The International District gate, King Street Station, and Union Station. Credit: Joe Mabel

One of the most contentious aspects of the ST3 Link extensions is the Chinatown/International District (CID) station and alignment debate. In the simple version of the argument, CID activists oppose a 5th Avenue South alignment because of worries that the station will cause interminable construction impacts, and, in doing so, strike a decisive blow of gentrification and displacement.

On the other hand, Sound Transit seems to prefer the 5th Avenue alignment (though they’d never say so explicitly in public), because it will cost much less and be much simpler to engineer.

But Sound Transit has released new information that makes the calculus even more complex. At an overflow neighborhood meeting in Sound Transit headquarters in Union Station, Sound Transit released more detailed information about the construction impacts, and ultimate rider environment, of each station option.

Caveats apply. In any case, the CID will experience construction several orders of magnitude more disruptive than the construction of the First Hill streetcar. That project comes up a lot in discussions about the new light rail line. Residents and neighborhood leaders blame the protracted streetcar project for uncomfortable living conditions and business closures. A common point I’ve heard when talking to neighborhood residents is a feeling that the City downplayed the actual impact of the project.

Fortunately, nobody could accuse Sound Transit of doing anything like that. The agency has been clear from the beginning that the construction process is going to—this is a technical term—suck. At the meeting, Sound Transit released more detailed estimates of how much pain the construction will cause.

All figures listed below are estimates from Sound Transit’s presentation at the meeting, and subject to change. Cost estimates are based on figures Sound Transit released in January.

5th Avenue shallow station

A cut and cover station on 5th would require:

  • 6 years of construction
  • 4 months of traffic detours
  • $200 million in savings from the ST3 representative project
  • Rerouting base ingress and egress for all Metro trolley buses

Transfer times in the station would be:

  • 1 minute between Link lines
  • 4 minutes between the new Link line and Sounder/Amtrak

5th Avenue deep station

A deep mined station on 5th would require:

  • 7 years of construction
  • No detours
  • $400 million more in cost than the ST3 representative project
  • Rerouting base ingress and egress for all Metro trolley buses

Transfer times in the station would be:

  • 5 minutes between Link lines
  • 7 minutes between the new Link line and Sounder/Amtrak

4th Avenue shallow station

A 4th Avenue cut and cover station would mean:

  • 10 years of construction
  • 7.5 years of detours
  • $300 million more in cost than the ST3 representative project
  • Rebuilding the 4th Avenue Viaduct

Transfer times in the station would be:

  • 4 minutes between Link lines
  • 4 minutes between the new Link line and Sounder/Amtrak

4th Avenue deep station

A 4th avenue mined station would require:

  • 9 years of construction
  • 5 years of detours
  • $400 million more in cost than the ST3 representative project
  • Rebuilding the 4th Avenue Viaduct

Transfer times in the station would be:

  • 5 minutes between Link lines
  • 7 minutes between the new Link line and Sounder/Amtrak

Bus and traffic impacts

Sound Transit often mentions, during conversations about the new CID station, that 33,000 cars and trucks traverse the 4th Avenue South viaduct every day. It’s also, as Chris Arkills points out, a crucial piece of bus infrastructure. Arkills is a longtime transportation advisor to King County Executive Dow Constantine and a policy staffer at Metro.

The trolley wire interchange at 4th and Jackson. Credit: Neil Hodges

“4th and Jackson is one of the busiest bus intersections in all of King County,” Arkills said after watching the briefing at the meeting. “You’ve got regional buses coming in from Sound Transit, coming up 4th. A lot of buses coming out of our bases and coming out of South King County that come through that intersection, hundreds of buses every day.”

Arkills said that the “hundreds and hundreds” of 4th Avenue buses would “most likely” be diverted to 5th Avenue if the new station were built on 4th. He also said that cars and trucks would most likely go through CID streets to the east of 5th Avenue, since the King Street station rail yard, BNSF mainline, and stadiums prevent access to downtown Seattle from most of its southern approach.

A 5th Avenue alignment would cause its own headaches for Metro.

“5th Avenue is where all of the trolley buses come out of the base towards the network,” Arkills says. “We would likely have to restring new wire on an alternative pathway through the Chinatown-ID area.”

A trolleybus on 5th Avenue South in the International District. Credit: Zach Heistand

Arkills says that Metro is studying the best places to move buses, with “where we could string temporary wire, where is that workable, what are the impacts to the community,” as primary considerations for the new route.

Both alignments will require Metro to give up some of the Ryerson Base as a construction site in the middle term and, in the long term, as permanent right of way. Some possible Link alignments also require permanently closing the E3 Busway to bus traffic.

What happens next

Seattle, King County, and Port elected officials will weigh in on the CID station at a meeting scheduled for March 29. CID stakeholders will have a chance to do the same at a meeting on March 21. Seattle and King County officials have so far taken the side of CID activists.

King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who represents the CID on the King County Council, was in attendance on Wednesday. So was Constantine. Both are Sound Transit Board members and have expressed support for CID positions.

With all the new details, the choice between 4th and 5th has become more complex. Based on Sound Transit’s latest work (and keeping in mind the agency’s tacit preference for the alignment), 5th will require less construction time. But it will be literally at the CID’s front gate and could move a high volume of buses into the neighborhood. After construction, it would yield the best intra-Link transfer environment, and it might save money.

4th would require hundreds of millions of dollars more in cost, and a full decade of construction. CID streets like Maynard would become bus and freight corridors. Already, years of Sound Transit and SDOT outreach have turned up persistent, verifiable complaints about shortcut-takers driving at dangerous speeds through the neighborhood. That would become an exponentially worse problem if the 4th Avenue Viaduct were closed to car traffic.

Bluntly, the construction period of neither alignment will be good for the neighborhood. It’s just one more megaproject in a neighborhood that’s been under construction for decades with little respite. The stadiums and I-5 required demolition of entire blocks of Chinatown. Building the streetcar—and the original downtown subway tunnel—made daily life and business excruciating.

The neighborhood has borne more than its fair share of construction burdens, all in the name of bettering the city or the region. That’s not to say that those projects haven’t made life in Seattle better. Readers of STB can certainly agree that the original transit tunnel has. The new tunnel will as well.

But Seattle’s leaders have an obligation to remember that history, hear the neighborhood and act on both. Now that the Central District’s Black community has been displaced, the ID is the only neighborhood in central Seattle whose residents aren’t mainly white. Seattle’s leaders must do what they can to prevent Link from causing the same thing a mile down the hill.

69 Replies to “What happens in Chinatown/ID when light rail is under construction?”

  1. Good write up, but please stop using “exponentially” to mean “dramatically.”

    1. It’s a perfectly valid usage as far as I’m concerned, since it’s obviously not being used literally.

  2. Why do the trolley-buses need to move for a Fifth Avenue cut and cover station? Is no one at Sound Transit familiar with temporary lidding?

    Sure for the first few months during which the excavation reaches ten feet the street would have to be closed. Over that period the ETB’s would have to be rerouted via some other north-south street. So ST would be on the hook for four blocks of overhead and a pair of interchanges. What would that be, $10 million?

    Once ten feet is achieved, though, the street can be lidded and returned to bus operations. One lane would be required for truck ingress and egress to/from the construction pit. Is this more expensive than leaving the pit open to the sky? Yes.

    But probably not as much mire expensive than a deep mined Fifth South station or any option on Fourth Avenue South

    1. I’m sure that they do plan to lid the construction site. Note that while construction is to last for 6 years, the traffic detour is only for 4 months.

      1. Thanks, Pere. I had not put that together.

        So, the ETB’s then need to have a base routing change for only four months. Then they can return to Fifth South.

        Is it “a huge waste of money” then to hang wire for a four month detour? Only if one is penny wise and mega-dollar foolish. Spend the $10 million or whatever it costs for special work these days and save ten times the amount.

        And as a result finish the project with a far better transfer experience plus better access to the neighborhood for a hundred years.

        I understand that ST has to listen to the neighborhood, but this is clearly not some sort of gentrification-by-subterfuge strategy. It’s the best solution for all parties.

    2. Don’t most (all?) of the trolley buses have off wire capability? If so a re-route isn’t a huge deal except for schedule impacts.

      1. I don’t think there is any scheduled servicecon Fifth South. Some buses may m lay over there.

      2. I think it is mostly used for routes going in/out of service, but perhaps I’m mistaken. Definitely some layover activity. I know tons of buses pass through there.

  3. What about dump truck traffic? I would think that deep stations are going to require lots more of that.

  4. Attention tunnel fans in West Seattle and Ballard: This is the kind of disruption that you are signing up for if you want a cut-and-cover tunnel.

    1. Ballard for the most part can’t be cut and cover. Maybe the last few blocks, but the depth of the ship canal is too much for cut and cover

      1. Not really. The Trans-Bay Tube is a trench and drop tunnel. The Bay is deeper than the Ship Csnal

  5. I don’t want to hear anything about bus volumes on 4th until the agencies have given us their plan for post-2030 buses. Tacoma Dome Link will likely replace the 590s, even though the travel time will be slower off-peak. The 510/511/512/513/577/578 will likely have been gone for 6 years by then. The 550 and 554 will have been gone for 7 years. Same for the Metro routes 41, 76, 77, 301, 308, 312 and 316. Same for all CT routes after Lynnwood.

    What’s left on 4th if all those are truncated or replaced by Link? Metro’s long-range plan has only three routes remaining on 4th at Jackson. Route 40, a new 107 that goes all the way to downtown via East Marginal, and RR-H.

    Meanwhile all the trolleys on 5th will still be there, and will still be as important as ever. There may be good reasons to prefer 5th, but bus volumes on 4th is not one of them, IMO.

  6. Has ST determined whether the main Link transfer station will be International District, Stadium, or SODO? The latter 2 are at street level which makes them somewhat appealing. If they are the transfer station, then that takes some pressure off ID and either location could work. But if ID is the main transfer station, that seems like it should be of paramount importance, which would favor the shallow 5th Ave location.

    1. I’ve been trying to get ST to articulate its transfer strategy for the various line pairs, but all I get is “That will be determined later in station design.” So I keep saying in the feedback, “We need to choose station locations with a short walking distance between platforms.” All I get is, “ST considers that important too; we’ll consider your feedback.” I wish ST would commit to some concrete transfer strategies or goals; this is material information for the current station/alignment decisions.

      1. I cornered a design engineer at one of the meetings. It turns out that the WSsouth-WSnorth-RVsouth-RVnorth track strategy creates all sorts of problems with track switches. I pointed out to them that having two southbound tracks then two northbound tracks would make switching less complicated and moving the southbound existing Rainier Valley track to the west-most track and the SODO curve (tying in at the maintenance yard switch there today since the maintenance yard switching would have to be redone anyway) could be cheaper than all the rail-rail grade separations that would be required in the current configuration. They were quite open to changing things — at least to me..

        My preference is RVsouth-WSsouth-WSnorth-RVnorth with same direction level platform transfers at SODO. Then transfers between south and east can be the focus of ID, and Westlake can focus on NW/North transfers as primary.

        Still, I don’t know how far up the design change will be considered.

      2. There is a HUGE problem putting the SB Green Line track on the west down the busway: how does it get there? At both ends.

        The south end is pretty easy to envision. The track rises sharply out of SoDo and curves across the Ref Line.

        Bustat the north end the Green Line needs to transition out of a tunnel. That’s much easier if it doesn’t have to underrun two in-service tracks.

        The further south the tunnel reaches, the more difficult will be because of waterlogged soil.

      3. Because the tracks will go into a new tunnel, it really just a matter of shifting the tunnel angle. It also depends on the selected alternative.

        – All alternatives don’t show portals until Massachusetts. That’s well north of SODO Station.

        – For the Fourth Avenue options, it’s actually easier because both tracks have to cross under the existing tracks anyway.

        – For the deep stations, the tracks are so deep that it’s merely shifting the portal and track angles.

        – For Fifth shallow, it’s again merely adjusting the portal and track angle.

        – For the RA, the two new tracks are aerial from Holgate south and my suggested approach would put the southbound RV tracks there and the northbound tracks from WS at grade (crossing Lander), so crossing back over as aerial is pretty easy.

        Finally, keep in mind that being able to cross between lines is important if not vital for lots of reasons. Switching capabilities are extremely important. Without the two tracks headed in the same direction, it becomes much more disruptive to do it just with only one level. For the level SODO four-track alternatives (Holgate and Lander overpasses), any switching would require a new and expensive track separation or require stopping trains in the other direction (which may not even be allowed for safety reasons).

      4. I should add that in the RA, the green Line/RV southbound tracks could be on the east platform of the new aerial station.

        More importantly, because it affects the costs and designs of each alternative so significantly, a full track-by-track operations concept should be considered NOW, because it could easily inform an alternative’s choice.

    2. ST seems to be positioning both Westlake and ID as major transfer stations, and I doubt one will be blessed as “the” transfer station because each one has advantages and disadvantages. ID is the most multimodal with transfers to Sounder, Amtrak, and Greyhound [1], crowds at the stadiums, and many 4th Avenue buses and Jackson Street buses. Westlake is the retail core and physical center and non-Amtrak/Sounder ridership generator. The de facto “center” of downtown Seattle is Westlake Park and Pike Place Market, and both of those are near Westlake Station. ID is at the edge for most trips, except the singnificant number of Sounder/Amtrak passengers but those are still a small fraction of the total. I’ve been mentioning SODO in the open houses to make sure the transfer there is reasonable — there’s no reason not to make it a viable option. But I don’t think it should be positioned as “the” second transfer station; just a third option.

      [1] My understanding from the ID open house is that all current alternatives would replace the SODO busway and not have a Stadium station. So the closest station to Greyhound would be ID.

      1. Don’t forget that ID is the only place people will want to transfer when heading from the south or West Seattle and going to the east side, and vice-versa.

      2. @Pete — Correct. And Westlake will be the only place where people from the Northeast (Capitol Hill, UW, Northgate, etc.) will transfer to get to Lower Queen Anne, Interbay, etc. Both are important from a transfer standpoint.

    3. I meant no Stadium station on the new track (West Seattle – Everett). The existing Stadium station would remain (Ballard-Rainier-Tacoma). So one thing Atomic Taco suggested in the open house was that people could transfer at SOD or ID for Stadium Station.

      1. It’s not unlikely it’s shorter in both cases just to walk if you are ambulatory.

    4. It will definitely be the main south end transfer between the Blue Line and the Green Line (and any future line also using the new tunnel).

      Red-Blue transfers might better be accomplished by leaving the Pioneer Square center platform in place permanently, but if that is not to be, than Eastside-West Seattle will be made at IDS as well.

      You’re right that Red-Green transfers will be most efficient at SoDo, especially if the at-grade option for the new Red Line trackage us chosen.

      The Green Line will not have a Stadium Station. That’s right at the proposed tunnel portal.

  7. I’m curious what the arguments against the shallow station on 5th are. From the numbers you posted, it has the lowest cost, lowest construction time, lowest transfer time for riders once it opens, and nearly the lowest amount of road closure time. Because it’s shallow we should expect the amount of time for riders to get to and from street level in the International District to be low too.

    We could spend $600 million more to avoid four months of road closures and force riders to spend several more minutes transferring forever. Hardly seems like a good idea. I’d in fact be supportive of paying more to get the minimal amount of transfer time, but in this case we don’t even need to! The cheapest option gives us that.

    1. The argument is its impact on businesses: that customers will avoid the area during construction and may never come back. I agree with you that this is the best option and we should give more weight to our long-term needs. The $400 million can be used for mitigation for those businesses, possibly relocating them temporarily, or, if the law allows (which it probably doesn’t), just giving them cash. We (both the US and Pugetopolis) need to get out of short-termism, hindering our long-term future to avoid some short-term loss to somebody. That’s what mitigation is for.

      1. I’ll avoid the area after construction (and I love shopping/eating in the ID) if we are saddled forever with a horrible transfer experience as well as a far more costly option. As you say, Mike – let’s use some of that cost savings for mitigation over the four-month closure period. My guess is that the ID businesses will be far better off with all the foot traffic that comes from a major transfer station – one that is shallow so encourages people to pop up to eat and shop – than one that is so deep nobody even cares where they are when they transfer. I started going to the ID much more often after it was easy to get there via the tunnel – I’m sure even more people will with all Link lines (save the Issaquah one) serving their neighborhood.

      2. I’m pretty sure business owners in the u district have gotten construction mitigation money from Sound Transit. If it can be done there, it can be done here.

      3. Ordinary mitigation is part of the environmental requirement and is built into the budgets. MLK had mitigation. The question is whether we can give the Intl Dist area a higher level of mitigation than that. The fact that it has undergone several construction projects like this may be a reason to. The number and density of lower-income and minority businesses and residents may be another reason.

    2. I dont get this opposition that it will impact ID businesses especially Asian businesses… there is literally one older Asian business on 5th Ave: Pacific Cafe Hong Kong Kitchen. The rest are brand new hipster businesses in Publix and the American dive bar Joe’s Bar. 5th Avenue seems like the perfect spot given how few Asian businesses will be impacted.

      1. It’s too early to say who exactly would be impacted and how much. If we assume we know everything now, it will turn out to be somewhat wrong when construction time comes. The impacts may be beyond the businesses on that specific block, if there’s a general bottleneck in the area.

  8. Because we already put a light rail station there, community displacement is not a relevant issue. Displacement is already well underway in the CD without Link, and would be more significant if they had a station. Consider what the Judkins Station has happening right now; much of that area is now new or under construction residential buildings.

    I understand how the community feels impacted. Still, I flatly disagree with the idea this project is a displacement issue similar to the CD; this is a construction mitigation issue only. Higher height limits affects the community’s displacement much more significantly because it makes building new buildings more financially feasible. Displacement is pretty much inevitable no matter where the additional platforms are placed.

    1. They’re the same thing. The community is not arguing about general displacement but about construction-related displacement. General displacement is occurring with or without ST3, and any kind of Link station will presumably increase it. The specific complaint is about streets being closed during construction, and how that will discourage customers from coming to the businesses. The underlying presumption is that most customers drive, because walk-in customers won’t be impacted as much. That may be a fallacy in the ID. (Where would such drivers park, and does the inevitable parking fee already deter them, if they’re not going to Uwagimaya which may have parking vouchers?) However, it may be true that a large percent of the customers come by car; you’d have to do a count to know for sure. And even if people walk up, it may be more or less difficult depending on the specific locations and construction, and that could deter many customers. We should at least study the extent of the problem and be ready to provide mitigations in proportion to the actual impacts, and not be unrealistically optimistic.

    2. It appears that there are only five businesses in C/ID that open onto Fifth Avenue between Jackson and Dearborn. It’s not like Jackson’s construction, where dozens of businesses were affected. I guess the impacts would be greater if the side streets were also closed, but it’s not clear if that those closures would be needed except to treat them like dead-end streets for a few years.

  9. At some point, it would seem to make sense to consider pulling the entire operation of Sounder, Amtrak and Link to a brand new mega-terminal with full transfers at SODO or Stadium. With that, the Green Line could turn east and completely miss Chinatown/ID.

    That would open the possibility of a Blue Line/ Green Line transfer station near Dearborn and 12th, a curve back towards First Hill with a Harborview Station deep underground, and the resuming the current alignment at the Midtown Station area.

    I realize this way beyond ST3’s consistency. However, the only way to avoid construction impacts is to not build anything in it! This would seem to accomplish that — as opposed to these other presented options, which don’t significantly change the effects and could make it worse by adding years onto the construction period.

  10. 5th Avenue shallow station
    $200 million in savings from the ST3 representative project
    1 minute between Link lines
    4 minutes between the new Link line and Sounder/Amtrak

    5th Avenue deep station
    $400 million more in cost than the ST3 representative project
    5 minutes between Link lines
    7 minutes between the new Link line and Sounder/Amtrak

    4th Avenue shallow station
    A 4th Avenue cut and cover station would mean:
    $300 million more in cost than the ST3 representative project
    4 minutes between Link lines
    4 minutes between the new Link line and Sounder/Amtrak

    4th Avenue deep station
    $400 million more in cost than the ST3 representative project
    5 minutes between Link lines
    7 minutes between the new Link line and Sounder/Amtrak

    How is this even a question? I hope this is mostly just performative hand-wringing so ST doesn’t get slammed for a lack of ‘community engagement’ (spoiler alert: they will anyway.) All of the options will be disruptive, it’s a very busy area! There is little meaningful difference regarding construction impacts. The deep stations should be complete non-starters, just look at those transfer times. Even if a shallow 5th was the most expensive option it would still be worth it. As it stands, the best long-term option is also the cheapest. How often does that happen?

    How many minutes will be wasted every single day this line is in operation if we pick a deep station option? I know we are estimating 20,000+ passengers/day using the ID Station within a decade. An extra 4 minutes wasted for each gives us 80,000 wasted minutes. That’s over 55 DAYS of accumulated (and completely unnecessary) wasted time every single day. Oh, and we’ll pay AT LEAST half a BILLION dollars extra for the privilege? Where do I sign?!?

    Just use the money saved to provide generous mitigation for affected businesses and get digging on 5th already!

    1. The factors point to 5th Avenue Shallow, and maybe that’s what ST really wants and will decide in the end. But it can’t say so now because that would bias the EIS and make it vulnerable to lawsuits. It has to at least go through the motions of studying all reasonable alternatives that have significant community support and getting feedback from all sides. And hopefully it will consider all feedback because there may be wisdom in unexpected places, or somebody may raise an impact ST wasn’t aware of. In any case, it’s the board’s decision which alignment to choose, and the board won’t speak until the final alternatives are ready.

      I’m only an outside observer so I have no idea which way ST leans. The Representative Alignment is an official leaning, so that’s one data point. The most likely outcome is similar to the RA but with a few improvements identified in the Alternatives Analysis (this phase). The question then becomes, does ST think any of these alternatives are a significant improvement? Or will the ID interests twist ST’s arm enough to deselect 5th Avenue Shallow even if it’s the most convenient for passengers/highest ridership/lowest cost?

      This also illustrates the need for a Riders’ Advisory Group. The purpose of transit is to give a core of mobility to the residents and visitors of the transit district. Short transfers, and station entrances within steps of pedestrian concentrations, directly improve mobility, and by extension increase ridership and non-car mode share. It’s the passengers who know what’s most convenient for them, and what would discourage them from taking it or using it for fewer trips. That’s the input ST needs, and it’s not always getting it from the city governments and large businesses and station-area businesses it usually listens to, because they often don’t know these things or deprioritize them below other non-mobility things.

      1. This is a nice thing to say, but then you look at Ballard where ALL the reasonable and popular alternatives were ignored or thrown out for essentially spurious reasons. But here, oh, HERE, we have to consider alternatives.

    2. “Just use the money saved to provide generous mitigation for affected businesses and get digging on 5th already!”

      Hear hear

    1. 5TH Ave. is busy, but nowhere near as busy and critical as Jackson ST is. It’s more like closing a few blocks of Brooklyn Ave. (e.g., vs. 45 ST NE!) in the U-District — and doing it for four months instead of several years. Maynard Ave. is more where the local businesses are concentrated (think University Ave)–5TH is mainly Uwajimaya and a few hipster places.

  11. I vote 5th Ave shallow station. The ID continues to grow and prosper, that is what successful neighborhoods do. No street work will stop it from being a diverse and vibrant place.

    Be aware of the growth of Asian immigrant communities north and south of Seattle, we are talking far suburbs. Really the ID is a historical afterthought at this point –not that it should not be respected and preserved in some ways, but we need to look at all the neighborhoods.

    1. > Be aware of the growth of Asian immigrant communities north and south of Seattle, we are talking far suburbs. Really the ID is a historical afterthought at this point –not that it should not be respected and preserved in some ways, but we need to look at all the neighborhoods.

      But is it though? The ID exists because of Seattle’s racial history: it was literally one of the few places where Asians could live. Yes, most modern Asian immigrants, especially those with the means/education, head straight out to Bellevue/Lynnwood and it shows (have you peeked inside Newport HS lately?). That doesn’t mean that the ID is a “historical afterthought”, it is still one of the main centers for the Asian community here in the Puget Sound. Plenty of people can’t really be rehoused elsewhere: they’re elderly and have very limited English. What will happen to them if they can’t live in the ID anymore?

      I know this station is a key part of the light rail expansion, I want to see it built: but you CANNOT simply railroad the ID in the process.

    2. Those suburban locations are often car-dependent: consider Des Moines, Kent, Lynnwood, Federal Way, Tacoma, Skyway, and Renton. Some of those areas have one trunk route like the A but it doesn’t necessarily go between where the people working in and shopping in those immigrant businesses work and live. if we’re going to say, “The suburbs are the new International District, then we need to majorly get on with frequent full-time transit in all directions and walkable land uses in those areas.. That is sometimes hindered by lackluster cooperation by those cities and county voters’ unwillingness to raise Metro’s taxes. Just throwing people at the suburbs in the current situation is not very conducive to their well-being or the region’s sustainability.

  12. How does this information make the choice more complex? To me, it makes the choice pretty darn clear. 5th Ave will have less construction/traffic impacts, costs less, and is better for Link riders…

  13. In a sense, gentrification/displacement in the ID is kind of like SoDo, Georgetown, South Park. Of course there is a general region-wide “hipster-ization” going on, but as far as local intense development, there are still plenty of “better” areas (like the CD, U-District, Roosevelt, Alaska Junction, ect) which are not filled in quite yet. Indeed, most of the new apartments/condos going up are on the periphery of Chinatown (along 5TH Ave., the other side of Jackson ST, one complex west of I-5)– not necessarily *in* Chinatown and Little Saigon where the local businesses are. These developments are replacing parking lots and shuttered warehouses, not turning Chinatown in to SLU2.0. If anything, the displacement/gentrification from light rail has already happened and/or is already in progress. Of course the construction impact itself is temporary (just 4 months of traffic detours–I always imagined it being years like the Bertha tunnel–are you guys wimps???) and can be mitigated. 5TH Ave. busses can be detoured for four months, and 5TH is really not that much of a parking or Uber dropoff area. I can see the bad feelings about what happened on Jackson ST, but 5TH Ave. alongside Chinatown actually is nowhere near what Jackson ST. is, as far as traffic flow (except for the express busses).

    1. I moved into Chinatown/ID because 1) I couldn’t afford the same space on Capitol Hill or in Belltown 2) It has Link and is car-optional 3) It’s getting more Link.

      An elderly Asian woman passed away and I took her place. I’m a young white dude with disposable income. I support a 5th Ave cut and cover for the best possible rider experience. I imagine there are or will be more like me.

      RE: Hipster-ization: Look inside Ping’s Dumpling House and then walk less than 300 feet to look inside Dough Zone Dumpling House. It’s insane.

  14. It would be nice if you listed the time it takes to get from the surface to each possible station. I assume that the shallow stations are better, but wonder about the details.

  15. Why are the new Link line to Sounder/Amtrak times both the same time for 5th and 4th shallow stations? Can’t they make an exit on the eastside of the station to Sounder? A shallow 5th station will be east of existing link station. I just don’t get it.

      1. I don’t see how a shallow station on 4th requires the same amount of time as a shallow station on 5th. What is it about 4th’s exit locations that make it so slow when it comes to catching a “next door” Sounder train?.

      2. My guess would be that most of that is the time involved walking the platform, and using the stairs, and a good part of that waiting for the walk signal at 4th Ave.

        Probably making the slight difference in distance negligible.

        My question was to the statement “Why can’t they make an exit on the Eastside of the station to Sounder?”

  16. It looks to me as though there are alternative access paths to pretty much all of the businesses through alleys. Can they dig the pit and keep the sidewalk open, and maybe stage the construction so that there is always one pedestrian route across 5th that’s open?

    The “Businesses Open During Construction” advertising campaign TriMet waged during Interstate Ave MAX construction seemed to work decently.

    1. The absolute worst case scenario is a 4 month closure. Even if we extend that by 50% to allow for unforeseen delays (keep in mind there’s no reason to suspect that would happen), a 6 month closure of *one section of one road* won’t materially affect them unless they’re already in serious trouble.

    2. This us a joke, right? You are concerned about tow-away companies will be affected by closure of four blocks of downtown street with meters? Really?

  17. Yes! We are having the same problem in Midland where we live. Will definitely share this with our commissioners. Will also share it on my Midland TX towing blog

  18. I used to live in Chinatown. I understand the need, but I also lnow it is about money. What is the criteria to decide which business gets the increase in customers by this move, and which ones do not?

  19. The impacts are meaningful but the decision isn’t all that complicated.

    One choice is the best for transit riders (including ID residents) and has the lowest costs.

    Cut and cover on 5th is obviously the way to go. I hope ST can find creative ways to mitigate the impacts for businesses/residents of the ID.

  20. An idea for a base reroute that could be used long-term: Dearborn from Rainier to Seventh.

    There’s non-revenue wire north from Rainier abd Jackson that could divert east side coaches from the ID permanently. Queen Anne runs would temporarily be longer, but only fir four months

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