In order to improve the movement of East Link vehicles to the Operation and Maintenance Facility (OMF) at SODO and operational flexibility in general Sound Transit staff have sent to the Board a proposed Contract Amendment to the East Link Final Design calling for a turnback track at International District/Chinatown Station. The work is to take place in 2019 and will require the closure of the DSTT for 10 weekends and one whole week. In addition:
Once the turn-back track facility is constructed joint operations with buses in the tunnel will no longer be feasible.
So there you have it folks. The arguments over when buses will be removed from the tunnel could possibly be put to rest at this Thursday’s Board Meeting. Shame that a center platform isn’t planned to be installed during the construction downtime. As Martin said in the past:
Center platforms are highly desirable at termini and at train-to-train transfer points, for obvious reasons. As the only currently planned transfer point, I’m hopeful that Chinatown/ID Station will get a center platform between now and 2020 to facilitate transfers from South to East and vice versa.
UPDATE 1, from ST Spokesperson Bruce Gray: While the staff report “anticipates” the work being done in 2019, that date is not set in stone. We’re looking at 2019 because it allows us to have it done in time for the final Northgate systems work and testing before opening, but the date is still somewhat flexible. This is a final design contract, not construction. The main point is that the work needs to be done before Northgate opens in order to have the least impact on the riding public. Sound Transit will continue coordinating this work with KCM, the City of Seattle and WSDOT. For now, we don’t have a date certain. Arriving at that decision will follow a lot more joint work with our partners.
UPDATE 2: After Brent sent an email to the entire Sound Transit Board on this contract and the possibility of a central platform in the future, ST Boardmember (and Seattle City Councilmember) Richard Conlin quickly responded and said he would look into it.