University St station, with entrances not adjacent to Union St

The Sound Transit Board will reopen the decision, approved by the Board just two weeks ago, to rename the University Street Station in downtown Seattle as Union Street/Symphony station. The news came at the conclusion of Thursday’s Executive Committee meeting when Claudia Balducci announced that she would bring a motion for reconsideration to the next Board meeting.

Last month, you recall that we voted on the naming of the University St station. I wanted to just let you all know I’m going to bring a motion to reconsider that decision. I’ve come to believe Robert’s Rules of Order actually contain deep wisdom on the human condition. One of those rules says if you vote and you feel you have made a mistake, you get to ask for reconsideration. My decision on that was based on the tension between the rider experience and wayfinding, versus the safety impacts of how our system works with acronyms for stations. Since that vote I’ve visited that area. The doors are nowhere near Union St. And there’s been some reporting that showed we have acronyms like Angle Lake station. Do you know the acronym for Angle Lake station, colleagues? “200”, nothing to do with the name of the station. So we have that precedent already of that acronym. I think we should really revisit it and I’ll be asking that we do that at the next Board meeting.

The University Street station name first became confusing to tourists and new riders after Sound Transit opened the University of Washington station in 2016, and would become more confusing after U District station opens in 2021. A round of public outreach late last year surveyed six possible station names.

The most popular, narrowly, was ‘Symphony’, with ‘Benaroya Hall’ and ‘Seneca Street’ also polling well. As the outreach was underway, it was realized that the acronym ‘USS’ was used extensively within Sound Transit operations. It would cost about $4 million more to make the name change if the acronym ‘USS’ had to be replaced.

As Peter Rogoff explained in January:

As we started costing out the options, we discovered that, by making more profound changes that digressed from the acronym, we could run up costs as high as, at its maximum, $5.3 million. We would never recommend to the Board that they spend $5.3 million to rename a station. However by sticking with the USS acronym, we could execute the needed name change for less than a fifth of that amount.

‘Union Street/Symphony Station’ was selected as the name that conformed to the USS acronym and was closest to the preferred option from the community engagement.

Even at the last Board meeting, some members questioned the renaming. “Is this station anywhere near Union Street?” asked Chairman Kent Keel. Staff responded “Union Street is the street adjacent to two of the station entrances. Those entrances are on University Street”.

In the end, it seems the wayfinding issues were too great. And as Claudia Balducci observed, Sound Transit has managed with outdated acronyms in their systems before. Angle Lake is “200” because it was planned as S 200th Street. Those challenges will grow as the regional network expands and becomes more complex to manage. But it’s most important to make the system comprehensible for the travelling public.

105 Replies to “Balducci: rethink University St Station renaming”

  1. Symphony is a pretty good name. And Union Street is a block away, it isn’t that big of a deal. If you google “Symphony” in Seattle it gives you the right location. If you google “Westlake” or “University of Washington” you will not be close to either of the two stations named for those locations.

    1. Keep the name as it is (University Street Station), but rename the University District Station as the Brooklyn Station (which is the street the station is on and the original name of what later became the University District).

      1. You still leave the high chance of visitors thinking it’s near the University of Washington.

  2. So this is the second renaming decision that they might have to reverse in just a few months – first the Red Line, now this.
    I get the sense that there might be something in their process of selecting names that they should review.

    1. Red line isn’t actually a renaming. The name never appeared on signs or any wayfinding, it was simply used on planning documents. The cost to “rename” something that wasn’t actually named in the first place will basically be zero.

      1. Not to nit, but Red Line was used in external communications, including Rider Alert text messages.

    2. It’s a hit-and-miss with ST branding and marketing. I feel they have improved recently but the customer experience is still given lower priority.

      1. Hallelujah! Our posts on station names get almost as much discussion as whether stations should be easy to access by foot, bike, and transferring from a connecting bus.

        Designing for enough vertical conveyance redundancy to handle ridership growth and have more than enough to cover breakdowns took years to happen, and I’m not sure they really are planning for extra conveyances to handle 2040+ projected ridership. Even Greta agrees humanity will still probably be around then.

        ST has taken some leadership on climate action with its role in priming the pump for wind power. But there is so much more to do with reducing the climate impact of the materials being used in the new stations, and making sure their ongoing emissions are minimized. Plus, all the park&rides need to be getting converted with the premise that every car parking there will need to charge its battery. I’m not expecting cars to all have a windmill or solar array, or mini-fusion-power plant on top any time soon. Speaking of which, there is plenty of land under ST superstructure that is ripe for standing up windmills. And there is plenty of airspace above the park&rides to build many stories of housing. The parking floors could also stand to have carbon-sequestration devices installed, like a bunch of shrubberies. Having enough spaces for electric cars so none will go without a charger also seems like a good idea. Reward those who have ditched gas. I don’t know whether the new STRIDE fleet will be all-electric. Or if ST is planning on getting out of the diesel-bus business.

        And there is the fare enforcement regime that continues to be scary even to people who possess passes and/or valid transfers on their ORCA card… Can we make the fare enforcement system a little less scary for everyone?

    3. Any process is only as good as its veto points, including community objection or mercurial executives and boards.

    4. The reason for switching from Red Link was ridiculous. There are red lines all over the world and nobody mistakes them for a long abandoned mortgage-map practice that has nothing to do with subway naming. You might as well say red is bad because the Bloods used it.

      But there’s an emerging recognition that colors aren’t the best naming scheme because they’re misleading to the color-blind, and in Pugetopolis they overlap with Swift’s colors. Numbers or letters seem to be the best line identifiers. So if this issue gets ST to move away from colors as a primary identifier (and just keep colors on the map as many agencies do), it may have a silver lining.

      1. I hope that alphabetical proper names are considered too. The colors can be left alone but simply not called out in text.

        An example:

        Apple Line (red)
        Bear Line (orange)
        Cascadia Line (blue)
        Duwamish Line (green)
        Eagle Line (switch from purple to gray)

        If STRide gets colors, it can be done the same way, like:
        Forest Line (405N) (dark green)
        Grapevine Line (522) (purple)
        Hydrangea Line (405S) (light blue)

      2. I was thinking of suggesting the kinds of symbols Portland used to use to show which district a bus route served: snowflake, badger, things like that. Anyone remember all of them? I didn’t because the stations have pictograms, and two levels of pictograms may be too much.

        Hydrangea is hard to pronounce, spell, and remember.

        There is an Apple Line, the Omak-Wenatchee-Ellensburg route.

      3. Of course, just changing from “Line” to “Link” solves the initial controversy.

        Red Link
        Orange Link
        Blue Link
        Green Link
        Purple Link

      4. Al, In elementary school the buses were named similar to this. The color corresponded with the object to make it even easier to remember.

        30 years later I still remember that I rode 5 Red Apple to kindergarten and after we moved; 15 Red Heart was the one that would get me home.

      5. The ability to have multiple references that are integrated — color, name, shape, first letter alphabetized — is advantageous for all sorts of reasons. That’s four different ways to know which Link train gets used — and that transcends almost every possible difficulty from visual impairments to foreign language terms to color interpretation and fading to a child’s memory.

        I’m not particularly wedded to these particular names. They are just illustrative on how an integrated system could work.. To avoid confusion, I could also see replacing “Line” with “Link”.

    5. You don’t say.

      “ Since that vote I’ve visited that area. The doors are nowhere near Union St.”

      As you can see, apparently at least one board member of ST isn’t even familiar with the system (which currently has very few stations), and didn’t even think to consider the actual station configuration prior to voting on the name of that station.

  3. Good lord…. talk about a “Seattle Process”. I can’t wait for ST to hire McKinsey, or some other consultant, to come in and “study” the issue.

    Just pick a damn name and end it. People will adapt. It’s not the end of the world.

    1. A mislaeading name becomes an ongoing issue. That’s what happened with University Street Station; people have been getting off at the wrong place or being confused ever since it opened. Union Street Station is not that bad because it’s two blocks from Union Street so it is in its station area. And people don’t go visiting Union Station by the tens of thousands who are unfamiliar with our city.

      1. Every spring I wander around inside the University Street Station looking for the cherry blossom trees. This name change will help me find them.

      2. I disagree that it’s misleading.

        It’s not that hard. All people have to do is look at a map. Hint: every phone has a map function. There are maps in the tunnel. There are tourist maps all over downtown.

        It’s not hard to figure out where UW is.

      3. We should be looking at what works for people and what mistakes they do make rather than trying to bend them to our existing tactics. That’s usability 101.

      4. From years of working as a computer programmer, and now working with the public in a different career(s), I always give the advice:

        “Blame the computer!”

        Here’s the problem, and I used to work with a fellow nerd who was transit savvy like most here on STB, and I’d have to tell her
        “The general public does not think like you.”

        Tech nerds have it figured out. For most people, they just want shit to work and not be overly complicated.

        It was, and still is the height of hubris to put things out there for the public to use, (software, signage, architecture, etc), and never question your own perspective as to how it was implemented.

        A quote from one of my favorite books:
        “It probably won a design award.”

      5. It is beyond absurd to suggest that changing the station name from the street it is on to a street that it isn’t on is somehow less confusing or less misleading.

        By the way, anyone who is careless enough to make the mistake you reference will only ever make that mistake once. They may even learn something about our city in the process.

        Even if they do get off at the wrong station, the only thing they will lose is a little bit of time, and anyone who doesn’t know which station to get off at in the first place almost certainly isn’t in a hurry to get there.

    2. Making wayfinding easier for people visiting the area is a worthy endeavor, given that we’ve decide phone apps negate the need for any human interaction.

      The general public is generally confused, especially with non-automotive conveyances.

      1. It is utterly ridiculous to think this somehow makes way finding easier.

        If that was ST’a goal there are many other better things they could do to achieve it.

  4. This is good and Councilmember Balducci should be applauded. She recognized the error, gathered information, and now sees that this was an error made in haste that can be corrected.

    Looking forward to this being called Symphony station with USS (University Street Symphony) as the acronym and implied name.

    1. Yes, I love how an example of ST’s flawed reasoning is clearly captured and can be shown to the board. Kudos to Claudia!

      1. It is indicative of the way ST is governed that someone can be on the board and not know the basic layout of one of the oldest stations in the system.

    2. It’s to her credit that she’s moving this resolution, but all of this information was available to the agency when it made it’s original dumb decision.

      1. It’s pretty obvious this was Rogoff’s way of looking fiscally responsible. He really thought he’d be lauded for such smart executive decision making by creating this fake problem and ‘saving’ the agency millions of dollars.

      2. I wouldn’t expect board members to know the three letter internal codes. The real villain in this case is the staff, again omitting key information or inventing imaginary problems in a briefing to shape a decision for their internal convenience.

      3. When it actually saves money it’s more than just “looking” fiscally reasponsible. It’s “being” fiscally responsible.

      4. Your olympic-level apologia is exhausting sometimes, Mike. It is perfectly reasonable to change the station name without changing the acronym internally. Rogoff gets to appear fiscally responsible for avoiding a charge no one thinks is necessary in the first place.

    3. I’m glad to see a Board member being more vocal. I get the feeling that ST senior staff members make up and change the rules as they want, and prefer that no one questions them.

  5. As someone who transitioned from the airline industry to the transit world, I’m constantly identifying areas at my workplace that could benefit from modeling transit operations after that of airlines’. One of those areas: a standard coding for station locations, just like airport codes. They can be labeled not only for internal staff but on wayfinding materials too. As riders become more accustomed to the system, they can remember their own station code and use it for real-time data or trip-planning purposes.

    If countless entry-level baggage handlers, call center agents, airport agents and travel agents around the globe can remember an array of airport codes worldwide, then operations staff at Sound Transit can handle it too.

    1. ST already uses three-letter codes as shown in the tweet. The specific argument was that emergency responders might go to the wrong station. Emergency responders aren’t ST staff or travel agents, they don’t spend 100% or even 10% of their time dealing with transit nomenclature. Emergency responders are local workers, and in each city there are only one or two airports to keep track of, not a hundred subway stations.

      1. By no means would I expect the non transit world, especially first responders, to familiarize themselves with intricate transit knowledge. However, the screen grab is a clear indication that ST needs to rethink how it codes each station and to establish a more standard acronym system that would not only benefit staff but make things a bit easier for regular customers.

      2. Oh well, then… if ST is arguing that way, the emergency responders go to Union, see no station (a block away), go to Union Station and have already gone to the wrong station. Ever so much better.

        Thank you Claudia, for having the board provide some reflection here.

  6. The story just keeps getting better / more ridiculous. Peter Rogoff should be embarrassed but I’m sure those fat paychecks do a lot of healing.

    1. Why blame Rogoff? It was the board who made the decision, and several parts of Sound Transit that contributed to the problem.

      1. Because the board made their (uninformed) decision based on his assessment of $5.3 million. Obviously yes they could’ve requested more information and I’m glad Balducci is doing that now that it’s clear Rogoff doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

      2. Rogoff got hired for his connections in the other Washington and nothing else. He knows his way around federal bureaucracy. But he has never run a transit agency. One would think that this would have originated below him. My guess is they just realized there was an IT change they would have to make (they probably didn’t think of it) and this was the face saving decision.

      3. Because as the leader of the agency he could have made the decision that the acronym being different than the Abbreviation from the station is not a big deal (which is true), or to not rename the station at all and save even more money. How does anyone know what “USS” means? They know because there’s a legend somewhere that says “University Street Station = USS”. The fix is simple, change the legend to say USS = “Whatever name makes the most sense”. This is simple code and most. The buck stops with him. When a committee in his agency starts going down an illogical rabbit hole it is the job of the leader to make the responsible decision, and steer them back to the right path. Clearly that didn’t happen. This never should have made it to the board.

      4. This may actually be a database design issue. If there is no “artificial primary key” for locations, and instead the “code” serves as the PK, then at a minimum they have to go through programs and find all the specific invocations of the “known key”. It’s bad programming practice, but certainly not unknown.

  7. Pick something and be done with it.
    (I’ve deleted the expletives that I originally had typed into this box.)
    If we’re going to go down a rabbit hole of studies and consultants and marketing experts analyzing names:
    “Downtown Seattle”
    Because… this is the generic-est station in downtown Seattle. There’s no public market, needle, square of pioneers, international settlers, stadiums, ill-named mall not located west of a lake, or other iconic anything. Even Benaroya looks like some generic downtown building. So, just “Downtown Seattle.” Getting off at this stop gets you in the middle of a generic canyon of generic skyscrapers. It would be exactly what I would expect.

    1. Except they already call the next station “Westlake/Seattle”. I guess the other dozen or so stations aren’t in Seattle? Only one station in Seattle and it’s called Westlake!

    2. It’s the center of downtown or the closest we have to one. It’s where Westlake Park is where the demonstrations occur. It’s right next to most of the retail and motels and within walking distance of most downtownish stuff. And it’s close to Pike Place Market. The “/Seattle” suffix is a cue to visitors and occasional riders that if they’re going to “downtown Seattle” or “Seattle”, this is probably the station they want. And it’s where bus transfer to everywhere are.

  8. Split the difference and call it Union-Seneca Stations? This would actually be useful for connecting Metro passengers traveling down 3rd Ave, because every bus in both directions stops either at Union or Seneca, and this way, ST could save their precious acronym. Although that being said, ST can survive with internal terminology that doesn’t match public labeling. Metro does it with Rapid Ride, whose routes are internally known as 671, 672, etc.

      1. Capitol Hill Station already has something that looks like the US flag as its pictogram. When riders were polled, somebody forgot to mention that the pictograms would be black-and-white. Otherwise, the rainbow (a much more intuitive pictogram for the neighborhood’s historic and well-known demographics) might have been the poll preference.

        I don’t recall most of the other pictograms being that memorable, except for the graduation cap wasted on Husky Stadium Station instead of reserved for U-District Station; and the airport has an airplane. Not a UW fan, but for UW Station, I say Go Husky! Baseball bat and ball for stadium station. Sammy the Sounder for IDS, adjoining the King St Sounder Station. Ice skate for the future NHL practice facitlity station and adjoining public rink at the mall currently styled Northgate. We’ve still got time to future-proof that last one.

      2. A flying carpet is way more communicative to non-English speakers than a symbol of an airplane. Who knows what that could mean? /s

      3. Well, when leaving through Second Avenue exit, you do walk through a veterans’ memorial before you cross the street to the Art Museum. Maybe some research will reveal the the name of a soldier who deserves further commemoration.

        Or to cleanse the shame off an uglier domestic battlefront, name it after Captain John McCain.

        The Benaroya family’s ethnic extraction is interesting, though given the handling of this matter, doubt they’d appreciate bringing it any deeper into the discussion.

        Same for James R. Ellis, to whom everything connected with transit through Downtown Seattle owes beau-coup lifelong gratitude.

        But since the Seattle Symphony dates from 1903, plaque with its name should identify it just fine. “Seattle Symphony Station”. Above picture showing location of the main elevator should settle it.

        There’s no sports facility anywhere near as close to Stadium Station. Though maybe nobody wanted to name that after a certain nearby over-the-road passenger-hauler I’d like to avoid remembering.

        Speaking of which: If I were Sound Transit, I’d sit down real soon with my software providers and creditors, and beg like a puppy dog to be excused from passing along one counterfeit dime for a three-letter abbreviation-change.

        Because worldwide online communication system gives our high school age passengers real-time footage of how their age-compatriots elsewhere are dealing with level of worldwide official competence under discussion here. And fare inspectors themselves might share their new war-cry: “We Already Paid!”

        Thanks for the effort, Claudia. Just do it.

        Mark Dublin

    1. How about “3rd Ave Station”, since the station is under 3rd avenue and has many exits onto 3rd avenue?

      Too obvious?

  9. The current “USS” is a whole lot closer to Union Street than the “200” station is to Angle Lake. The importance of proximity is being severely overstated here. As long as they eventually remove the word “University” from the “University Street” station downtown, it will be a strong improvement. The word “Symphony” works well, and promotes a positive branding image for LRT. If not that, I could get behind the “Union/Seneca” suggestion too.

    1. Dare I mention that 145th (Likely code 145) Station is at 148th? Won’t that confuse emergency services?

      Should we even speculate on what the 130th St Station in North Seattle gets abbreviated to since Bellevue also has a 130th?

      1. Re: naming the Seattle 130th Station. How about the “Station that ST didn’t want to build”?

    2. Pinehurst seems like the best name to me. I’m not sure if it’s “in” Pinehurst but but there’s no more obvious name. “Lake City” is the biggest destination but that’s further east, and if the Lake City-Bothell line ever gets built it will have a Lake City station. Another name would be “Bitter Lake” but bitter is bitter, there are already a lot of lakes, and it’s not on a lake.

    3. Angle Lake station spans over S 200th street. So not sure I get your point, unless it is that the acronym doesn’t need to correspond to the the name of the station, which would mean that there is no reason at all to have a word in the name of the USS station that starts with U.

  10. Good for Balducci. ‘Union Street/Symphony Station’ is too long and unwieldy in addition to the inaccuracy of naming it Union Street. I’m glad they may be able to find a solution that isn’t as expensive as re-doing their internal systems while still providing end users with a single straightforward name.

    1. Look at the bright side! If you had the WMATA board naming things it’d be University Street/Symphony/Ferries/Aquarium.

  11. There may be good reason why this simple solution wouldn’t work. But why not “University Street / Symphony” for internal use, “Symphony” for customer facing applications? The official name can be either, but just leave the University part off the maps and signs.

    1. If one is worrying about emergency response the line between ‘internal use’ and ‘customer facing’ will break down. Transit staff talking to other emergency staff, other emergency staff talking to the public. Poor conditions. Contradictory information. People in hurry. In normal times it would be ok. Its only in bad times where it might make a difference.

      Though I do like the ‘symphony station’/’under symphony station’ thing posted above, and I think anything like ‘union station’ fails to fix the emergency problem because of the other ‘union station’ half a mile to the south.

  12. The area around the station has never had a name, like Westlake or Pioneer Square. I am reminded of the neighborhood in Philadelphia now named Graduate Hospital, named after a hospital which still exists, but is no longer named “Graduate Hospital”. Or the Korean neighborhood in Tokyo which used to be just called Okubo, but some time after the Shin Okubo station on the Yamanote line was built (“shin” meaning “new”, because there was already a nearby station on the Chuo line named Okubo Station), everyone started calling the neighborhood Shin Okubo, after the nearest major train station.

    So I tend to believe that if the station gets a distinctive name, like “Symphony”, after a while people will just start calling the neighborhood “Symphony”. And that would, in itself, help people to understand where things are. Naming the station after one of the streets would probably never accomplish this.

    It is too bad we can’t rename the U District back to Brooklyn, as it used to be called!

    1. SoDo stood for South of the Dome. The Dome is long gone. Ohmigod, people must get off there and search for a dome and immediately get back on the train hoping to find one at another stop.

      1. A really stupid comment from a person who doesn’t know the difference between Sodo and South of the Dome and also doesn’t know the difference between past and present

        I expect that more that 90% of visitors don’t know the origins of the name Sodo

      2. SODO means South of Downtown. It was a real-estate marketing term in the 90s. Before that it was the Industrial District. I resisted SODO for a long time but now that I use the station with its namesake and see the signs repeatedly I’ve switched to SODO.

      3. Madison Valley and West Edge were also real-estate marketing terms from the same era. As was restoring the old census-tract names that had fallen out of use, like Squire Park and Bryant. I’ve switched to Madison Valley but I still refuse to say West Edge, Squire Park, or Bryant.

      4. Are you sure, Mike? The Times was reporting back in ’97 that “South of the Dome” was being newly reinterpreted as “South of Downtown” (“Starbucks, Developer Help Boost Sodo Area — ‘South Of Dome’ Gets Makeover To Become ‘South Of Downtown'”, Lee Moriwaki, 6/21/97)

  13. It’s become clearer and clearer since the public polling that Seneca Station is the best name, or Seneca Street Station if it must be. That doesn’t sound like any other station/neighborhood/city name; it’s right on Seneca Street; and the name Seneca Street has been well-known for over a century.

    1. I agree. Seneca was my first choice in the poll, as it seems to make the most sense for a number of reasons (which have been reiterated by others on this blog on multiple posts on this topic, so I feel no need to beat a dead horse).

      Just rename the damn station Seneca and move on.

      My lord, is it any wonder that everything this agency does moves at a bleeping snail’s pace? (RQ)

      China just built a brand new hospital in response to the coronavirus threat in ten days. Ten freaking days!! (I know, I know….it’s a very different environment, but still….just ten days.)
      It takes Sound Transit months if not years and multiple board actions to made a damn decision regarding a simple station name. Pathetic.

      Fwiw….Rogoff should’ve been fired long ago.

      1. Sound Transit isn’t rushing on the rename because there is no reason to hurry. If they wait a year, it’s no big deal. It’s not an emergency where you have a disease outbreak and people are literally dying.

      2. Boy, you really missed that point, didn’t you? I was talking about the overall slowness of everything that ST does, including basic things like financial reporting and other public disclosures we’ve come to rely on.

        For example, it’s now Feb 2020 and we are still waiting on the publication of the Before and After Study for U-Link, which opened in Mar 2016. (The agency is trying to spin the narrative that it’s the FTA that’s holding things up but the truth is that the FTA rejected the first draft due to missing data.)

    2. Symphony was my first choice, and Seneca was probably my second or third. Now I wish it had been my first.

  14. Or they could just keep teh University Street name and change the name of the unopened U-District Station to Brooklyn Ave Station.

    But that would be way too easy.

    1. That still leaves the potential confusion between University Street Station and University of Washington Station. Which was the worse of the two anyways.

      1. Stop it. There is no confusion. It’s fake news. Tourists aren’t wandering around University Street Station wondering where the UW is. Yes, sometimes people get off at the wrong stop, but it has more to do with them being spaced-out, than the name of the stop.

        “Well, now hold on a minute there, Sam. I happen to believe plenty of people on Link mistakenly get off at University Street Station, thinking they are at the the UW. Are you calling me a liar?”

        Yes, I am.

      2. Just to be clear, Ness, I’m not calling you a liar. I’m calling the strawman I fake quoted a liar.

      3. As I’ve pointed out before, there are more universities in the city of Seattle than the University of Washington. The station name is not confusing at all, since it’s on University St. It’s no more confusing than the Columbia City station, which is several blocks west of where Columbia City usually is thought of being, or naming Roosevelt station after a street that runs north-south a long way parallel to the direction of the tracks.

        People can do some homework. It’s not much to ask.

      4. There are other universities but there’s no other THE University of Washington. To many people that’s the only relevant university, and all the other ones are referred to in a way that distinguishes them from it. All the other universities are an order of magnitude smaller and have few national/international ties. Except WSU, which is on the other end of the state and has “State” in its name to distinguish it from UW.

  15. If I were naming it based on the map:

    University Street Station: cross street right above the middle of the terminal

    Third and University: that intersection’s right over the terminal, easy to figure out where in downtown that station is.

    Benaroyal Hall station: map landmark, easy to locate on a map.

    Senaca Street station: closest street to the center of the terminal that can’t be confused with the University.

    Or just follow the advice that’s proven useful in another network context: pick a theme for each line, then assign arbitrary names based on that theme to each station with no attempt to make them meaningful. It’s easy to tell which line a station is on by the theme of it’s name, it’s easy to find the names on a route map and you can place the markers on a street map to help locate each station relative to surface streets. And it’ll take something on the order of magnitude of a Cascadia Fault Zone slip to make it necessary to rename stations after that.

  16. I wish we would simply leave it be. There is signage right over the doors (and on maps) which indicate at which stop to deboard for the University of Washington. But as someone wrote above, even with the signage, if people will still get confused we must make it easier on them. Personally I attend the symphony. But I doubt that one in 500 Seattleites ever attends the symphony, much fewer for tourists. So, if the name MUST be changed (again), I prefer Seneca Street. Of course I voted for Midtown, but that didn’t exactly go over. What, there is no place called Midtown? Not now, but like SODO, it could catch on and I think it is a good name for that particular area of downtown. Just wait until U-District Station opens. We will have to rename UW station as Husky Stadium/UW and U-District as U-District/UW. The campus is big enough to have two /stations. Nothing wrong with /stations if it would be clearer in the end.

    1. It’s ambiguous where midtown would be. If you think of downtown as Yesler Way to Stewart Street, then Midtown is right around Seneca Street. But if you think of downtown as Yesler Way to Denny Way, then Midtown is Pike-Pine. That ambiguity has been around for a long time and has never been fully resolved, so some people think one way and some the other, and others have no idea.

      1. I don’t think ‘midtown’ needs to in the middle, strictly speaking, it just needs to be commonly accepted. Atlanta’s midtown isn’t really in the middle of anything, it’s a 2nd downtown north of the original downtown. Manhattan’s Midtown is intuitively named but isn’t the middle if you include all of upper Manhattan.

      2. Midtowns generically are between Downtown and Uptown. But in Seattle even those are unsettled. Uptown was originally in Belltown but is now Lower Queen Anne. Downtown is, um, Pioneer Square? The government district north of it? Both of those and the financial district (Madison-Union)?

        I’ve been to Atlanta’s Midtown although i don’t know what it’s “mid” of. Maybe there was something historically north of it that made it mid.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that generally, Downtowns are the central business district, and Uptowns are a second district that may or may not be at a higher elevation, further north, more residential, or higher-income.

        What’s fun is trying to figure out where downtown London is or whether it has a downtown. Is it the CIty? The highrise district on the side (Canary Wharf)? Leicester Square/Charing Cross/Soho area? Victoria Station? Or is “downtown” meaningless in relation to London?

  17. I voted Seneca the first time. Then I thought about the area and came up with Metropolitan Tract Station. They already ignored all votes. The station entrances are not all on any one street. Yhey aren’t even all on 3rd. So I still think Metropolitan Tract Station is best. Probably me only. Oh well. It does not reflect any street. But it does reflect the historical land ownership by the UW.

    If they decide to ignore all logical names for the station, then name it Marion Street Station. It won’t make any sense, but I just like the name better.

  18. In honor of the ignored community outreach, I think calling it the Useless Survey Station is comedically appropriate!

  19. How bought Theater Station for both The 5th Avenue Theater and Benaroya Hall for within walking distance of the station

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