Chinatown-International District open house tonight

Sound Transit is collecting feedback on the Chinatown-ID station for ST3 starting with an open house tonight. Much has been written about the various options, but it seems clear that the only option even remotely acceptable to the neighborhood is “4th Avenue Shallow.” Even that may be a bridge too far, per Naomi Isaka’s reporting in the Times:

The slightly less destructive path would be on Fourth Avenue, but even that option would create havoc for about 10 years by redirecting traffic through the neighborhood and constructing a massive staging area there. Advocates fear displacement of businesses and residents would inevitably follow.  

Shallow 4th is also $500M more expensive than Shallow 5th. If the extra money and construction impacts resulted in a better rider experience, it might be worth it. But making people walk a block and 80 feet below ground to transfer isn’t a very rider-centric outcome either (although it’s better than some of the other options!).

Still, since the Sound Transit board has made it clear that they are open to studying more options and everything on the table has a serious downside, I’ll make one more plug for putting the station at Rainier & I-90 on the edge of the CID. This opens up a possible First Hill station for Midtown and preserves the primary benefit of a second transfer location.

When I last presented this concept there was some legit concern about a Beacon Hill shuttle. Based on some suggestions from readers, I’ve thought about how it might work as a branch line instead.

If this sounds appealing to you, now would be the time to let Sound Transit know.