by CHARLES COOPER
On Thursday night Sound Transit hosted the last 60% design open house (30% report here) for East Link at the Northwest African American Museum. The event was well attended with an estimated 50 people seated for the presentation. The presentation included comments by the project managers Tia Raamot & Cynthia Padilla, project consultant architect David Hewitt, STart program manager Barbara Luecke (with an assist from Tia Raamot) and a short Q & A session. Of note:
- Construction on the I-90 express lane reconfiguration starts in 2015
- Construction for EastLink starts in 2017 and continues until 2022
David Hewitt (Hewitt Architects) gave an overview of the design enhancements including acoustical and aesthetic treatments to sound walls (see above). More after the jump.
The west entrance of the station on Rainier features a bright entrance that is enhanced by the removal of one of the current existing busway ramps thereby daylighting the street below where the station head will be built. The artist rendering shows bright materials on the facade that brightens an otherwise dark and dreary place.
At a previous design meeting there was considerable interest in a mid-block pedestrian crossing. As of this 60% design review, it appears that the cross walk will remain at the intersection. But there is discussion that SDOT and Metro would relocate the southbound bus stop so that it is next to the crosswalk. The other salient feature is that they are preserving the overhead ramp from the west side of Rainier allowing passengers to reach the west entrance via that ramp.
The architects have also envisioned a covered walkway from the west head-end that will cover a portion of the walk from the head-end to the platform. Access to the platform requires crossing the pocket track.
These public meetings often generate interesting public input and questions. Two young men from Bellevue College asked about the crossing pictured above. Another question from an audience member inquired about commerce opportunities for the purpose of enhancing safety e.g. if there was a coffee shop or opportunity for food carts or even a food truck, it would possibly lead to greater eyes on the street. Lastly, Sound Transit wants the public’s input on the Station name. The current leading contenders are Jimi Hendrix Park Station and Judkins Park Station with Colman also mentioned. The meeting concluded with remarks from East Link Executive Director Ron Lewis as well as the showing of the 4 minute animation of the EastLink path from this station to Bellevue. Sound Transit officials were on hand to answer additional questions one on one. You can submit comments about this station and the East Link project at their project page.