Photo by the author
Photo by the author

Yesterday Sound Transit gave elected officials and media the most in-depth tour to date of Capitol Hill Station, set to open sometime in Q1 2016. Mayor Murray, Executive Constantine, and others praised ST’s project management, nearly breaking into a repetitive chant of “$150m under budget and 6-9 months ahead of schedule.”  They also renewed their call for Olympia to pass a transportation package with ST3 authority.

Officials announced that “substantial station completion” will occur in August, at which point testing can begin and Broadway can be fully restored with a protected bike lane and parking, where for over a year it has been reduced to just one travel lane in each direction.

Sound Transit brought a four-car train up to Capitol Hill for the tour, providing a glimpse of what service levels could look like in 2021. Spokesman Bruce Gray noted that while two-car trains will still be the norm for U-Link, three-car trains will be mixed in during peak, with flexibility for four-car trains for special events. In 2018, three-car trains will be the norm, and four-car trains will run full-time upon the opening of Northgate Link in 2021.

The station itself is compact, deep, and tall. Relative to the DSTT, the mezzanines are graciously much smaller, and the center platform really narrows the feel of the station box. The overall feel is reminiscent of a cross between an industrial cathedral and the flight pod from Battlestar Galactica.

More photos below the jump.

Jet Kiss
Jet Kiss
The escalator leading up to the north entrance at Broadway/John
The escalator leading up to the north entrance at Broadway/John
Looking down from the north mezzanine at a 4-car train on the northbound platform
Looking down from the north mezzanine at a 4-car train on the northbound platform
Escalators to the platform from the south mezzanine, which will be used by passengers from both the south and west entrances.
Escalators to the platform from the south mezzanine, which will be used by passengers from both the south and west entrances.

100 Replies to “Inside Capitol Hill Station”

    1. Enjoy it while it lasts. Once one escalator is broken it will be back to the oh-so-fun world of up-only escalators. Considering the abysmal DSTT escalator performance levels we’ve seen it probably won’t be that long.

      A lot of DC Metro stations have triple escalators to provide redundancy and extra peak-hour capacity. Of course, giving WMATA more escalators to maintain may not a good idea (as I check 5 are out of service at Smithsonian station alone).

      1. Let’s not even talk about the complete lack of down escalators at the current Mt. Baker station or the proposed 23rd/Rainier/90 station, both with long distances. It seems that ST will put in a down escalator if your neighborhood is vocal (and wealthy) enough like South Bellevue or Capitol Hill.

      2. “Considering the abysmal DSTT escalator performance levels we’ve seen it probably won’t be that long.”

        Abysmal indeed. My main pet peeve about the DSTT stations–and that the fact that the escalators that are in working order are generally filthy. With the elaborate stations, you’d think the escalators could be kept clean. I guess I am getting petty, though.

      3. Never mind that they could have rehabbed the escalators while the tunnel was closed for the rail retrofit. That tunnel is for TRAINS now, dang-it, and this is just the rehearsal until they can kick out the buses.

      4. I’m pretty sure all of the underground stations except Beacon Hill (which is elevator only) Sound Sound Transit has built so far have both up and down escalators.

        I believe most of the elevated stations will have both up and down escalators as well with the notable exception of Mt. Baker.

        Mt. Baker isn’t really that high up so perhaps Sound Transit has some metric involving both expected passenger volume and elevation change they use to determine if they should put in down escalators or not.

      5. I’ve gotten off the train at Mt. Baker many times, and most riders use the elevator because there is no down escalator and there are over 50 steps.

        I reviewed the 23rd/Rainier/90 station diagrams and there are lots of stairs and no steps – more than South Bellevue will have (and that station has drawings showing down escalators).

      6. Forcing riders to take *OVER* 50 steps down? Did we lose a war? That’s not America…that’s not even Mexico.

      7. Escalators cannot break. They simply revert to being stairs (you know, as long as they don’t gate them off).

      8. Recent trips to Europe – automatic reversible escalators are the norm in many large cities. they also shut off or slow down to conserve energy when not in use – restarting automatically when someone steps on the landing.

    2. Hopefully the escalators are reversible for when, not if, one of them breaks down. I thought all escalators had an up-off-down switch but somebody here said most don’t.

      1. I’m not sure about the actual specifications of the escalators – DC Metro has a lot of reversible escalators so it is definitely possible.

        However, the issue with reversibility is that if the escalator runs predominantly in one direction, the parts will get a lot of wear in that direction and none in the other. Reversing a predominantly one-way escalator risks causing a serious breakdown.

    1. That’s my concern. People in Seattle do not know or care about the concept of “Stand right, pass left,” and narrow escalators only makes that worse. It’s a little different if you’re in Nordstrom or Pacific Place (though still frustrating), but when you need to catch a train that’s just arrived or get to the surface to catch a due bus, that will cause people to, I hope, learn and collectively enforce this unstated but effective rule.

      1. I know about the rule, I can just never remember which side is supposed to be which.

      2. It would be nice if they had signs saying exactly that (stay to the right except to pass). Just like on the freeway, it seems like an obvious thing to many, but plenty of people never have heard of it. Until then, folks like us will just have to keep saying “excuse me” a lot.

        Here’s a funny thing. When I was a kid, I always was taught to walk on the escalator (up or down). I don’t know if this changed (more people standing) or I just became aware of it. I do remember (and still often think) “why are you standing?”. OK, to be fair, in some cases the person might have a bum knee or some other problem, but the beauty of things like escalators is that they are quite fast when combined with even a moderate walking pace. It seems silly to throw away this advantage just because you don’t want to exert yourself a little bit.

      3. The saving grace for CHS is that it has stairs, so someone who needs to hurry up or down isn’t literally trapped. I will almost always choose to take the stairs, like I do now at the downtown stations. It’s the places that have only escalator/elevator access where it’s more important to allow a passing lane.

      4. Oh, I disagree Under the Clouds. An escalator is about the speed of walking. It is only when you combine the two that you get really fast speed. If we built the thing for the lazy and disabled, then maybe we should just skip the escalator, and put in stairs and an elevator. We spend billions making this just a bit faster, it seems crazy to throw it away because people can’t figure out basic escalator etiquette.

      5. It would be nice if they had signs saying exactly that (stay to the right except to pass).

        I suppose it would be politically incorrect to use the 1980s voice synthesis devices they first used in Atlanta to do this.

        I don’t know about Battlestar Galactica, but hearing those electronic voices had people thinking that if they didn’t pay attention, something might come out of the wall and start blasting away while saying “Ex term in ate.” I have no idea how they managed to find such a perfect Dalek voice, but there it was.

        Today, sadly, the voice is a standard issue human sounding thing like everyone else has.

      6. “I do remember (and still often think) “why are you standing?”. OK, to be fair, in some cases the person might have a bum knee or some other problem”

        Or they have luggage. That’s usually my reason for standing.

      7. @Alex — yeah, I should have included that (especially since this is quite common in the airport). I still carry my luggage though, once I’ve checked what I’m going to check (everything else is “carry on” which means I can carry it). I’ve given up trying to pass people on the escalators (folks tend to put the luggage next to them). Unless I get off the little train first, I walk the stairs, or bide my time.

      8. Mars,

        Think of it this way: stand right = block any progress = Republican intrasigence. Pass left = make progress = Democratic change.

        A good mnemonic.

      9. A better alternative: stand right = move more slowly = being in the slow lane. Pass left = go faster = being in the fast lane.

      10. Stand right/walk left is mostly an east coast/European thing. I never heard of it until I went to Russia and London where people do it consistently, and Toronto and DC where it seems like half the people do it. So with all the people moving to Seattle from other places it’s becoming more common here, like the word “soda”. But a lot of people have never heard it or aren’t used to it so they stand on either side. Blaming them for a rule that doesn’t exist for them is unfair. It may be worth putting up “stand right, walk left” signs, but that’s to teach people a rule that’s new here and has so far only been informally observed.

      11. “An escalator is about the speed of walking.”

        Then there’s the Moscow Metro, where the escalators are two or three times faster. That helps with the extremely long length of some of them, like the Woodley Park escalators in DC. But it also shows a different attitude toward convenience vs safety liability.

        Terry Hall, the first modern UW dorm that was just torn down for replacement, had fast elevators. I wish current elevators were like that, and also had those nice buttons with round black caps. I wish current elevators were like that, but the ADA laws seem to have mandated slow elevators and monotonous buttons that are the same everywhere.

      12. The easy way to remember the escalator rule is to think of the escalator as a multi-lane street where cars pass on the left.

      13. I’ve always thought it like William and figured that’s where it came from (driving, where you pass on the left). Weird to think that the convention is found in England (I figured that it would be the opposite there, just like the driving).

      14. In Vancouver Bc they state it clearly stand on right and walk on left. People follow too

      15. People are horrible at the airport with both the escalators and the moving walkways in concourse A. At any other airport they would get pushed out of the way buy other travelers who were trying to get somewhere.

      16. Alex; Yes, only they didn’t capture the pissed off robot voice that the thing would do when someone blocked the doors. That’s the voice you need for the escalator obstructionists.

    2. I’m afraid the escalators look like singles, although it’s hard to tell for sure from the picture. The stairway is either double or triple, and my guess is double. But there’s two entrances, so maybe the other entrance is different.

  1. Saying “Sound Transit brought a four-car train up to Capitol Hill for the tour,” is a bit of an understatement. From my understanding ST has conducted its dynamic envelope test (passed), traction power test (passed) and rid stability test (passed).

    The power system test involved running 4-LRV trains through the tunnels at 55 mph. Try doing 55 on I-5 at rush hour! Amazing.

    I’m glad to hear that ST will start mixing in longer trains after the SCADA cutover. This is really needed, and it can be done relatively easily.

  2. Now can we get proper escalator culture in the city. If you’re riding stay to the right, us climbers are on the left :D

  3. Repeatedly chanting “$150m under budget and 6-9 months ahead of schedule” to the media doesn’t make it fact. It is most definitely neither of those. If it were, we could easily solve our currently-stalled waterfront tunnel “problem” by simply revising the budget for the project and then declaring a new start to the timeline for whenever it’s fixed and ready to go. Then in a couple of years, the electeds can all run around and happily declare the tunnel finished under budget and ahead of schedule, too.

    1. Now, if only they could keep North King’s $150 million in North King as subarea-equity requires them to do, rather than ship it elsewhere to complete the spine…

      1. I’m not convinced that there’s a pile of money siting around somewhere waiting to be spent. Doesn’t the under budget simply mean that the bonds will get paid off a few years earlier [still not in my lifetime]?

      2. ST’s main restriction is the amount of bond debt it can have outstanding at a time, which in turn is based on how much it can raise annually by its then tax rate and fares. As bonds are gradually repaid, ST can let new bonds. What the Legislature caps is the tax rate. The current tax authority is perpetual, but ST has promised to roll back the taxes when it runs out of capital projects, either because it decides to stop building or voters reject them. What ST3 is about is raising the cap so that we can build ST3 concurrently with ST2 rather than after ST2 is mostly paid off. The “$15 billion” proposed for ST3 is an estimate of what a certain tax rate would raise over fifteen years (chosen as a similar size and duration as ST2). So if University Link comes in $150 million under budget, ST could use it for anything related to voter-approved service, or maybe even anything in its long-term plan. ST seems to be looking to use it as a down payment on ST3: having more cash assets may impress the Legislature and allow lower bond rates.

    2. There was no midpoint revision in scope or budget for U Link. It is indeed early and under budget. Unlike the monorail :)

      1. The U-link portion of the project considered in isolation may well be under budget and ahead of schedule, but it’s still reasonable to note that Link as a whole will have blown its schedule by a decade and its budget by a couple extra billion by the time the first train arrives in U-village station.

      2. Careful, that’s not entirely true. While there wasn’t a mid-point revision to ULink, service to Cap Hill and U District (not Husky Stadium) was originally supposed to open in 2006, not 2016 and 2021, for around half the cost of CLink + ULink today. If I’m not mistaken, that sounds a lot more like the monorail: changing the scope and budget before design even started.

    3. The original budget for SeaTac to 45th proved to be hopelessly unrealistic, but ST has been reorganized since then and the second regime’s budgets have been conservative. In any case, voters approved the new budgets in ST2.

      That $150 million could pay for the entire Northgate pedestrian bridge and probably 130th Station. (Hint, ST.) Move Seattle has also budgeted for the bridge, but this could be a fallback if Move Seattle fails.

      1. I suspect that the authorizing legislation for ST2 could be interpreted as allowing money to be spent on the Northgate bridge, although I’d expect a legal battle.

        I don’t see any way that the board could just decide to spend it on a new station at 130th [the enabling legislation was fairly specific about the number and location of stations, and didn’t give the board much discretion to increase the scope of the project].

      2. The money could also be used to enhance some of the stations… for example, adding another entrance at Brooklyn station on the north side of 45th, thus allowing pedestrians to avoid crossing 45th.

      3. The Northgate bridge is part of the station, and ST2 allowed a 130th station. The ballot measure was purposely general to allow these kind of decisions. ST was specifically avoiding the monorail’s mistake of specifying the exact streets and stations in the measure because that gives it no flexibility. Also, the federal EIS requires an alternatives analysis which is done after the ballot measure. The alternatives analysis must consider all reasonable alternative alignments and modes, which is why for Lynnwood Link ST studied both light rail and BRT on I-5, Aurora, 15th NE, and Lake CIty Way. A project that was prejudiced toward light rail on a specific street would probably not be eligible for federal grants, which is why ST used the mode-agnostic term “HCT” until late in the process. The monorail didn’t intend to pursue federal grants so it was not bound by this process. The same flexibility is what allowed 130th+155th stations to be considered as an alternative to 145th. The final EIS has options for 130th NE and 220th SW; it just says they need to go through the studies that the other staions did.

    4. “So we’re going to pretend that the promises made to voters in 1996 don’t count?”

      When they’re proven to be a fantasy and have been superceded by reforms and another vote, then they no longer count. It’s like beating a dead horse.

      1. When the voters reaffirm their support for ST and agree to tax themselves for further improvements, then, yes, I’d say the voters have given ST a pass on the original schedule laid out in 1996.

      2. I’ll stop complaining that Link is extremely late and far more costly than its original budget when ST and the city stop crowing over their success at getting it done on time and under budget. I accept that this is the way things are but they could have the good grace not to brag about achieving nothing more than the reduced expectations we settled for after they fucked up the first time.

      3. I think it is a fair criticism if you consider the board to be a single agency the entire time, tasked with building a line from the UW to the airport. In that regard, you are absolutely correct. But since most of that board quit (over this very issues) I don’t think it is fair for the new board (which has met its time and cost estimates) to be labeled for such failures. The mayor, for example was not part of the old board. As to whether there are a substantial number of people who came up with the original estimate and now are trying to party because they hit the revised estimate — I don’t know. I don’t know how many people quit, and how many stood the course.

      4. @Mars,

        No deal. When.ST decided that the could re-tackle the Westlake to Husky Stadium segment they set both a budget and a schedule. They are now both ahead of that schedule and under that budget.

        That should count as ahead of schedule and under budget in anybody’s book and I frankly wish all government was that good.

      5. Maybe the crowers should add a footnote to their chants. Something spoken more quietly and fast. I’ll leave it to Mars to come up with the wording.

      6. It is the Transit Project of Theseus – how many elements must be changed before it counts as a new project? :-)

        More importantly, how do we keep WSDOT from pulling the same stunt now that their Bertha fantasies have been shown to be unrealistic?

      7. It depends on how essential you think the highway tunnel is. KUOW’s Week In Review talked about it last Friday. Rep. Chris Vance said the state can’t realistically get out of the contract because so much has been invested, bonds have been let, and no other contractor would likely touch the opportunity with a ten-foot pole. Erica C Barnett said that’s the sunk cost fallacy, and it may be better to cut our losses now rather than after we spend $10 billion more on it.

        The implication for Sound Transit is, again, how essential you think grade-separated rail is between downtown and 45th. To me that’s a no-brainer because I’ve been riding the 71/72/73X for thirty-five years and they just can’t handle the demand or congestion anymore. So ST reorganized and made a realistic budget.

        Maybe the DBT should do the same, because if we’re going to complete the project we should have a realistic budget and timeline rather than going on a fantasy budget and adding “whatever it takes”. (Although, hey, that’s how we’re funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars….)

        Although there are problems with both parts of that. The timeline and budget are totally unknown because there’s no precedent for the size of the tunnel and the TBM technology. And it’s not clear that reorganizing WSDOT would make a difference because it’s state and city politicians that made the deal and set its parameters.

        (Although reorganizing WSDOT could have other benefits, in the areas of transit investment, and those dedicated passenger tracks between Seattle and the Oregon border that it has mused about.)

      8. Oh, Vance also said the tunnel is outside Seattle’s control because 99 is a state highway and is essential for the rest of western Washington. He said there’s only three freeways going north-south through central Puget Sound — 405, I-5, and 99 — [of course only parts of 99 are a freeway] and there must be two going through Seattle or traffic will gridlock and impact people going from Bellingham to Tacoma. Oh. So now these gashes through Seattle neighborhoods are essential to the rest of the state and Seattle should take one for the team even if most Seattlites don’t need 99. Oh, again. So I guess that means the state (or at least Vance) is happy to pay the cost overruns since they consider it oh so essential for the state. (He did say he would have preferred a new elevated viaduct. He said the surface/transit option was unrealistic because Bellingham-Tacoma drivers.)

        (That puzzled me because Bellingham-Tacoma people would not use 99; there’s no way to get to the freeway part from the north end without traversing city streets. You’d have to come south from the Snohomish County border through the 30mph zone, or cut across on one of the connecting streets.)

    5. Usually, preliminary cost estimates have a “contingency” of at least 10 to 20 percent. That would mean that the contingency for U-Link must be about $200M to $400M. It also helps in that several major contracts were negotiated in 2009 and 2010, at a time when the national economy was tanked.

      Is the $150M savings below the budge with the contingency? If so, is it really a “savings” or just good management in controlling unanticipated contingencies attributable to a weak economy as well as thorough design, quality construction and a tad bit of good luck?

      1. The savings are real, and largely a result of finding a way to lower the amount of cover required under the cut to 13 ft. This allowed the station to be raised, saving a ton of money. Also now cross corridor construction techniques were developed, allowing a faster rate of progress. The engineering and construction on this project has been truly first rate.

  4. If I promised you today that I was going to write a comment on this blog this Sunday, but instead, I need up writing it the day before, on Saturday, would you people be impressed that I wrote my comment “ahead of schedule?”

    Something to think about.

    1. Did you forget to write the comment? Where is it? This one is just a metacomment, a statement about your commenting. It doesn’t show any of your brilliant analyses on the transit issues that affect us. Krugman would never write a metacommentary in the New York Times instead of his twice-weekly commentaries.

    2. Suppose you want to hire a contractor to put an armored bunker in your back yard. You therefore get several estimates. One of the contractors realizes that you really need to have six months of food storage to go along with your nuclear weapons stockpile. You realize that this is correct. So, when all is said and done, you start construction on a bunker that includes the food storage area.

      When you are finished, do you say that it came under or over budget if you compare the construction cost to the estimates of a facility lacking vital pieces to make it work the way you wanted?

    3. I knew somebody was going to complain that ST is finishing an expensive, complicated project under-budget and ahead of schedule.

      But to answer Sam’s question, I would not be impressed with a comment that included the phrase “I need up writing it the day before.”

      1. The comment system doesn’t allow editing comments after they’re posted, and people don’t proofread their comment drafts twice closely because they’re comments. So a certain amount of typos and missing words is practically unavoidable here.

        We tried switching to a different comment system at one point but it was horribly unreliable: your comment would often not appear immediately and it might or might not appear later, so you didn’t know whether to retype the comment or wait, and sometimes it would just lose comments after displaying them for a while. So we went back to the old system, which doesn’t allow you to edit comments. (Unless maybe you have a Page 2 account and are logged in).

  5. On a somewhat related topic — has anyone calculated the distance from the street to the platform for this, or any of the other stations? I think that would be interesting. I thought about the subject after this came up ( Basically, Google Maps may believe (rightly so) that there is a transfer penalty to taking Link (over a nearby bus). But how much is the penalty? How long does it take to get to the platform? Just listing the distance would give me a rough idea (other things factor is as well such as escalators — whether people actually walk on the escalators, etc.).

    This also plays a part in analyzing other modes. For example, the BRT is supposed to have level boarding and off board payment. This means getting from the street to the bus should be really fast. So if you are at Northgate headed to the UW and the BRT heading south pulls up, do you hop on, or go up the stairs to catch a train? What if you are going to Roosevelt, or what if you are going a little bit past Roosevelt or a little bit past the UW — is it worth taking the train or not?

    1. The answer to that question probably depends where your ultimate destination is. Northgate to the U-District, the train will always win barring unusual delays, even with the time it takes to go up and down the stairs, even if your actual destination is a couple blocks north or south of the station. Roosevelt, the bus might possibly have a chance if you see it coming and it drops you off 5-10 minutes worth of walking closer to the destination.

      1. Yeah, it really depends. Let’s say I was going to 60th and Roosevelt. Taking the train means four minutes up (two for each station) followed by a three minute wait, a one minute trip and a five minute walk. So 13 minutes altogether for the train.

        For the BRT you have no waiting (in my example). The distance is 2.5 miles, and I’m going to assume stop spacing of a half mile, with thirty seconds at each stop. So that is two minutes (I won’t count the last one). There are about eight stop lights (although most of them favor that direction) but I’ll assume thirty seconds at each light. Assuming an average speed of 20 MPH (not counting the time spent stopped at a light or for passengers) means another 7 minutes. So four minutes for the lights, plus two minutes for the stops, plus another seven while cruising along equals 13, basically a dead heat.

        For 65th the train is probably faster, but for 55th (or 75th) the BRT is probably faster. There is a lot of hand waving there (maybe you spend less than five minutes at the lights, maybe more) but that sounds about right.

        Anyway, that isn’t the crux of my question. I can figure it out (I’m sure a lot of people will, by trial and error) what I want to know is — how far is it from the street to the station? I’m just curious.

      2. A similar example already exists in the Ranier Valley – if you’re at Mt. Baker Blvd. and Ranier and going to the International District, in is theoretically possible for the 7 to beat the train if the #7 bus happens to be right there and the train, you would just miss. In practice, it is mentally easier to just walk over to the train than bother looking for the #7 bus. (Even with the poor bridge design forcing up/down/up again, it’s still only 3 minutes to the platform from the east side of Ranier via the bridge if you walk fast.)

      3. Right — exactly. That is for a bus that I assume is relatively slow, too.

        One of the arguments for BRT (and streetcars) is that this penalty is so minor. You don’t have to spend three minutes getting to station; so if the BRT (or streetcar) is frequent, fairly fast and you aren’t going that far, it if often the best choice. A lot of things have to line up just so for that to be the case, though.

        Your overall point is a good one. Even at our most difficult to manage station, we are probably only talking about three minutes (it just seems longer). In the case of the subway, there is nothing we can do about it — I’m mostly just curious (how far is it exactly?).

      4. The same thing happens with the 8. If you’re coming from an evening in Columbia City, you can take the 8 which might serve your in-between destination (not me) or be a one-seat ride to Summit (me). But if you don’t know the scehedule or you misestimate how late it will be, you might get to the bus stop and a train passes a minute later. Then while you’re waiting at the bus stop, a second train passes ten minutes later, and maybe a third train by the time your bus comes. That has happened to me.

    2. This is a big deal. Besides walking in/out of the station, you’re probably also walking further to take Link. Then there are the lines for escalators after trains unload, although savvy riders will soon learn which car and which door is optimal to deboard by the escalators.

      That escalator alone is fairly long – I’d say ~20 seconds if you are walking and perhaps 50 seconds if you ride it. Then you have the mezzanines and corridors to walk through. I’ll estimate 75-150 seconds overall depending on how fast you move and how crowded it is.

      1. It’s only a big deal if you can’t find anything else to criticize ST for. You guys are going to such extremes to find something negative to say that you are beginning to look downright silly (or just plain anti rail and/or anti transit). Get over it, this is a great thing.

        U-Link is going to change the transit debate in the region. And it is going to do it ahead of schedule and under budget.

        This is all good.

      2. @lazurus — Who said I was critical? I said I was curious. Believe me, there are plenty of things to criticize ST about — the distance from the street to the station isn’t one of them. I am just curious because I think (and I could be wrong here) some are farther than others. Some of the ones downtown seem cavernous — it just seems to take forever to get to the street (I’ll admit I have gotten lost) but this seems a lot shorter. Am I imagining things?

      3. So every station is the same distance from every street entrance? How convenient — and what might that distance be? I guess I will just walk down the stairs at Beacon Hill station and find out (I’ve never been to that station, but I’m sure it is just like every other station).

      4. U link is being built ahead of it’s revised schedule. Remember, it was suppose to be part of the initial segment oh so long ago.. For the record, I still think LINK is way overbuilt and could be done just as well, with just as good of lifespan and service without all the overbuilding it seems to have. Heavy cars, non US standard voltage, overbuilt stations, extensive “mitigation”….

    3. you’re a big boy, you can figure out what works best for you on your own I hope.

      1. There is a difference between a factual question and a rhetorical one. I’ll give you a hint — I only asked for a response to the first one. Just to repeat it — does anyone know the distance from the street to the platform (for this or any other station)? I am just curious.

        The rest was just explaining why it is important, not a request for guidance.

      2. Wayfinding and time from sidewalk to platform are important when people decide what mode to choose. The DSTT was a good example of poorly designed entry icons (few and very small), coupled with vast mezzanine walks and stairs to complement the broken escalator system. I wonder how many more riders would have used the system had visibility and time/distance been a top criteria for designers.
        I hope CHS learned the lesson well.

      3. The last time we were in London, we rarely took the Tube at all. We had learned that the transfer penalty to get to the stations that were near us (by the British Museum) were all pretty awful and that the buses (which come as frequently as the Tube in that area) had essentially no transfer penalty, meaning we could catch a bus pretty much by showing up at the surface stop, while if we took the Tube we had to go down to the station and hope there weren’t any service outages, overcrowded trains we couldn’t board, etc. And then of course the transfer penalty on the other end. Plus, you got to see a lot of London from the bus.

      4. When I was last in London (about 1 year ago). I took the Tube when it worked, and for short trips where the Tube access penalty was too much, I generally just walked. Walking mostly worked well, although I did make my fair share of wrong turns. It was also somewhat disappointing how long London makes you wait at stoplights to cross a street.

    4. Yeah that is a concern, but I don’t think you can really avoid the access penalty if you go for deep bore construction. And if you go cut and cover, our topography makes that really expensive operationally, and in some spots really slow as well.

      Out of the frying pan into the fire. I think deep bore was the right call holistically

    5. Here is another example of why it might matter: Let’s say I’m on crutches, and want to find the nearest stop to my destination. It isn’t enough to just think of the stations in the abstract (Westlake, University, etc.) but where exactly the entrances and exits are, and how far it is to he surface. This happened to me, personally, a while back when my foot was in a walking boot. I picked one of the downtown stations, but to this day have no idea if I picked the right one.

      1. I would assume 2 min to get from the street to the platform, but I would allow 5 minutes in case of unexpected congestion if you can’t walk the escalators.

      2. If I were on crutches, I would probably be inclined to just go with the bus unless traveling far enough to make the bus vs. train time difference really egregious. Once I even rode the 66 all the way from downtown to Northgate Transit Center. I wasn’t in crutches, but I had just gotten hurt from a fall on my bike (and had a broken-down bike to carry home with me), and decided the hassle of going down into the tunnel for the 41 was just too much.

        Fortunately, these are real edge cases that comprise a truly negligible portion of all trips.

  6. Are there going to be escalators going both up and down at all three entrances?

  7. An escalator is not a ride at the fair, unless you are handicapped in some way you should always walk on the escalator.

  8. I was disappointed to read that the span of service isn’t increasing.

    The U, just like SeaTac, are 24 hour destinations. Currently the last train leaves SeaTac at 12:10am (Sundays at 11:05pm). I mean the last useful train. People need later service, both from SeaTac and to the U

    Need earlier trains to SeaTac too

    1. I’m curious if trains that end their run at the UW Station will be allowed to deadhead through the downtown transit tunnel after the tunnel has closed for the night, or if the last trip will have to reach the UW early enough to allow the train to get all the way to Stadium Station before closing time. This will become a bigger deal when Link extends to Northgate and Lynnwood. If the train is forbidden from deadheading through a closed tunnel and the hours of the tunnel do not increase, then the last northbound train would likely have to leave the UW around 12:15 (11:15 Sundays) in order to turn around and get back in time.

      1. Once Link extends to Northgate, the tunnel will have been completely turned over to Sound Transit. At that point, I don’t see why it would have different hours or management than the rest of the Link tunnel.

    2. The U-District and Capitol Hill have significantly higher late-night ridership than anywhere Link has run so far, so I would expect the closing time to be adjusted at least half an hour or an hour later, especially since the 71/72/73 and 43 will no longer be running. However, that may not help trips from there to Rainier Valley, except in the indirect way of transferring to the 7 downtown. Perhaps ST could simply extend the last three runs that terminate at Beacon Hill, to continue north to UW Station and back south to the base. That would give the nightlife areas more service with the smallest changes, and avoid adding late-night service in the south segment which would delay closing significantly longer. The line still needs to be closed for regular maintenance a few hours a night.

      1. On what basis do you say that the line needs to be closed for maintenance every night? I don’t think there is nightly maintenance done, certainly not every night, I’m not even sure weekly. NYC’s subway lines run 24 hours/day, and London is moving in that direction.

        As to the downtown tunnel, is it only the question of costs for keeping it open longer hours? Adding one hour of service time (and 2 on Sundays) even at 20 minute headways would be valuable.

  9. Kudos for not posting the picture of the “adult themed” art and instead using an angle that accurately depicted what the art is.

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