conditions (and, as I said before, tells many potential riders that their trips are not valuable).

        Tim:

        “Pics or it [slow, infrequent, unreliable, unappealing, totally-defeating-the-purpose bus] didn’t happen.”

        Go outside, take a picture of the next Metro service that comes. Now you have pics.

        “Apples to oranges. Public-private.”

        The private half of that couplet was given a mandate by the public half to serve its corridor thoroughly and well. It did so. Are you now arguing that a fully public project must be inherently inferior? (It seems you are.)

      11. http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?p=5243030

        Search for “Current Railway / Light Rail lines”.

        For example:

        Line : Needham line
        Length : 9 mi
        Stations : 11
        Ridership : 8,000 (Projected 2020 Ridership : 12,000)

        Line : Franklin line
        Length : 20 mi
        Stations : 16
        Ridership : 13,000 (Projected 2020 Ridership : 19,000 )

        Line : Blue line
        Length : 6 mi
        Stations : 12
        Ridership : 67,000 (Projected 2020 Ridership : 85,000 )

        In Boston, average commuter rail spacing ranges from under 1 mile (the Needham Line, which is admittedly an anomaly) to 5 miles for some of the more spread-out lines. In contrast, average urban rail spacing is around half a mile.

      12. …and, naturally, those commuter rail riderships are paltry compared to the 255,000 who use the Green Line each weekday, or the 500,000 who use the Red, Orange, and Blue Lines.

        Aleks, I think if you subtract additions of the past 15 years or so (Framingham-Worcester, Ipswich-Newburyport, South Attleboro-Warwick), you’ll find that the areas where the Commuter Rail provides the primary service mode run out a pretty even 2-mile average. The same thing that Link gives Seattle in-city!

        (The Needham line, as you say, is anachronistic anomaly — a throwback to a time when even private commuter railroads offered reasonable-walkshed-inspired stop spacing of the kind that Seattle can’t even imagine in-city. Also, there are long-term plans to turn the Needham-Heights tail into a branch of the Green Line.)

      13. New York and Chicago, whose commuter rail networks have barely changed in decades, will do a better job of illustrating the 2-mile default. And yes, even in the New York area, people drive to stations at those spacings.

        (And still ditto BART, latter-day commuter rail and little else.)

      14. d.p., I was actually agreeing with you. :) I just wanted to supply some numbers in case people didn’t believe your claim. No matter how you slice it, Link’s stop spacing in some of these areas is closer to commuter rail than to a metro.

      15. Sorry d.p. but the stop spacing for Central Link, U-Link, and North link are pretty much set in stone at this point. The best that can be done at this is to make sure there is decent feeder bus/streetcar service to the stations. Beyond that you can lobby for some infil stations to be included in ST3 (Graham, S. 133rd, and 85th are the most logical).

        The good news is if Metro ever provides true corridor service 15th NE and 5th NE/Roosevelt NE are both logical places to put corridor service which should provide decent access to Northgate or Roosevelt station.

        As for land use there are easier places in the city to pick a fight with the neighborhood over density than Maple Leaf. I agree citywide the allowed density needs to be higher and especially around station areas. But as a practical matter it is easier to go after the low-hanging fruit first and save the harder areas later.

      16. Buses are not an effective form of transport for short distances (< 1 mile or so) because by the time you wait for the bus and ride it, the amount of time you save over walking, if any at all, it so short, you may as well not even bother and just walk. Even at 10 minute headways, if you allow yourself enough time in your schedule to wait the maximum 10 minutes, plus 5 minutes of riding time, a brisk walk can get you to the destination at the same time, plus provide some exercise.

        While slower, walking is more reliable than any bus can ever be, as walking is never delayed by factors beyond your control, for example bad traffic miles back where your bus was coming from, wheelchairs getting on and off, people arguing with the driver over fares, etc.

        Furthermore, when you walk somewhere, you're in control. Want to stop at a store along the way? Do it, and don't worry about the wait time for the next bus. Running a little late? Walk faster, or run. Don't feel like waiting for that long red light up ahead? Run a short stretch to get through the intersection before the light changes, or change the order of your street crossings so that the signals work out.

        All of these factors make the 15 minute walk option much less stressful than a 10-minute-wait-plus-5-minute-bus-ride option, even if time-wise, the two options are nominally equivalent.

        Except for mobility impaired people, really the only reason to ride a bus over walking is because of the time saved as a result of the bus being faster. But you have to go a minimum distance for this speed advantage to matter.

        Having the bus there does provide some value, even on short trips because, every once in a while, your eyes or OneBusAway might report that, by divine luck, the arrival of your bus is imminent and, hence, hopping on might save you 5-10 minutes over the walk you were planning to do. However, your mobility hasn't really improved because you still had to budget the time into your schedule to do the walk, whether or not you actually did it.

        Anybody who has ever sat at a bus stop for 15-20 minutes and thought “gee, if I had just walked to my destination, I could have been there by now” understands my point.

      17. Aleks:

        I know you were agreeing me; we’re usually on the same page in that we are highly skeptical of arguments for the “new and improved” stop spacing paradigm that fly in the face of the 100-year-old paradimg that we both know works!

        I worried that your original analysis (up to 5-mile spacing on some commuter rail segments) could be taken as a refutation of my main point. “But see, many commuter rail lines have much widers spacing than Link!” The truth is that 2-ish mile spacing is the norm on well-developed commuter rail systems, and anything less or more is relatively rare. So you can’t claim Link spacing within Seattle city limits does better for walksheds; it just is not true!

        Eric:

        Correct. Totally. Couldn’t agree more.

        So why were you arguing for a Link spacing that would require many, many more 1- or 1.5-mile bus feeder rides than any rapid transit line ever should?

      18. Just because they built close stop spacing a hundred years ago and it’s being used, does not mean that there isn’t a gap that a faster (“commuter”) service could fill. NYC does fill it with express subways. Chicago and London don’t fill it at all. (Metra and the London mainlines partly fill it, but only at a few locations, at significantly less frequency, and with a totally separate system map and fare structure.) A lot of people in New York don’t have a car. A lot of people in Chicago drive because they think the train takes too long; it doesn’t give them a big enough reason to leave their car at home. Maybe if Chicago had express trains on the red line, and an east-west line or ring line from Clark Street to the Blue line (the connecting buses are so slow), more people would leave their cars at home.

      19. To clarify, Link “commuter” service may be a different type of service than urban metros with twice as many stops. That doesn’t mean Link is useless; it just means that Link is fulfilling a different need than those other systems. A lot of people do want to travel quickly from the U-district to Northgate or to Lynnwood or to SeaTac, either because that’s their destination or to take another bus from there. Having twice as many stops may bring additional riders but it would also annoy those riders. So Seattle may end up serving the 1-mile spacing market better than the 1/2-mile spacing market, while those other cities do the opposite.

        The 70 and the 71/72/73 both go from the U-district to downtown, but which one is perpetually overcrowded and which one isn’t? The express is overcrowded because more people are going to downtown or through downtown than are going to Eastlake. People might want to similarly take an express from UW to Northgate, or from Ballard to Northgate, but they can’t because there aren’t any. (There may be an ST Express or peak-only route somewhere, but it’s an occasional route, not a frequent full-time route.) Just because the service doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean the market for it isn’t there.

      20. Mike:

        What it means, then, is that the real and desperate need for good urban service — a need at which Metro has always failed and continues to fail spectacularly — does not get filled at all.

        I’m sorry, but commuters from Lynnwood will continue to have their buses that don’t stop at all, and those will continue to be faster. To create a false equivalence between the “need” for all-day limited stop Lynnwood service for the need for non-excruciatingly slow local service is dishonest.

        Suggesting that an extra handful of stops will destroy the validity of the service for long distance riders — when failing to provide intermediate stops along the corridor provides many more with no service at all — is a false equivalence as well.

        (Knowing Seattle’s lack of and resistance to density, I might not bitch so loudly if we were really “serving the 1-mile spacing market” as you say. We aren’t. There are more instances of 2- or 3- mile spacing in North Link than not!!)

      21. The U-district to Northgate is not a “commute to Lynnwood” and it shouldn’t take 30 minutes (on the 66). Likewise, the many people going from the U-district to Ballard should not be held up because much fewer people need a stop at Latona. None of these are commutes from Lynnwood; they’re ordinary urban trips that everyone takes occasionally and some people take every day.

        Pugetopolis needs a regional transit system to tie the region together. The fact that it has several city stops means that several kinds of in-city trips can be done too: UW-Northgate and UW-Columbia City. If it takes 30 and 45 minutes to make these trips because the bus stops every two blocks, that’s a significant amount of time down the drain. Likewise, if there are ten Link stations between UW and Northgate, it gets annoying if you’re riding it every day. I’ve experienced that on the subways in St Petersburg, London, and Chicago and wished they had express trains.

      22. “The U-district to Northgate is not a ‘commute to Lynnwood.'”

        Sorry, Mike, but that is an unbelievably disingenuous thing for you to say, given your prior arguments in this thread.

        U-district to Northgate is 6 minutes with one intermediate stop, and 6.5 minutes with two intermediate stops. Either way, it is an infinite improvement over the current bus trip!

        What I am desperate for you to understand is that, if the rapid transit corridor were designed to strategically maximize the walkshed, no one would need the 66 anymore! It would disappear into the dustbin of history.

        But you, whether or not you intend to, insist that trips between these two nodes deserve to save 30 seconds, while literally anyone else along the way deserves to keep suffering the 66 for all eternity. That’s nonsense. It’s also wasteful.

        As for the “intermediate stops are annoying” argument — which only applies to the longer-distance trips (the “Lynnwood benefit”). I’ve certainly experienced the same sense of impatience on a many-stop subway trip in my lifetime. It seems annoying… until the day comes when one of those stops becomes useful for visiting a new friend or a nearby business. Then suddenly you’re thrilled it’s there!

        Walkshed-maximizing is all about balancing needs. Our Link — and your argument — are way out of balance.

      23. How is “nobody needing the 66 anymore” different than making Link into the 66? We already have an example of this: RapidRide.

      24. And, given that Link is not going to change in any significant way, how do we make the best of the situation?

      25. Realistically it would take 4 additional north link stations to replace the 66. At roughly $300 million per underground station and say roughly $150 for surface/elevated/retained cut stations it would have taken an additional $900-$1050 million ST simply doesn’t have,

        In any case it is a moot point as North link will have only 3 stops for the forseeable future,

      26. Really, Mike?

        You don’t see the difference between a rapid transit line with stops in the 7/8-mile to 1.1-mile sweet spot and a fake BRT line with stop ever 1/4 mile, lots of right-angle turns, and inconsistent right-of-way priority?

        Really?

        Those things are exactly the same to you?

        Really, really?

  13. The solution for Maple Leaf residents is that they should be walking or biking to Roosevelt Station, not driving in the opposite direction to Northgate station. Walking from Maple Leaf to Roosevelt station is about 15-20 minutes. Driving to Northgate, the timing works out as:
    5 minutes (driving)
    + 5 minutes (parking)
    + 3 minutes (walking from parking space to platform)
    + 3 minutes (riding the train back to Roosevelt Station)
    = 16 minutes

    (I’m not including wait time in these calculations because I’m assuming that’s the same either way).

    Is it really worth the hassle of driving through a parking garage to save, at best 2-3 minutes? If one is really concerned about time, isn’t biking to Roosevelt (5 minutes, downhill, virtually no effort required) the better option?

    1. isn’t biking to Roosevelt (5 minutes, downhill, virtually no effort required) the better option?

      Only in the downhill direction.

      And your times assume that time is the most important factor. Remember, we have lots of lazy people that wouldn’t mind wasting an extra five minutes a day if it means not having to walk for 15 minutes. Stupid, I know.

    2. I meant the area straight east of the station, not further south. I don’t know where Maple Leaf officially ends. What people said was, “Maple Leaf and Licton Springs.”

      1. Maple Leaf ends at 15th north of 98th, and Lake City Way south of 98th. East of that is Victory Heights and Meadowbrook (north and south of 98th, respectively).

        There’s no Licton Springs neighborhood officially recognized by the city. It’s actually North College Park, but the local community council has unilaterally taken to calling themselves Licton Springs (after a park & wetlands in the center of the neighborhood).

      2. While part of what I and my neighbors would consider “Maple Leaf” is in the map you link to it misses the southern portion of what most people would consider to be “Maple Leaf”. Also it includes much of Northgate proper which most residents would not consider to be “Maple Leaf”.

        I’d say the Southern boundary extends South of NE 85 all the way to where Lake City Way and I-5 meet. On the North end anything North of NE 95th between I-5 and 8th NE or North of the creek is more properly Northgate.

      3. Aah, the city does not consider Northgate to be a neighborhood at all. In city-clerk speak, Northgate is a District, which is composed of 4 neighborhoods (Maple Leaf, North College Park, Haller Lake, and Pinehurst).

        I think the part of the neighborhood you’re talking about is the northern part of Roosevelt, a neighborhood in District 4 (unnamed).

        The Maple Leaf community council’s website claims the northern portion of Roosevelt, just as you do. Which is not too unusual. If you look at the areas claimed by various community/neighborhood councils, there’s a huge amount of overlap and inconsistency; many blocks in the city are entirely unrepresented and claimed by no one (mostly in South Seattle), many others are represented and claimed by 3 or 4 different neighborhood organizations (mostly in North Seattle).

        And in the end, the city has no problem with this; the Department of Neighborhoods will gladly work with ANY community group that seems to have a coherent plan for an improvement, regardless of the area they claim. It’s necessary because neighborhood organizations are ad-hoc by their very nature, emerging and fading constantly as neighbors come together for various purposes.

        I only posted pages from the City’s Neighborhood Atlas to bring in some consistency to the discussion. Every block has a different definition for their neighborhood, after all, and I’m not trying to rob you or your neighbors of their neighborhood identity. I’m just trying to clear up what areas are being discussed.

      4. That area the city has marked as “Roosevelt” South of 85th between I-5 and Lake City way a majority of the residents consider to be Maple Leaf. I’m at 83rd and I can assure you my neighbors all think they live in Maple Leaf and not “North Roosevelt”.

        As a practical matter it probably doesn’t make much difference other than potentially sparking arguments with residents who’s notions of what is and isn’t part of a neighborhood differs from the official definitions.

  14. This $1.35 billion (2010 dollars) ST2-funded extension is expected to open in 2021.

    I was surprised to see a number quoted in current dollars since typically I’m seeing 2007 from the East Link DEIS. I pulled up the North Link SEIS and it’s all in 2002 dollars since that project is farther along than East Link. Interesting note on the estimate for the Capital Hill/Montlake option which I think is segment B with the truncate at Montlake option (saves $170-200 million, Brooklyn was a $40-60 million adder). Table 5.2-3 has the B segment Capital Hill Montlake route (B4.D) at $810 – $1030 million. Less the extention past Montlake that’s $640 – $1230 million or in 2010 dollars $771 million to $1.24 billion. The current price tag is $1.9 billion. Lucky the economy tanked and they were able to get some very competitive bids, no? I think they also scored quite a bit more in Federal Grants than was assumed in the budget or this train may not be leaving the station.

    So, the A segment looks to be Brooklyn to Northgate and the cost in 2002 dollars was projected to be $455-480 million, $548-578 in 2010 dollars. How did this get to $1.35 billion?

    1. WTF. Ulink is costing 2 Billion for 3.1 miles of twin bored tunnel and 2 stations.
      How can 3.3 miles of twin bore tunnel plus 1 mile of cut/cover/elevated and 3 stations cost only 1.35 Billion?
      “This does not compute”

      1. I’m not actually sure what $1.35 billion is a measure of–could just be the section north of Roosevelt, though that doesn’t seem reasonable. It’s a number they announced during the meeting, and I tweeted it out.

        CHS and HSS are also very deep stations and require a LOT of digging. Brooklyn and Roosevelt are shallower, and Northgate is cheap(er) since it’s elevated. As far as $ goes: Surface < Elevated < Underground

      2. By the same token, Brooklyn is surrounded by dense buildings, congested streets, and little in the way of decent staging for removing spoils (probably why is will be the last to be built), whereas Husky Stdm has a nice parking lot for staging, and easy access to a freeway during most hours except peak. So that’s a wash in my mind. Much earlier on, someone here coughed up the number for Brooklyn Stn at $400 Mil, all by itself.
        No, the 1.35 B. just doesn’t fly, given the cost of ULink.
        Anyone know what the official answer is, as it’s just not available on the ST info pages.

  15. I’ve always hated the Northgate Transit Center location. It’s nice that there’s some walkable, somewhat dense developments now to the south and east, but it’s cut off in every other direction by an uncrossable freeway and a half-mile of mall surface parking.

    If Simon Property can be encouraged to structurize more of the mall parking and redevelop the surface lots into mixed-use (like Stellar has done with Thornton Place), it could have more potential. I suppose eventual development is inevitable. That’s the nice thing about parking lots; they’re easy targets for redevelopment.

    I just hate putting a supposed transit hub in the center of a sea of surface parking lots, with one side completely blocked by a freeway.

    1. Ironic that most everyone here recoiled in horror that someone would contemplate a station in Bellevue, next to a freeway, with moving sidewalks to connect locations on either side, and accommodated future DMU service between Woodinville and Tukwila on the BNSF ROW.
      Northgate?
      The same people go ga-ga over the idea, stressing the importance of this very major hub for the region, including the sky-bridge, minus any cross platform transfers to another line.
      Go figure.

      1. There’s a major difference between Bellevue and Northgate. The mall is next to the station, as is Thornton Place and planned TOD.

        It goes like this: originally the mall was built next to the freeway (or the freeway was routed around the mall; I’m not sure which was first). Later the mall’s outer parking lot was turned into a transit center/P&R. From the transit center’s perspective, proximity to the freeway and to the mall were both important, so that (1) buses could get to the freeway, and (2) people could walk to the mall. Later a Link station is built, so that (1) people can transfer to buses, (2) people can walk to the mall, and (3) it can serve the existing P&R. Proximity to the freeway is not a factor for Link. It’s just that the freeway happens to be there.

        The ideal location for a Link station/transit center in Bellevue is next to Bellevue Square. Almost everyone here would applaud such a move. That would be the same situation as Northgate: putting the station at the largest pedestrian destination and village-center in the area. But the original Bellevue TC was built two blocks away from the mall, and then a larger one was built four blocks away, because cars are more important than buses in Bellevue. The Vision Line station would be ten blocks from Bellevue Square; i.e., even further out. And there’s a moderate hill from the station to the mall.

        The only reason people don’t argue for what they really want — a station/TC next to Bellevue Square — is they know it would never happen. Kemper has the most clout in the immediate vicinity of his property.

      2. Actually, the Bellevue Transit Center *is* in the right place. Downtown Bellevue is a grid which goes from NE 12th St to Main Street and NE 100th Ave to NE 114th Ave. The geographic center is NE 6th and 106th. However, if you accept the mall’s periphery as its entrance (at 104th Ave NE), the Transit Center (with a geographic center of NE 6th and 109th Ave NE) is in the optimal location.

        A 114th Ave NE station (C14E) would be five blocks from the geographic center of Downtown Bellevue. However, the Overlake Village station on the D segment should be located on the highway because the largest activity center is on the other side of SR520, but the Overlake Village station/Group Health Center are potential TOD sites.

        It’s not a simple highway running=evil equation, it’s much more nuanced.

    2. I’m not the biggest fan either, but then again I don’t think we should be building Link much farther than Northgate in the first place.

      1. I have to agree with Daniel on the Bellevue TC location. It is very near the ‘activity’ center of the CBD/Mall area, or close enough.
        My point was that the level of hypocracy sometimes just astounds me.
        Skybridge:(I-5 Northgate = Good), (I-405 Bellevue = Bad)
        Walking to a Stn:(Airport 1/2 mile = OK), (Northgate, Bellevue = Bad)
        Serving Malls:(Northgate = Must Do), (South Center – Who gives a fuck)
        Stop Spacing:(Seattle CBD = 1/3mi), (North Link = ~2 miles), (Tukwila 5+)
        I swear sometimes, Seattle Transit Planning suffers from schizophrenia.

      2. Station spacing is based on density which makes it perfectly consistent to advocate for short spacing in the CBD and larger spacing elsewhere. Look at the station boarding numbers and you’ll see that it’s pretty well done (and why there’s no justification for another infill station at Graham or Boeing Access Road at this time.

        Regarding malls many people argue for East Link being closer (100th) to Bel Square. Others want to “screw it” because the owner hasn’t supported light rail to Bellevue. I’m in the who cares camp since I don’t see transit riders, even “choice” shoppers with busaphobia being a significant demographic for transit or the mall. Connectivity to the jobs and the transit center are what’s important in Bellevue. South Center didn’t get a light rail station because the city didn’t want rail on the only feasible ROW that would have got it there. I don’t think it ever would have or should have gone there because it add so much travel time and expense detouring from the Airport which has proven to be the only real trip generator other than DT. Northgate is very different because it’s already transitioning to a housing center with shops and it’s already the TC (i.e. the mall just happens to be there).

      3. Nobody says Southcenter isn’t important. One of the principles of light rail design is to serve the largest pedestrian centers (malls, stadiums, neighborhood centers), and to co-locate bus transfer points with stations. But in Tukwila there are two must-serve destinations not in a north-south orientation so you have to compromise. SeaTac is top priority because it’s the largest transit depot in the northwest. (Really. What other place has dozens of taxis, and shuttles to as far as Bellingham? Other cities have shown that a rail station is an important gateway to a city [even if it’s a half-mile from the terminal: viz. Chicago], giving the city an advantage over cities without rail stations at the airport.)

        Two things doomed Southcanter. One was Tukwila’s refusal to route Link on 99 because they had “just refurbished it” [for cars]. The other is that Tukwila fits naturally on a Burien-Renton line. So it will get Link eventually, just not on the first line.

        The 5+ mile gap in Tukwila is not because anybody thinks 5 miles should be typical for south Link. It’s because that particular area is extremely low density and consists mostly of highway crossings. There may be an infill station at 133rd to meet the 150 eventually, although that’s a lot of money for just one bus and there’s not much else around it.

        I won’t defend TIB station. I couldn’t believe they put a transit center in the middle of nowhere just because there was space for a P&R. The most successful transit centers are in city centers; viz. Bellevue. Maybe they should have put TIB at 133rd? :) I hope that someday there will be something walkable around TIB.

      4. Mike, nobody is saying a skybridge in Bellevue is bad, what they are saying it sticking the station at 405 or the BNSF ROW and only providing access to the rest of downtown Bellevue via a skybridge would be stupd and cut way down on ridership. For East link you really want the stop to be near the office buildings which is around the current TC. The skybridge at Northgate will provide access from NSCC and the West side of I-5 without a detour to either the pedestrian hostile environment of Northgate Way or 92nd NE. Nobody is suggesting putting the station at NSCC instead of Northgate.

        The airport staion is not 1/2 mile from the terminal, maybe 1/4 mile. It is a bit of a hike but it is much closer than many airport rail stations elsewhere. The port and TSA didn’t want to allow the station right next to the terminal and there is little Sound Transit could do about it. One bonus of the current station location is it serves the city of Seatac and International Blvd better than a station at the terminal would.

        As for Southcenter, serving it would have been a huge detour adding travel time and it would have cost money Sound Transit didn’t have. FWIW the City of Tukwilla didn’t fight having Link serve Southcenter they actually fought for it. The City of Tukwilla fought against an alignment in the middle of International Blvd through Tukwilla. Partially for NIMBY reasons and partially in the hope it would force Sound Transit to serve Southcenter.

        As for stop spacing it naturally gets further apart the further away you get from the CBD. If you look at the stop spacing there really isn’t much in the gaps or at least not enough to justify the expense of a station. In the long run the only infil stations on Central/U/North Link that are even worth considering would be S. 133rd, S. Graham, and NE 85th.

      5. I’d echo what Mike Orr and Chris said with the exception that ST could have put the station closer to the terminal. The Port has no more authority over a ST preferred ROW than the City of Bellevue. TIB was in response to the feds knee jerk reaction after 9-11 to keep train stations away from airport. By the time everyone cooled off the engineering for TIB was already done and eliminating it in favor of a terminal station would have thrown away a lot of engineering work, ROW acquisition and delayed the project. Plus a station “in” the terminal would have been a lot more expensive and by then ST was starting to move away from it’s glory days of gold plated everything. TIB may prove to be useful in the long run because it serves 405 via 509 and that’s going to be rubber tired vehicles only for a long long time. The P&R expense at S. 200th I have to question. If you look at the recently released station ridership I think it shows even more people are using Link for free airport parking and shuttle than are doing the magic carpet ride in the bus tunnel. I know there’s some value in truncating express bus service slightly farther south but you don’t need expensive structured parking to accomplish that. Since the airport station is closer to International Blvd than the terminal perhaps the money would be better spend creating dedicated transit ROW that would transfer there instead. Gosh, improve transit connections to the airport; think anybody would use that? Of course S. 200th is an attempt to keep pushing south but it might make more sense to save up the funds until a more meaningful extension can be built.

      6. In the long run the only infil stations on Central/U/North Link that are even worth considering would be S. 133rd, S. Graham, and NE 85th.

        I’d still like to see another Capitol Hill station, maybe at 15th and Mercer…

  16. When the Northgate station is finally built, I hope that the city improves access to it. Whether by car or bus, Northgate is going to be a major boarding point for LINK and it needs to be as accessible as possible. With a LOT more parking for people driving to it to catch LINK to downtown/stadium/airport. And a LOT more bus routes for the same thing.

    1. I don’t really think there is a need to build a lot of new parking at Northgate station. Between the exsisting surface lots, the Penny’s Garage, and the Thorton Place garage, not to mention the acres of mall parking there is plenty of parking in the area. ST will be replacing the P&R and mall spaces they take for building the station. If there is more demand than the P&R parking can handle perhaps something could be worked out with the mall for additional space. Beyond that there is the possiblity of developing additional parking in partnership with Metro/ST like was done for the Penney’s and Thorton Place garages.

    2. Don’t worry, the city is targeting Northgate as the largest urban village outside “Center City” (roughly Mercer Street – Broadway – Jackson Street – waterfront – Queen Anne Ave).

  17. Link to Northgate is a huge deal for people who live near Northgate. For those of us who live north of there it’s a non-event because of the lack of buses from Snohomish County that even stop there. If the 511/510 stopped then we’d have something.

  18. The station is wedged between a freeway and a massive parking lot… which idiot designed this? Stations belong elevated or underground a neighborhood or dense commercial district/center. Not only is the station in the middle of a barren parking lot, but it’s not even that close to the mall. Look at the Europeans and Japanese, use subway systems worldwide as an example instead of asking the incompetent Texans.

    1. If you move the station you’d have to move the park n ride too, and it’s a lot harder to site a P&R than a station. There’s no room for a P&R on the northwest or northeast sides of the mall. You may think Northgate would be better off without a P&R, but ST2 essentially promised it would keep it by saying the station would serve the mall, the urban village, and the P&R.

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