by TIM BOND
Last night Sound Transit held a 30% design open house for Brooklyn Station. Brooklyn Station is the southernmost station of North Link, which will extend U-Link from Husky Stadium to Northgate. This design combines the best elements of the two options shown in January. Brooklyn Station is projected to add 12,000 daily boardings by 2030.
Sound Transit briefly discussed the name of the station. Brooklyn Station is the working title. A community activist was on hand collecting signatures to petition ST to change the name to “University District Station”. A quick poll held at the beginning of the open house indicated strong support for this name, followed by “Brooklyn Station”, “NE 45th Station”, and “None of the above”. I’m a bit partial to “NE 45th Station”, as it eliminates the confusion between this and University Street Station. There’s already confusion betweeen Tukwila and Tukwila/Int’l Blvd stations. NE 45th Station might not be the best way to describe the neighborhood, but seems like the lesser of two evils.
The station box will be excavated under the 4300 block of Brooklyn Ave NE at the current location of Chase Bank. The station will have two entrances: one mid-block on Brooklyn and one at the northeast corner of Brooklyn and NE 43rd St. Both entrances will have elevators that go straight to the platform level and a bi-directional pair of escalators and stairs that lead to a mezzanine. A second set of escalators will lead from the mezzanine to the platform, which is located 75-85 feet below surface level. Stairs won’t be installed between the mezzanine and platform because few people would use stairs to climb 75 feet with a working escalator immediately adjacent. However there will be emergency access stairs from the platform that exit to the alley behind the station entrances. More after the jump.
Rather than try to describe the details of the station, I’ll point you to the presentation from last night’s meeting which contains detailed drawings of the station layout. Thanks to Will Green, we have a full hour of audio (external link to dropbox) that accompanied the presentation. Note the TVMs on the surface, the bike lockers, cages, and racks (which will be accessible 24/7), and the open airy entrances designed to bring in lots of natural light. The mezzanine will “float” above the platform—similar to Westlake, but more open. The exhaust shafts will be placed at the rear of the station entrances and will vent in to the alley. The exhaust shafts will be visible from Brooklyn until the TOD is built, which will cover them up and could be built right next to the shafts.
Between and above both entrances Sound Transit has opportunities for TOD. Currently, the area is zoned to a maximum of 65 feet above ground level. Sound Transit will leave the specific uses up to the developer; the gray above the station is an example showing height of four stories (not an Apple store!). The station is engineered to for up to 85 feet of TOD with no additional modifications. If the City of Seattle were to extend beyond 85 feet, Sound Transit would need to engineer the station to stronger specifications. If the push beyond 85 feet doesn’t happen before design is complete, the station would likely not have any TOD higher than 85 feet due to the costliness of retrofitting the station.
I personally think a limit of 85 feet should be achievable. In the immediate vicinity are:
- UW Tower: 22 stories (325 feet)
- University Manor Apartments: 9 stories
- Maloy Apartments, 4337 15th Ave NE: 8 stories
The U-District is no stranger to tall buildings—other buildings south of 45th include the 7-story Trinity 43rd, and 10-story 4131 11th. The 23-story condo building at 4540 8th, the 16-story Hotel Deca, and 11-story 4700 12th are the tallest north of 45th. With the relatively transient nature of the residents of the U-District, upzoning would meet little opposition from NIMBYs.
The 4300 block of Brooklyn will become a “Green Street”. SDOT mandates a minimum 18 foot sidewalk outside light rail stations, so ST is planning on incorporating planters and trees. It’s possible that the street could become a woonerf, but that decision is up to SDOT. ST is taking feedback on the green street.
Starting around 2013, the 4300 block and the 43rd/Brooklyn intersection will close for about 7 years for station construction and staging. Sidewalk access will be provided to nearby businesses and residences. The alley between Brooklyn and The Ave may become northbound-only during construction. Station box excavation can’t start until both TBMs pass through. The TBMs will be launched from NE 65th (Roosevelt Station) and will continue to a stub currently under construction just north of the station under construction at Husky Stadium. The tunnel alignment south of Roosevelt Station will be finalized this year; the alignment north of Roosevelt will be finalized next year.
The always-interesting Q&A period somehow missed the “are you going to build parking” but kicked off with “are there any restrooms?” Since this station does not qualify as a major multimodal station nor as a terminus station, you’ll have to walk to one of the dozens of nearby businesses or campus buildings to do your duty. An attendee asked if ST considered a pass-through entrance to The Ave. ST’s opinion is that two entrances are enough (both are less than a block from The Ave) and that the cost of acquiring property isn’t worth it.
STB uber-commenter Bruce asked why this station can support 65 feet of TOD but Roosevelt can’t. Sound Transit gave three reasons:
- The U-District is an urban center, Roosevelt is an urban village
- Brooklyn has other high rise buildings nearby, and Roosevelt does not.
- ST believes market would support development at Brooklyn but not at Roosevelt.
While it is too early to discuss connecting bus service, Sound Transit pointed out that most stops are within 1-2 blocks. Metro Planner Jack Whisner pointed out that because this station has been a long time coming, Metro was able to plan ahead and install bus bulb pairs at NE 43rd on University Way and NE 15th.
If you have comments on the station name, design, or anything else and don’t want to wait until the 60% design open house being held early 2012 or the 90% open house in late 2012, you can submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.