Not coming to Seattle, thanks to Durkan.
Not coming to Seattle, thanks to Durkan. Charles Mudede

According the The Urbanist, Mayor Jenny Durkan has killed a project that would have installed futuristic transit shelters in Downtown Seattle and South Lake Union. The project, which had its roots in a proposal to improve Seattle's obviously second-rate (if not third-rate) street furniture. Though the city's public transportation population is growing impressively, its infrastructure is stuck in a past that brazenly neglected anything that did not enhance the driving experience. Almost no thought or love was put into bus shelters. The SDOT's real-time information signs, a recent addition, are inelegant and few in number. Intersection, a New York City-based transit advertisement company, presented a proposal to run and manage these new shelters. The proposal also included a network of kiosks that offered free WiFi. They are called Links, and in New York City, they have replaced the old payphone network beloved by Superman, and offer maps, directions, and charging stations. This system and the fancy furniture would have been supported by ad revenue.

From The Urbanist:

...The city selected a preferred vendor to deliver the program and began negotiations on how to do it. And last September, The Urbanist spoke to SDOT officials who confirmed that the project was still actively underway and that news of the program was due out in early 2018. However, that time came and went with no announcement of the program publicly. In May, The Urbanist followed up with SDOT for an update on the program. SDOT officials said that priorities had since changed and that the program had been put on an indefinite hold, likely meaning permanent cancellation. No vendor, including Intersection, is being considered for a contract. The decision to impose the hold came not from within the department but after discussions with the Mayor’s Office, according to the officials.

All of that is no longer in Seattle's future, but now receding in its past. It has become part of the negative city. The phantoms of things and decisions that could have made the positive metropolis a bit better. With that said, let me make two quick points.

One, as a whole, Seattle refuses to integrate its transit stops with daily life: shops, cafes, bars, public services, public forms of recreation. They are almost all islands, and in the case of Mount Baker Station or the SODO station, joyless ones. (The exceptions are International District Station, Capitol Hill Station, and Othello Station, which owe their proximity to businesses to chance rather than design—Westlake Station is great if you want a new pair of shoes but useless if you need a pint of milk.) We will not bother discussing Metro's stops. They are almost universally awful, and can only remind us of how much our society wants us to hate public transportation.

Two, the SeattleLink kiosks (now phantoms in the negative city) would have been really useful to the poor—to people who have smartphones, but can't afford expensive cellular service with their often catastrophic fees and late charges. In this sense, the payphone infrastructure (which, in NYC, the kiosks were made to replace) would have been resurrected (if not spiritualized) as SeattleLinks. A person could make or receive calls without exposure to the dangers of loitering around a Starbucks or another place that only wants customers. (And loitering can be very dangerous.)