On ST Link trains the sign on the head of the train rolls along “UW STATION” or “ANGLE LAKE STATION” and whenever I look up there or inside the train where intermediate station names are displayed, I end up reading the word “STATION.” Now I am under the impression that the trains stop only at stations and don’t peel off along Othello Street or wander around the University of Washington. In no other transit system I have ever used (and that is quite a few) are rolling signs involved. The rider just needs to know one word: the unique name of the station. On Boston’s MTA, it says “HARVARD”, not “HARVARD STATION”. The system there assumes that the rider knows it is going to the station where Harvard University, Harvard Square, Harvard Street are all proximally located.
When we finally have more than one line, we will have to be able to know what we need to know at a glance on a crowded car or fast on the platform. Could we not do better and assume a little intelligence on the part of the rider?
The coming of ST2 and ST3 will require consideration of ‘transfer ease’ between Link lines. An ideal transfer is made by stepping off one train, crossing the platform, and boarding a train headed out in the opposite direction. This saves walking and time. What is not an ideal transfer is one where stepping off the train requires going up a set of stairs to cross over to the platform on the other side of adjacent tracks and then down another set of stairs (or slow elevators). This awkward transfer is precisely what is planned for passengers riding in on Eastlink (say Redmond or Bellevue) and going to the airport or any point south of the International District station. A central platform between the tracks would solve this problem. The space is available in the ID and other tunnel stations and it is cheap. Is there an issue with opening doors on both sides of the train? Surely people will get the hang of it and get out on the right to leave the station and on the left to transfer.
If, as I hope, the transfer from the Issaquah line (ST3) in Bellevue takes place at the S. Bellevue station, then all is good there because that station has a center platform. If the transfer is made on any other Bellevue station, it will be more difficult.