On Thursday, the Sound Transit Capital Committee approved permanent names for the planned East Link stations. Their recommendation will go to the Board for approval on June 25th.

Six of the ten planned stations have ‘new’ names. Names were selected after a public comment process with input from the cities. Sound Transit received 823 comments from the public and affected jurisdictions. Most notable was a suggestion that Rainier Station be renamed for Jimi Hendrix. The Committee instead recommended ‘Judkins Park’, but with a staff recommendation that the art and legacy of Jimi Hendrix be reflected in the station design.

Names also had to meet naming criteria established by the Board. They should reflect the nature of the environment, such as neighborhoods, street names, landmarks, or geographical locations. Names should be brief, easy to read and remember. They must comply with federal ADA guidelines and be limited to 30 characters. Commercial references are to be avoided because they may change. Similar names or words in existing facility names should also be avoided.

The Committee approved an amendment from Mayor Claudia Balducci to reverse the names for some stations in Bellevue so that they not start with the numbered street name first. Putting the numbers first would have created wayfinding and legibility issues.

So, drumroll please, here are the approved names, and some runners-up from the public input process:

Temporary Working Name Public/City Input Recommended Name
Rainier Jimi Hendrix Park; Judkins Park Judkins Park
Mercer Island Mercer Island Mercer Island
South Bellevue South Bellevue; Enatai South Bellevue
East Main East Main; Surrey Downs East Main
Bellevue Transit Center Bellevue Downtown; Downtown Bellevue Bellevue Downtown
Hospital Lake Bellevue; Wilburton/Midlakes Wilburton
120th Kelsey Creek; 120th; 120th/Spring Blvd Spring District/120th
130th Bel-Red; 130th; Midlakes Bel-Red/130th
Overlake Village Overlake Village Overlake Village
Overlake Transit Center Overlake Transit Center; Redmond Technology Center Redmond Technology Center

124 Replies to “East Link Stations Named”

  1. Any particular reason the seemingly intentionally vague “Redmond Technology Center” was chosen over simply “Microsoft Station”? No marketing money from Microsoft or something?

    1. Presumably so that if Microsoft goes out of business, they won’t have to change the name.

      I know – the new name is stupid. They should have simply stuck with “Overlake Transit Center”.

      1. Or maybe because they are protecting against the possibility of Microsoft pulling an Expedia and moving to Seattle. I doubt that will happen, but it does seem to be all the rage nowadays.

      2. Yeah, same reason University Station isn’t called Symphony or Benaroya Station as some have suggested. (I guess large public institutions like UW get a pass.)

        Given those constraints, I think RTC is preferable to Overlake TC. Station names, IMO, should evoke the surrounding neighborhood and uses, not the function of the station itself.

      3. RTC is the Redmond Town Center, that mall down the hill. Worst. Name. Evar. I’m a bigger fan of Tswebowum. or “The station we’re building because of.. welll, ummm…(duh) Microsoft”

        Microsoft has a campus of something like 50 buildings out in Redmond. It has billions upon billions invested. It will never move.

      4. That seems like a silly reason not to use something like Symphony Station. The Symphony will likely be there for a long time, whereas the University of “University Street Station” left over a century ago. Sure, the street is still named so, but the station will continue to confuse people for decades to come.

      5. Hmm, the MS shuttles alread go to RTC (the mall) and OTC (the bus stop). Having them both be RTC is going to be confusing.

        Seriously, Seattle doesn’t esteem its symphony enough to give it a pass like the UW?

      6. Boston happily renamed Massachusetts/Auditorium/Hynes station as the adjoining buildings changed.

        Seattle shuold relax and call the station “Benaroya”.

    2. One of the criteria for names was that business names were not preferable.

      1. So if they build a station at the Boeing facility in Everett, they won’t call it “Boeing Station,” but rather something like “Southwest Everett Airplane Assembly Center Station”?

      2. Seatac Airport is fine for a station name, don’t see why Paine Field won’t work.

      3. “Large Local Aerospace Company that will Remain Unnamed” seems to work just fine as a handle when handing out tax breaks, so I don’t see why we couldn’t do the same for train station names.

    1. Which ones are bad, IYHO, and what will you be recommending to the full Board during public comment?

      1. Give the neighborhoods character and not name them generic street names. This is an opportunity. Naming them Bel-Red/130th Street Station is just boring.

      2. I think the Wilburton station will be confusing for a number of people. The Wilburton Park and Ride is on SE 8th Street, plus there is the Wilburton Train Trestle and the Wilburton Hill Park that are both south of Main Street. I know that the historic Wilburton area did extend to the north where the Link Station will be, but especially with the Park and Ride already being named Wilburton, the Link station should be named something different.

      3. They should have applied their own shortness principle further.
        Names should be short enough that they don’t scroll in the onboard signs.

      4. I agree that WIlburton is confusing. I have always thought of that as being south of Main Stree.

      5. Historic Wilburton extends much further north than that. Google Maps shows it up to 520.

        But the neighborhood signs are all in the SFH areas toward the south end of the neighborhood. So I’d always thought of Wilburton as being down around Kelsey Creek too.

    2. If there was a light rail station next to Southcenter Mall, would they call it Tukwila Retail Center?

      If they named it Stadium Station because it’s near stadiums, why not name it Hospital Station because it’s near hospitals?

      East Main. There’s so much wrong with this name. 1) The station will be on SE 1st Place, not Main Street. 2) It’s not called E. Main Street, it’s called Main Street. 3) On the eastside, 112th and Main street is at the western end of the miles long Main Street, not the eastern end.

      They go out of their way to name it after a neighborhood name nobody commonly uses, Wilburton, and go equally out of their way to NOT name it after a neighborhood people do know and use, Surrey Downs. Huh??

      Overall, too much jumping around from streets to neighborhoods.

      1. Stations should be named after large streets or neighborhoods that a significant number of people go to. Not “SE 1st Place”. And on Metro, not “Harvard Avenue” or “Broadway Court” (Broadway).

      2. Actually Southcenter Mall is a bit of an example of that. I could be wrong about this, but I think Westfield is the trademarked name of the company that runs the mall, and Southcenter is a generic, non-trademarked name like Northgate. The biggest signs say, “Westfield”, of course, because they want to emphasize their brand, not some generic geographical designation that shows up on buses and competitive businesses.

        I once watched a family from Canada have a pretty bad time riding the 150 to Southcenter Mall. As they were boarding the father asked the driver whether the bus was going to “Westfield Mall”. The driver told him it was called “Southcenter Mall”. They went on to suffer just about half the indignities you can on Seattle transit in a single trip: fare confusion (they’d bought Link tickets), unruly runners and riders, hard stops (as a result of the runners), long waits at signals, traffic delays, and all the turns between I-5 and the mall. Then the giant Westfield sign rose in the distance and the father, who’d been stewing the whole trip, said, “See, it’s Westfield Mall… Westfield!”

      3. It was a local mall then Westfield bought it. When they build their own malls they just call them Westfield or Westfield Shoppingtown, but Southcenter had too much name recognition and renaming it would have probably have drawn opposition and hurt sales, so they just put Westfield next to it. Same with Northgate and Simon.

  2. How could they not name it Jimi Hendrix Station?

    In fact, new plan.

    Name all stations after PNW rock bands (or at least have them as alternative names).

    Paul Revere and Raiders Station
    Nirvana Station
    The Ventures Station (would have to be the alt. for “Redmond Technology Center”)

    1. How about we name the stations after the neighborhood they’re in to avoid confusion? Judkins Park is by far the better option.

      1. Ok great that’s much clearer (…wait where the hell is “Judkins Park” again?!?)

      2. If the plan for Jimi Hendrix Park is ever fully realized, Hendrix Park may become something of a minor tourist destination. If so, it might be better to name it Jimi Hendrix Station instead of Judkins Park Station (or Sam Smith Park Station, which is actually the closest park to the proposed station).

        And then why don’t we rename the Metro 10 bus to say 10 Bruce Lee’s Gravesite via Capitol Hill?

    2. Naming stations after ideas is something that as far as I can tell, is only done in Pyongyang and Almaty, neither of which are exactly models to copy.

      1. If you take the view of a train/transit/subway system as an abstraction (you go in one place and come out another) any a representational naming scheme makes sense. What you are looking for is a way to associate a destination name with the actual destination.

        You might say, well, use the closest street. In some ways, that may make sense, but for many people, who knows what the local street is in any place..other then their local neighborhood!

        So then, you might think distinctive names based on function. The problem then is that even in a place rich with landmarks such as NYC, after you’ve done Wall Street and Yankee Stadium, and a few others, then you’re still stuck with confusing street names. Or worse, numbered street names. And while numbered streets gives you some idea of the relationship of distance, again if you’re on a train does it matter? I mean, it matters if you’re in a car, and driving, where you would be going 20, 40…100 blocks and have to estimate the time to make a turn. But on a train, none of that matters to the rider. You can look at a schedule to see what’s coming next and how long it will take.

        So again, we go back to the idea of how do you create a Mind Map for people of stations so they know where to get off. I propound that a set of names like Pacific Northwest Rock Stars is a good way, over time, to get people to associate Stations to Destinations.

      2. Wait? What? You mean we can’t name the DT Bellevue station “Standsia Imini Kemper Freeman”?

  3. Lots to quibble about here: Redmond Technology Center is a terrible name. “Bellevue Downtown” just sounds wrong. Wilberton is pretty meaningless.

    But I can’t help being excited for EastLink! Hopefully ST can complete this project faster than 2023.

  4. Of these the only ones I don’t like are East Main and South Bellevue.

    East Main Station is not on Main Street, and it’s inconsistent because the other names are neighborhoods. I preferred Surrey Downs (the area’s name). Nor is it at the East end of Main Street, there is a Main Street all of the way over by 156th…

    South Bellevue is less bad, but it’s a non-name. Again, why not the neighborhood name? Besides, there are parts of Bellevue further south (eg Factoria).

    1. “East Main” sounds like the name of a faux “urban” mixed use development in suburban Atlanta.

      The name is rather vague. East of what? The station is south of Main Street, which itself doesn’t have a direction.

      At least “South Bellevue” tells you 1) what city it is in and 2) roughly where in the city it is located. That’s 2 points ahead of “East Main.”

      1. East of “Old Main” obviously, which is what people in downtown Bellevue think of when they hear Main St.

  5. This is why Renton will never see any rail.
    The Curve – Downtown
    Just Ahead of the Curve – South
    Just …
    … you get it.

  6. Drop the numbers please, they aren’t helpful. The region’s street grid resets too many times for street numbers to be much of any use.

    Tourists and new users will confuse street numbers in one part of town for another, and locals will learn the station names well enough to make the numbers unneeded.

    Drop them and stick with place names instead.

    1. I disagree. It’s a good thing to have some geographic coordinate in the name. It would be better if they included the quadrant and indicated if its a street or avenue though.

    2. 100% agree. Lets give the neighborhoods that will grow around these stations character!

    3. I actually feel the opposite way–I really dislike stations named after neighborhoods for the most part, because they don’t tell me where they really are. I have a vague idea of where the Judkins Park neighborhood is, but the station name alone tells me nothing (unlike, say Rainier/I-90–which gives me exactly the information I need to find the place).

      Of course, some systems like Almaty and Pyongyang take it to a whole other level by naming stations after ideas rather than using geography at all. At least we’re not that useless.

      FWIW, I also get kind of annoyed when they don’t suffix it with “st/ave/what have you” (unless it’s a number, in which case it’s pretty obvious) because then it’s not immediately clear whether you’re referring to a neighborhood or a street. The El is pretty egregious here. More of an annoyance though than anything.

      I like the NYC subway style of naming: always naming after a nearby cross street in almost all cases, with some exceptions (islands like Broad Channel or Roosevelt Island, places like Aqueduct that get literally all of the traffic from a particular station), with major destination addenda as necessary (34th st-Penn Station), and at the end of the line, both the neighborhood and the location. Allows a lot of information in a relatively short station name.

      Of course in Seattle we stupidly often only have a single stop for huge neighborhoods (*cough* Capitol Hill *cough*) so it doesn’t make as big a difference, but the street numbers are very helpful.

      1. The Chicago L is particularly obnoxious; stations are named after a cross street without the word “Street” and *without the intersecting street*, so that there are two “Chicago” (yes really) on the Blue Line.

        This made sense when the “Blue Line” was two separate lines each named after the street it ran parallel to, but since the color-line naming started, it’s terrible.

      2. The Chicago L obviously uses the correct naming convention for Chicago. Chicago is just about the easiest city there is to navigate by street because the streets are long and straight, a real constant feature of the city. There are “squares” in some places but they don’t function as commons or even neighborhood focal points; these are almost entirely on commercial arterials. Neighborhood names and boundaries change fairly often with demographic shifts, real estate trends, and such, since there aren’t many obvious geographic barriers to serve as hard borders. And it’s not that hard to figure out what branch of the L you’re on and what direction you’re going by looking at the system and line maps (which are posted all over the place) and following along.

        The fact that a bunch of people blame the station names for their problems, when they probably would have got lost anyway, just makes it better. Yes, there are a bazillion Ashland stations. They’re all exactly two miles west of State Street, at address number 1600 on the cross street. This is actually good for visitors and newcomers — it allows them to use logic to fill in gaps in their knowledge.

      3. (This is in opposition to ST’s “University” problems… or the fact that there are two different places called “Rainier Vista” that will soon both be near light rail stations. That’s just confusing. The only truly confusing thing about Chicago streets is that Washington Boulevard goes through Garfield Park, while Garfield Boulevard goes through Washington Park; that’s Olmstead’s fault, not Burnham’s.)

      4. Chicago should change its station names to names like “Chicago/Milwaukee”. They’ve already done this with “Ashland/53rd”.

        Before the renaming of the lines to colors, this was how you talked about the stations anyway — “Chicago on the Milwaukee line”

      5. Meh… that kind of soft crap is how we’ll lose the, “This is Grand,” announcement on the Red Line.

        More seriously, brevity has value. Pick a consistent system that allows for brevity and let people fill in the context (like which branch they’re on) informally, because people are good at that. Ashland/63rd is a terminal, as are 54th/Cermak and 95th/Dan Ryan; those names are used to indicate what direction the train is going. Even so they’re pretty compact, more so than the goofy exceptions (“35th-Bronzeville-IIT”, “Illinois Medical District”).

        Cross streets might not be the best system in Seattle, because we aren’t building particularly straight lines and our street network is sorta goofy, but we could learn still learn something from Chicago’s omission of redundant information. We could immediately make every Link station’s name better by dropping “Station” from the end, for example.

      6. They do say Chicago/Milwaukie in some places, like the audio announcements. and a few old small signs at the stations. But, standardization.

      7. Bad news, Al. The announcement was “this is Grand and State” last time I rode. I did love the old one.

    4. I think the numbers are very helpful. 120 is 120 no matter what language you speak or don’t speak.

      1. It’s never been an issue in Queens, where there are often x st, x ave, and x rd all meeting one another.

      2. I haven’t seen much of Queens (Astoria, the industrial area on the 7 train, JFK), but I imagine that if you get off on the wrong X street, it’s just a frequent subway or bus ride away from the right street, and walkable in between. Or you can see out the window that it’s an industrial district so it can’t be here (or it must be here). In Kirkland if you get off at the wrong 12xth street, there may be no bus to the right street or it may be hourly, and it may be a 40-minute walk past low-density houses and strip malls and around freeway entrances and cul-de-sacs.

  7. So wait, there is an Overlake Transit Center that already exists, and the Link stop there will be called Redmond Technology Center? Are they also going to rename the TC facility, or does it keep its current name? If it stays OTC, that will surely confuse Link riders and cause them to get off at Overlake Village looking for the TC. Seems like it would have been better to keep the existing name. Am I missing something here?

    1. There would also have been confusion about having two “Overlake” stations next each other. This RTC name solves that.

      1. There’ll be just as much confusion with other “Redmond” stations when East Link is extended to Redmond. “Overlake Tech Center” would be just as fine, and less confusing to people who know the stop as “Overlake Transit Center.”

      2. So people will just have to know “Don’t be an idiot and get off at Overlake to get your bus at the Overlake Transit Center. You go to the Redmond Technology Center for that, of course!”

        If one had to be renamed, it seems like renaming Overlake Village station would have been a much better choice.

      3. The Overlake Transit Center should never have had the name Overlake in it. Overlake is the commercial area around Safeway and Sears and maybe out to Fred Meyer. Not 40th Street, and not 116th Avenue. There may have been an Overlake golf course where Microsoft is, but if you accept as Overlake everything that had that name for some reason, you’d end up with a city as large as Bellevue. You’d also lose the commercial/pedestrian center that can anchor a station and neighborhood.

        If Redmond Technology Center is going to be named that, it needs a technology center. I.e., more than one company, or a building with several companies, or a tech museum or something.

      4. For better or for worse, the OTC has been named “Overlake,” and I think most people recognize it as the area’s name now.

        And actually, yes, there is more than one tech company in that area. Nintendo is on 150th, Intel is at 156th and Bel-Red, and Honeywell is on 36th. Admittedly, the last two are closer to the Overlake Village station.

      5. The area currently called Overlake is generally the part of the city of Redmond that is in the Bellevue School District, which used to be called the Overlake School District before Bellevue annexed everything it could reach and the school district changed its name to match. “Overlake” used to mean almost the whole Eastside, over the lake from Seattle!

      6. It was the Lake Washington School District. I was in one of the schools when it changed from Lake Washington to Bellevue. It was in an undisclosed location east of Overlake Village.

      7. I wonder how much Apple or Google would be willing to pay for naming rights.

      8. @ Mike Orr: From the Eastside Heritage Center, in 1942, “The Overlake School District was created by consolidating the independent school districts of Factoria (#134), Hunts Point (#22), Bellevue (#49), Highland (#57), Phantom Lake (#117), Medina (#171) and Union S. High School.” In 1950, “The Overlake School District becomes the Bellevue School District #405.”

        I guess the boundary between Overlake/Bellevue SD and Lake Washington SD (mostly to the north) changed in your youth.

      9. Yes, it was later than that. Bellevue School District #405 was already established. My school was brought into it.

    2. And if they renamed the transit center, what to? Redmond Technology Center Transit Center?

    3. This is why they should just leave the name as is if a station is going to be located at an already existing bus stop or other transit facility. Sometimes it’s best to just go with how things have organically grown over time. I’ve lived in the area for 7 years and I still don’t know exactly where or what Overlake is but I do know that OTC the transit station is actually located in Redmond.

  8. The decisions are final, so I’m not going to recommend changes.

    I like most of the names. I especially am happy with the end-of-line station having “Redmond” in the name. I would have also been happy with “Southwest Redmond” or “Redmond Gateway” as long as the city name is included.

    I also think station names can change if station area plans create a new identity. Cities should be told by ST that they are open to this.

    I do dislike “University Street” and think any of the arts or music names are great! Funny how we get “Stadium” station even though one could argue that a stadium may go away too — just saying.

    1. I work on University Street and have for far longer than Sound Transit has been in existence. The name of the station is only confusing to people who pay no attention to anything at all. It tells you exactly where the station is.

    2. ST has said it will discuss with the county renaming the station to something without “University”. No timeline.

      1. I decided to see who owns Benaroya Hall and the Seattle Art Museum using King County GIS. It appears that both buildings are in public ownership by either the City or a related development authority.

        Thus, renaming University Street Station for either building would appear to be just as logically valid as naming a station after an adjacent city-owned park. Of course, neither building is the only type of building used for art or music in Seattle, so something location-specific seems appropriate.

        Given how PR resources are available to these major arts facilities, I’d defer to them on how they would like to develop a consensus for a new station name. I’d hope that they can devise something both glorious and succinct!

      2. Seneca Station.

        Although Symphony Station would be ideal. Even without the actual symphony, it connotes relaxation, music, and harmony. It’s a good antidote to the stresses and hurry-up sense that people often feel in downtowns. That would reflect well on the city and the transit system.

      3. A curious possible station name idea for University Street Station hit me today; Nine Muses Station. That succinctly identifies the station as the one closest to a number of arts, music and literature destinations.

      4. Al,

        Only for people who know what Muses actually do, and that there are nine of them.

    3. Well, Germany has Duesseldorf-Derendorf, Duesseldorf-Flughafen etc, which are abbreviated “D-Derendorf”, “D-Flughafen” on signs. Nearby Dortmund has a “DO” prefix. And in Britain they just put the station after the city in multi-station cities; e.g., “Edinburgh Waverley”, “Bristol Temple Mead”, “Bristol Parkway”. I wouldn’t mind adopting the German convention: B-Downtown, B-Spring, R-Overlake, R-Technology Center, S-Roosevelt.

      1. In the Munich region, it seems to be only regional trains that use that convention. Basically, when a long-distance regional train travels way out from a major city, but then makes several stops in a medium-sized city along the way, the name of that city is included to communicate that the stations are located in that city and not in the middle of nowhere (in this case, Augsburg).

        The application is to help people understand that the stations are located close together on a regional line that typically has very long stop spacing, which would otherwise be very difficult to tell on a map since maps misrepresent the actual distances between the stations.

        I’m not really sure if that’s necessary in the Seattle/Bellevue area, because it acts as one giant urbanized region (roughly), rather than two cities separated by a lot of nothing in the middle.

      2. It’s mostly only significant regional cities that have it, not small ones like Shoreline. Or maybe they don’t have as many incorporated suburbs as we do. In Australia the cities have authority over their metropolitan area, and Toronto consolidated four cities into one. Maybe Germany expanded the cities to their postwar population boundaries, rather than having arbitrary limits like N 145th Street and SW Roxbury Street.

      3. »Well, Germany has Duesseldorf-Derendorf, Duesseldorf-Flughafen etc, which are abbreviated “D-Derendorf”, “D-Flughafen” on signs. Nearby Dortmund has a “DO” prefix. […] I wouldn’t mind adopting the German convention: B-Downtown, B-Spring, R-Overlake, R-Technology Center, S-Roosevelt.«

        Then you should start lobbying for a new format of license plates that specifies the necessary abbreviations. (See link) Oh, and Bellevue, Redmond and Shoreline had to become consolidated city-counties, otherwise they’d be stuck with the county’s code.

        »The application is to help people understand that the stations are located close […], which would otherwise be very difficult to tell on a map since maps misrepresent the actual distances between the stations.«

        I always thought it was to denote the fact that such neighborhoods are incorporated into the city and to differentiate them from quarters with the same name in other cities. This convention comes from a time when trains where counted per day instead of per hour, maps where geographically correct, and timetables included the distance.

        »Maybe Germany expanded the cities to their postwar population boundaries, rather than having arbitrary limits like N 145th Street and SW Roxbury Street.«

        Yes, it did. Exactly like any other old-world country.

  9. I also am not going to press hard for changes, because ST did as for public input, and somebody has to make the decision. Maybe the majority input did reflect what ST chose. I’m just glad “Downtown Bellevue” was dropped. I’d rather have just “Bellevue”, but “Bellevue Downtown” is a reasonable compromise.

    130th is always going to be confused with the other 130th. The problem is there’s no other name for that area; “Bel-Red” is the closest you can get. The reason there’s no name is there’s no neighborhood. The station is about a future neighborhood and an interim P&R. The Spring District development is ready to go, while 130th development is further off and I don’t know if it has a developer yet. Bellevue is positioning the area as an artist’s colony, and says some existing artists live around there. They must live in the scattered houses and apartments several blocks away, since there’s nowhere to live right there.

    For a certain generation of Seattlites, Judkins Park connotes “poor black area”. Although that may be completely gone by the time the station opens, since I read blacks in the CD are now down to 10%.

    The biggest thing I want is for the onboard displays to show short names without scrolling, and without the word “Station” after every station. Yes, we know trains stop at stations, and don’t stop at non-stations. You don’t have to put it into every station name.

    1. “130th is always going to be confused with the other 130th.”

      That was another reason for naming the station “Bel-Red/130th” rather than “130th/Bel-Red”. Playing down the numeric part of the name improves legibility vs 130th on Lynnwood Link.

      1. Sounds like a good reason not to spend 100 million dollars to gain 500 riders.

      2. Stations are not 100 million dollars. They’re more like 2 million dollars, or less for surface stations.

      3. By the time we get the 130th station built in Seattle it won’t be called 130th. We’ll call it Pinehurst or Haller Lake or something else fitting for where it is on the map.

        Even North Northgate is better than 130th St.

        130th St is just a placeholder until we actually get a station there and have the opportunity to pick a name.

    2. We’ll probably be calling it Redmond Tech Center by 2023 because of the shorter name..

    3. “130th is always going to be confused with the other 130th.”

      Mike, give me a reasonable and plausible scenario where a person, starting out in dt Seattle, would end up at 130th in Bellevue when they were trying to get to 130th in Seattle, if East Link’s station was simply called 130th Station? Please, walk me through that mistake.

  10. Yeah, I’m with what appears to be the majority here with the opinion that “Redmond Technology Center” is not helpful. I’ve never heard the area called that and a quick check shows that the only entity with the name is a private office tower. Although Overlake Transit Center at first seems to be oddly specific and indicate that that it is a destination in itself, the reality is that it kind of is and people understand that it is primarily a transfer point to get to other locations.

    I’m kind of happy that they decided to not go with naming stations after local celebrities. Although Hendrix might have an important connection to Seattle, it’s important to understand that following that trend could easily lead to a station in Bellevue being named “Queensryche”. And we can’t have that.

    1. Someday you need to have a station named “Sleater-Kinney”. Probably in Olympia. :-)

    2. On the other hand, if we ever have a stop at Sand Point, “Soundgarden” would be perfect!

      1. Soundgarden not accessible anymore unless by ‘special permit.’ NOAA area fenced off after 9/11. Can hear sounds from nearby Magnuson Park doggie swim area, though.

  11. Here’s my list of names that are acceptable and those that need to be changed:

    No change needed: Judkins Park, Mercer Island, South Bellevue, Overlake Village

    Drop the prefix: 120th/Spring District, 130th/Bel-Red

    Changes needed: East Main (Surrey Downs), Bellevue Downtown (Bellevue Transit Center), Wilburton (Midlake Hospitals?), Redmond Technology Center (for god’s sake, anything but this)

    1. If large mixed-use projects get built on the three corners adjacent to the East Main station, would it make sense to call them Surrey Downs? Surrey Downs seems highly associated with the single-family enclave.

    2. I mean the three corners at the intersection of 112th & Main, not the corners of the station. The Red Lion is already headed toward a large building with the hotel in it.

  12. In general, I like the names. No matter what we do, it will be confusing to people. But the most confusion occurs when you have names that are very similar, especially if they are close together. People usually know the stop they are getting off at. When they don’t, they often are told the stop, but forget. This is why the Overlake Transit Center and Overlake Village combination were pretty bad. I can just imagine the conversation:

    Confused rider: “Wait, did she say Overlake Transit Center or Overlake Village?”
    Helpful rider: “Where are you two going?”
    Confused rider: “Redmond — Microsoft.”

    With “Redmond Technology Center” I think they would remember it better (technology + Redmond = Microsoft). Of course, that might be a problem when Link is extended (“Redmond Technology Center” or “Redmond Downtown”). Still, that doesn’t sound as confusing.

    As mentioned, I don’t like 130th, because it conflicts with the other 130th. Bel-Red is a good name as is. I’m not sure why they feel the need to mention the cross street (unless we add another line). There is no need to know where the station is exactly, you only need to differentiate it from other stations and the name needs to make sense. I would just stick with Spring District and Bel-Red.

    That is why University is fine right now, but should probably be changed in the future. It just seems confusing to someone headed to the UW. “Symphony Hall” or “Seneca Street” would be fine.

    I have no problem with neighborhood names — again, the key is to differentiate. Wilburton is a good name (hospital was terrible). It may be a stretch, but it is still pretty good. Neighborhood names are fluid. For example, if you look at old top maps of Seattle, the Northgate transit center is closer to the label for the Morningside neighborhood than it is to Northgate, but now most people call the two neighborhoods Maple Leaf and Northgate. Morningside doesn’t show up on Google Maps, and Midlakes may fade away as well (or at least shrink to no longer encompass the station).

    The only one I don’t like is “East Main”. It is just too generic to me. If someone says “Get off the train at Wilburton and then head west a block and take the 348” the word “Wilburton” will stick in my head. But if the instructions included “East Main”, that might fade. That being said, as long as we don’t name anything “East this or East that”, it should be OK. Likewise, I would have loved a Jimi Hendrix Park station, but I’m fine with Judkins Park (the park has been there a long time, and so has the bus route). Meanwhile, I’m excited to see what an artist will do with a Hendrix theme. That could be really cool.

    1. If 130th sticks for east link, we’ll have to make sure that the 130th station in Seattle gets a real name… like Pinehurst or Haller Lake… the neighborhoods it sits between.

      1. I don’t see why there would be any confusion, if they used the actual street/avenue name instead of some abbreviated version.

      2. @aw

        and I don’t see any reason to call it the street name. It doesn’t matter if you attach street, ave, or any directional value. Two stations with the same number will be confused. People already confuse street names with the correct values pretty consistently in this city as it is. When I lived on a numbered street, giving my exact address was never enough to help folks find where I lived.

        These stations exist in neighborhoods. Name them after the neighborhood they are in and people will have words that are easier to remember and the station develops a much stronger identity.

      3. @Charles — Yeah, that makes sense. We don’t have to assume that the 130th station will be called 130th. Calling it something else (“Pinehurst”, “Haller Lake”, etc.) would be much better.

    2. Why do we have to have Overlake Village? Rename the one that isn’t already a busy transit stop.

  13. I really don’t understand the need to rename OTC to something not at all related to the current name. Why not just “Overlake”? Renaming is needlessly confusing for one of the busiest transit stops on the east side.

    1. People go to villages (=neighborhood centers) and live in them, and go to addresses relative to them, and spend time in them. So it’s important for a neighborhood center to have a station named after it, and located as close to the middle of the activity center or primary destination as feasable. People don’t go to isolated transit centers unless they have to, and they spend as little time there as possible, if the only thing there is concrete and a P&R and/or a freeway entrance and 9-5 offices.

    1. or
      South Bellevue Tunnel Portal Station
      Rats, too many characters, but this new tunnel will be a significant location for Bellevue to establish ‘Me Too’ status along with Seattle.

      1. I actually think that “Portal” in the name is good! If a suitable portal art feature is added around the tunnel entrance, it could be named for that! Dragon Portal? Eagle Portal? Two Cubs Portal? Sometimes a city needs a place reference point – especially monochromatic Bellevue!

      2. I love the idea. Troll Portal – Enter at your own Risk
        Music plays 24/7, with ghoulish sound effects, and the trains could be packed on Halloween Night. All trolls welcome to hang out in the tunnel.

      3. With higher commercial rents and comparatively bad rush hour traffic, I think Bellevue doesn’t have to worry about “me too”-ing Seattle.

    1. More meaningful would be distance and direction from the center of the known universe – Downtown Seattle.

      1. mic, don’t you mean Fremont?

        That’s the problem with Seattle: it’s so freaking provincial. Everybody is biased towards their neighborhood and has strong opinions about the other neighborhoods.

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