Pile alert: Next phase of Capitol Hill Station’s Broadway pedestrian tunnel ready to begin — Plus: Madison ‘bus rapid transit’ open house

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The west Broadway entrance will connect via an underground passageway to Capitol Hill Station

It’s no Boring Report, but Sound Transit has issued a “construction alert” to notify the area around the future Capitol Hill Station. Details of the new, loud phase are below.

The portion of the station project the pile driving will advance has seemingly been one of the more problematic for Sound Transit contractors.

The pedestrian underpass beneath Broadway just south of Denny was planned as a safer way for students to cross to the station via an underground tunnel but the construction project is well behind schedule and a tunnel descent for a cross-street walk seems overdone as Capitol Hill Station takes shape.

The work was originally planned in two stages:

  • Stage 1 (January to July 2014): Construction crews will close the west side of Broadway, just south of E Denny Way, to build the concourse in an open trench.
  • Stage 2 (July to December 2014): Crews will close the east side of Broadway, just south of E Denny Way, to complete the concourse.

Stage 2 is now, apparently, ready to begin. Sound Transit planners say the new U-Link extension between downtown and UW via Capitol Hill remains on pace to be open by early 2016.

Pile installation to begin September 29

As early as September 29, Sound Transit’s contractor will begin work to prepare for the second phase of the Broadway pedestrian concourse construction. Crews will drill piles to form the support system for the excavation of the cut and cover pedestrian concourse underneath the east side Broadway.

When the Capitol Hill Link Light Rail Station opens, the underground pedestrian concourse will allow riders to access the station from the west side of Broadway.

This work will take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Pile installation on the east side of Broadway is expected to take approximately one month.

What to expect during this work:

  • Intermittent noise from saws and jackhammers used to break up concrete and hammering noise from the machinery used to drill the piles. The noise is loudest when drill rigs shake off the excavated dirt.

  • Frequent truck traffic hauling materials to and from the site.

Madison Bus Rapid Transit Study
Meanwhile, SDOT will host an “open house” to talk about its study of “bus rapid transit” to serve Madison from Elliott Bay to 23rd Ave E:

Tuesday, September 30th, 5-7pm:  Please join us for the first Madison Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project Definition Study Open House.  This open house is the kick-off to a year-long study of bus rapid transit along Madison from Colman Dock to 23rd Avenue East. Come to learn more about the study, bus rapid transit, and to share your knowledge of the corridor with the project team. We want to hear from you about how transit can be improved along Madison, as well as about key opportunities for pedestrian and bike connections and streetscape improvements.

Tuesday, September 30th, 5-7pm
Brief Presentation at 5:30
Silver Cloud Hotel
1100 Broadway, Seattle 98122

Details on the study from SDOT are here.

In 2013, CHS reported on the city’s decision to fund the “preliminary engineering and environmental analysis” study for a bus-based system after a streetcar was deemed unfeasible on Madison. With planned corridor improvements in place, SDOT has forecasted about 6,000 new transit riders along Madison.8211706108_a445a0ded1_o

And now a poem about Capitol Hill Station:

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13 thoughts on “Pile alert: Next phase of Capitol Hill Station’s Broadway pedestrian tunnel ready to begin — Plus: Madison ‘bus rapid transit’ open house

  1. why do you say “… tunnel descent for a cross-street walk seems overdone as Capitol Hill Station takes shape”

    the underpass will be tremendously useful for those who need to be on the west side of Broadway when they get off the train.

    • Considering the apparently complicated construction process *and* having to descend and go through an underground passage vs being able to walk across one crosswalk, I’m surprised the concourse survived the planning phases

      • It’s unfortunate that the tunnel is taking so long to build….another reason to avoid driving on Broadway…but I think it’s a good idea. Once the light rail station opens, there will (presumably) be large numbers of students getting off the train and heading to SCC. It would be unsafe for such a crowd to use the surface crosswalks, especially since some of them will be jaywalking to make it to class on time…..and also they would hold up vehicle traffic, which will already be a mess because of cars/streetcars/bus all sharing the same lane.

        Justin, isn’t the tunnel on the same level as the train stop? If so, no need for anyone to “descend” in order to use it, at least when they are exiting the station.

    • The problem I have with this station entrance is multiple. They note that this will provide students a convenient entrance on the east side of Broadway as the main reason for this entrance pretty much directly across the street from the south entrance/exit.

      1) They make Broadway out to be this high speed or wide boulevard that is difficult for pedestrians to cross yet there are three crosswalks within a block or two of this location. Broadway is NOT a high speed or wide arterial and Capitol Hill is fraught with pedestrians (that pretty much do as they please).
      2) The expense is not justified by the usefulness.
      3) There are obvious problems that may be adding to the expense.

      Nice try, but they could have done much better here. I think they wanted a 3rd entrance for the mere reason that they expect this to be one of the busiest stations. Just not making sense to me though as these entrances/exits are so close to each other.

    • My enduring fantasy was a tunnel from the mezzanine level of the Broadway station all the way northwest to an entrance in Trashcan Tashkent Park on Belmont. I think such a tunnel would be almost level, and it would serve the entire west side of the hill (especially all the people who can no longer take the 14 47 bus). Now that’s an underpass I would use frequently — straight from the subway to Top Pot / Sun Liquor / Summit Pub / Single Shot.

    • The under-street tunnels in BART are all surprisingly useful; they mostly go under busier streets than B’way, but when all the construction is done B’way is going to be even busier than it was, so maybe this is good planning.

  2. This exit also serves as an emergency egress for the station, away from the platforms.

    Sure would love to know why this project is so far behind. Not a word from ST.

  3. It’s really too bad that ST construction couldn’t have coordinated with SDOT and basically destroyed a block of the bikeway in the process rather than to just construct the bikeway to end at E Howell St until the construction was completed. But I guess a thousand dollars here and a thousand dollars there isn’t all that important.

  4. I hope they’re better at their work than their mapping because the announcement today about the shift from east to west side of Broadway for pedestrian access shows Howell as a through street by Seattle Central, and of course it’s not.

  5. Pingback: UW, Capitol Hill Station bike detour updates + Trail bridge over Montlake Blvd could open in 2015 | Seattle Bike Blog