Sign marking entrance to University Street Station. Electronic sign displaying University Street name.

Sound Transit is once again considering Symphony as the new name for University Street Station in downtown Seattle. This is intended to reduce confusion with two other Link stations in the University District and University of Washington campus. This time, renaming will be done in conjunction with East Link extension work to minimize costs, about $800,000.

Last year, ST’s Board decided to rename University Street station to Union Street/Symphony only to pause the renaming two weeks later. The new name was to be implemented for Northgate Link’s opening. Board members had second thoughts and the public questioned the compromise name, an attempt to save the expense of changing the USS internal station code while satisfying the public’s preference.

In the meantime, Sound Transit is mitigating the customer experience issues through improved maps and announcements. On the new Siemens trains, an optional “stay on the train for University of Washington campus” announcement can be played. New Link 1 Line maps in stations and onboard trains more clearly indicate downtown Seattle stations and UW campus stations.

111 Replies to “An encore for Symphony station at University Street”

  1. Are they planning to bring the new audio announcements to the old kinkasharyo trains? I don’t understand why they can’t have a unified product across their whole fleet?

    Also symphony is cute and all but I feel like “Seneca street” or “midtown” or even “harbor steps” would be better.

    1. Fun fact: Midtown Square is getting ready to open at 23rd and Union on the former Midtown shopping site.

      “Midtown” is probably too generic at this point.

      1. Even Metro is starting to label that area between University Street and Westlake “Midtown”. The post office across the street has been named Midtown for a long time.

      2. Westlake Station is more appropriate for the Midtown name. Because it is the middle of things, and the station for most bus transfers and Pike Place Market and the retail core.

        It partly depends on whether you define the north end of downtown as Stewart Street, Denny Way, or Valley Street. I’ve always thought of it as Denny Way because that’s where the West/North/East numbers start and the streets become straight north-south, east-west.

      3. It would also end the confusion that Westlake Station is not west of anything, there’s no lake there, there’s no Eastlake Station counterpart, and it is the center. Seattlites are used to it as just the name of the center regardless of what the words mean, like Americans think of New York and New Jersey as just the name and not “new” anything or secondary to their antecedents. Still, it’s not a good name for the main downtown station, and “Midtown Station” would be.

    2. Seneca is better. It’s so weird to name a subway station after a specific organisation, also one with such class implications.

      1. I thought this debate was over. The station is literally part of the Symphony Hall. It isn’t just cute. It is geographically accurate, visually easy to find, and just freaking cool. Of course I am biased because I love music, but I also think making a symphony hall a transit hub is much more about breaking down classist stereotypes and distinctions than reinforcing them. There are plenty of place names that are classist, racist or dumb and deserve to be protested but Symphony Station isn’t one of them.

        Last two cents: let it be Symphony Station AND save some money by keeping this internal only ‘USS’ code. I am sure our transit system staff can work around the odd code name and keep it from disrupting ST systems. Plus, it will give old timers at Sound Transit something to lord over new hires who can’t figure out why it is called USS. Fun name! Funky station code! Good times!

      2. Barman: there is an entrance on the corner of Seneca and 3rd, literally one of the most prominent things in that intersection

    3. Symphony Station is a nice relaxing name, an antidote to the rush and stress a downtown can connote. It suggests Seattle is serious about the arts, regardless of whether there’s a symphony hall at the station or not. It reminds me of Mayakovskaya Station in St Petersburg, which is named after a poet and is also at the city center. I’d like to see a treble-clef or bass-clef icon for the station.

      1. Those icons …. Most of them I would never guess which station they represent.

        Can we fix some of the obvious ones, like use an airplane for SeaTac Airport Station? That would be of immense help for tourists from all over the world. That magic carpet is hard to identify as such until somebody points out that is the airport. Be sure to include it in the rolling virtual signs, for travelers who can’t read English. If the icons aren’t in the signs, then ST doesn’t think anyone uses them. But tourists ask which way to go to get to the airport all the time. The lucky ones ask in English. There is no more universal icon than that, and no station more important to have on wayfinding than the airport, which is represented by an airplane on all other transit signage.

        How about a baseball bat and ball for Stadium Station? Or just a blown-up baseball?

        A rainbow instead of an American flag for Capitol Hill Station? If not a rainbow, how about a depiction of the Capitol Building?

        The ferry symbol, ubiquitous and standardized on other transit signage, instead of some 18th century sail frigate, for Pioneer Square?

        And now, an ice skate for Northgate Station?

        I’d suggest the heavy rail icon for ID/CS, but some will see that as trying to erase the (recent, post-colonial) history of the neighborhood. Compromise and use both the Chinese dragon next to the universal heavy rail icon. But get the heavy train icon in there somewhere. Everett and Tacoma Dome might also want the heavy rail icon, so start a side-by-side or overlay precedent.

        .

        For the train announcements, how about adding some sound effects?

        * a plane taking off for SAS

        * two train whistles and wheels turning for ID/CS

        * the foghorn sound for Pioneer Square

        * “Take me out the the ball game” (just the first line) for Stadium

        * “Bow down to Washington” for UWS

        * the commencement ditty for U-District, or swap these two

        * the “Downtown” song for Westlake

        * pick a Mozart overture for Symphony

        * “Lift every voice and sing” for Columbia City

        * the overture lines for the Franklin and Roosevelt High fight songs for their respective stations. If the multimedia team ends up playing “Show Ohio’s Here” that’s El Paso’s Franklin High. Maybe the high school fight songs do nothing for wayfinding except wake up passengers to get up and depart.

        /rebrand

      2. The station destination signs do have airplane symbols, at least at some of the stations.

        SeaTac the city was named after the airport and for being in between Seattle and Tacoma, so I don’t think they would object to an airplane icon. However, somebody proposed the magic carpet so I guess they might be bothered.

        I thought the Capitol Hill flag icon was supposed to be a gay pride flag.

        The problem with having icons based on social issues and building uses is that social issues and building issues change over time and move to different stations. The airport won’t move, but the symphony may go bankrupt or move and an office or other institution might replace it. I’d have to read history to see what the Bull Moose party was and whether it’s universal, obsolete, or overly partisan for a station icon. And ice skates, Northgate is more than just ice skates. That sounds like how SLU was prioritized for Link because it’s a new highrise district, while the old highrise district next door (Belltown) is ignored. But, gotta support the new, right?

  2. I’ve started to wonder about how big of a problem this really is to solve relative to the mindshare it gets with ST and transit users …if you are a new student or staff member at the UW you would make the mistake of getting off in the wrong area of the city a maximum of once. And even then, as a student who went to the UW after only living in the area for a few years and not being overly familiar with all of Seattle’s neighborhoods, I didn’t exactly choose the UW without doing a lot of research that included learning about the university’s location, etc. I’d put more risk on getting off on the wrong side of campus or getting lost on campus.

    Is the university really that much of a draw to solo tourists versus people with friends or relatives that would be accompanying them to the right station?

    1. I do think it’s more about occasional riders, such as out of town visitors, rather than new students or staff who can presumably learn after 1 mistake. The UW gets plenty of visitors for conferences, competitions, and other events, plus the growing U District will generate business travel, so I wouldn’t limit it to just ‘tourists.’

      There’s also the reverse confusion of someone trying to go downtown and hearing “University” and thinking they missed downtown, which is understandable given the complete absence of visual cues in the underground stations if someone is unused to the system.

      1. Yesterday I saw people going to the Hawks game having trouble finding their way from the bus to the station. Some people rode the wrong way to Northgate. You cannot assume that people will have time to become experts nor is inertia a good reason to not improve.

        If we have the opportunity to make the system more clear, then we should do it.

      2. Wayfinding decisions should involve a feedback process. These kinds of occurrences suggest that additional change is needed.

        I’ve though a good and simple way to visually demarcate Downtown would be to put a semi-circle or a “C” in the line diagram for the 4 downtown stations plus Capitol Hill. Having a straight line on a diagram doesn’t illustrate the centrality of Downtown on a system or line diagram, and truthfully the DSTT segment is more of a semi-circle than a straight line anyway. Plus Line 3 could be visually added like it’s 10:30 on a clock face (if the semi-circle is viewed as half of a clock face) if/when it opens.

        Does anyone have an opinion on this Downtown “C”-Attle light rail diagram idea?

      3. “Yesterday I saw people going to the Hawks game having trouble finding their way from the bus to the station. Some people rode the wrong way to Northgate.

        and this was before they got snockered at the game 🤣

      4. Large universities have a lot of visiting scholars, people using the libraries, people coming for meetings and events, students’ families, etc. And dorm residents move twice a year.

  3. I don’t think most out-of-town visitors are going to see “Symphony” and understand that it’s the station at the center of town. What’s wrong with just calling it “Downtown Seattle”?

    1. They already add “Downtown Seattle” to Westlake station on the Kinkisharyo cars. But downtown spans multiple stations and they rightly noted that on the maps.

      1. One vote for Midtown Station renamed Central Library Station here! It’s wonderfully specific and has the name Central in it. There is no possibility of it being ambiguous.

      2. I like “Central Library Station”! instead of “Midtown”

        It is actually a popular destination, hard to find the first time, and occasional enough of a destination that people forget which exact streets it is on.

        However, that may be a more appropriate station for a ferry icon with a down arrow.

        But then, what if the City decides to tear it down and build a 16-story central library somewhere else? (The current shortish 8-story library replaced a 4-story central library.)

  4. As much as any of us would offer a renaming idea for this station, I think it’s important for the ST Board to follow through on the decision that concludes the extensive input process that they set up. Not doing that would really trash the agency’s and its Board’s integrity.

    Personally, I would have preferred a “Public Market” station (probably Seattle’s most iconic landmark after the Space Needle) but ST proposed a limited number of names and had the public select them. So I embrace the Symphony name on a matter of principle.

      1. If you live here and drive then you understand Seneca St., and where it is and what is on Seneca St. If you are from out of town you don’t know what Seneca St. means.

        You want station names that tell you what the area and attractions are. For example, of course stations in the UW dist. would have UW in their name, probably upper and lower UW because there is a huge difference between upper (U. Ave.) and lower UW.. Same with International Dist. Station. You wouldn’t call that station 5th or Jackson. Same again with stadium station.

        What IS Seneca St.? What does it mean to the rider? It means midtown, or downtown Seattle. I suppose you could use business district or something like that, but midtown to me lets a rider know the stop is in the heart of downtown Seattle. Every city has a midtown, and it usually means the same thing: middle of city, business district.

      2. Most other American cities name their urban rail stations after the cross street. Of course they don’t have the stop spacing nor necessarily the well-defined neighborhoods we do. But the problem with “University St” is that it implies a connection with the university, which isn’t the case with Union or Seneca.

        (Hey, could “Union-Seneca Sts” work and allow ST to keep the internal code?)

    1. Maybe we could reach consensus on the station name and make everyone happy if we have just One More Survey.

  5. I have always thought that “Seneca Station” would be a good enough replacement name. Maybe “Midtown/Seneca St.” or “Midtown/Seneca” would be ok. I also like the sound of “Symphony” better, but don’t think people would relate it to Benaroya Hall.

    1. Agreed.

      Seneca works perfectly fine. Same with Midtown/Seneca.

      Frankly I can’t believe that ST is having this discussion all over again. Come on. Make a decision already and move on.

      The order of ineptitude at this agency simply astounds me at times.

      1. What this means, probably, is that some very important politico doesn’t like the result of the public engagement process.

    2. I-5 has an exit for Seneca St. It does not have an exit for “symphony”. Somehow, nobody is worried about concert going drivers not finding their way to the symphony because the exit ramp isn’t named “symphony”.

      I suspect part of this discrepancy comes from what Jarrett Walker terms “elite projection”. The unstated assumption that highways are for getting everywhere, hence the name for an exit name to be generic with names or numbers. But, transit is all about access to specific destinations, hence the need to have the destination in the name.

      I personally think transit should take a playbook from WSDOT here. Only a tiny percentage of people getting on or off Link at University St. Station are actually going to the symphony. Call the station “Seneca St.” and put up signs in the trains listing which station to get off at for common attractions (but please don’t add to the noise pollution by announcing every single destination for every single station over the PA system).

      Naming a station after a specific venue is appropriate only when that venue is pretty much the only thing there. Stadium station is a good example of this, as there is really nothing around except for the stadiums. Symphony station, not so much. There are tons and tons of reasons to get off there there have nothing to do with the symphony.

  6. Symphony Station – sponsored by Hershey? put some candy bar vending machines there, or a candy store, and it might make more sense.

    The only time anyone on the train will be looking for the Symphony will be when they are going to a performance there – which as a percentage of the total time people will be traveling through the station is very small. I mean, once someone gets off the train are there going to be signs directing people to ‘The Symphony’? I think not.

    I’d rather see it named something more relevant to the majority of travelers using the system: i.e. midtown, financial district, keep university street station, market station, anything else really.

  7. The saga continues. I’m impressed with ST’s recent improvements to signage and way finding. I’m also glad they finally admit the internal “USS” code is not carved in granite like they claimed it was.

    Whatever name they pick, I just hope it isn’t “midtown”.

  8. Really the only reason they proposed Symphony Station was to make the initials work for their back of house station code programming.

    Please forget about ‘Symphony’, and give the station a real name that makes sense.

    I also agree with Seneca being a good name.

    1. No, you got it backwards. Had it not been for the attachment to the USS code, they already would have renamed it to just Symphony.

      Seneca is my personal preference but out of the ten thousand ST surveyed in 2019 Symphony was the most popular, followed by Benaroya.

  9. What’s wrong with “Seneca St. Station?”

    Freeway exits are named based on the street you come out of. Transit station exits can do the same.

    1. Seattle has stronger neighborhood identities than many other cities do, and these are often used in giving directions. And with Link’s wide stop spacing having only one stop for a neighborhood, it’s useful to have “Beacon Hill Station”, “Capitol Hill Station”, “Roosevelt Station”. “65th Street Station” isn’t always meaningful to people. Yes, it’s 65% between downtown and 100th Street, but is that where the Roosevelt neighborhood is? Or the U-District? Or a minor station that only residents of that neighborhood find useful?

    2. As I recall. There wasn’t a single entrance to the station at Seneca St. Hence the irony in calling it that.

      1. And if that doesn’t work, just look for 301 Seneca St.
        Stree view, and spin it until your looking towards the 1201 3rd building, aka: the Washington Mutual tower.
        The corner portico you’re looking at is the Link entrance.
        You can see it if you zoom in.

    1. I preferred Brooklyn Station myself, but it was the U-Dist business owners that twisted ST’s arm and got the station renamed. Their believe was that naming it “U-Dist Station” would be good for business.

      However, I’m not quite as concerned about confusion arising from U-Dist vs UW Stations. Both stations actually serve the University – one at NW campus and one at SE campus. So someone heading to the University that gets off at the wrong station is still effectively at the University, just maybe not at the optimal station per their final destination.

    2. I miss the old Brooklyn name. Brooklyn-45th St would have been a great name. The inconsistencies in writing UDistrict, U District, U-District, University District annoy me.

      1. And Brooklyn was the historical name of the neighborhood, so it would revive that history. And it’s fitting as the second downtown, as Brooklyn NY is to NYC.

      2. You can take the “Next Stop Brooklyn” lyric out of Bruno Mars’s “Somewhere in Brooklyn” and use it as the next stop announcement! It goes with the artwork inside the station. (Don’t actually do this of course)

    3. But what if someone thinks they are taking a train to Brooklyn, NY? (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

      It’s not that hard. There are plenty of places in the world that name transit stations/stops after streets where the street name is not descriptive of the location. It’s not the end of the world.

      There is nothing wrong with “University Street”. Much ado about nothing but, hey, it’s Seattle… we got to run something into the ground with committees and studies because we *think* we’re some unique place where we can’t just do what the rest of the world does. At least the consultants make some cash.

      1. +10
        That’s my take on this whole saga as well. Much ado about nothing. Riders figure these things out.

        Now if I could only remember if it’s the Berwyn or Bryn Mawr stop to use on the CTA’s red line (oh the horror) when visiting some old friends in Chicago’s north end.

      2. Most of those other streets don’t have a name like “University Street”, which falsely implies a university.

      3. Los Angeles has a number of stations named after very long cross streets that are named for cities. Long Beach Boulevard, Anaheim St, San Pedro St, Lakewood Blvd. None of those stations are near their namesake cities.

      4. Mike, it used to, hance the name. UW is rich because of Rainier Tower and nearby buildings sitting on its land.

  10. Finally, this is long overdue. My wife works near USS and she says it is a common occurrence for her to encounter confused commuters who popped out of the ground at University Street and are trying to find the UW.

    And kudos to ST for figuring out a way to get this change done while cutting the cost from $5M all the way down to $800K. That is good management.

    But can we please be consistent here? In addition to the whole USS/UWS/UDS bit of confusion, we also have several other source of future confusion:

    1). Bellevue Downtown Station vs South Bellevue Station.

    2). South Shoreline Station vs North Shoreline Station.

    And the worst of the lot:

    3). Redmond Tech Station vs SE Redmond Station vs Redmond Downtown Station.

    But I do understand. Having LR arrive in your city is viewed as a momentous event to be celebrated, and it is also viewed as a potential economic boost. Cities totally want to plaster their name all over the stations to maximize the perceived benefit. This is natural.

    But ST really needs to think of it from the rider’s perspective and remove all these sources of confusion. Not every transit ridership is a transit expert.

    1. I would at Bel-Red/ 130th and the North Seattle planned 130th St station to your “confusion” list. Unlike the others you mentioned, these two are nowhere need each other and have no directional reference. Generally I would recommend against numbered streets and avenues as a name because it’s a sure-fire way to confuse people in our two-directional multiple grid-numbered street network.

      1. The easiest way to solve that problem would be to just kill the 130th St Station on Lynnwood Link.

        Problem gone!

      2. I appreciate your proper usage of the word “kill”, as opposed to “cancel”. If it doesn’t get a national hate TV or radio broadcast or similar mass media platform, then it isn’t truly being “cancelled”.

      3. New York has several stations with the same (street) name. Folks figure it out. Of course Lazarus would argue that there are too many stations in New York, just like Paris, London, Tokyo and every premier mass transit system in the world.

    2. The downtown namings are a mess because there’s no common standard, it’s just what each city wants. The main downtown station for a suburb should just be the city name, “Bellevue” and “Redmond”, and the others should add “North” or “South” or something else. Like “Berkeley” and “North Berkeley”, “Hayward” and “South Hayward”. “El Cerrito” and “El Cerrito del Norte”, etc. Of course this won’t work for Seattle because there are four stations for downtown Seattle, and naming one of them “Seattle” wouldn’t really help. BART has no “San Francisco” station either. But it does for smaller cities with one main station and the other station is peripheral.

      1. It is a subway, not a commuter line. The stations should be named after streets unless there is a really good reason not to. Husky Stadium (or even UW) is OK, but the next station should be 45th, followed by 65th. Northgate Station is OK because the cross street is unknown (it doesn’t go through). But then it should pick up again (130th, 145th) until you are out of the county.

  11. Maybe I missed it, but if they rename the station “Symphony Station”, what would the BOH internal station code be? Still 3 letters of some sort? Or just “SS”?

    If the answer is just “SS”, then I would say that this is automatically disqualifying for the name “Symphony Station”.

    The SS was a white, racist organization responsible for genocide on an industrial scale. Even though the code would be BOH only and not customer facing, transit employees and emergency responders would need to deal with this code daily. It would be offensive to many of them and should be avoided.

    Let’s face it, if we can’t use the term “Red Line”, then why should we be institutionalizing the term “SS”?

    And we shouldn’t be building any more monuments to the Confederacy either. We already have too many.

    1. What is used by SODO and Stadium Stations? They probably already offended someone in the internal coding department first.

    2. ST should adopt an airport-style coding for its stations. That way there’ll be a standard, 3-letter consistency for BOH and perhaps even easier to decipher. Westlake: WES. Othello: OTH. UW: UOW and so forth…

    3. This whole thing is dumb. What makes it impossible to keep both USS and Symphony? It’s not like anyone flying in to YYZ thinks they’re flying to “Yizz” and not Toronto, particularly if they actually work at an airline or airport.

      1. Are you kidding? I need to look up the codes for Canadian airports Every.Single.Time!
        YYZ; YUL…. What’s The Difference?

        As long as one is dressed correctly.

        This is classic “Don’t ask IT for any changes, it will cost a fortune, be late, and have a zillion bugs” syndrome.

        University/Seneca Streets = USS
        (solves the problem of removing the “station” moniker, too)

      2. Chicago’s main airport is coded ORD. That doesn’t seem to confuse anyone.

        I agree. Nobody cares about these symbols.

      3. Don’t get the big deal over internal station codes at all. USS can be creatively and intuitively redefined in a way that still relates to the station’s location.

        Under Seneca Street
        University Seneca Symphony
        Under Symphony Seneca
        Etc.

        As Claudia Balducci pointed out to her fellow Boardmembers, Angle Lake station is coded as “200”. Are they fixing that too?

      4. @Jim: For the actual purposes of booking or traveling, YYZ is always printed with the actual destination name. I doubt anyone is winding up in the wrong place because of their airport code a la *Home Alone 2*.

        As far as I know, these station codes aren’t really used externally, right? If it’s someone’s job to know the codes it’s no big deal.

      5. The public has never even heard of “USS”. I was a Rush fan and never knew what the song “YYZ” meant until I went to Toronto decades later. It’s not hard to learn a few acronyms for cities you go to. But “USS” was never intended for the public. ST’s fear was that emergency responders wouldn’t recognize “USS” and that would delay a response. That seems unlikely. There are a limited number of Link stations, you can look them up on a list, and the emergency call would probably include the words “light rail station”, so that narrows it down to 19 possibilities, or less than 100 after ST3. And it’s unlikely that “USS” would refer to International District/Chinatown Station or Othello Station, so that narrows it down further.

  12. In case the authors read this, the Siemens trains automatically make the announcement for “stay on the train for the university of Washington campus,” while the Kinkisharyos have the same preloaded announcement that must be manually activated.

    I’m an operator.

  13. But, but, but…..what about the Scott White Station?

    Motion 2016-107:

    “It is hereby moved by the Board of the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority that a process be established to ( 1) consider inclusion of the name Scott White in the naming convention associated with the U District or Roosevelt stations and (2) to consider including the name Joni M. Earl in the naming convention associated with an appropriate Sound Transit station or other facility. Consistent with the naming policy established by the Board in Resolution No. R2012-02, Sound Transit staff will identify naming opportunities at the stations and facilities that meet the criteria and work with stakeholders as appropriate to develop options for Board consideration. Results of the
    process should be presented to the Board by April 27, 2017. [Ed. Note: We are still waiting on this.]

    “APPROVED by the Board of the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority at a regular
    meeting thereof held on October 27, 2016.”

    This was predicated on a provision in the ST3 authorizing legislation contained in the state’s 2015 Transportation Act (though ST added more confusion with their motion referencing U District station rather than University of Washington station):

    RCW 81.104.140 (10)(b)

    “(b) A regional transit authority that imposes a motor vehicle excise tax after July 15, 2015, imposes a property tax, or increases a sales and use tax to more than nine-tenths of one percent must undertake a process in which the authority’s board formally considers inclusion of the name, Scott White, in the naming convention associated with either the University of Washington or Roosevelt stations.”

    (Sigh.)

    1. Maybe they could name an elevator at one of the stations: “Scott White”.

      Remind us who Scott White is?

      1. The plaza under Northgate Station is named for Scott White. There’s a plaque installed there.

    2. Joni Earl Station really tells me where the station is and which neighborhood is around it. Is it in Puyallup because she’s from Puyallup? But Link doesn’t go to Puyallup.

  14. How about “Third Avenue/Symphony”?

    As the system becomes a regional rail system, it would seem to make sense to refer to the major avenue under which the trains run. I know the Pioneer Square stop is under Third Avenue, too, but that could stay as-is.

    I, too, for the life of me cannot understand why an airplane was not used to denote the airport stop.

    And can we get rid of the word “station” at the end of all of the names of stations?

    1. The trains (at least the Siemens ones) have ceased using the word “Station” in voice announcements.

      Where else would you like to see the word “Station” excised?

    2. The cross streets can be under the station name in smaller letters. Station names don’t have to be streets, especially when the street is less recognizable than the neighborhood. You know Jackson Street is the International District because you live here, but others may not know where Jackson Street or Weller Street is. “Jackson… that sounds like a 19th-century president… or Florida.”

      1. Street names can also be a pain when dealing with a complex system as you wind up with multiple stations with the same name because they are located on the same street. Witness the Chicago L.

        MAX does both. Eg, my neighborhood station is “Lents / Southeast Foster Road” on the station announcements.

        Sometimes the station names become the neighborhood. The area we now call Montavilla is because Mt Tabor streetcar line ended there. Mount Tabor Village wouldn’t fit on the sign on the car, so that’s what the community came to be called.

        If University Street must have a U in the name, call it Underwood (after the typewriter company) or something. People will figure it out.

      2. Why would someone know where the International District is, but not Jackson? Every map is going to have Jackson, not every map is going to have International District.

        The big problem that ST has had is the names are too long. That, and failing to name it after cross streets when the train is running linearly. Both go together. Instead of “145th”, you will have “Shoreline South”, as if the latter helps anyone know where the station is. It is part of Link’s inferiority complex. They feel like each stop needs to be called a station, and it needs to promote the area, in a new and wonderful way. The city of Shoreline doesn’t just get a couple stops, they want the whole world to know that they got them. Thus we have stations named after districts and neighborhoods, in case people are too stupid to read a map.

        The extra characters make it harder to read the stop names (sorry, station names) but that isn’t the only problem. It perpetuates a misunderstanding of mass transit, and it is one of scale. People view the stations as regional centers, not as stops serving a particular block. As a result, you have too few stations. There are two stations in the U-District, one by Husky Stadium, the other at 45th. A third station (say, at Campus Parkway) would seem excessive. After all, doesn’t the U-District already have a station? Or what about Ballard — does it matter where the station is, as long as it is someplace that can be reasonably called Ballard? Interbay station gets built several blocks from Dravus, with little discussion (forever forcing the vast majority of riders into a lengthy walk, or bus detour). I could go on.

        It seems like a minor thing — and I’m probably blaming it too much — but it is definitely indicative of an overall attitude problem. The fact that ST never considered anything as bland or boring as “45th” despite it being an apt and terse description of the stop shows a flawed approach that permeates the agency.

      3. “It perpetuates a misunderstanding of mass transit, and it is one of scale. People view the stations as regional centers, not as stops serving a particular block.”

        What people want is a practical way to get around the Seattle area. Are people at 50th not supposed to use Link because it doesn’t go to their particular block? They go to neighborhoods, and the largest percent of them are going to the neighborhood center or transferring there.

        Or what about Ballard — does it matter where the station is, as long as it is someplace that can be reasonably called Ballard?

        Yes it matters, the station should be near Ballard Ave & Market Street, or maybe between Ballard Ave and Swedish Ballard given the large number of people going to the medical center. The problem with Columbia City station is that it’s three blocks away from Columbia City’s center, not that there aren’t two stations in Columbia City.

      4. A station at 15th & Market is closer to Swedish Hospital than a station at Ballard & Market. The future is the 15th corridor. Remember, Mike, you yourself advocated for not running Link to the densest neighborhood on the entire eastside: Crossroads. When it was pointed out that the nearest Link station will be over a mile away from it, didn’t you say that that was pretty close, they can catch a bus to station and be there in no time?

  15. The widely shared difficulty in naming this station simply reflects the area’s lack of character and activity. Everything between University street and Pioneer Square is mainly boring office buildings and cafes that cater to the lunch crowd (speaking of along 3rd & 2nd Ave’s). The one thing that stands out is Benaroya Hall. So it only makes sense to rename the station to “Symphony”.

    Sidenote: we all gotta come together and petition the state legislature to drop the icon requirement for stations. It is BEYOND ridiculous and a PRIME example of politicians creating policy in a field where they have zero experience.

  16. Symphony Station is fine. Next, change the U-District station to Brooklyn. Sounds much better and pays homage to the NYC-envying roots of early Seattle.

  17. Change it to Symphony. Out of towners can deal with it and look at a map to see where to get off. I have taken the metro all over the world and can manage the stops.
    Change the U District to the Ave, to keep some of old Seattle around…

  18. Symphony and Benaroya are names that should be excluded immediately due to their violation of the naming conventions. Specifically in section 3.3.3.f, it says that the names should avoid honorific naming. Naming the station after Benaroya Hall or The Seattle Symphony would definitely count as honorific.

    1. Specifically in section 3.3.3.f………

      So now you’ve apprenticed to Inspector Inspector, Mao?

  19. My ideas for renaming these stations:
    –U-District stays the same.
    –University of Washington becomes Montlake.
    –University Street becomes Benaroya Hall.

    1. Please not Montlake.

      It’s bad enough we have one station that shares a name with a neighborhood that it is not in (Westlake)

  20. Touche. Now that I think about it, it’s Union St that didn’t have an entrance, but ST wanted to call it Union Street Station (USS). Disregard! :)

  21. I went to college in Boston and lived right behind Symphony Hall for a number of years. The Green E-Line has a stop named ‘Symphony’.

    Personally, partially for nostalgia to my Boston days, I would love a name for the stop like ‘Symphony’. I guess I could also support a ‘Symphony/Union St’.

    These issues really could have been avoided with better planning and foresight though.

  22. University Street Station needs to be renamed. A search for th e two UW stations took me to the University Street Station instead.

  23. Actually, angle lake is coded as “SOU” for South 200th. Makes even less sense, ha.

  24. I think it would work well to call it Symphony as it has direct entrances into Benaroya Hall. The MBTA in Boston has a station named “Symphony” serving the Boston Symphony Hall, and that doesn’t even have direct entrances

  25. Fine. Here’s an idea instead:

    USS= unnamed Seattle station

    In honor of the public feedback process that goes into this stuff

  26. This whole thing has been like a John Cage composition, specifically “Four Minutes and Thirty-Two Seconds”.

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