Sound Transit slide comparing navigation by pictogram and by station codes.

Title is Station codes could assist with wayfinding.

Take the 1 line to Beacon Hill. Line diagram with stations represented by pictograms. People standing at International District Station, represented by a dragon, asking questions: Which direction? How many stops?

Take the 1 line to station 47. People standing at International District Station (number 40) count 3 stops in the down direction.

In the next Link expansion, riders will have another shorthand way of identifying stations and navigating the system. The rarely used station pictograms will be retired in favor of a system of station codes based on international best practice. Similar to bus stops, airport gates, and freeway exits, stations will have a 3-digit code consisting of the line number and a sequential station number. Sound Transit staff presented the new approach to the ST Board’s Rider Experience & Operations Committee last Thursday.

For background, please read my 2020 post where I wrote about the pictograms’ shortcomings and proposed station numbering/coding as an alternative. Although not reported at the time, ST staff took note and was in the exploratory stages of considering such a system. After extensive outreach and user testing of concepts earlier this year, staff arrived at a preferred option that will be incorporated into wayfinding for the East Link and Lynnwood Link expansions.

The Stop Codes numbering system

Here is my breakdown of the system based on materials ST has publicly released. Each stop on a line will have a three-digit code. That means stations served by more than one line will have multiple codes corresponding to each line. The first digit represents the line name. The next two digits represent the position of the station along the spine with higher numbers in the north and lower numbers in the south. You count up when traveling toward Everett and count down when traveling toward Tacoma. The numbering continues along branches from the spine.

Sound Transit mockup of preferred option 2B: stop codes

3-digit code and station name

Visualization of Rainier Beach platform with signs indicating direction to Ballard (code 159) or to Tacoma (code 131).

Visualization of International District/Chinatown 2 & 3 line station name sign with code 50.

Excerpt of system map with station codes.

The system designates International District/Chinatown (IDS) as number 50. Since it is served by the 1, 2, and 3 lines, its stop codes are 150, 250, and 350, respectively. When ST3 is built out, the highest number is 70 for Everett Station and lowest number is 14 for Tacoma Community College. It is nice to see the T Line (Tacoma Link) integrated into this system, resolving the question of why it never had station pictograms of its own.

It appears that ST chose to start in the middle at 50 to allow for future outward expansion without renumbering every station or use directional indicators. However, the first digit for stop codes in north and downtown Seattle will need to be swapped when the 1 Line is rerouted to Ballard. There are gaps in numbering along the new downtown tunnel to keep the same numbers at three key interchange stations: Westlake, International District/Chinatown, and SODO.

Branching east on the 2 Line, numbers decrease (as it runs further from Everett) until reaching station 238 for Downtown Redmond. The 4 Line (South Kirkland–Issaquah) derives its sequence from the stations it shares with the 2 Line in Bellevue, resulting in a north to south sequence opposite to the usual south to north. Branching to the west, the future 1 Line will terminate in Ballard at station 159 and the future 3 Line in West Seattle at station 345. It seems that ST prefers to preserve the sequence even if it means that 45 on its own could mean two different stations. To prevent confusion, the line number should always be included like a telephone area code with its number unless context allows its omission.

The power of this system is its simplicity and flexibility. If you know the digits and you know how to count you can navigate just by numbers. Savvy riders can do arithmetic to figure out how far a station is in relation to another or its general location.

How ST got here

Crucial to developing a workable solution is engagement with a diversity of user groups for feedback. ST conducted focus group sessions in 5 languages for Low English Proficiency (LEP) populations, 1 workshop with 4 breakout groups for people with visual or cognitive disabilities, 2 workshops for people who are deaf or blind. The rider experience Sounding Board was surveyed in English and a public survey in 8 languages was distributed.

Mock up of Option 2B directional signage inside International District/Chinatown Station (visual: Sound Transit)

ST developed and tested three options. All use the same station numbering scheme as described above, differing in the first digit and visual design. Option 1 “Station Codes” assigns a single unique 3-digit code to a station, using zero as the first digit for the core section between downtown Seattle and Mariner. Option 2 “Stop Codes” assigns a unique 3-digit number to each line stopping at a station. Option 2 had two visual variations on how station codes are represented on maps and signage. Option 2A stacks the line number and code inside a circle of the line’s color. Option 2B keeps the standard line number in a color circle, adds the number code to the side, and encapsulates them inside a pill shape.

Test participants were tasked with navigating two trip scenarios, one involving a transfer at IDS. They were also asked to describe directions to the airport using the options, questions comparing the options, and questions about the current pictograms. The 5 languages in the LEP groups were Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Somali. These groups quickly figured out how to read the map and was successful in identifying a transfer. Option 2B “Stop Codes” emerged as the preference, scoring highest in all metrics for the LEP group and all metrics but “simple” for the Sounding Board group.

The survey and test results from all groups indicate that ST is moving in the right direction. Less than 10% of LEP respondents used the pictograms, less than half did not recognize the pictograms, nearly 75% did not find current pictograms to be useful, and 58% found station codes to be useful. As the pictograms were intended to assist people with LEP these are damning results. People with disabilities did not have a clear preference, though I imagine station codes that can be represented in concise Braille and simple visuals have a clear advantage over visually complex logos that are not obvious in their meaning.

It is encouraging to see that Sound Transit learned a lot of hard lessons from the Red Line and University Street Station naming controversies. Overall, this is a great example of borrowing from international best practices and adapting them to local context with the goal of excellent rider experience. With over forty new stations coming online over the years, this is a scalable and logical system that integrates well with line numbers and is more accessible to a broader group of users.

75 Replies to “Station Codes will Replace Link Pictograms”

  1. Well I have to agree that the pictograms were pretty useless. Even with the chart in the article, I couldn’t remember what pictogram goes with what station after just a few seconds of being distracted.

    1. I think for most people the pictograms were pretty useless, but “most people” weren’t the intended target audience.

      Supposedly the pictograms were intended for use by individuals who can’t read or write in any language, an issue which I have some familiarity with for various reasons I won’t go into.

      That said, I think the real reason ST is ditching them is simply embarrassment. That rendering of an elk which is supposed to represent Roosevelt station is horrendous. It looks like a moose! ST should be ashamed of themselves for putting that out, and apparently they are.

      I blame Rogoff!.

      1. “That said, I think the real reason ST is ditching them is simply embarrassment. That rendering of an elk which is supposed to represent Roosevelt station is horrendous. It looks like a moose!”

        It is a moose. Roosevelt -> Teddy Roosevelt -> Bull Moose

      2. That’s the problem right there. I thought it was deer or something too. I’ve heard of the Bull Moose party but I don’t know what it was or why it’s related to Roosevelt or the station. And I’m an English-speaking American. so the pictogram fails.

      3. Teddy Roosevelt boasted that he was a strong as a bull moose and started his own party. The nickname stuck.

        The RCW requiring pictograms or distinguishing symbols explicitly states that they are intended for “persons who use languages that are not Roman-alphabet based”. This was put in place in anticipation for overseas visitors taking side trips from the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

        The practical reason is that creating 40+ new unique station logos is orders of magnitude harder than simply putting digits together in a rounded rectangle.

      4. It’s actually not moose. Look at the horns.

        And I asked ST staff during the opening about the pictogram. They said it was a Roosevelt Elk. So either ST staff doesn’t understand their own pictogram, or it is a really bad elk.

      5. Blame the state legislature for the weird experiment, ST only went along with it because they said they had to.

    2. Even native English speakers don’t always know what some of the pictograms represent or which word of several synonyms is the right one. The pictograms were chosen for neighborhood cultural reasons, which are sometimes opaque if you don’t know the history. In the snapshot above, only “Flag”, “Kite”, and “Bird” would be universally recognized. I’m not sure what the SODO thing is, an anvil? I’ve never seen an anvil. I’m not sure I’d recognize the crown, dragon, torch, or graduation cap. or that the stick on the glasses is for opera glasses. I’ve never seen opera glasses. The ship, is it a schooner or what? Trying to find the right words in another language can be daunting. Beginning English speakers won’t know any of those words, only the words they’ve encountered frequently. Intermediate speakers will know the more common words like “flag” and “bird”, but not “anvil” or “schooner” or “graduation cap” or “opera glasses”.

      1. @Mike Orr,

        That is another misconception about the pictograms and non-readers and/or people from other cultures. If you are relying on the pictograms to navigate, then you really don’t need to know what the pictogram actually is, or what it represents, to use it successfully.

        For example, if you can’t read or write, and you happen to come from a country where there is no such animal as an elk, then you might describe the pictogram for Roosevelt Station as a “funny cow”. But calling it a “funny cow” doesn’t impact its usefulness as a navigation aid.

        And you certainly don’t need to know anything about Teddy Roosevelt and the Roosevelt Elk to use the pictogram.

      2. If the pictograms had been used to brand a neighborhood (like appearing in ads for local businesses), it could have been better understood. However, to limit its use to alternative platform signage made it so obscure and infrequent that non-English speakers that relied on them would still be lost due to its dearth of use.

      3. You can’t navigate with the pictograms I’d you can’t ask somebody “Is this X station?” Or “How do I get to X station?” When you don’t know what X is or the English word for it. At minimum they should put the word under the pictogram, so people can copy it and show it to others if they can’t read it. Of course they could just as easily copy the station name.

        In Russia some people copied the first and last letters of the station name if they couldn’t read Cyrillic. Some name were obvious because they included a short word like “park” or all capitals (VDNKh) or a number (1905). There was a joke about a woman tourist who never got to see anything except “Ploshad’ 1905 Goda” (Plaza of Year 1905, the first revolution) because it was the only station with a number in the name so the only one she was willing to get off at. And I worry about people who really did copy the first and last letter because there are probably repeats, and some of the last words and suffixes are generic like “park” or “-skaya”.

    3. I find some of the pictograms to be so obtuse that I am left befuddled. A canoe for TIBS? A seagull for Rainier Beach? A crown for Westlake? A carpet runner for SeaTac Airport? A torch for Stadium (I guess for the unscheduled Seattle Olympic Games — which would have multiple venues if they ever happen)?

      At least Roosevelt is an antlered animal. Curiously, so is Othello.

      1. If Almost Live was still around I would love to see a skit with their pictograms for each station including Line 2 and WSBLE. The irony is the pictograms Almost Live came up with would probably be more representative of each station area and more recognizable for locals even if not completely flattering.

      2. @DT,

        There was a lot of debate about the pictogram on opening day. Some people said it was a Roosevelt elk. Other people said it was a Roosevelt moose. There was a big debate about whether or not a Roosevelt moose was really a thing or not. Most people thought that, if there was a Roosevelt elk, then there must also be a Roosevelt moose. Because otherwise it would be unfair to all the moose.

        Then some people said it must be a bull moose because of the whole Teddy Roosevelt/bull moose party thing. Eventually people decided it couldn’t be a bull moose because a bull is just a male cow with horns, and the pictogram didn’t look anything like a cow.

        Despite the whole male cow thing, I tended to side with the bull moose theory. But then I asked an ST staffer a week later and she said it was a Roosevelt elk. So I just decided that ST must not be able draw very well.

      3. Here’s my interpretation of it along with sone context from ST itself.

        Angle Lake – Rainbow Trout = State Fish and Angle Lake has plenty of them

        SeaTac – Magic Carpet = Airport and Flying

        TIBS – Canone = Historical region for transport for the Duwamish tribes with the two rivers of the Duwamish and Green River

        Rainer Beach – Heron = Flight (relates to the art piece at the station) and Beaches like Pritchard Island Beach

        Othello- Deer = Historic Deer Population that lived in the area till the 1950s

        Colombia City – Dove = In reference to the constellation Columbia which is shaped like a dove

        Mount Baker – Two Mountains = Mount Rainer and Mount Baker are both visible from the station

        Beacon Hill – Kite = Hilltop and center for community events

        SODO – Anvil = Industrial Center for Seattle

        Stadium – Torch = Olympic Torch for the proximity to the two major sports stadiums Lumen and T Mobile

        International District/Chinatown – Dragon = Mythological figure in many Asian cultures and a sign of good luck and fortune.

        Pioneer Square- Clipper Boat = Connection to the historical roots of Seattle being a major port town and the oldest part of the city

        University Street- Opera Glasses = Center of high culture in Seattle and Benaroya Hall

        Westlake – Tiara = Playful nature of neighborhood, shopping and commerce

        Capitol Hill- Pride Flag = Seattle’s Historic gayborhood

        UW – Grad Cap = College and Graduation is usually held at Husky Stadium iirc

        U District- Books = University and College theme again

        Roosevelt- Moose = Theodore Roosevelt

        Northgate – Dragonfly = no idea

      4. Well I guess I just pointed out the problem with using pictograms with my Roosevelt Station example.

      5. The dragonfly is Northgate’s chosen artwork theme. “For Northgate Station, Mary Ann Peters created a painting in glass inspired by the nature and sounds of the area: the dragonflies in the neighborhood’s green spaces, layered with abstracted wave patterns of freeway sounds. Her main piece covers over 100 feet of the upper west windows on the passenger platform. A second, smaller artwork is in the stairwell glass facing Northeast 103rd Street.” I could also add, Link emerges from the ground there and flies overhead like a dragonfly or bird.

      6. @MO,

        I think the dragonfly was chosen because the buzzing sound of the freeway near the station is supposed to remind you of the sound a dragonfly’s wings make.

        But at least it looks like a dragonfly.

      7. “I think the dragonfly was chosen because the buzzing sound of the freeway near the station is supposed to remind you of the sound a dragonfly’s wings make.”

        Maybe one of those Permian dragonflies with a 2-foot wingspan!

        I’ve also heard that the freeway noise is like listening to the ocean surf.

  2. Does this replace the three letter code that ST assigns to each station (but never shows the public what the code is in any sign)? I remember the whole USS controversy a few years ago, where ST tabled the name change at University St because of the letter code that only appears in internal manuals but does not appear in any signs.

    1. It didn’t table it; it just put it on the back burner to be decided later. There was a public feedback period for a new name, and the most popular name was “Seneca”. I think I read ST will eventually rename it to “Seneca Street Station”.

      1. See University Street Station link in post. It will be renamed to “Symphony”. That name appears on the test maps. The internal code will change as well.

    1. Excellent question… 130th is the front runner for an infill. And I’m not sure if Boeing/East Marginal and 220th-MLT are still being considered.

      Would the numbering system be implemented before or after 130th St? Regardless, renumbering the entire network for a mere few new stations would be cumbersome.

    2. Advantages and disadvantages either way.

      To me, option 1 seems more straightforward. Having multiple numbers for the same station seems unnecessarily complex. If the first digit is an area code of sorts, Option 1 accomplishes this more like an area code.

      However, I can imagine another perspective where you’re trying to get to, say, stop 265 and the fact that the stop numbers are counting up 250, 252, ect. reinforce that you’re on the correct train and the correct direction to get to 265.

  3. I understand that lots of agencies number their stations. Does anyone else number them this way? Specifically, there are multiple numbers for the same station (with only the first digit being different). While this may imply that the other digits are unique, they aren’t. You need to know that first digit. I suppose once you are on the train it won’t matter. Likewise, for regular conversation, it won’t matter either (as people will use the name of the station).

    Savvy riders can do arithmetic to figure out how far a station is in relation to another or its general location.

    Not always, as some lines skip stations. For example, the Green Line (the 1 line) goes from 50 to 52. I don’t think it matters much though. The main thing is that you can see if the numbers are going up or down, or whether you missed your stop.

    1. Seoul does this on its numbered lines. They do not have extensive trunks where multiple lines run through a series of stations like Link does so you only see this where lines intersect and the station numbering does not need to be matched across lines.

      Savvy riders will know where the skips are but yeah, that’s a niche power user feature.

  4. This reads like there was extensive outreach yet this is the first time I’m seeing this rolled out — and it appears fully baked.

    Was this a secret project or did it just not make STB?

    1. The Urbanist covered it in July. I haven’t been as active on here anymore and did not feel that I had much to add other than a few tweets, which TU picked up on anyway.

    1. That seemed to be the biggest gap … The Urbanist article from July shows the system map not leaving in a number for the 220th infill station, which seems like an unforced error as that station is approved albeit unfunded. The board presentation from yesterday conveniently included the 130th infill station that Seattle stakeholders care about and then abruptly ends. Slide 19 & 20 are delightfully Seattle-centric … here’s Seattle up to 130th station, and then Bellevue & Kirkland off to the side, and you guys know the airport is somewhere to the south so we don’t need to show that, amiright?

      I suppose they can always re-number everything when a new station opens, like how all maps need to be updated anyways every time there is a new extension or service opening.

    2. Renumbering is also problematic because third-party guidebooks and user-experience articles will have the old numbers.

  5. Even the exit paths at UW Station have letters now. The escalators have signs at the top and bottom saying “Route A”, “Route B”, etc, now. The letters seem to be the entire path from the platform to the surface on three escalators. It may be just temporary related to Husky season; something similar happened before with shuttle-bus waiting zones or crowd-control signs or such. But they’ve been there for a few weeks, so maybe they’re permanent. I’m not so enthused about the wording: “Route” sounds like a bus route, and “A/B/C/D” sound like RapidRide lines. I’d use the word “Path” or something.

    1. I’d be curious to find out how many folks actively referred to specific bus lines with “route” – in my experience, folks just say “The 44” or “The D”. “RapidRide” is such a mouthful.

  6. The numbering scheme seems more of an Asian practice; I haven’t seen it in European or North American networks. Atlanta’s MARTA started with station numbers (N1, N2, N3, N4 on the north corridor; jumping to NW3, NW4 on a northwest branch), but later it abandoned it. Moscow had named lines, although foreigners used colors since they couldn’t read or remember the long names, but then switched to numbered lines while keeping the same colors. But the only place I’ve seen station names was Atlanta. I haven’t been to Asia so I haven’t seen those networks, just the occasional photos or videos.

    I liked Atlanta’s scheme, and several times I’ve thought about applying it to Link, starting at Westlake. There seems to be some kind of technical numbering already, because there are small signs saying N1, N2, etc, north of Westlake, alongside the fire zone numbers (501, 502).

    The three-digit scheme seems kind of complicated. It will make more sense on a map where you only have to know one or two numbers and see the few stations around them. If you look at the numbering of the total network it seems sloppy. But how else can you deal with known and unknown extensions, and lines that overlap so much, and situations like Bellevue that force numbering in the opposite direction?

    1. I think ST avoided using letters due to the legal requirement for symbols or pictograms for people whose languages are “not Roman-alphabet based”. They tested it on and surveyed such people (Mandarin and Cantonese use simplified or traditional Chinese characters, Somali uses various writing systems). Hindu–Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) are symbols that developed independently from the Roman alphabet.

  7. The biggest case of “going in the wrong direction” I’ve seen is MUNI, where lines going toward Embarcadero/Market Street/eastbound/downtown are “Inbound” and lines going away from it are “Outbound”. That fails with the T line, which goes past Embarcadero a long way, so “Inbound” is outbound and “Outbound” is inbound.

    1. I was wondering how this would affect end station notices.

      1. Would the train still just say Northgate or would the numbers be added to the destinations listed in the train or on the arrival signs at the station?
      2. Would the audio announcements change? Today they still use “northbound” and @southbound” even though there are no signs showing direction.

      I actually preferred the old Atlanta scheme with a letter and number. It seemed more intuitive than this proposed scheme.

  8. My original suggestion was to use the airport code model (Westlake: WLS, Lynnwood: LTC, etc)

    But the numbering system is better and more importantly incorporates directional navigation. My only concern is how ST is including them on station wayfinding. In the generated photos, the wayfinding sign preface other train lines with the station code of the destination. I think this is unnecessary and may be confusing to customers. Just having the line number and without the ending station code is sufficient and clear.

    Now, having the line+station code on the station sign itself makes sense. For instance, if I’m at International Dist, the signs indicating that should include the code.

  9. Reading the presentation, I like the “How many stops?” aspect. In Russia I couldn’t always trust I’d understand spoken times or commuter rail station names, so I’d always ask “In how many hours?” or “How many stations?” Then they wouldn’t understand the question or why I wanted to know it, But it was the only way to make sure I didn’t make a mistake with the numbers or couldn’t recognize a station name announcement. Especially when they said times differently than I learned in school, and that whole “date-before-the-month” think kept throwing me off. (“3/6/23” is June 3, not March 6.) And since I had no idea what the station area looked like. So I kept asking other passengers, “Is this X station? How many stops?”

  10. I’m hoping they can incorporate the station numbers into timetables and One Bus Away so it’s not so difficult to find stations and departure times.

    With TriMet, you can just enter the stop ID number from a bus stop sign or timetable to get departures.

    1. Taking a fresh look at the numbering, I’m seeing that many stations will have identical last two digits. There are three ending in 46. Plus the 1 Line skips digits (no 49 or 51).

      It’s nice to have sequential station numbers but they aren’t all sequential . Having redundant numbers also seems rather problematic.

      With three digits, stations do get unique numbers — but if some sort of interlining ever occurs it’s going to be a head scratcher.

    2. That actually is currently possible on One Bus Away. Just search the stop number.

      There is also a feature by Metro that you can text a stop number and get the next departure times.

      1. Yes, but currently it is difficult to find the stop numbers. A couple of weeks ago I attempted to find when the next train was leaving Northgate. One Bus Away couldn’t locate the station and since I was on the 512 it was really hard to not give me stuff in Snohomish County. If the stop numbers were part of the timetable it might make it easier to work.

      2. For that to work, you have to already be at the stop. Under those conditions, it’s easy to just use OneBusAway.

        On the other hand, if the stop number becomes a useful ID system similar to how pictograms are used in some systems, then I would hope ST would start showing them on the timetables as well.

    3. That actually is currently possible on One Bus Away. Just search the stop number.

      There is also a feature by Metro that you can text a stop number and get the next departure times.

      1. I attempted to find Northgate station on OneBusAway. Any version of “Northgate” I attempted to enter gave me an “unable to locate stop” error message.

        With TriMet, the stop ID is also located on the timetable, so if all else (including search functions) fail, you can find the stop number. The Northgate stop number may be located somewhere, but I was not able to find it on the mobile device version of Link’s timetable.

      2. Glenn, I think OneBusAway’s text search is broken – you have to search the actual stop number (Northgate’s is “990005”).

  11. What happened to the state law, best practices, focus groups, surveys, and workshops that told them to go with pictograms a few years ago?

    1. We were told state law required pictograms, but slide 2 of the presentation says “RCW requires non-Roman alphabet-based identifier”. So either the law was changed or it was described overly narrowly. I don’t know how the decision to use pictograms was made or what it was based on, just that Mexico City has them. Wikipedia discusses “logos” on the Mexico City metro and says they were created because Mexico’s illiteracy rate was 38% in 1960. “Although logos are no longer necessary due to literacy being now widespread, their usage remained. ” However, they don’t seem to be everywhere; they aren’t on the system map.

    2. RCW 81.112.190 (emphasis added):

      Each authority shall incorporate in plans for stations along any light-rail facility signing that is easily understood by the traveling public, including, but not limited to, persons with disabilities, non-English-speaking persons, and visitors from other nations. The signage must employ graphics consistent with international symbols for transportation facilities and signage that are consistent with department of transportation guidelines and programs. The signage must also use distinguishing symbols or pictograms developed by the authority as a means to identify stations and may identify points of interest along the corridor for persons who use languages that are not Roman-alphabet based. These requirements are intended to apply to new sign installation and not to existing signs, installed before July 24, 2005.

  12. This is all well and good but meanwhile if you have any mobility deficits all the downtown tunnel remains essentially unusable.thwrebshould be zero time and money spent in the mythologicalsexond tunnel until st shows they can run the one they already have…

    1. Yes,
      I hand my son stand on the escalator and put his wheelchair on the escalator our last time downtown. It was the only way to get to the street.

      1. There’s elevators at every station for both ends of the platform. There’s usually one open on each platform if the other is being serviced.

    2. The stations are still usable., there’s still accessible entrances/exits and escalators aren’t as broken down as frequently as they used to under Metro’s watch now that ST has taken over the Tunnel. I’d also point out that wayfinding is still an important part of a metro system. If your wayfinding is terrible no one is going to like using it.

      1. @Zach B,

        I concur. Things really have improved in the tunnel since ST took over. I got off at Westlake the other day and every escalator that I saw was operating, and this is the second time I have had that experience. Really nice.

        And also note that ST normally prioritizes elevator maintenance over escalator maintenance (for obvious ADA reasons), but I can’t comment on the elevator availability because I have never used one in the tunnel.

        But at least some good progress is being made.

  13. I understand the need to maximize universal accessibility in the system, but from a solely graphic design perspective, I find station numbers makes the system map feel cluttered.

    1. The codes would be less distracting if they were lighter. It hinders reading the map when you have to look around so many numbers, as if it’s some technical numbers chart instead of a station map.

      1. Yeah. They could also get rid of the little line numbers in each station dot as these are redundant with the big dots at the terminus of each line.

  14. The st dashboard currentlys hows 3 elevators andv3 escalators out of service at Westlake alone. They’re doing a heck of a job!

    1. KCM really getting off easy with passing unmaintained equipment to ST. Well-calculated political gameplay.

      1. I agree with Nathan that KCM skipped a lot of maintenance on DSTT1, but so many agencies and local governments had to postpone expensive capital maintenance or repairs after the 2008 recession that lasted almost 8 years and hammered tax revenue. Otherwise, it was slash service even more right when riders were most economically vulnerable. For example, on this November’s ballot MI has a new parks levy that is 66% more expensive than the expiring levy because so many capital maintenance projects can no longer be ignored. Seattle has a deferred $3.5 BILLION bridge maintenance and replacement need it thinks it can plug with a $20 tab fee that will bring in $7.5 MILLION per year.

        You see this in the infrastructure bill. $108 billion is allocated toward local transit, and according to press reports $100 billion is needed just for deferred capital maintenance on existing transit lines, before getting to new lines.

        This happens almost all the time. Projections in levies or capital plans are always rosy, with higher ridership and revenue than reality, and lower costs. A pandemic does not help. Look at ST, the poster child for “optimistic” predictions: we just learned ST underestimated future maintenance and operations by $3 billion (and surely that will figure will increase over time), and both farebox recovery and general tax revenue are well below predictions.

        Transit is not alone. Not many major public projects come in on budget (although the Viaduct tunnel apparently came in within 5% of budget after fees for delays). The agency is so desperate to get the funding because what young engineer doesn’t want a billion or two to spend so they create the most optimistic scenarios, and neglect things like major recessions despite that is the natural business cycle.

        And don’t forget, ST just inherited a transit tunnel under 3rd Ave. the citizens of King Co. and federal government paid for, when DSTT2 is estimated to cost around $4.2 billion today. I would say the cost to replace some escalators is a pretty good deal for a tunnel running the entire length of 3rd Ave. that is structurally pretty sound. The dollar per rider mile for ST/Link pales in comparison to what Metro achieves, and we haven’t gotten into the suburban Link lines that are not going to do well when it comes to dollar per rider mile.

  15. Why hasn’t Sound Transit removed the “Metro Tunnel” sign that’s above the 2nd and University tunnel entrance? Buses haven’t been in the tunnel for almost four years. Might someone who is not very familiar with our transit system, but who has to catch a Metro bus, think that the Metro tunnel might be a good place to look for one? Why is taking down one small sign taking longer than the US civil war?

    1. Besides blog readership, there is one couple in Ballard who understands the distinction between Metro and Sound Transit. Julie Timm reached out personally last month, so it is low priority.

    2. Despite the buses being kicked out of the tunnel years ago, Metro still owned and operated the tunnel. ST only took ownership in the last couple of weeks.

  16. I know I’m off topic but I wanted to give a plug for a new blog that focuses predominantly on US HSR and Amtrak.

    If anybody here is interested in becoming a moderator, contributor, editor, consultant or simply a commenter please leave a message on site.

  17. In the past, the comment section has claimed because there will be two different 130th stations, one in Bellevue, and one in Seattle, Link riders traveling to either station, will be often mistakenly end up at the wrong location. The comment section also said every spring, thousands of tourists wander around the inside of University Street Station, looking for the cherry blossom trees, because they think they are on the campus of the University of Washington, because the word university is in the downtown station’s name.

    Question. Using the logic of the comment section, if Downtown Bellevue Station is called Station 45, and Columbia City Station is called Station 45, won’t a lot of riders getting off in Columbia City think they are in downtown Bellevue?

  18. Having station names in much LARGER letters, like train stations used to have, and many still do, would solve a lot of problems …

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