Sound Transit

On Tuesday night DPD held an open house for its Northgate Station Area Community Design Study. As part of the North Link project, Sound Transit is scheduled to open an elevated station just to the west of King County Metro’s Northgate Transit Center around 2021; ST hosted an open house regarding the design of that station in May. Tuesday’s Open House was focused on future zoning, land use, pedestrian and transit connectivity, and public amenities in the areas adjacent to the station.

For those not familiar with the area, what constitutes Northgate is, like most Seattle neighborhoods, somewhat ill-defined, but is centered on I-5 and NE Northgate Way and invariably includes the Northgate Mall and Transit Center. The larger Northgate area, subsuming the neighborhoods and major institutions of Pinehust, Maple Leaf, Haller Lake, North Seattle Community College and Northwest Hospital, is designated as an Urban Center, one of only two outside the central city, and perhaps the only one that enjoys both a large amount of readily-buildable land and a favorable regulatory environment.

Northgate TC is well served by transit, but today’s built environment is not very pedestrian- or transit-oriented. The TC is surrounded by acres of surface and garage parking on two sides, with a fairly long and bleak walk to the mall or the stores on Northgate Way; to the west is I-5, forming an impenetrable pedestrian barrier with nowhere to cross between Northgate Way and 92nd St; to the south are single-family homes. The explicit goal of this community design study is to get from the status quo to the kind of vibrant, walkable, bustling place where people will want to live and work.

The Open House was structured as  a presentation followed by an informal workshop. The presentation began with a brief history of the area and DPD’s goals, then moved on to a great discussion of some basic principles of urban design, including the importance of street-level activation and landscaping to the perception of massing and height. The presentation touched on the evolution of urban design in area, noting the large, squat, widely-set-back single-use buildings typical of the 1980s and the evolution towards more pedestrian-friendly mixed use buildings of today, of which the “big-box” (actually small-and-tall box) stores on Northgate Way and the invitingly-landscaped Aljoya senior apartments and Thornton Place are good examples. More after the jump.

The workshop consisted of a series of poster boards where the public was invited to answer questions about the kind of amenities and design aspects they want to see and concerns they had, in and about the new neighborhood and transit facilities. There were very few specifics: for example, no zoning heights were mentioned; rather, different building styles and forms were presented and people indicated which they preferred. I didn’t detect any concerted opposition to DPD’s goals, although I did hear fairly standard complaints about parking and bus noise.

One specific project under consideration is the universally-supported idea of constructing a pedestrian bridge from the vicinity of the station across I-5. Construction of the bridge is unfunded, but Metro obtained a federal grant to perform a feasibility study and some initial cost estimates — in the ballpark of $15 to $20 million. Another, covered more at the ST open house, is the workforce housing TOD project planned by King County on the parts of the TC property that will be surplus after station is complete.

The Northgate area has tremendous possibilities and some large but manageable challenges for transit and density advocates; however, the possibility of success here is perhaps greater than anywhere else. For instance, most of the controversy surrounding the Roosevelt station area upzone can be attributed to the failure of advocates to engage with and address the concerns of the local community, appearing as if from nowhere to demand major changes in the closing months of a process that has taken more than six years . There is no reason why we should repeat these mistakes at Northgate.

I encourage readers to flip through the presentation and poster boards I’ve linked to, and send your feedback to Gordon Clowers, the lead planner on this project. An online survey and future open houses will be forthcoming from DPD. I would also encourage readers to visit and become familiar with the area and the concerns of local residents, in order that we may have stronger and better-informed advocacy once more concrete plans start come from DPD.

63 Replies to “Northgate Station Area Open House”

  1. Based on my experience driving the 307, which became the 41, present plan has one defect that overcomes everything positive about it: complete lack of direct bus access to the express lanes of I-5 in either direction.

    Do we really want to tell passengers from north of Northgate that until North Link goes all the way to Lynnwood, their buses will have to fight current U-District traffic to get to UW, including school, hospital, and stadium?

    And that express passengers going Downtown and to Sea-Tac will have to stay stuck in I-5 regular lanes, as at present?

    I know ramps cost money. But continued lousy service after great expenditure costs transit credibility, which costs votes. Considering ST’s acceptance of the Bellevue tunnel, people affected have a legitimate gripe.

    Mark Dublin

    1. No, we tell them to get off at Northgate and transfer to Link, like any decent transit agency would.

      1. Ok. Should have cited present experience as passenger, rather than past as driver.

        Last few years, have spent many afternoon hours on Lynnwood commutes stuck in I-5 southbound traffic where PM express lanes don’t exist, or nortbound where they’re a joke.

        Now, where should I ask an inbound 401 or 511 driver to let me off for LINK to UW for school, game, or hospital?


      2. I’m not understanding your concern. These routes don’t stop at Northgate, so the lack of direct access ramps doesn’t affect you. Are you asking how we can leverage Link for these trips by terminating these lines at Northgate? Then yes, the lack of access to the express lanes is a problem. But I don’t know if anyone’s suggesting we do that.

        All I’m saying is that current routes that stop at Northgate and continue as express towards downtown should terminate at Northgate. We should reorganize service near Northgate around local feeder services.

      3. I think having southbound buses from Snohomish County stopping at Northgate’s Link station could be really useful, but you’re right, the current exits from I-5 to Northgate TC are not great. If you’re coming southbound trying to get to Northgate, it’s kind of a clover leaf that dumps you into the always-thick traffic on Northgate Way, then you turn south on 1st Ave, which can be crowded too, in order to get into the transit center. If the ped bridge ever got built, it would be wicked cool if they incorporated a flyer stop into its design so buses on the freeway could drop people off at the ped bridge.

      4. the358, THAT sounds like a design. Propose it! Don’t assume anyone else has suggested it. It’s such a cool idea that someone might come up with the money for it if it was publicized.

  2. I’m not sure more residential units are needed in the immediate vicinity. The thinking is that if some large “superblocks” of multi-level parking structures go in near the LINK station it would be best from a multi-modal standpoint. You’d have many drivers from points north pulling off I-5 to let the agency handle the last, congested ten miles to downtown. That’d serve freight transport interests who’d get a less congested I-5. One of the “oversights” of the initial planning by the agency was the lack of parking near Link stations. That flaw could be redressed, at the biggest bang for the buck, by 4,500 new parking spots near that station (that’s about the level needed to make up for lost ground).

    1. So once we’ve extended Link northward, what do we do with the parking? Convert it into residential units?

      1. As long as the parking is built at Northgate or Southcenter Mall there will always be plenty of demand for it. If you can get the private sector to buy into the cost of financing construction (lease to own) it could be a winner. The malls have huge demand off peak and weekends so shared use makes a lot of sense. Land around Northgate is already expensive enough that structured parking starts to make sense. Maybe allow an upzone and build the parking into the foundation structure of a couple of Bellevue size towers.

      2. Well, Northgate did overbuild parking big time, and the southeast lot was unused and left to crack and let weeds grow in it until Thornton Place replaced it. Was that lot ever used to its capacity, or was it just for Christmas overflow? Or was it like those 1950s plans, a freeway every mile.

      3. That lot that turned into Thornton Place used to be used for big events like big car sales. In the 80’s, I went there with my family one time when we were in the market for a new car. I think I remember some carnival-type events too. But for parking? Only at Christmas. Now that they have that garage in the SW corner of the mall property, I can’t recall the last time I went there and couldn’t find a parking spot (although, I avoid the mall like the plague during Christmas season).

    2. That would capture about 5% of the daily traffic count but how many trips would just shift to peak hours (induced demand). It would also cost $150-200 million dollars to build and maintenance costs would be another charge. I still maintain that if the project only works by building free parking then you’re build HCT in the wrong place. Bus transfers is another story. If you can design feeder routes from local P&R lots that terminate there instead of going DT the you’re saving a lot of operational cost on the bus side.

      1. Bernie – there is no proof that “induced demand” exists. It is more of an urban legend thing.

        A few anecdotes from new-urbanist studies text writers does not a transportation rule make . . ..

      2. I still maintain that if the project only works by building free parking then you’re build HCT in the wrong place.


      3. “Bernie – there is no proof that ‘induced demand’ exists. It is more of an urban legend thing.”

        Have you driven I405 with it’s freshly expanded lanes lately? Just curious.

      4. Or read any of the studies from various countries measuring the increase in traffic correlated with increased freeway lanes? I’m not sure where you got the idea that this is an urban legend, unless you’ve just been ignoring or deliberately avoiding the facts so that you can continue to believe it.

      5. “Have you driven I405 with it’s freshly expanded lanes lately?”

        Anecdotes don’t cut it. Got proof “induced demand” is more than a catch-phrase? Didn’t think so . . .. More importantly, only PARTS of I-405 were expanded – the same bottlenecks (ie near I-90, Renton S-curves, etc.) exist, as does the major exchange with SR-520. Those are the causes of the continuing backups on 405 – not induced demand.

        “Or read any of the studies from various countries measuring the increase in traffic correlated with increased freeway lanes?”

        Wow! Another brain-dead transit fan! Correlation does not equate to causation. I know this is beyond middle-school stuff, but try to keep up with the grown-ups, mmmkay?

      6. You trying to pick an internet-fight with me, Zed?

        We’ll be able to tell soon enough whether “induced demand” is a real phenomenon or not, based on local data. When R-8A is built out I-90 will be 10 lanes instead of 8 from Seattle to Bellevue (at least for a couple of years). We’ll see if there’s a 25% jump in vehicle traffic during that time. Given that there’s already excess vehicle capacity on that roadway and that traffic volume across the 2 Lake bridges has held steady for a decade, I’ll predict right now that NO “induced demand” effect will be measured.

        What say you, Zed?

      7. “Got proof ‘induced demand’ is more than a catch-phrase?”

        A peer-reviewed scientific study? No, although somebody else might. What I have is a lifetime of living in the Seattle area and watching as the population grew and we expanded our freeways to “relieve congestion”. With the exception of a few HOV lanes (I-90 peak direction and stretches of 520 where the lane is 3+), virtually the entire freeway network is as congested, or even more so, than when I first started driving back in 1983.

        By the way, the stretch of 405 I was referring to was North of Bellevue although you reminded me of how bad SB 405 is.

      8. Induced demand is more than an increase in daily vehicle count. What happens is that the “rush hour” gets shorter. There isn’t a capacity problem with our roadways, there is a peak capacity issue. The TDM studies for variable tolling on SR-520 go into detail on this. If you take a few thousand of cars off I-5 at Northgate people who either went in early or late to manage their acceptable level of congestion will move their trips closer to center.

      9. “Induced demand is more than an increase in daily vehicle count. What happens is that the “rush hour” gets shorter. There isn’t a capacity problem with our roadways, there is a peak capacity issue”

        I’m with you. One idea I’ve been kicking around is to use all of this Park & Ride space in the region to help mitigate that. You could still grant free or discounted parking for “really early birds”. Charge more for parking during rush hour and then back to free/discounted after 9 or 10am. The problem would be the cost of collection/enforcement of a variable scheme like that. 167’s HOT lanes make the whole highway flow better but I don’t think they “pay” for themselves. (I haven’t looked at the numbers lately so maybe that’s changed)

        Either way, the era of free/subsidized parking, especially when paid for by the taxpayer, needs to draw to a close.

      10. Sounds a bit complicated. Just charge a flat rate that gets P&R usage to around 90-95%. I think “choice” users that would ride if they knew there was going to be a spot without having to leave extraordinarily early would use the lots and people that still wanted free parking would use lots that are currently underutilized (even though in many cases they’re a shorter drive). I can see an after 5PM free clause since you want people to use transit off peak if they are going DT for something like a ball game since those events create congestion yet there is plenty of room in on buses coming into DT and going back out to the ‘burbs later in the evening.

      11. I can see an after 5PM free clause since you want people to use transit off peak if they are going DT for something like a ball game since those events create congestion yet there is plenty of room in on buses coming into DT and going back out to the ‘burbs later in the evening.

        I disagree with the bolded text. Have you ever tried it? When I have, the 550 and 554 are packed to the gills for the ride back. If the event is late in the day, there’s also a risk of the buses going out of service before you can get back to the eastside.

      12. Depends a lot on the event. Mariners games I’ve gone to the first few buses are full but if you hang for 45 min to an hour there’s seats for everyone; at least on the 255. I’m just never in a hurry to leave the stadium and fight those crowds. If you’re in a hurry how can you possibly be in a mind set to enjoy baseball?

      13. “Just charge a flat rate that gets P&R usage to around 90-95%.”

        The price should have some relationship to the goal: maximizing the number of transit riders. Just saying 95% fullness and ending it there doesn’t address whether the P&R itself is too small or too large for the demand. The optimal use of the P&R is (# of commuters – # of commuters with a bus from their neighborhood to the P&R). Ideally there would be a factor for “could afford denser housing on a transit route convenient to their job but prefers the luxury of a yard”, but Pugetopolis is not there yet. A huge percentage of the population lives in single-family houses in south King and east King, and expecting them all to move to denser housing is not realistic at present, so P&Rs are the next best thing to get them onto some kind of transit.

      14. Mariners games I’ve gone to the first few buses are full but if you hang for 45 min to an hour there’s seats for everyone; at least on the 255.

        Parking at lot near stadiums before a weekday Mariners game: $7
        Parking at same lot before a weekday Sounders FC match: $40

        If you’re in a hurry how can you possibly be in a mind set to enjoy baseball?

        Well said, Bravo…

      15. Post Grad? Where? In what? Induced demand is not a new urbanist concept, it’s basic market economics.
        When supply (road capacity) is constrained then demand can’t be fulfilled. In a free market, price increases until demand falls to match capacity. If that price generates profits they may be reinvested to add capacity, but it’s a strategy with diminishing returns.
        In a socialized market where price is held steady (at $0) or revenue is extracted in some way unrelated to the rate of consumption of the good, then that good is consumed until rationing (congestion) results. Congestion means that some trips can not be completed or have a higher cost in fuel and opportunity than otherwise. Pent up demand exists to consume the good not because it is a quality good but because it is free, good enough and better than alternatives. When you expand capacity without charging for it, the free good that was of poor quality gets better and more people want to use it. Then you have induced demand.
        Until rationing (congestion) is reestablished, use of the good (roads) will have a lower real and opportunity cost than previously and people will consume more of it (greater capacity leads to VMT/capita growth).
        Class dismissed.

    3. I’d support this idea if the parking fees could be high enough to cover operations and capital cost of the garage over, say, a 30-year period.

    4. Other than maybe replacing spaces removed by station construction why should there be any more parking built at Northgate? IMHO there is already too damn much land dedicated to car storage in the area.

      I’d think the best bet would be to extend the agreement that covers the garage on the South side of the mall to all of the mall owned parking.

      Besides I don’t think the reason some SOV commuters don’t use Northgate P&R when they could has anything to do with not being able to find a parking space.

    5. I’m seeing a disturbing trend of neighborhoods fighting additional housing around each station. Each neighborhood may say additional housing isn’t the right thing at *this* station. But add all the thises together, and no housing gets built.

      If you’ve flown over Los Angeles recently, you can see high-rise strips along the new rail lines. Yeah, Seattle has a lot of neighborhoods with single-family character, but there are plenty of neighborhoods like that, and way too few where new housing is going up.

      If not Northgate — with its surface parking taking up space that could be inhabited by a lot more residents than the current number of parking spots — then where?

      1. “If you’ve flown over Los Angeles recently, you can see high-rise strips along the new rail lines”

        What do they look like on the ground? Do they look like Metrotown, New Westminster, and Whalley in Vancouver? Or is the dense look from the sky an illusion?

      2. Answer to your question Mike, since I’ve ridden the whole LA system. They’re not really strips, because the stations are too far apart. They *are* dense clusters; clusters of mid-rises and high-rises right around each station, fading off to one-story and two-story the moment you walk one block in any direction.

        It’s denser in Long Beach (but it was before) and downtown (but it was before) and Wilshire Blvd. (but it was before).

        But yes, there are little clusters of higher-rise buildings in a one-block radius from pretty much every station (the expressway portion of the Green Line is the exception; I think the expressway acts as a deterrent).

  3. Mark Dublin’s concern may be about reverse peak direction trips; a center access ramp to and from the north connecting the center HOV lanes via a t-ramp to either NE 117th Street or North 92nd Street might work to connect service with Link.

    Some placed dots opposed to the ped and bike bridge over I-5; so support was not universal; no agency has funds for the construction and all have projects with greater benefit: SDOT has huge sidewalk and pavement management deficits; Metro needs to spend on service; ST needs to build transit projects (see paragraph above and north corridor Link). The current bus service provides eight trips per hour via North 92nd Street between NSCC and the NTC.

    1. First concern is that for many years after we build a long-delayed traffic-free corridor between I-5 and UW, huge number of passengers from the north will still be forced into U-District traffic.

      Second concern is daily afternoon I-5 parking lot re: no SB PM express lanes. Third is recurring PM slowdown of NB so-called express lanes past Northgate. These two are as much a political problem as structural- meaning present structure could probably be converted to two way transit with legal and constitutional action- hard, but not counter to laws of physics.

      But thanks for giving me permission to say this without going Off-Topic:

      Everything political since the 2010 election is vivid proof that there’s absolutely no penalty for planning as large as humanly possible. Until there’s a major change in politics at every level, no small or cautious plan has any more chance than the grandest.

      We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by planning as much as possible into our system. Election results and steady string of further victories by the winners prove that politically- and this country’s got a political problem, not a fiscal one- success is to the bold, and shame to the timid.

      Mark Dublin

    2. The bridge would allow Metro to reroute those routes to avoid going in a U shape on both College Way and the transit center. The 16 could go straight to the TC from 92nd, saving 5-10 minutes of travel time and a significant amount of service-hours. The 75 could stay on Northgate Way and save 5 minutes, or even better since Northgate Way is such a bottleneck, the 75 could stay on 85th all the way from Ballard to the TC, saving at least 10 minutes. (Although this may require another route to take up the Holman Road segment.)

      1. If buses are crossing a new bridge over I-5 at Northgate, it would make sense to try to tie that in to the express/HOV lanes to give freeway routes direct access to the transit center as well.

      2. The bridge proposal is pedestrian/bicycle only. It would go from the station to N 100th Street, serving NSCC and (a long walk to) Aurora. A trail would split from the bridge and go northward to the east side of campus and the hospital beyond it.

        The 48 doesn’t need to be “fixed”; it’s one of Metro’s most successful routes. It just needs to be split in the U-district. A significant portion of the 48’s riders are going UW-Greenwood, Greenlake-Greenwood, UW-Aurora, etc. You could maybe truncate it in Greenwood, but not at 85th & Wallingford or at Greenlake.

      3. The 48 doesn’t need to be “fixed”; it’s one of Metro’s most successful routes.

        Yes and no. It’s undoubtedly one of the routes with the highest ridership. But so is the 4, which is almost definitely getting cut as part of the RTTF changes (or the 17% reduction if the car tab fails). The high ridership simply means that the corridor is heavily used, not necessarily that the route is optimally designed.

        As I’ve said before, the routing I’d like to see is:

        – An E/W route (the new 71), consisting of the part of the 48 west of 65th/15th and the part of the 71 east of there, running at 15-minute frequency.

        – A N/S route (the new 48), consisting of the current 48S, running at the 48’s current frequency.

        – The proposed 80 “super-express” between Northgate and downtown via Roosvelt, the U-District and I-5, running every 5 minutes all day. (The service hours for this would come from the current 71/72/73X, the 48 between 45th and 65th, the 66, maybe the 43, and maybe off-peak trips on the 41.)

        Under this scheme, riders from the current tails of the 48 and 71 would have to take 2 buses to get to UW or downtown, but it would be such an easy connection that it almost wouldn’t matter. In return, you get a consistent, easy-to-understand E/W corridor across North Seattle, and a super easy way to get between any of the major North Link nodes. That strikes me as a major improvement on what we have today, and a better improvement than simply splitting the 48.

      4. I used to favor a 48/71 route, and it would be an OK route, but I’m afraid it ignores the dominant trip patterns. There’s a lot of bidirectional travel between UW, Greenlake, Aurora, and Greenwood. In contrast, Ravenna and Wedgwood are mostly bedroom communities, with just just a few boutique restaurants. It makes more sense for the fewer people from Ravenna to transfer to UW and to northwest Seattle, than for people going between UW to northwest to transfer.

        I do think the 71 should go to Roosevelt station. From there, one suggestion is to turn south and take over the 26 to Fremont (and maybe downtown).

        In any case, there would be major opposition to truncating the 48, and it’s not like the 4 because there are no other east-west routes within a mile.

      5. My main response is this: Once North Link comes online, is the current 48 really the best way to get from Greenwood (etc.) to UW?

        Given traffic patterns (at peak) and budget/headway concerns (off-peak), I would argue that, if we design the system properly, Greenwood (etc.) riders would actually have a shorter, more reliable route to UW by connecting at Roosevelt than by taking the current 48.

        Before North Link, the benefits are less clear. But still, suppose that we manage to create a route 80 “pseudo-Link” that has consistent 5-minute headways. And maybe we can even give it a limited BRT treatment, for example by adding bus-only lanes on 15th or the Ave between Pacific and 65th. By not wasting service hours on a duplicate segment (that portion of the 48), we can potentially have shorter headways on the 48/71, which benefits everyone.

  4. I currently live on the opposite side of the freeway from the mall, straight shot from Nordstrom’s across the freeway. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a pedestrian bridge from the Mall/TC area to the NSCC neighborhood! After commuting for 4 years either trying to catch the peak only, 20 min headway 316 or trying to get to the TC SB via 345/346/75/5 (that cycle within 5 min of each other every 20min), jaywalking when a NB 16 shows up delayed, or walking the almost half mile in the rain to the corner of 8th & Northgate to be soaked or sweaty in business clothes I can not express how much of a time saver a bridge would be. You can leave during a window of time to catch the 41 or lightrail with <5min headways without a long wait. As it is, in the next year or so I'll probably leave this neighborhood in the next year since it's not feasible to commute by bus to my new job near Boeing Field by 6:30am by transit from here.

    1. I bet they could build a gondola for less than the cost of a skybridge. Call it a “horizontal elevator” and treat it as a second entrance to Northgate station; I’ll bet people would prefer it over a long narrow walkway over I5. If it goes well it could be extended to Oak Tree to connect with RapidRide.

      1. I bet not and then you’d have the maintenance costs on a ski lift plus having to pay Metro operators at each end to run the lift and help people load/unload. What sort of service hours would it stay open and who rescues the people stranded over I-5 when the lift breaks down.

      2. It depends on just how many times the per-mile cost of Peak2Peak you expect it to cost in Seattle, or really I guess how much it costs to build a station in NSCC. Definitely not worth doing if you’re going to have full time operators, that’s why you want it designed as much like an elevator as possible; fully automated maybe with video surveillance. The elevator to Beacon Hill station does not require an operator; this would be a similar distance to ride.

      3. A gondola is not an elevator. You have to enter while the damn thing is moving, it’s not push on demand, if doors aren’t lock assholes can drop shit on I-5. It’s only an option if you have steady demand during all hours you expect it to be open. I’m not aware of any in the world that are ADA compliant. Pedestrian bridge good; gondola bad.

      4. That’s actually a great idea, Eric. [Bernie] you often describe design challanges as reasons to drop a project altogether. First, let’s settle a few things.

        1. You don’t enter a gondola while it’s moving. They detach from the cable.
        2. The doors lock.
        3. I’m not aware of very many in the world that aren’t ADA compliant, at least the ones that have been built lately. Level boarding is not at all difficult.

        With that out of the way, let’s go back to the issues of automated gondolas. The largest issue in my mind is what happens when someone keeps the door from closing. On an elevator or automated funicular it just refuses to go anywhere. But with a gondola you have cars continuing to arrive and you’ll eventualy run out of room in the station. The answer is easy for a very short, low capacity gondola – have few enough cars that they’ll all fit in the station. For a larger, higher capacity system you’ll probably need an attendant.

      5. (scratch #1 – I don’t know what I was thinking. Of course most of them move while loading. But they don’t have to.)

      6. You need an attendant for several reasons. Someone has to be there to push the stop button when Joe public does something dangerous; like get lose clothing stuck when getting off or trying to see just how many drunks you can fit in one car. The door would have to be locked/unlocked from the outside to prevent anything being dropped over I-5. Someone needs to be there when it stops to switch to back-up power or, worst case shut down I-5 and evacuate the people trapped. All the pedestrian bridges I know of around here are caged in. Of course there are plenty of sidewalk overpasses where people can and do drop rocks, bowling balls, etc. on traffic. I haven’t ridden a gondola that’s stationary while loading (a tram yes). I’m sure anything can be engineered but why when a simple bridge does the job 24/7 with no moving parts, no energy bill and no attendants. I don’t know how often crews come by and clean up trash and graffiti on pedestrian overpasses but it’s orders of magnitude less than nightly maintenance and inspection would be for a gondola. Plus when the thing breaks down there’s no back-up. Look at how often the escalators are out of service in the DSTT. How would that be if it completely shut down access to the platform?

      7. Thinking about this further, maybe this is one of the few cases where an arial tram would be a better idea than a gondolla. It’s just less complex to just have two cars, and they could function very much like elevators.

        Automated arial trams would work much like elevators. They could lock you in (automatically), and have an emergency call button.

        I think a walkway would work fine as well, but you could do more with an arial tram. Imagine connecting North Seattle Community College to the station (6,000 feet by walking, or just 3,000 feet by air). Or Northwest Hospital (5,000 feet walking – if you can walk that far – or 2,000 feet by air).

      8. Thanks to [Mike]’s description below, I have a much better grasp of where the station will be. A bike path over the freeway will do fine. That’s maybe a 300′ bridge, with a total trip length of 1000 feet from the edge of campus. That’s very walkable, especially for college kids.

      9. I should hope so, it’s a mile from the Montlake triangle up to the Burke Museum :=

  5. The biggest thing I learned at the open house is that the station is centered on 103rd street, so it’ll be further north than the current TC. The north entrance is a block into the mall superblock, meaning a shorter walk to Northgate Way. That means it’ll be a 3-block walk from Northgate Way to the entrance, rather than having to go “around the mall and past the parking garage and across 103rd” to get to the station.

    The south end of the mall superblock is available for TOD development. (The space between the sidewalk and the parking garage.) So there’ll be development north of 103rd as well as south.

    There are two TC alternatives. One puts the buses on a short east-west street at 102nd, like Bellevue TC. The other puts the buses on 1st and 3rd NE, with a pedestrian plaza at 102nd. The tradeoff is that the pedestrian-plaza approach would make a slightly longer walk between buses and trains.

    There are four bridge alternatives. One question is where the bridge should land on the east; the other is what kind of bridge. The two alignments are (1) a straight east-west bridge at 100th, and (2) a diagonal southwest-northeast bridge from 100th to the center of the station. The diagonal bridge would be a shorter walk to the station, and it would also be cheaper because the “bridge” segment would be shorter and the “western at-grade” segment would be longer. (But it would make a longer walk from N 100th St to NE 100th St.)

    The two bridge choices are (1) a steel-truss bridge, or (2) a cable-stayed bridge. Steel-truss bridges are those with arches underneath. Cable-stayed is like the Westlake/Galer pedestrian bridge: a few vertical posts with guywires connoting a sailboat’s sail. The steel-truss bridge is cheaper and could be built off-site and installed in a couple weekends. It may be metal-ugly but that could be mitigated with a paint job or artwork on the sides, but it could look metal-ugly. ST is basically offering it as an amenity. I think we should build the steel-truss bridge and save the money for the North Corridor, and we can give it a nice paint job or put artwork on the sides to make it less ugly.

    The other question is whether to build a steel-truss bridge or a cable-stayed bridge.

    1. Was there a visulization of the steel truss bridge? Your description gave one example of many types of steel truss.

      Since the ped. bridge would need security fencing, a better design would be like the Weller Street pedestrian bridge. Basically a steel cage with a roof and side walls.

      1. There were visualizations of both bridges, but I don’t know what steel-truss means so I’m just describing the picture. And it was just a stock computer-generated image; I don’t think the bridges have been designed beyond their general type and location. So it could end up being a different steel-truss type. If you have a preference, be sure to tell ST. The picture looked more or less like the the Jose Rizal (12th Avenue) bridge to Beacon Hill, but with more latticework between the arches and roadway.

  6. There must be some simple fixes to give buses priority in the path between the station and I-5, at least until Lynnwood Link opens.

    Still, I suspect the double deckers won’t fit under the Northgate Way I-5 overpass.

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  8. Pinehust? Did you really say “Pinehust”? Have you ever heard of spell-check? This blog is getting sloppy fast.

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