A Tale of Two New Link Stations


"the dull-looking waters of Puget Sound" WTF?
Charles, is the garage full most days? Most of Des Moines can drive to that that park and ride in what, 10 minutes?
@1 Me thinks Charles isn't a friend of the outdoors. Although, to give him his due, Puget Sound is extremely polluted.
Why has no one ever made a comment about how antiseptic and charmless the Capitol Hill light rail station is? With all the money that is being pumped into light rail is this the best they could do to put a building inside an asphalt bowl surrounded by chain link fence?
@4 That lot is going to be built out in the next couple of years.
Funny, having the Angle Lake station opens means I spend LESS time in my car. But hey, if all you want are aesthetics, I guess that's what matters.
Sorry, but the gush about UW needs to be corrected. The pedestrian connections at the new station are a travesty! And mostly due to UW. There used to be pedestrian tunnel connections between main campus, the triangle Parking garage, and the med center. One more ped tunnel under pacific and some relocated parking spaces and full seperation of pedestrians from roadway traffic could've been achieved. UW didn't wanted those parking places moved and wanted the general public to stay out of their garage. And so we have 3 more levels of stairs/escalators, 2 new bridges, and a couple $million of extra road work. The enjoy while missing you bus connection is great though.
In what universe is UW station "compact" or convenient? Much less a paragon of form gracefully following function?

I suppose it's compact compared to this, if your sole source of comparison is "broadly-mocked architectural boondoggles culled from the internet." But even then it's hard to find a standalone in-city subway stop quite as preposterously sited and insulting to pedestrians trying to reach it as is the current northern Link terminus.

Has Charles traveled the urbanized world at all? Or has his career been a 20-year hoax orchestrated by an armchair traveler from deep within his Columbia City bungalow?
Took the train out to Angle Lake last Saturday. Beautiful view of the Sound to the west off the platform. 12 minute walk to Angle Lake Park, which is quite nice. International Blvd in the stretch between the station and park actually has a fair number of trees. Already a senior apartment building getting built nearby. Mini-Warehouse storage adjacent to the station. One imagines that will be TOD before too long. Holiday Inn and a couple of other motels walking distance from the station. We shared are train ride with some drunk out-of-town Seahawks fans making their way back to the motel to freshen-up before heading out again for some more Saturday pre-game partying.

It is what it is. Right now, it's very similar to the Wonderland Blue Line T stop on Boston's North Shore: a parking lot by a station with some suburban strip malls and stuff around it. But try to think about where the puck is going to be, not where it is now. I bet things look quite different there in 10 years, unlike the area around the Husky Stadium station, which will probably look about the same as it does now.

Different spaces, different places, different needs, different stations.
What @7 said. The overpass and other infrastructure around the station would be fantastic and elegant if ... the station wasn't underground! If someone knew nothing about the project, saw the big multi-story station and overpass, wouldn't you assume that the train travels elevated (Chicago style) to there? This is form over function. The best place for the station would have been right in the triangle (underground). There already is a walking path connecting it to the hospital as well the campus. That only leaves the connection to the stadium, which is the least important of the three. There is a tiny clinic there, and nothing but a huge building that sits empty about 350 days a year. The few times that it is occupied, there are traffic cops everywhere, shuttling people across the street. In other words, you gain nothing by having the station close to the stadium, but lose plenty. The overhead connections (as opposed to underground) simply require every user to spend an extra few minutes getting to or from the station.

If you want an example of elegance, check out the city known for that. Here is a typical subway entrance in Paris. Nice huh. It doesn't take up an entire block or otherwise dominate the landscape. But it is very pretty, and easy to find (unlike entrances downtown). Ultimately, though, it is just a hole, which is all that an entrance to a subway needs to be.
It's Montlake not Mountlake
Of course the biggest difference between the two stations is not the architecture around them, but who they are meant to serve. In many ways, the architecture is very similar and consistent. Both buildings are huge, with grandiose structures (the covering around the parking garage is nice). But ultimately, one is urban, the other suburban. One is meant to serve all day, often spontaneous trips (like every successful subway in the world) while the other is a suburban terminus that won't be the terminus for long. It is designed to serve those who prefer big houses and big lots and sprawling suburbs, but occasionally (or in some cases daily) feel the need to go into the big city. Very few people live nearby and very few people ever will. Shuttle buses are few; the vast majority of riders will drive to the station. It is no different than most suburban stations everywhere, except that the plan is to keep adding low performing stations for another 16 miles. At best it is a sprawl inducing mess; at worst a huge waste of money (for people who can't afford it).

Oh, and Charles -- why is Angle Lake now part of your world, but Queen Anne isn't? I honestly don't get that. Did The Stranger rope you into having to visit every train station, or something? If so, ask them to give you the bus beat. For the next several years, decisions there are actually more interesting and more important than anything that involves rail. Madison BRT, for example, will be done before we add another station. Seattle has never built anything quite like it. Fast, frequent service in a very urban environment -- but with a bus. First Hill (after a couple of failed attempts) actually gets decent mass transit.
I love how this Brutalist parking structure is gussied up in a skimpy blue dress.
Good Afternoon Charles,
I just took a ride out to Angle Lake Station yesterday. I found the terminus quite lovely. I thought the art fascinating. I walked over to the lake as well and was pleasantly surprised by the area's tranquility versus the far more active UW Station.

I think it unnecessary to compare the two stations. Clearly, the UW is "urban" while Angle Lake is "suburban" Hence, the enormous parking building at Angle Lake. I think that was the intention. Largely to get more commuters to drive to Angle Lake, park and take the light rail. On the other hand at UW, there is parking but I can believe it is largely for game day parking at Husky Stadium. I'm not surprised it is more pedestrian & cyclist friendly.

As a result, it is a comparison of not apples to oranges but more like apples to nuts. Both edible but the latter with far less water.