Roosevelt station concept looking west from 12th (Via ST)

Sound Transit presented some station circulation and design renderings to the Seattle Design Commission last week, showing how the planned Roosevelt station could look. The station entrances will be located on the blocks between NE 65th St to NE 67th St and 12th Ave to Roosevelt Way, taking up roughly the eastern quarter of both blocks. Escalators from the northern and southern entrance face inward, meeting on a mezzanine under NE 66th St. From there they face outward landing on the station platform towards the ends.

Despite the fairly compact footprint of the escalators the station building and entrance takes up the full two blocks along 12th, with no activation or TOD potential along or above them. I don’t know how the design could be improved but ideally underground stations should integrate station entrances into buildings with retail oriented towards the street and station entrances. The Capitol Hill and Brooklyn stations have both moved in this direction and this station should as well.

Sound Transit should show more leadership on good station design, especially as the system grows.

Update 12:55 – A post I wholeheartedly agree with over at the Seattle Land Use Blog.

98 Replies to “Roosevelt Station Design Concept”

  1. *sigh* Here we go again.

    Sound Transit, when will you learn that ornate station boxes are completely inappropriate for in-city neighborhood stations?

    1. I couldn’t agree more. These are completely inappropriate, sprawling, TOD-unfriendly, ridiculous designs.

    2. At all but the most high-traffic stations, the Canada Line solved the problem of excess surface presence by only having one entrance.

      Because let’s be honest: Roosevelt is never going to have the population density to need two!

      1. Well Canada line has much shorter platforms so this isn’t as large of an issue.

      2. Roosevelt really should have the population density to need two entrances.

        And when you tjhink about it, two entrances really isn’t that much. You have to factor in the ability for people inside e station to get to an exit vs the people entering the station and using the TVMs.

      3. I think that’s about right. This looks more on scale for Montlake which has a 2030 ridership projection of 25,000 daily boardings. Roosevelt I would expect to be more like Beacon Hill which would require quadrupling ridership to meet ST projections of 8,500. But even if ST is close on it’s projections that still makes this 3X bigger than it needs to be.

      4. Kyle, if you’re referring to having adequate egress in case of an emergency, that’s what a secondary emergency exit is for.

        But that can take the form of a concrete spiral staircase with a surface footprint of about nine square feet (built into the face of a new building). Two consecutive block-long headhouses are a completely different bag.

      5. Perhaps the Canada Line planners got it right. Shorter trains and platforms – but with much much more train frequency – provides reduced station footprint and cost. Users may have to cross the street for access, but 4 min freq’y trumps that loss.

        Some of us worried about the costs of future expansion, however the path to 250,000 weekday ridership is clear w/o platform adjustment.

      6. Yes it will have the capacity. All the UW students that commute by car will park there. They will unload near the parking garage near the stadium. They will have their car and transit.

      7. Bruce,
        Link is capable of fairly high frequencies with 4 car trains. I believe the ST documents talk about 3 minute headways. Supposedly the system will be able to handle even shorter headways if needed between Northgate and IDS without any re-work. 100 second headways is about as short as any modern manually driven system usually trys to go.

    3. Pathetic! 40′ and 65′ heights? No wonder they can’t build anything decent on that. As for the “unforced error” part: the growhouse/gymnasium grand entraces betray a petit bourgeois grandiosity – unimaginative sculptures in the middle of nowhere.

  2. You would think that ST would jump at the chance to integrate station designs with mixed-use buildings, especially given that it would be an excellent way to raise additional funds.

    1. It always surprises me that they don’t. I was at the open house for the Capitol Hill Station Urban Design Framework and saw that all all the planning involves leaving the airspace open above the station entries, though they did mention possibly cantilevering the neighboring buildings out over them. It boggles my mind that ST doesn’t plan to just have their station entrance be (part of) the bottom floor of a new mid- to high-rise structure.

      One rep from the Cap Hill Champion group even mentioned that the outside of the north station entry (Broadway & John) will just be a blank wall on the side facing Nagle and the plaza.

      Places that are 0 feet from a light rail station should be some of the densest, not the most empty.

      1. I believe ST is specifically not allowed to develop above their stations. See above comments.

      2. The Cap Hill open space idea never made sense to me. Theres a massive open space ADJACENT to the station!

    2. The Monorail folks were going to try this with their Pioneer Square Station. Specifically, they tried to condemn more land than actually required for construction with the expectation that they could resell it later at a higher price and apply the profits to their funding plan. But I believe they got shot down in court (or they were in court and the project folded before resolution).

      In any case, it would be illegal for ST to use its power of eminent domain in a for profit manner. ST is not a for-profit land developer – they are specifically not allowed to play in that field.

      1. Actually, it’s more complicated than that.

        It’s true, I believe, that you can’t eminent domain more than you need for construction and then sell it. But for land that you actually do need, there’s a raft of different restrictions for how you can dispose of it. I read a bunch of them in a document about the CHS TOD that I can’t find now.

        It’s flatly untrue, however, that ST can’t sell their property for a profit, nor that they can’t build (or permit) mixed-use on land that they’ve legitimately acquired; and the Broadway TOD will be all over the station box:

        http://capitolhillseattle.com/2011/05/08/shaping-broadway-station-city-publishes-proposal-for-light-rail-station-development-doc

      2. Bruce,

        Actually, the link you provide shows no TOD over the station box. Yes, it shows TOD over the construction staging areas, but not over the box.

      3. I’d be very surprised if there was a rule that treated property over the box differently than general ST property in the context for disposal for TOD.

  3. Agreed. This station design resembles a suburban Starbucks and bookstore more than an underground light rail station. The proximity to Green Lake neighborhood amenities with the station lends itself to much higher densities than this.

    Send this off to Starbucks and go back to the drawing board and come back with something better.

    1. Perhaps they took their inspiration from the city’s upzone, which seemed more fitting for a suburban neighborhood commercial district with bus service rather than an urban village by a subway station.

  4. This station design makes me question if Sound Transit really ‘gets it.’

    1. Actually, I thought (although I can’t find a reference to it now) that the State Legislature specifically forbid ST from placing TOD above its stations. Hence the boxy, no TOD designs, of ST’s station entrances.

      I’m guessing that this was done because they didn’t want ST acting as a land developer and competing with private enterprise, and because they didn’t want ST to act in a “for profit” capacity.

      Yes, ST could work in partnership with a private developer and probably get around some of this, but it would require a high degree of integration and coordination, and with the political spotlight on ST regarding budget and schedule, I’m sure ST would prefer to keep it simple and deliver on their primary responsibility.

      Incidentally, I believe the TOD at the Cap Hill Station will not be directly over the station. Above the station we will have, what? A farmers market?

      1. The current plan at Capitol Hill Station is an open plaza directly on top of the station box (the former “Nagle Place Extension”), but it will be bordered by TOD on the Broadway and 10th sides of the block. The plaza will be the new home of the Farmer’s Market, and they’re still looking for a weekday use for it.

  5. Design it to look similar to King Street Station, though of course on a much smaller scale. A nice, smaller clock tower similar in design to King Street Station’s would look great in that neighborhood. A retro look is almost a can’t miss in station design.

    The Walmart look doesn’t quite cut it in my very humble opinion.

  6. Two fairly large above ground entrances seem redundant anyway regardless of how they look or what’s above them. I don’t see why there isn’t a single entrance on the south side of the land.
    Ben

    1. A 400 foot long platform does require entrances at both ends – both for emergency reasons and for access reasons. If you had only an entrance at one end, the catch basin for the station is much smaller, because people at the other end would have to walk the length of the station just to get inside.

      1. Why not in the middle with a landing/mezzanine. Doubling the footprint just to pick up 200′ of walkshed seems rather extravagant.

      2. Not for emergency reasons. A well-marked emergency-only stairwell would absolutely suffice.

      3. I agree on the benefits of multiple street entrances, although it bears mention that UW station, with projected daily boardings in the 21K-25K range, has but one entrance. Two entrances would have been ideal for the UW station location previously proposed under Rainier Vista, with entrances on Stevens Way (connecting to campus buses) and Pacific Place / Burke-Gilman Trail. Too bad that didn’t work out.

        Beacon Hill, with ridership similar to what’s expected at Roosevelt, has one entrance, FWIW.

        Although NE 67th St is further from the center of gravity of the adjacent commercial district, it’s actually closer to the Green Lake commercial district than NE 65th.

        I don’t live in Roosevelt, but I admit I’m baffled by the resistance to more intensive up-zoning in areas around the station that will be redeveloped anyway. Where I grew up in Chicago there are historic single family town homes literally adjacent to 50 story condos and a park, and the resulting public realm was delightful. Buses went by every 5 minutes on the arterial and there was very little traffic on the tree-lined side streets.

      4. “NE 67th St …is actually closer to the Green Lake commercial district.”

        Not in practice. Weedin Place and NE 70th are exceedingly unpleasant ways to cross the freeway. Anyone heading from the subway to Woodlawn Ave or to the lake itself is going to walk via 65th and Ravenna Blvd.

      5. Yes, you are correct. That distance is surprisingly identical (about half a mile) using three different routes.

        NE 67th is, of course, closer to the districts north and northeast, especially all the neighborhood commercial zoning heading north along Roosevelt toward Lake City Way. And once you are in the station, you’re out of the weather.

        It seems that the one-entrance configuration ends up putting that one entrance close to the middle of the station box, which would be NE 66th here. Presence on NE 67th may not seem critical today, but I would say that presence on NE 65th is.

        With the high school on the east side of 12th Ave., and the stations on the left, I’m concerned the area immediately around the north entrance could seem “dead” most of the time, even with new development in the area. FWIW, Link will have excellent connections to at least three football fields: Seahawks Stadium, Husky Stadium, and Roosevelt High!

      6. “It seems that the one-entrance configuration ends up putting that one entrance close to the middle of the station box, which would be NE 66th here.”

        Only if you’re a slave to symmetry.

        Place the mezzanine landing just a bit off-center, and point the stairs and escalators so that they surface just a couple of feet from the corner of 65th and 12th.

        You get your entrance perfectly placed, with no need for a block-long “lobby.”

    2. Two entrances two blocks apart increase the psychological walkshed. People think, “It’s X minutes to the station entrance”, and pay less attention to the walking inside the station which is just normal subway overhead.

      1. You’re probably right, but it’s still not worth wasting 400+ consecutive feet for.

        Besides, your stated psychological impact would be better if the two entrances felt separate (and blocks apart), which only happens when there’s stuff between them. Two back-to-back headhouses do not have that effect!

        (For the running comparison, the Canada Line’s headhouses are all about 60 feet long above ground.)

  7. Would someone who is an architect please enter a comment as to structural considerations of building a station into a transit-oriented building, as opposed to the separate building depicted here?

    I’m skeptical that land-use politics are the whole story. But I think this discussion needs a good technical sense of what’s involved.

    I don’t see Beacon Hill station precluding any kind of beneficial development, and I think the building is strikingly attractive as is. I enjoy its outline against the sky. What exactly is the problem?

    Mark Dublin

    1. That certainly could be part of the story, I don’t know, but it would be nice to have better single story activation of the street facade and entrance areas.

    2. Mark: Subway stations all over the world are built into buildings, including many in downtown Seattle!

      1. Agreed, Ben. As a matter of fact, early in preliminary engineering for the Downtown Seattle Tunnel, I took winter vacation time to fly to Pittsburgh and watch joint-ops in action. Working through blizzards, as it turned out.

        Was impressed with the way PAT architects- which I think included some who ended up on our own team, inserted subway stations into both new and older existing buildings.

        Not being an architect, however, I’d like to have my technical facts right, in order to effectively confront Seattle’s favorite response to suggestions for action, invariably starting with: “We can’t do that because…..!”

        Mark

      2. It’s tempting to submit plans to the project to design the station in the unique residential style pioneered by Drake Sisley. Along with alternative designs honoring Lyndon LaRouche, and also and Jack Chick, the sadistic pamphleteer whose booklets constantly appear on buses and show in great detail people being sent to Hell for throwing same in the trash after getting off the bus.

        Submission in the style of Thomas P. Kinkaid would also raise some discussion.

        However, would strongly advise against any of the above. Attention could result in the aforementioned landlord’s properties all being placed on the Historic Register.

        Mark Dublin

  8. To be honest I don’t think these are really all the terrible when compared to the pathetic upzone going on over there. A few dozen apartments and a couple of businesses aren’t that big a deal when compared to the hundreds or thousands of missed opportunities in the up zone plan.

    1. I tend to agree. I think the biggest thing just at the very least there needs to be more activation around the station.

    2. I don’t care if they’re “not really all that terrible.” We need good examples if we’re going to win ST3, and these are not.

      1. ST3 is not going to rise or fall based on whether the stations have buildings above them. Most people don’t think that way. Either they’re glad the stations are there so they can use them (and they’ll vote for ST3), or they don’t think it’s important enough to spend $X billion on an extension (and they’ll vote against ST3). When you’ve got so many people whose main concern is whether there’s a P&R at the station, the last thing on their minds is whether it has an efficient building on top to bring more pedestrian residents/shoppers.

    3. I’m sorry, “Pathetic upzone going on over there” ????

      is the proposed zoning plan perfect? of course not– nothing created by consensus ever is…… but you’re awfully harsh in your critizism of this community which is actually engaged and encouraging of growth.

      a couple of points:

      1.
      this neighborhood has been proactive all along –with little or no help from the city or sound transit– and worked up their own station-area-planning effort because they didn’t want to see it happen in a piecemeal, contract-rezone, unplanned and haphazard manner. why Sound Transit spends billions on light rail, but doesn’t facilitate station area planning efforts well in advance of station/light rail developments is mystifying. thorough “smart-growth” planning efforts, made YEARS ahead of time (like at least 10) is needed if Sound Transit and the region wants to be successful in the near-term future of the next few decades……

      2.
      online are posted several a re-caps of the neighborhood-lead efforts to get out in front of the light rail development.
      see:
      http://glennroberts.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/the-roosevelt-neighborhood-plan/

      3.
      with a number of people howling that the neighborhood-endorsed plan of upzones aren’t big enough, I think its worth considering how many areas of Seattle fight all developments….. here is a neighborhood that fought for the light rail alignment to be moved INTO the center of their community; and then took it upon themselves to organize the public process and created a consensus plan of upzoning the center of their neighborhood. Neither DPD, nor the mayor’s office, nor the city council, nor sound transit was thinking this far ahead and even considering this 5 years ago, and the community –on their own– started pushing for growth.

      consider how (unfortunately) rare this is…… its a bloody shame that some of the gang who’ve now come late to the issue are labling the neighborhood as “NIMBY” and “pathetic”. This a a neighborhood you should be building a relationship with — not alienating!

      this is a community that not only never been “NIMBY (“Not In My Backyard”) — but actually ran a campaign which stated “YIMFY” — “Yes In My Front Yard”!

      Roosevelt WANTS growth, but recognized early the importance of Smart Growth — not just blindly demanding that everything within a certain distance of the station be zoned up the maximum amount…… a built up area with no urban planning is NOT going to be a place which attracts residents to move in and become a part of a functioning community.

      We aren’t talking about building hotels at an airport! Urban growth needs to have the density numbers, but also needs some quality of life and sense of community if it is to thrive….

      1. What’s wrong with the contract-rezone process; other than it requires constant attention? I can’t locate it right now but I believe there is a project near 65th and 15th that is applying for a variance to build to 12 stories. Now, I don’t know if that fits in or sticks out like a sore thumb but it seems that a low threshold that forces additional scrutiny is a way to “landmark” projects that pass muster instead of cookie cutter town houses and low rent, high turn over apartment buildings. Not endorsing, just asking.

  9. We’re missing the boarded up Hugh Sisley house in the model.

    This looks like a suburban BART station in the Bay Area not a subway station entrance…

    1. That house is boarded up because that site is scheduled for redevelopment into some sort of multi-story, mixed-use thing. You know, it’s going to become TOD (even though the “T” part of “TOD” is still a long ways off).

      And it sure will be nice to see all those Sisley parcels turn over….

      1. Oh , I am quite acquainted with our local “slumlord” , I remember his neo-Nazi enforcers…I mean maintenance staff

  10. “I don’t know how the design could be improved ”

    Are you kidding? Of course you do. Have an opinion!

    1. There is a difference between having an opinion that the station design needs to be better (which I obviously stated) and having specific recommendations of what to change. That is what the design process is for.

  11. As with others here, I’m disappointed with the lack of potential this design allows for development above and immediately surrounding it. As with the Roosevelt rezone (let’s be frank: the NON-upzone), let’s write those with decision-making authority to make it clear what we want to see. I don’t want Roosevelt to be another Beacon Hill. Let’s do a real upzone around the station, and have the station design be conducive to construction above it.

  12. If you take the time to click on the image, it links to what looks like a longer presentation. The third slide shows a bunch of stuff going on inside these buildings. Lots more than meets the eys.

    Or you could actually to to the open house and hear from the architects and others who can explain the latest designs before declaring them so abysmal.

    But I suppose it’s more fun to fuss about one drawing with zero context.

    1. I would love to know what the project constraints are (those dictate by policy and those structurally related), but this is my first take on the design.

    2. “The third slide shows a bunch of stuff going on inside these buildings. Lots more than meets the eys. ”

      Except the building is at least three stories too short.

  13. It’s unfortunate that some have focused on one design drawing with zero context or explanation. We hope the public will join us tomorrow night at the open house where our designers and architects will show the various elements that are part of the above-ground buildings including:

    – Emergency exit stairwells
    – Vent fans
    – Vent shafts for station
    – Vent shafts for tunnels
    – Traction power substations
    – Electrical rooms
    – Fire Command Center
    – Maintenance access to the station
    – Mechanical control rooms
    – Bike parking and storage

    Many of these elements will not be open to the public but are necessary to operate the system.

    By including these elements as part of the new station entrance buildings we’re able to make a larger, more intact parcel available for development immediately to the West of the station where the QFC and parking lot stands today.

    The public areas in the station entrances also need to accomodate the ticket vending machines and easy access for riders to and from the platform elevators and escalators. We won’t have TVMs on the mezzanine level at this station.

    Again, we’ll have many renderings to show and discuss tomorrow. See you there.

    Bruce Gray
    ST Spokesman

    1. But it still looks like a suburban BART Station ( Berkeley comes to mind ). Why not allow for building above and drop the “service” component to a mezzanine?

      bike parking and storage? How many bikes? Again, a suburban rail station feel versus an in-city subway stop… Might have been better to just be an outgrowth of the park and ride a block over then…

      I hate a be a killjoy, but I rather detest the construction of edifices (1% for art!) vs. “hey, there are the stairs to LINK, let’s head downtown”. Maybe I was spoiled by utilitarian U-bahn stops ( a good analogy for LINK ) in Frankfurt (U1/U2/U3 for instance )

    2. I understand that accommodations must be made for technical infrastructure (though most of that seems to be underground). However, all that wonderful high-throughput infrastructure (including expensive escalators) will be for nothing if the newly available space is not used to high efficiency. One might as well forgo the double-high entrance halls when the buildings around are not sufficiently high and nothing can be built on top of the station. I suspect that’s the major reason to build such a ‘high’ station – to build to the maximal allowable height (when an additional story of anything functional would have been better) and make the ventilation shafts not stand out too much.

      Additionally, I wonder whether the station is directly accessible from 66th street. I doesn’t look that way while a lot of space is conceptually wasted on the mini plazas in front of the entrances and in the grand ticket halls themselves. Maybe there isn’t a more elegant, less space-hogging solution under current constraints.

      Therefore if ST wants make its investment count then it will have to push to increase the 65′ height limit (and get rid of minimal parking requirements). A doubling or so would be appropriate in the direct vicinity.

    3. It’s unfortunate that some have focused on one design drawing with zero context or explanation.

      In my humble opinion, a lot of this push back would never happen if architects old enough to have been taught how to sketch had prepared the concept drawings instead of relying on a computer to do their job. A picture is worth a 1,000 words. Computer generated renderings are discounted at least 90%. Of course beautiful computer illustration is possible; it just takes ten times longer than old fashion drawing and still lacks “the human element”.

    4. Sorry, Mr. Gray. I looked through the presentation, and “Groan” is completely on-target.

      You’ve got nearly a dozen additional subterranean “ancillary rooms.” There is nothing that needs to be on the surface level except the shafts.

      The diagrams take pains to highlight the 3-minute automobile waiting zones and the bicycle storage, suggesting that once again pedestrian usage was considered last.

      But mostly, the surface level is just a whole lot of “lobby,” which in a busy urban environment is code for wasted space.

      This belongs in Lynnwood.

      1. Also, sir, as you must be able to tell, it gets under our skin to be told that the type of unimposing subway infrastructure that exists all over the world — in new construction as well as old, in deep-bore lines as well as cut-and-cover — “can’t be done here.”

        And to imply that we’re ignorant for disagreeing.

      2. To be fair a station that meets modern building codes is going to take up more space than one built 100 years ago. ADA means you have to have elevators. Fire codes mean two exits, large vent shafts and mechanical rooms (don’t forget the stations also ventalate the tunnels). There needs to be room for a traction power substation too.

        That said I don’t see why the headhouse structures can’t be much smaller than the station designs we’ve seen so far from Sound Transit. 4 escalators, 2 elevators, 2 exit stairs, and a couple of vent shafts shouldn’t take up all that much space and everything but the vent shafts can have a building over it. See for example the DSTT stations which are integrated with the surrounding buildings rather than having huge head houses.

        Heck even Beacon Hill has a small footprint compared to what is proposed for Capitol Hill, Brooklyn, or Roosevelt.

        As an aside if ST does build an underground station in downtown Bellevue they are going to have to figure out how to do it without building a giant head-house. The area around the station is already quite built-up without room for the kind of monuments that ST is building elsewhere.

      3. Chris,

        Please note my careful use of the phrase “new construction as well as old.” (Knowing that I was replying to a project profession, I chose my words meticulously and for once I checked for typos before hitting “post” and cringing at the errors.)

        Quite simply, you can’t just stick a hole in the sidewalk like 100 years ago, but you don’t need this other extreme. You need additional emergency egress, not a whole redundant entrance. (And if fire codes did require additional “regular” exits based on platform square footage, it would be a sign that you should shrink your platform rather than massively overestimate your future ridership at minor stations.)

        Elevators need not be 100 feet from the escalators; that seems to be a ridiculous Seattle invention. (I’m about to write more on this in response to AW at the bottom of the page; please follow.)

        That said, I fully agree with the rest of your post.

    5. I won’t be able to make it but hopefully someone else from STB will be able to. I think most of us understand that you need mechanical rooms for the station machinery etc. That is hidden around back and almost no one comment on that aspect of the design. The problem is the dead facade facing 12th Ave and the lack of pedestrian level activity other than the station. Add some small format business along 12th and close to the station entrances and it would be much improved.

      1. Oh and the wimpy rezone proposal on the part of the city doesn’t exactly get everyone excited either.

    6. Yep, I attended the Roosevelt open house, and the Northgate open before that, and I hope to get to the Brooklyn Station Open House tomorrow —
      9 June 2011, see:
      http://www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/News-and-events/Calendar/North-Link-light-rail-open-house-June-9.xml

      I am 100 % with increasing density in the “station area” and participated in some of the community work to this end some years back.

      I especially agree with the commenters here who bemoan missed opportunity displayed in a 2 block long station lobby with no allowance for that needed increase in density.

      Regardless what you think of the current DPD proposal for up-zoning, the biggest issue which everyone should rally behind RIGHT NOW is demanding that the Roosevelt Station be designed for complete and integrated over-build. Much of the discussion bouncing around online and in meetings concerns whether certain properties in Roosevelt should be upzoned to 40′ vs. 65′ (not really that big change, or pay-off).

      A much bigger difference –many more units of housing creating much greater density– could be realized if the station were designed with a full build-out of housing above. Apparently the Brooklyn Station is being designed to incorporate developement above.

      The Roosevelt Station’s current design, as presented by Sound Transit at the recent Roosevelt Open House shows a footprint of some 60,000 sq feet — in an area zoned for 65′ mixed-use development — with no development at all! Just a huge, over-tall, one story lobby (yes, yes, some air shafts and mechanical spaces….) with nothing but empty (density-wasting) air space above it!

      All fans of smart-growth and higher-density planning should take as a top priority to call for Sound Transit to design the Roosevelt and Northgate stations to be designed and constructed with full-height, max-density “overbuild”. The design of these stations is currently still in the early, conceptual stages. Now is the time to change these plans, because once these stations are constructed it will be nearly impossible to build anything above them in the future.

      by-the-way, this is a win-win for both ends of the political spectrum there is a strategic alliance to be made on this issue between the progressive/envirnmental “density hawks” and the conservative “financial-hawks”: an overbuild of the Northlink Stations would allow for greater density right at the transit stations –&– an station overbuild’s commercial development would provide Sound Transit a good source of financial return to help defray the cost of the transit system, and provide a strong boost to ridership.

  14. Why must Sound Transit continue to shove these big box transit monuments down our throats? I continue to be disappointed by their decisions.

    These station entrances should be slimmed down significantly and topped off with 5, 6, 10 stories of residential, retail at the ground level, minimal set backs.

    1. Can’t say I didn’t warn ya!

      _ L-O-O-O-O-T…loot-loot…LOOOOOOOOO-O-O-O-O-T
      /
      / Tacomans HOOTin’ YIPPin’ SHUCKin’ and JIVin’
      o_II_-__-__—–____________ —————-/========================\
      I_________I__I I PS8Scum I I LOOTers I I Mobile Needle Exchange I
      /-o–0-0-0-0~~~~~o=o~==~o=o~~~o==o~~~~~~o==o~~~o=o=o~~~~~~~~~~o=o=o~~~~

  15. Yikes. Everything ST does is so sterile and bland and dead. I just don’t get it. It’s like a mid-60s nightmare.

  16. Too bad theres a playing field across the street.

    Would be nice if there could be an entrance on the south side of 65th for bus transfers so they can avoid crossing 65th to enter the station.

    I think this could be a location where it could dramatically transform into a great walkable mixed use area, sort of a Seattle version of Columbia Heights in DC where it went from nothing to something great.

    1. Why is it that transit advocates seem hell bent on “transforming” neighborhoods into “something great”? Especially in neighborhoods that think what they’ve got is pretty great already and worth protecting. It’s not like there aren’t vast swaths of Seattle that already have high density and need better transit. But instead, billions get spent hoping to “transform” elsewhere.

      1. There are plenty of blighted areas within a short walk of this station that I’m sure the neighborhood would be happy to see “transformed”; the most notorious being the crack houses at 15th & 65th. Add in all of the wasted space with surface parking lots in this area and you’ve got a lot of potential development without having to rip down any single family homes.

      2. For many of us, transit is simply a means to an end, where the end is dense, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods.

        It’s not like there aren’t vast swaths of Seattle that already have high density and need better transit. But instead, billions get spent hoping to “transform” elsewhere.

        Yes and no.

        On the one hand, I agree that it’s silly for Roosevelt to be getting a train when Belltown/Uptown/Ballard don’t have one. I don’t know precisely how much North Link costs, but I would have been happy to forego connectivity to Roosevelt and Northgate in favor of building a second line to 24th/Market with stops at Belltown, LQA, Upper QA, Fremont, and 15th.

        On the other hand, the train we’re getting is the train we’re getting. So given that Roosevelt will soon have some of the best transit service in the city, it seems silly *not* to take advantage of that to create the kind of dense, walkable, mixed-use neigborhood that we like to see.

        And it seems disingenuous to say that “vast swaths” of Seattle are dense, when the amount of land zoned for single-family just in Seattle city limits is an order of magnitude greater than the amount of land zoned for mixed uses. People who don’t want TOD will still have tons of places to go. If nothing else, the premium rents that TOD buildings can charge should be evidence that there’s a lot of pent-up demand for these types of neighborhoods.

      3. TOD doesnt work everywhere, it only truly works where the conditions are right, and what I’m saying is this area has good bones that with a little improvement TOD could work really well here. The fact that the rail line will be underground and that there is a concentrated fairly pedestrian oriented main street on 65th, IMO means there is great potential for TOD to really be successful here.

    2. I think the Roosevelt High School kids and various rec sports leagues from all over the north end who use that track and field year round feel differently about it. And I bet the Roosevelt community who have been engaged with ST and the city for years over the station location and zoning upgrades would also feel differently about the “nothing” aspect.

      This thread has a distinct carpetbagger feel to it.

  17. Just in case it didn’t get mentioned in detail, Sound Transit’s open house for Roosevelt Station is at —

    Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center Gymnasium
    6535 Ravenna Ave. NE
    6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Presentation at 6:30

    Be there and express your opinion, but remember to respect the local Roosevelt area folks. They may have different opinions.

    1. Thanks for the info. I think there needs to be greater recognition that a majority of residents in the neighborhood now will likely be different than those in 10 years.

  18. I totally agree about development over the station, it really should be there, but as Bruce Gray says, it would be a good idea to hear them out before jumping to conclusions. Anyways, discounting the issue of development above, I really think the urban design for this station is great. The entrances are light and airy, and the small plazas at each entrance look perfect for musicians and for waiting for someone to pick you up when it’s raining out. I’m a huge proponent of retail on the ground floors of developments, but if they can’t put retail in here because of vents and bike parking and stuff, that’s okay, because the station itself will generate thousands of pedestrians along this little stretch every day.
    Absolutely, if they actually can allow for TOD on top of the station entrances, they should, but if it costs too much, that’s okay because this is a tiny fraction of the land area around the station. And yeah, the surrounding area should be upzoned more, but that’s not ST’s fault, and anyways it sounds like the City might be keeping the height limits low so that they have leverage in contract rezone processes.

    1. So you think this is a place street musicians will flourish? Even if that’s true, which is doubtful/absurd, it’s a pretty expensive reason to pursue the the design.

  19. Why do the entrances need big buildings at all? Why not save money by scaling them down and having a sidewalk style entrance (ala NYC)?

    The reason to need to big buildings just to build staircases down to an underground platform is beyond my ability to think apparently.

    1. You also need elevators for ADA, and TVMs. If you have those, you need waiting areas and passenger circulation areas. I would be fine with a stairway, but most people will demand escalators. Plus all the utility spaces Bruce Gray mentioned (some of which must be on the surface). Once you have all those, you may as well put a building around them. But that building doesn’t need to be a 21st century Crystal Palace.

      1. Yes, certain things must be above ground, but you can put a concrete wall on the sides facing adjacent properties, and on the top, and invite TOD to about, and top, the station house.

        That is, you can, if you want to…

      2. A great deal of circular logic is required to find a need for significant surface presence.

        “We have this huge mezzanine with elevators really far from the stairs, so we must also have an equally huge surface lobby to accommodate them!”

        Ridiculous. You could have stairs or a two-part escalator that winds around the elevator shaft, and the whole thing could have a 60×30 footprint, both on the surface and when it hits the mezzanine (or ideally, goes directly to the platform).

        A lot of ADA-rationalized overbuilding seems to derive from the difficulty (as seen in Boston, NY, London, etc.) of retrofitting tightly-built stations to be fully accessible. It’s true: a preexisting larger station is much easier to sink elevator shafts into than a preexisting smaller station. This is not a problem when you’re siting from scratch. An elevator shaft isn’t actually that big! Site it well, and site it creatively. But why site it huge (and make it that much more inconvenient for the mobility impaired)?

        “TVM! They need their own level! They need their own room! They need their own building! And despite our insistence on giant Sound Transit Mezzanines(tm), they can’t be there!”

        Oy. And oy. And oy again!

        Subway tokens used to be vended from “ticket booths,” which due to their need to provide a reasonable workspace for living human beings for hours at a time, were bigger than a vending machine. These booths, and their adjacent turnstiles, and ample space for those queuing to pass through the turnstiles, still frequently took up less space than Sound Transit thinks they need for a couple of vending machines.

        Literally every other subway system in the western hemisphere uses TVMs too, and many do so in concert with sophisticated fare-control gates, and they do so without these gigantic lobbies.

        Meanwhile, check out Vancouver’s Main Street-Science World Skytrain station: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1273/567697914_20b0e540d2.jpg

        At the top of those stairs (at the left of the photograph) are two TVMs: one on each side. Just beyond the TVMs, no more than 5 feet from the stairs, is a solid painted line beyond which is the fare-paid area. Sound Transit plans no such delineation and shows little interest in ever doing off-train fare checks. And yet it needs 100 times as much fare-purchasing space as our northern neighbors?

        Once again, what makes Seattle think it’s so special!?

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