Hand sketch of the Downtown Redmond station (Image: Sound Transit)

Last Thursday, Sound Transit and the City of Redmond held an open house to share the latest designs for the two stations on the Redmond Link extension, planned to open for service in 2024. Following a Sound Transit Board decision in June to ratify alignment recommendations from the City of Redmond, the agency has moved quickly advancing design on stations in Downtown Redmond and Southeast Redmond.

The Downtown Redmond station is a simple elevated design between Cleveland St and NE 76th St. Elevating the station eliminated conflicts with pedestrians and vehicles crossing the line. The Redmond Central Connector trail is diverted very slightly to the north. There will be space for bus access and layover on both sides of the station area. The station platform is centered above 166th Ave NE, with entrances at either end.

Downtown Redmond Station Site Plan (Image: Sound Transit)

East of downtown Redmond, the alignment quickly comes to grade before passing underneath SR 520 where the off-ramps to Redmond Way will be rebuilt. It then turns sharply to the southwest where a second station will be built in the Marymoor area. That larger station is close to the southern perimeter of SR 520. The city this year adopted a package of zoning amendments intended to remake the Marymoor Subarea as a denser mixed use neighborhood. With downtown increasingly built out, Marymoor is likely to become an important growth area for Redmond.

Hand sketch of the SE Redmond station area, facing east with the platform to left and parking structure in background (Image: Sound Transit).

The Southeast Redmond station itself is at grade. To the east is an 1,100 car garage. It’s a five level structure, with parking on the upper four floors. Because of the tight geometric constraints, the trains will travel through the first floor, which also contains bus bays for connecting service and bus layover space. To avoid conflicts, cars will access the garage via ramps directly to the second and third floors.

Another 300 parking spaces (Sound Transit has committed to 1,400 in all) will be in a surface lot. If a partner is found, that lot could be redeveloped and the developer would accommodate the rail station parking along with their own needs.

Southeast Redmond Station Area (Image: Sound Transit)

The alignment choice (elevated in central downtown, but at-grade elsewhere) has enabled a connection of the East Lake Sammamish Trail with the Redmond Central Connector. Currently these trails, both built on the old BNSF corridor, are separated by the ramps at the end of SR 520, requiring dangerous street crossings. Both of the ramps to/from Redmond Way will be rebuilt and raised to allow trains to pass underneath. This allowed a connection for the trail with short tunnel sections under the ramps at little additional cost.

A survey on design options is open through the end of this month. Online resources include the staff presentation, open house overview displays, and preliminary designs.

Rebuilding two ramps to SR 520 creates an opportunity to connect the East Lake Sammamish Trail to Redmond Central Connector Trail (Image: Sound Transit)

24 Replies to “Redmond’s station designs”

  1. It’s cool to see the light rail platform and bus platform/layover area somewhat integrated with the parking structure at the SE Redmond Station.

    1. They’re doing something similar at Redmond Technology Center (ugh) station with the buses on the first floor and separate access to higher levels for cars and I think it’s a really good way to use the structure. That one doesn’t have any rail going through it though–part of me wishes they would extend the structure towards 520 slightly to cover the station platforms, which would both add a bit of parking and also completely cover the station from rain. Probably too high a cost for the benefit though.

      1. The ease of bus-rail transfers should be one of, if not the main, design priorities for a rail station. Not like the failed designs of Mount Baker or UW.

      2. I agree, poncho. I was going to write that some are more important than others, but I really can’t think of a station that isn’t important. Even stops that have very high walk-up ridership also have very important bus connections. Places like downtown, or the U-District, or Capitol Hill all have high occupancy buses near them. Prioritizing bus to rail transfers makes sense for each and every train station.

      3. Exactly, poncho and RossB. Why this seems to be so difficult to comprehend in planning is beyond me; this issue will become more and more acute as denser neighborhoods (with their amenities) inevitably grow over time near stations, and bus routes will be added or shifted to serve them.

      4. I agree with the writer. But I do think it should all be covered so people do not get wet on rainy days.

  2. Overall, these designs work well.

    It’s a bit mystifying that Redmond hasn’t tried to make as many places as easily walkable as possible from station platforms. In the Downtown station, the escalators are almost across the street from each other rather than have one pointed in the other section. It would seem so easy to turn one set of escalators or stairs in the other direction, rather than have entrances directly across the street and less than 200 feet from each other.

    In the SE station, all the passengers will have to cross a track going in one direction. I get how that the crossing will allow trains to see anyone walking across the tracks since they will be stopped at the eastbound station platform — but I’m left wondering how the conflict will actually work as people getting off the train will block a leaving train. (Note that most of the users — probably 95%+ — of this station will not be going to or from Downtown Redmond but instead will be going to or from all of the points west of the station.) The surge of eastbound people getting off the train will all cross the tracks in front of the train, creating a conflict. There may be people running in front of an arriving eastbound train to get on a westbound train, but those people wouldn’t likely run across an eastbound train pulling into the station unless both trains arrive at the same time. In sum, a second track crossing behind the eastbound train is needed and doesn’t appear to pose much of a problem and would make it easier for eastbound trains to leave the station!

    The other big elephant in the room that continues to be under-addressed by ST is the growing demand for drop-off and pick-up. This acts like there will just be two or three cars meeting every train. With Uber and Lyft, cell phone texting, employer and apartment shuttles — and maybe even driverless cars, this need will have to be increasingly accommodated more in the future. I don’t know why ST continues to design stations like it is 2005, when these were only about 5 ort 10 percent of how people get to stations. Surveys across the country at other urban rail stations already put this at 25 to 30 percent!

    1. Will the crossing in front of the eastbound train have a set of gates preventing people from crossing there until the train leaves? I would think they would make people wait for the train to leave before letting them cross.

      1. I think Brian was talking about the SE Redmond station which is the at-grade one. There’s a pedestrian walkway at grade across the tracks east of the platform. So somebody getting off an eastbound train might have to wait until the train has left, I’d think. The design pictures don’t specify how this would work, but there are similar scenarios at several Rainier Valley stations.

        If you zoom in real close on page 7 of the design slides, you’ll see the issue. https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/project-documents/downtown-redmond-link-open-house-preliminary-design-displays-11162017.pdf

  3. I believe there’s no traffic interaction even on the at-grade sections? That seems like the key thing to me, but often isn’t clear from the maps that Sound Transit makes.

  4. Still largely in rain-denial mode, looks like. But we should still be thankful it’s necessary to plan this facility, even if a few warts slip through. :-)

  5. Nice station, about 1,100 parking spaces too many. Maybe if the MVET cuts happen we’ll get to delete them from the plan.

  6. Still more of the car-centered requirements from suburban cities that ST acquiesces to. Building parking structures at high cost hardly creates the more carbon-friendly approach that Sound Transit should be embracing: people need to be lured out of their cars by a combination of reduced parking, paid parking and improved walking and biking options. As other posters have noted, employer shuttles and drop-off services might be a bigger part of the mix and should, in theory, reduce the need for parking. As other cities have learned – but apparently ST has not – if you build structures with 1500 free parking slots, you will get 1500 cars. ST really needs to figure out the whole equation better, including the last/first 1-5 miles of a trip.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. 1500 parking spaces for a place as compact as downtown Redmond is ridiculous. The drivers from Sammamish already have their SE Redmond Station.

      Then, there’s the problem that 1,500 additional cars all driving to the station within a span of a couple hours every morning is going to add a lot of traffic to the already clogged downtown Redmond streets. The light rain won’t do anything to relieve local traffic on the Redmond streets as long as there’s going to be significant numbers of people driving to the station.

    2. ST’s motivation for building parking is to minimize hide-n-ride, which is considered an impact on the neighborhood caused by the station. So the number of spaces is chosen to absorb all the cars that would otherwise park just outside the station.

      1. If it’s relieving neighborhood intrusion, then ST should have the same motivation to add more pick-up spaces too.

        It’s not unusual for 20 to 40 people to get off each train during the afternoon peak hour in just one direction. If 25 percent of those are being picked-up, that’s 5 to 10 people getting picked up for each train. Without having 5 to 10 spaces for those pick-ups, the stations will be deficient and they’ll be using nearby neighborhood streets..

      2. Is there any way the garage could be repurposed if driverless car technology someday renders it obsolete? Could the walls be filled in and converted to housing? Or will the entire structure just have to be razed to the ground and rebuilt?

      3. It would be nice to have a repurpose option. That however would require level floors and maybe higher ceilings, like the SeaTac Airport garage.

        Most new garages today have half to mostly slanted floors — which maximizes spaces but makes reuse very unlikely. That seems to be what ST builds.

Comments are closed.