62 Replies to “Rainier Station Materials Now Online”

  1. I suggested the historic nickname of the area, Garlic Gulch for the station name, not a chance in the world they will pick it, but what the heck

  2. Very disappointing.
    I’m shocked they chose not to connect to the existing MTS bridge over rainier via a simple loop.

    Much better to have to have walkers and bikers cross multiple lanes of I90 on/off ramps or go 600+ feet out of their way to the 23rd entrance.

    This decision eliminates the entire walkshed from the west (North Beacon Hill).

    1. Hmmm. Very good point. One that I hadn’t considered. One of my objections (once I realized where exactly the station was) is the lack of a connection to the area to the south. This is the main walkshed. It might not be much (this little triangle formed by 23rd, the freeway and Rainier) but by some measure, it is the main walkshed. It is very close and fairly dense (nothing else comes close, really). So, I wonder if a small connector across the freeway from 22nd would solve both problems. You would punch a hole in the wall there, connecting the MTS to the station. Sliding that hole a block (or half block) to the south would also work. But I think anywhere between 21st and 22nd would do, as near as I can figure (I think the trains line up between the two streets). This connector (which would be the same width as the MTS bridge) would basically save folks coming from the west or south 2 blocks of walking (or riding). Sounds good to me. Does that make sense to you, psf? If so, I think I’ll put that in my comments (I have yet to comment).

      1. Sounds like a very nice plan, but I’m sure there’s no budget for a pedestrian overpass. Otherwise we’d have a connection to the Mountains To Sound trail.

      2. “So, I wonder if a small connector across the freeway from 22nd would solve both problems. You would punch a hole in the wall there, connecting the MTS to the station.”

        I doubt if they are going to spring for a pedestrian bridge over I-90 to shorten the walk by one block.

      3. That’s the solution to the conundrum at this station. Build a way to parachute into the center of the station from 22nd Ave. S and the trail there. Develop that street as a pedestrian route to the neighborhood to the south, as it basically has no traffic, unlike the arterials where the buses run. It’s really the only inhabited land that is potentially directly accessible to the station.

    2. While not perfect, a simple staircase where the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail crosses Ranier would help. Yes, it still sucks to have to go down and back up again, but it’s still quicker than going all the way around to 23rd (or it least it does if you’re on foot – on a bike, going around is quicker and easier than lugging a bike up and down stairs).

      The circuitous walk to the southbound bus stop on Ranier, however, is very disappointing.

      1. Given all the ramps in the Rainier Ave Underpass, it’s conceivable that a ramp could be built off of the MTS onto one of the ramps. I’d have to go there in person to look.

      2. Totally agree that there should be a better connection from the Mountains to Sound trail from the west.
        Although not ideal, there is a fork in the MTS trail at 18th Ave S that takes you down to Rainier Ave. You would still would have to cross Rainier Ave, though, and then go up again to the station…

      3. I think archie’s comment here is important — anyone coming from the west will leave the trail around 18th Ave S, hit the west side of Rainier, scoot a few yards north, and cross Rainier in the existing crosswalk. Maybe it would make sense to fork that trail descending east toward Rainier to arrive directly at the crosswalk, and paint a “crossbikes” next to the crosswalk or something. Beyond that, it’s a simple matter of light timing.

        One day this interchange will have to be rebuilt, and when that happens we should all lobby for the removal of all merges on and off of Rainier. Actually I don’t think that’s much of a stretch — I don’t think any of the rebuilt interchanges for the 520 project will have merges onto arterial roads, and that’s on the eastside.

      4. Al & Archie

        The issue is that the path down goes down to street level, and crosses the I90 offramp traffic. MTS riders/walkers are already at the level of the station.
        What does three flights of stairs up and down do to walkshed?

        Cars coming off I-90 there have a stop. Some subset of cars actually do so. Most drivers look left for oncoming traffic, and proceed right.

        The terrain at the MTS level totally supports a loop, either on the West side of Rainier, or on the East side. A loop on the East side would be closer to the station platform, but it wouldn’t matter all that much if the bus bridge pedway is left in place.

        I just cannot believe it wasn’t included in the original station designs.

  3. I hope the name is “Jimi Hendrix Park”, but they ended up with “U District”, so I don’t imagine the right name will prevail.

    1. I’m going to vote for Judkins Park, even though I’m a big fan of Hendrix (the musician, not the park). It has been around longer, and folks in the area know the name. Plus, there is a bus route with the same name, so that helps.

    2. I’ve racked my brain for options. Judkins Park seems the most reasonable at this point. I’d also throw “Atlantic” out there as this is the historic neighborhood district name. I do wonder if there is some new term that could be created to brand the area into a new identity.

      1. It’s time to revive the historic and established name “Atlantic” for a station name here. Rainier is the name for the whole valley and its principal commercial street all the way from Jackson Street down to Rainier Beach, and having both Rainier and Rainier Beach on two different lines in a district with many newcomers is begging for confusion.

        Atlantic is already the official city name for the portion of the Central District that includes the station. The station is more or less in the center of this historic neighborhood repeatedly impacted by highway construction, and it had a commercial area along Atlantic Street, adjacent to this station. The Atlantic Street Center building dates from this era.

        Rainier and 23rd Ave. intersect elsewhere and run the length of central Seattle. I’m not wild about Judkins Park for a station name either. Here’s the brief story on that: Judkins Park.

        Atlantic is both a place and a street, and it’s an established name.

        Here’s a scene from 1936.

    3. This is a difficult one, as it basically sits in a dead zone on the edge of 3 neighborhoods.

      I personally would love “Atlantic”, as it’s more accurate, but it’s little used since I-90 cleaved the area in two, and few would recognize it. “Judkins Park” strikes me as the rational option, because it’s both techically accurate, and well recognized. Everyone in the CD would immediately recognize and understand that station name. Everyone from the rest of the city would at least recognize it as a CD neighborhood, and from basic common knowledge of the route could puzzle out that it’s a southern CD station.

      “23rd/Rainier” would be my other option, since they are N/S transit arterials crossing an E/W line, so there’s not likely to be any confusion, and since this station is likely going to be used primarily for transfers to buses on those corridors, rather than for access to destinations in the walkshed.

      1. I agree. I could go for either “Judkins Park” or “23rd/Rainier”. Personally, I favor the first. It grows on you. It rolls off the tongue and “Googles” really well. A slight learning curve (maybe) for folks who have never ridden a bus in the area or aren’t familiar with the neighborhood, but that’s a small price to pay, in my opinion, for overall clarity. Once you name a station, people get used to it.

        If we add more stations ten years later, then we are pretty much stuck with the name, even if it isn’t ideal. For example, if we add another station 10 blocks east of “Capitol Hill” station I think we will regret calling the station “Capitol Hill” and not “Seattle Central Community College” (or SCCC). The new station might be called “23rd Ave”, which is why calling this station “23rd/Rainier” might be less than ideal. As arguments go, though, that one is pretty weak. I would say “23rd/Rainier” is my second choice.

      2. A neighborhood-named station should be in the center of the neighborhood’s commercial district, where most people are going and where the bus transfers are. Capitol Hill Station and U-District Station meet that goal. (Columbia City Station notoriously doesn’t, which is why it’s so controversial.) The only other reasonable name for CHS would be “Broadway Station”, if there were a separate “Capitol Hill Station” at 15th & John. But definitely not 23rd, and definitely not “SCCC Station”. 23rd is the outskirts of Capitol Hill, and SCCC is just one small part of the station’s cachement market. A station on 23rd might be called “East Capitol Hill Station” since it has no better neighborhood identity.

    4. Colman School Station!
      The Colman School has a rich history in the neighborhood and the local African American community. Naming the station after this would be very meaningful to the identify of the area.

  4. I understand that they want to serve both 23rd and Ranier. It seems that they’ve decided to plunk the platforms more or less half way between the streets. Would it make sense to put the platforms significantly closer to one or other of the portals so that at least one set of passengers was better served? I suspect that it doesn’t — any such shift worth doing makes the other side too bad. There may also be technical constraints.

    1. I thought about that as well and came to the same conclusion. Both streets are important, so I don’t have a favorite.

    2. Isn’t the east end of the platform significantly closer to 23rd Ave SE than the west end is to Rainier Ave. SE?

  5. Thanks for the link!

    Alas, only one up escalator for each entrance/exit. The drawings also suggest that there are about 50 steps down from 23rd Avenue to the platform and 60 steps down to Rainier from the platform. Also, if the lone escalator breaks down, everyone will have to walk up these many stairs or wait for an elevator.

    Please! At least two escalators to each exit! One up and one down (which can be made to go up if the other one is out of service)!

    1. yes. it’s 2.5 to 3 storeys at each end: that seems like enough that a down escalator is called for — I have no problem with the idea of stairs for one stroey up or two storeys down, but once you get past that you are really compromising the passengre experience. You’d still want to design in stairs, otherwise if one escalator is being worked on [if the University Street Station is anything to go by,this is far from a rare occurence] one direction of travel would be forced onto the elevator. I’d also prefer stairs be present because the pitch of elevator stairs makes climbing them so unpleasant.

    2. I also note that this particular station has two entrances over 1000 feet apart from each other (and are at different elevations). This is about the spacing of the Downtown Seattle stations. It’s just one more reason why two escalators are needed at each entrance/exit. It’s not as if a rider can choose another up escalator if the one they use goes out of service; they are left with stairs or an elevator.

  6. Breaking away from the egotistical tradition in naming this after Mr. Judkins, perhaps a 180 is in order. The Kemper Freeman Station would be splendid somewhere on the East Link extension. Admittedly, that would make more sense in Bellevue.

    I suppose Jimi Hendrix will do.

  7. It feels as if they’ve had to make compromises to the designbecause they want to keep the eastbound flyer station. Among other things, it pretty much forces the rail to use the center HOV bridge rather than the two slip bridges. This is part of the reason they end up witha grade crossing at the platform. It also means that they want to keep at least some of the existing acess fo this platform.

    Is this station even going to get used? The POR seems to be that only Metro’s peak buses would use it, but, as often as not, they don’t stop there, and (if they have any value at all in a post East Link world) it’s dificult to see why this would change.

      1. I’m not talking about the Link station, I’m taking about the Eastbound Freeway Station for buses, which some of the plans suggest will still be in use. I don’t think that Link will make this more useful, rather less useful since there certainly won’t be any all day 550s there, and there aren’t planned to be any all day 554s either.

    1. “It feels as if they’ve had to make compromises to the designbecause they want to keep the eastbound flyer station….Is this station even going to get used? ”
      Good question. What buses would be running through here *after East Link opens*? — remember that redundant buses will be removed. And why would people transfer to these buses *here* rather than downtown or in South Bellevue?

      1. And why would people transfer to these buses *here* rather than downtown or in South Bellevue?

        People from the neighborhood currently attempt to catch the all-day 550 and 554 here (I say attempt because eastside buses have a habit of skipping this stop), because despite it’s proximity, it’s a realistic half hour to get to downtown Seattle by transit from the surrounding area.

        If this platform is not available, a transfer at South Bellevue or Mercer Island would be the preferred alternative. And without a new westbound stop on the Rainier offramp, there’s no point in keeping this eastbound stop open.

      2. Lack Thereof: none of these buses currently stops at S. Bellevue, and hardly any stop on Mercer Island — if I remember correctly, none of them will next month. Post Link, adding either stop would impose a significant time penalty on through passengers [currently MI is actually fairly reasonable, but IIRC there won’t be an Express lane exit west of ICW once East Link is running].

      3. none of these buses currently stops at S. Bellevue, and hardly any stop on Mercer Island

        Post Link, many of the buses may be truncated at one of those two stations.

    2. The bus stop is not going to get significant use, but Metro isn’t keeping the structure for the bus stop. They’re keeping it because they want the reserved lane past this slow-moving stretch of highway.

      1. Okay, but how many buses is it really going to run? I think we need a real answer to that question sooner rather than later. Moreover, even if they do decide they need the path, removing the station may at least remove some of the clutter currently under the Rainier Avenue overpass.

      2. I guess deadheading buses could use it. But, if they’re headed to or from East Base, they would probably do better to simply take 520, which will have an HOV lane, once the construction is finished.

  8. Rainier Station or Rainier Avenue Station is the best station name. Jimi Hendrix Station is ridiculous. Judkins Park is stupid. Both names are just pandering to the neighborhood, and that’s not how station names should be picked. Most of the other East Link station names are good. 130th makes sense. Overlake Transit Center makes sense. Hospital Station makes sense. East Main is an truly idiotic name, and should be changed. If you asked most people, when coming out of the Mount Baker tunnel westbound, what area was coming up just below them, they would answer either the Rainier Valley or Rainier Avenue. And that’s exactly why the station should be called that.

    1. Judkins Park is clear. There is a bus that goes by the same name. Rainier is ambiguous. There is another station that serve Rainier Avenue. This isn’t even the heart of Rainier Valley, but the northern end of it. Then there is the possibility that we add more stations on Rainier Avenue (or Rainier Valley). On the other hand, just search for “Judkins Park Map” — boom, success.

      I find it funny that you like some names, but not others. Hospital Station seems ridiculous. I don’t even know what hospital it serves, but when I think of hospitals, I think of the big hospitals on Pill Hill or maybe the UW Hospital. I don’t think “Hospital Station” will ever pass the Google test. Likewise with the Overlake stops. When I think of those areas, I think Microsoft, or Redmond. There are a couple stops, and over time, they will appear on Google, so I’m not freaking out about it, but they sure seem inconsistent with your idea that they shouldn’t “pander to the neighborhood”.

      1. Ross, if East Link has two stations with the word “Overlake” in the station name, and two stations with the word “Bellevue” in the station name, obviously ST isn’t worried that people will be confused with only one station with the word Rainier in the station name.

        Also, there’s precedent. The Sound Transit bus that travels over the I-90 bridge announces something like “Rainier Freeway Station.”

        And if Rainier Station should be renamed Judkins Park, after the neighborhood it’s at the edge of, then why isn’t East Main Station named Surrey Downs, a neighborhood it is at the edge of, especially when the station isn’t even on Main street, it’s two blocks away?

      2. Because Surrey Downs hates rail and would hate it even more if they had a station named after them — I suspect.

      3. And people complain there would be confusion over “University St. Station” and “University of Washington Station”. I agree, though, that Hospital is pretty indefinite. Why not change South Bellevue Station to “Park and Ride”. Who could possibly be confused?

      4. East Link has no station names. ST just came up with initial names to get the ball rolling (better than station one, station two, etc.).

        Do I like “Overlake”? It’s OK. It completely fails your test, though. When I’m in that neighborhood, and looking out the window, I think “Redmond” or “Microsoft”. I never think “Overlake”. However, it passes my test just fine, as long as you type the entire name. Search for “Overlake Transit Center” or “Overlake Village Station” and voila, there is your station. So, really, since I don’t know much about that neighborhood, I have no problem with those names. I’m sure if I lived or worked in that area, I would learn what the Overlake neighborhood is (just like I learned what “Factoria” meant and you’ll learn what Judkins Park means). So, over time, it would pass both of our tests. Side Note: When I think “Overlake”, I think of the hospital, nothing more. In that sense, “Judkins Park” is better than the “Overlake XXX” station names. You really don’t have to be very specific and you can find your area (e. g. type “Judkins” and it will autocomplete with “Park” — type “Overlake” and everything heads towards the hospital).

        I agree with you about East Main — it is a stupid name. It fails both of our tests. Surrey Downs would be OK, but the station is a ways away from the park, so it wouldn’t be ideal. Like “Overlake” I really don’t know the neighborhood well enough to suggest alternatives. Maybe “112th and Main”. This makes it really clear for folks who know the streets, and removes any confusion from folks that might think that “main” is anywhere near Seattle.

        In many ways, the idea of naming the stations after broad areas just shows how messed up our system is. “Mount Baker” is a terrible name. The station is on the edge of the neighborhood. “Rainier” would also be bad. However, “Franklin High” would be perfect. Again, Google “Franklin High Seattle” and you will see the station across the street. Blindfold me and then release me at the “Mount Baker” station and once I get my bearings I’ll proclaim “Hey — I’m by Franklin — in the C.D!”. The words “Mount Baker” would never leave my lips (unless, by chance, it was a really nice day and I could see the actual mountain, but that is unlikely).

        We should have multiple stops in various neighborhoods (like a real subway system). When we do, then you don’t name the stops with vague names like “U-District” or “Capitol Hill”. You would name the Capitol Hill station something like “Seattle Central Community College” (or “SCCC”).

      5. The stations east of BTC don’t have official names yet, just working names. ST has asked for suggestions on the names from Rainier to BTC, but not the further stations yet unless I missed it. Ultimately the ST Board will choose final names after the suggestions are collected.

      6. Er, it did ask for names for Hospital station, and maybe 120th, but I still don’t remember a solicitation yet for 130th, Overlake V, or Overlake TC.

    2. I think the opportunity for confusion with the Rainier Beach station should be avoided. Regardless of how ridiculous or stupid Jimi Hendrix or Judkins might be, at least they’re distinctive.

      1. Tyler, it’s impossible to confuse Rainier Station with Rainier Beach Station, the stations are on two completely separate light rail lines. You know that, right? You can’t get to Rainier Beach Station on East Link, and you can’t get to Rainier Station on Central Link.

      2. Which is why we should avoid confusing them. You get off the bus, walk to the station downtown, quickly read the map and it says “Rainier Beach”. Your directions said “Rainier Station”, so you quickly jump on the train. By the time you get to Beacon Hill, you get a little worried, so you ask the person next to you, in your broken English “Does this train go to Rainier?”. The lady says “Yes, yes, it goes to Rainier Beach — actually, that is my stop — just follow me.”. Next thing you know you are calling a cab from Rainier Beach.

      3. Out-of-town visitors are far more likely to be going to the UW than to either of the Rainier stations. Likewise, it should be obvious that “Bellevue” or “Bellevue Transit Center” is the main downtown station, and “South Bellevue” is some kind of secondary station. But “University Street” is confusing. Although it will be less confusing when another station is explicitly called “University of Washington”.

    3. If you asked most people, when coming out of the Mount Baker tunnel westbound, what area was coming up just below them, they would answer either the Rainier Valley or Rainier Avenue.

      And if you told people living around the I-90 lid that they were in the Rainier Valley, they would bristle at the suggestion. That’s just not what the area is called.

      “23rd / Rainier” I could accept. Those are major cross streets with major transit lines and are unambiguous. Just “Rainier Ave” or just “23rd Ave” I couldn’t accept. The station accesses both.

      1. Sound Transit naming conventions have generally avoided street names if at all possible. Why is Columbia City not “Alaska/Edmonds” or Northgate not “103rd St” (noting the free advertising for the mall in the name here) or Rainier Beach not “Henderson”. There have even been several proposals to rename University Street other things over time as well to eliminate the confusion. So, unless there is an interest in renaming many of the stations after the streets where entrances are, let’s take 23rd/Rainier off the table.

  9. Shouldn’t station names err on the side of whatever’s obvious? Isn’t that why 120th Station and 130th Station aren’t being named West Spring District Station and East Spring District Station?

    1. Yes, obvious is nice. So is unambiguous. Being able to search on the name and getting a clear result is also really nice.

      “Rainier Station” is obvious, but ambiguous and not great for searching. “Judkins Park” is unambiguous and great for searching, but not that obvious. “23rd/Rainier” is fairly obvious (especially since the bulk of the riders will be transferring to or from buses that travel on one of those streets) poor for searching (although it might get better) and fairly unambiguous (it won’t be confused with any other station) thus it might be the best compromise between the various criteria.

      1. “23rd/Rainier” is awful. It refers to two different things, there’s no obvious way to speak it, and it looks like a reference to the intersection of 23rd and Rainier, several blocks south.

      2. I think station name disputes are mostly pointless, but I really don’t like “23rd/Rainier”. Call it “Judkins Park Station”, “Rainier Ave Station”, “23rd Ave Station”, just give it one name… hell, call it “I-90 Lid Station” — this area is dominated by freeway infrastructure and has a bunch of random parks in odd spaces, named after random different people, and they’re all connected by the lid. Who knows or cares where Sam Smith Park and Jimi Hendrix Park begin and end?

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