29 Replies to “North Link Webcams Online”

    1. Probably due to schedule priorities. They need to excavate at the portal to launch the TBM(TBMs?). They need to excavate at Roosevelt before the TBMs get there. The Brooklyn station box isn’t needed until later.

      1. No, they are launching one TBM from Northgate (headed south) and two TBM’s from Roosevelt.

        The Northgate TBM gets hauled back to Northgate for re-launch after it arrives at Brooklyn, and the two Roosevelt TBM’s continue past Brooklyn and continue on the Husky Stadium.

        Thus excavation of the Brooklyn pit isn’t required until sometime later in the overall process.

      2. Sorry, the Northgate TBM gets hauled back to Northgate after it arrives at Roosevelt. Was typing too fast.

      3. The Link Progress Report makes a reference to a TBM #3. I didn’t see where it said anything about launch locations or retreival locations, beyond saying that the first TBM is at MLP being readied for launch.

    1. You sure about that? My impression is that the station will only be a very small part of that footprint. The rest is just where the construction gear is going… and eventually TOD


      I think the lot is huge because one of the properties they had to buy used to be a QFC. The aren’t going to fill the whole thing (or even most of it) with station.

      1. Correct, a lot of what you see on the cam is land being used for construction staging. The final finished station footprint won’t be that much different than for the Cap Hill Station (basically nothing substantial over the box).

        U Dist Station will (supposedly) have some development over at least part of the box.

      2. unfortunately, no.

        the Roosevelt Station will bear little comparison to the Cap Hill Station’s relatively modest surface grade footprint.

        see the site plan of Cap Hill here:

        and get some idea of what’s at-grade for Roosevelt Station here, on the 5th slide:

        or look at the illustration here:
        and realize that the block-long building shown is just one of two buildings that size.

        The missed opportunity of not allowing for over-build (even though the residents and city council were calling for it) is made all the worse by the huge blank space boxes ST is creating at the center of what everyone wants to be TOD. part of it is for machinery, ventilation, etc. but c’mon — is it really necessary to have two 100′ x 300′ buildings 2 to 4 stories tall (look at the illustration again and compare it to the buildings behind) FOR AN UNDERGROUND STATION ? ! ?

        Some months back, here on STB, I read someone refer to it as a surface-level empty airport concourse for a station 60′ underground…..

        yep that’s about it.

      3. @andy the link to the Capitol Hill station document is broken.

        here: http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/projects/link/north/ULink/CHStationSitePlan(0).pdf (make sure you add a “.pdf” at the end if this one ends up being broken too).

        I believe that lazarus was referring to Capital Hill’s stations also having large above ground entance/exit buildings that will not have TOD above them. Unlike Roosevelt, the Capital Hill station will allow a little TOD over some parts of the box.

        Roosevelt though (unlike capital hill) has a giant lot behind it that used to be a grocery store. There is plenty of room here for TOD (possibly even more square footage than Capital Hill has?) so its not like the site is a loss for TOD.

        It is true though what you say about the station boxes wasting a bit of space. It would have been better if their surface area could have been added into the over all TOD plan.

      4. Andy,

        I’m not sure how you got from my comments about station footprint to your comments about basic design, but my basic point was that Roosevelt and Cap Hill Stations are similar in that there won’t be any substantial development over the box.

        Assuming things go as planned, U Dist Station will have some development over the box (if the UW sticks to its guns….)

        I consider necessary station infrastructure to be part of the LR project and not to be “development” (i.e., not part of the “D” in TOD)

      5. yeah, I’m a bit mystified why ST needs 30,000 sq feet of surface footprint for an underground station. seems like most of the underground transit I’ve ridden needs little more than a “hole in the ground” entrance, or at most a “storefront” type entrance. (off the top of my head I’m thinking NYC, Boston, DC, London, Paris, etc.)

        where / why did sound transit get the idea that this is the way to design an underground transit station’s entrance?? what a stupid waste of space….. the bus tunnel stations downtown aren’t like this — what happened?

      6. ST is focused on cost and schedule. Given the political environment they operate in, there is little upside to designing for future TOD. They need to keep it as simple as they can while still delivering a quality product on schedule.

        They have no other option.

      7. yep, sound transit is focused on cost & sched — but that seems to make the reverse argument. why are they spending money and real estate on overly-large, overly elaborate transit stations with concourses and lobbies? these are not airport terminals or greyhound stations which need lounges and additional internal public space.
        did headquartering Sound Transit in the lovely old train station accidently impart some sense that people want and need grand lobbies when they take rail?

      8. Ha Ha! Ya, ST can’t win for losing.

        N-Link is estimated to cost $2.1B. If they built tiny, minimum size stations with concrete walls and no windows ST would be criticized for spending $2.1B on a junky system with no possibility of handling future ridership growth. But if they build a nicer, more spacious station entrance they will be criticized by some (like you) for overbuilding and being wasteful.

        But the reality is that the above ground parts of the stations don’t really cost that much compared to the total system costs, and providing a quality experience is in the best interest of both the users and of ST.

      9. N-Link is estimated to cost $2.1B. If they built tiny, minimum size stations with concrete walls and no windows ST would be criticized for spending $2.1B on a junky system with no possibility of handling future ridership growth.

        The reason it costs so much, and the reason the stations are so big, is the same: they’re using deep-bore construction.

        Cut-and-cover is significantly cheaper. It also has the side effect that the bigger/deeper you want to build stations, the more expensive it is. But it doesn’t cost significantly more to make stations *longer*, since you’re digging there anyway. So you end up with stations that are potentially quite long and high-capacity, and possible to expand if necessary, but are otherwise small and minimalist.

        But once you’re using tunnel boring machines, you have to go very deep to reach the tunnel from the surface, and you have tons of space in between. So you might as well build giant stations, since you’re digging there anyway.

        Given the choice between a really fancy station that takes 3-4 minutes to get to from the surface, and a high-capacity but minimal station that takes 15 seconds to get to from the surface, I’ll take the latter every time.

      10. I am not suggesting that ST build “minimum-sized stations”; nor am I the one suggesting that station designs are dictated by “cost and schedule”.

        I agree that within the scheme of things, station construction –especially the ‘surface expression’ of an underground station– is of negligible cost compared to the price tag of the entire transit system, or even the cost of that single station.
        So with little (relative) cost difference, the at-grade portion of an underground station becomes a question of aesthetics, philosophy, strategy — basically, urban design.

        Sound Transit adopted a policy of promoting and encouraging Transit-Oriented-Development, and that SHOULD be a factor which influences the design of the stations themselves. One way of accommodating TOD with an underground station’s design is to minimize the amount of Station Area real estate “used up” by the station itself. Plenty of underground transit stations worldwide can be found which prove that minimizing the street level entrances does NOT equate to a “junky” station or system.

        The large footprint of the Roosevelt Station’s two at-grade buildings represent short-sighted, simplistic, and too-narrowly-focused design. The result of this is much more a case of “opportunities lost” than any appreciable monetary wastefulness.

        By concentrating a little more effort on making their station designs integrate more sensibly into the urban environment Sound Transit could better meet its own TOD policy goals, — Meaning it would go a long way further towards ‘creating a successful transit system’ rather than just succeeding in ‘building a railroad’……

      11. The Roosevelt Station design is vary wasteful of space at the ground level. A rearrangement of the lobbies, escalators and mechanical rooms could have provided 12 30’x30′ retail/office spaces facing 12th Ave, which would make a world of difference to the station area design.

      12. Wow. There is some serious mis-information/mis-understanding in this thread. Give the design some thought, and you may find some logic behind it. In particular, both seismic and fire-life-safety standards have vastly changed in the decades since many mature subway systems were built. The current Link projects require sophisticated ventilation and fire suppression systems, as well as egress facilities for any possible underground scenario.

        The design in this case consolidates most of thoses systems and functions at the station locations. (Think big fans, vents, multiple staircases, and utilities for water & electricity.) The alternative would be building vent shafts and related facilities along the route — also costly, disruptive, and potentially controversial.

        So the infrastructure you see at the Roosevelt area is part of a system that serves the entire length of the tunnel from IDS to Northgate to ensure it is safe for riders. To call it wasteful or poorly planned is to miss the point entirely.

        And to suggest the cut & cover construction would be cheaper for this project is nonsensical. Deep bore tunneling achieves signicant unit-cost savings over C&C for many reasons. It is far less labor intensive, it requires a fraction of the surface impact mitigation such as traffic control, and the permitting/storm water regime is much more manageable. Imagine trying to cut a tunnel from the surface thru campus or the Roosevelt neighborhood. yeah, good luck with that.

        Look at the Link profile some time. All the underground stations except Beacom Hill are cut & cover. It makes sense at a fixed location — rather than a linear one — and they are relatively close to the surface compared to the running tunnels.
        The profile reveals that the tracks climb up to, and drop away from, station elevations. In other words, the stations are the high points in the profile. This is both to make the stations easily accessible from the surface and also effcient to serve with trains. Climbing into stations minimizes the braking needed to stop, and dropping away from stations lessens the amount of electricity needed to accelerate.

      13. @railcan,

        Thanks for a dose of informed input. This comment thread had clearly gone off into la-la-land and I had given up on it.

    2. My link ended up broken too apparently this site can’t handle links that contain parenthesis and a file extension “…(0).pdf”

  1. I took photos of the site last weekend…including the North Link TBM. They are on the STB Flickr page.

  2. Most of what we’re talking about here is where the private sector mobilizing around, say, new technology in big data, or new technology in shale discovery, can actually have an incentive to invest and move forward.

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