I'd happily trade all the fancy bells and whistles on display here for more stations. This is still going to be a major improvement in Seattle mobility, but nowhere near what it could or should have been. The lack of a North Capitol Hill station boggles the mind (the difficulty of Metro's efforts to sensibly reconfigure Cap Hill bus service in light of the new service really drove home the costs of this failure), but the notion that stations should be grand, extravagant temples makes that mistake more likely to be repeated.
I can't wait for this thing to open. It will be cool to zip down to the ID and grab a bit to eat, and then come back up to hit the bars or what ever. Not that you can't do it with a bus, this is just faster and easier.
@1 I agree, I'd love to see a station in north cap hill, and maybe even a new line connecting west seattle, the ferry terminal, and magnolia to the rest of the network.
And where, pray tell, would a north capitol hill station have been located? What business center, activity center did they miss?
If it were a true urban subway, RDPence, there would have been a station at Bellevue, Broadway, 15th, and then Montlake. 1.5 mile stop spacing is crazy in the densest neighborhood in the state. And if you think of it in terms of council districts, it's insane that D3 only gets 1 station (2 if you count I-90/Rainier).
Goddamn complainers in this town.
@1: What fancy bells and whistles do you see here that add up to being enough to fund an additional station? The major expense is in the engineering and subterranean construction--not a couple of art installations.
I think the open space, architecture, and scope of the building are what seem extravagant to @1. I'm a proponent of the Glasgow subway as a model for all subways.
@4: Quoting page 54 of the Capitol Hill Urban Center Village Neighborhood Plan, published December of 1998 and adopted by city ordinance June of the following year:

Public participation in planning for Sound Transit station area development will begin in earnest in early 1999 and is expected to last through 2000. Construction of the light rail system is expected to begin in 2001 in order to open for operation in 2006. Currently, a south Capitol Hill station beneath Broadway between E John Street and E Howell Street is funded. A north Capitol Hill station, beneath Broadway between E Aloha Street and E Roy Street, is planned but not yet Funded. Underground stations will be approximately 500-feet long, with access stairs and escalators emerging at street level.
@9: And from page three of the plan's approval and adoption matrix, section A, "North District Anchor District Plan":

The North Anchor District encompasses the area around the juncture of north Broadway and E Roy Street. The area embodies Capitol Hill’s hallmark historic character, human- scale charm and lively cultural activities. Building on the area’s historic context and cultural assets, the community envisions the North Anchor District as the arts, cultural, and business hub of the neighborhood. Expansion of Cornish College of the Arts’ facilities will increase arts activities. A new landmark building at the Broadway and E Roy Street “Keystone” site, with the Susan Henry Branch Library, small shops, and residential units, will serve as north Broadway’s visual and activity focus. Renovation and possible new construction at the Lowell School site will complement the school’s specialized programs and strengthen its connection with the community by providing additional arts and community facilities and enhanced open space. Attractive and safe pedestrian connections will link the area’s theaters, library, schools, arts and community facilities. With its large population and critical transportation needs, the North Anchor District merits a light rail transit station, which the Neighborhood Plan recommends as part of Sound Transit's Phase I development. Local community members should work with the City’s Transit- Oriented Development team to take advantage of the benefits the station could bring.

@5, none of your proposed station sites are North Capitol Hill, which is the original topic. And it would be insane to put underground stations (by far the most expensive) every 6 blocks, in your locations, across Capitol Hill.
This is awesome. Can't wait! But will there really be 35,000 boardings a day at this single station?
@12 - It doesn't seem unreasonable that 35,000 people from such a dense neighborhood that has an amazing amount of business traffic from other neighborhoods would be riding those trains. I live in Ballard, work on the Hill and the busses I'm on are generally very full, whether going from downtown or from the UD.
@1 is correct. But the ship has mostly sailed on infill stations. We still have a few days of the public comment period for the change in bus service. Let Metro know that 30 minute headways on the 8 at night is not okay.
@2 As someone who lives in the ID, you actually can't really do that on the hooray for the light rail station!
@1: the bells and whistles are the 1% for Art requirement. look at the exterior; it's CMU. a new station costs a lot more than a bell or a whistle.

What boggles the mind is that you seem to have no grasp of the economics of this project. Assuming you are a regular reader of The Stranger, you no doubt have access to clear, well-researched pieces on this issue - thanks to the intrepid Stranger News Department.
@#1...What on earth exactly makes this station a "grand, extravagant temple?" Other than the artwork that is there because of the 1% For Art ordinance enacted in 1973?

Let's take a look at what the other 99% of the budget bought us. Looking at the pictures, the station looks utilitarian and unremarkable. So there are some long escalators, some plain-looking platforms, and a bunch of steel beams that are probably rather necessary since you're a couple hundred feet below ground. Were you suggesting that the station has too many gray pieces of structural reinforcement? Too much lighting? An extravagance of earthquake-resistant safety features?

OK, maybe you meant above ground. Inside the northern entrance we see some ticketing machines and windows in an empty, featureless room on the way to the escalators. Are the painted steel girders somehow...too ornate?

For the outside view of the station we see some bland rectangular boxes. One wall appears to be unpainted cinder blocks. Others have been painted blue with little white accents...maybe you meant they went overboard on that decor? On top we have a black and white box that looks like it was surplus from the Death Star. I'm still not getting how this "1975 Missile Silo" decor somehow adds up to an "extravagant temple." I mean compare it to the nice brick building across the street.

OK, maybe there aren't as many stations as we might want. But you gotta start somewhere. And I'll even take the selfish route in saying that the fewer stations there are, the faster the trip is for everyone using the system to go a significant distance. And the longer the system is, the more important that is.
Have you seen pictures of the Moscow subway stations? Now those are extravagant temples. The Soviets believed that public transportation was for the public and therefore it was worth building the stations well. Here in the USA we believe that we the people don't deserve to have nice things.
Ansel, you know full well this project is neither under budget nor ahead of schedule. Sound Move, approved by the taxpayers, was for light rail to the UW by 2006. It is categorically impossible for this project to be ahead of schedule unless you have a time machine.

At present, the current cost for the extension from Westlake to the UW is priced at roughly 1.9 billion, and I am assuming it is that price tag that you are citing in your under budget claim. Sound Move priced the cost of the Tacoma Line and Link from Sea-Tac to the UW at 1.7 billion, total. That makes it also literally impossible for this project to come in under budget, as the current cost for this one spur roughly meets or exceeds the budgeted cost for two entire lines.

Please, stop the disingenuous portrayal of this project. It is already over 200% over budget, and just shy of a decade over time. It is only by embracing the rampant moving of the goalposts by the lowest common denominators that one can even begin to make the claims you are in this one sentence. The lies are old and tiresome. Why repeat them?
Sure is nice to see that when ST likes a place, they can actually be ahead of schedule.

But if you're po' trash in the south end, somehow they can't help but be ten years behind.

But let's not start that old fight over whether changing your estimate to ten years later than your original scheduled date is "behind schedule."
Too bad Charles wasn't part of this preview event. If any of the assembled media had been standing on the left side of the escalator -- and there surely were -- he'd have been able to juice an extra Slog post out of the visit.
K dear, Sound Transit was the best thing to happen to the south end in decades. And any delays can be laid at the feet of the idiotic "Save Our Valley" movement. I still remember their infamous chain email promising that Link would make it safe for white people to go to Starbucks...
We might end up being a real goddamn city after all.
Tell someone in Seatac that Sound Transit was the best thing to happen in decades and they might assault you. The majority opinion in that town towards ST is one of vitriolic hatred due to the destruction of the local transit footprint it caused.
Budgeting $1,900,000,000.00 for this particular project is a pretty good way to keep it "under budget." I guess this means they will be refunding every Seattlite their share of the excess $150 million we paid in taxes for this project? That works out to about $100.00 each. Where do we go to pick up our checks?
I don't think that is a fair assessment. The actual contract agreed upon by Sound Transit and the contractor is being outperformed, and is under budget. Sound Transit did certainly have its problems in the past, but right now they are doing really well on capital construction projects, and they deserve credit for that. Also, initial estimates are notoriously wrong in underground construction. Until a full EIS is out, and a LOT of subsurface exploration has been done, it is very difficult to describe what a tunneling project will cost or how long it will take.
Tunneling cost a ton of money. That's life. Budgeting 1,400,000,000.00 for a shorter tunnel didn't keep Bertha under budget. This project is going so well because of the extreme competence of the engineering and construction contractors.
I am super excited for this to open. It is going to make getting around in the city so much easier! Walking won't be the fasted way to travel anymore!
@27, I couldn't care less what the contract between ST and the contractor says. I care about what the contract between the voters and the government says. I think that is the only fair assessment in the matter.
I think that contract is being fulfilled. The voters wanted light rail to capitol hill, and now they are getting it. Its going to be a great day for Seattle.

If you really want to walk through the initial cost and revenue projects, what went wrong with that, the timing of federal grants, the bonding strategy of ST, and all that nitty gritty, I can ask some folks and get you the whole story. But its pretty boring, and pretty reasonable. Financing major underground capital projects isn't simple or straightforward, and requires being adaptable and conservative. Which ST has done a great job of.
@31, while on one hand I'd love the info, I'm not sure what more information I would actually be getting. I've been following transit issues in the region quite closely literally longer than any of the people you'd mention have had their jobs.
Still should've been built DECADES ago ( and hundred of millions, if not BILLIONS of dollars cheaper: see what happens when soooo many of you are stupid for THAT long??? Pfft!!!
Wow! This is such a great idea we should go back in time and build it bigger and for less money. Or we can get on with it and take the idea of mass transit seriously and build it in the here and now.
@ 32: since you are a long time follower of transportation issues, and since you seem so disturbed by Sound Transit, what is YOUR suggestion for how to move the current # of people to/in/from Seattle? And what about in 20 yrs when there are far more?

In a narrow isthmus with no place left to build roads (even if people still wanted to depend on autos - many don't) subways and rapid transit meek immense sense. (And yes, even being frugal, they cost a lot ... so do road tunnels)
@35, I support mass transit, more than the current advocates of Link do. "My" solution is to go back to the original Sound Move plan. Link was first designed to be like BART, with stops much fewer and farther between. The original plan, before being hacked to death by moneyed interests, would have had transit running from Seattle to Tacoma by now. That transit corridor is more critical than extending the current line to Northgate.
Mass transit is about getting multiple people to travel together over distance. That latter part is so poorly served by Link it is a joke.
In a liquefaction zone, tunnels never make sense. They are quite literally death traps.
Sound Move is dead. Get the fuck over yourself unless you are proud to be an idiot.
That BART strategy really hasnt proved effective. Even with traffic, train travel times aren't that competitive with driving, unless you are taking commuter rail, which is great. The model that ST is shifting to, of connecting close-together dense neighborhoods, has worked all over the world over and over to increase mobility.

IMHO getting to Tacoma is not more important that connecting the three densest and busiest areas of the region's biggest city. If by more important you mean ridership generating.
@37, if Sound Move was dead we'd have no Link at all. SM is the only meat in the whole pack of lies.

@38, I am having trouble deciding where to begin. Japan's system is a lot closer to BART than it is to the NYC subway or London's tube, and it is pretty darn fast and successful. It is hardly commuter rail, either. The systems you call successful I call antiquated and busted. Seattle deserves better than the sketchy systems of the past. It deserves the system of the future, and that looks nothing like NYC or Link.
What system in Japan are you referring to? The Tokyo metro has 179 stations over 121 miles of track. BART has 44 stations over 104 miles of track. That makes BART stations 3.5x farther apart on average. I highly recommend Andrew smith's piece on the impact stop spacing had on DC and SF rail performance.

I would be thrilled to have a rail system like NYC or London, because I want to get places fast.
The bullet trains? You know, the ones that go 180 mph, quite a distance, late into the night? I suppose they are slightly different in that they are privatized. But if you're unfamiliar with the type of transit I'm referring to, I suggest you do a lot of research before posting again.

I've been to NYC and London. The last thing I'd do is describe their rail systems as getting people places fast. I'd describe them as so antiquated somebody familiar with the city could get to their destination faster by walking (heck, I did it in London myself without the passing familiarity, and I'm hardly a physical specimen).
If you want bullet trains with stops in say, portland, oly, tacoma, seattle, everett, vancouver, I say "yes please" to that. But that isn't like Bart either. Bullet trains have way fewer stops. You can't get anything from the 180 mph if you stop every few miles.
Seattle needs a subway system. Subways are not a bad idea because some of the best systems happen to be old. I'd argue that fact makes them a more compelling investment. They are here to stay, and will just keep on working
You Seattleites are insane. You deserve more freeways and mandated car ownership for it.

I'd murder for NYC or London-level service. Sorry it ain't good enough for you.
I wouldn't murder for it, but if that's what it takes.... now I'll know who to call ;)

Seriously though we need a subway so bad
@42, subways are the worst possible idea for Seattle. Our predominant soil types contraindicated their use. If you really like subways, you need to move. One simply physically cannot have them here and should never expect them.
If our conditions were different, I would join you on the subway platform. Sadly, they are not.
BART isn't as good as the bullet trains. I do not expect any trains in the area to ever go 180 mph. I do expect the kind of forward thinking that bullet trains represent from any sane transit plan, and demand it from any plan that wants my support. I see more sanity in BART than I do anywhere in NYC or London.
The soil here isn't perfect for anything really. Most places in the world have issues. But tunnels can absolutely be built here. There are tons of existing examples. Even ones running trains. Or cars. Or water, or sewage. Pretty much lots of tunnels. They already move passenger trains through the city on both heavy and light rail. A new subway line would simply add to th e already large collection of successful tunnels in seattle.

And seattle really needs one. Intracity travel times are really bad, so a subway would help people get where they want to go really effectively.
Bart isn't "not as good" as bullet trains, it's a totally different sort of system. I'd love bullet train commuter rail, but Bart underperformed compared to its peers, so I'd rather have a system that uses tried and true methods to generate ridership and mobility. Like NYC. And most other subways like it.
Glad to see the Stranger genius award went to someone who turned to the yellow pages for her art inspiration.

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