Happy third birthday, Capitol Hill Station

Some 7,698 light rail boardings take place every day at Capitol Hill Station. Tuesday marks the three-year anniversary of the opening of the busy Broadway subway station that has forever changed getting to and from Capitol Hill.

Saturday, March 19th, 2016, then-Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine broke out the giant ceremonial scissors to cut the ribbon opening the $110 million station and the start of service on the $1.9 billion, 3.15-mile U-Link extension connecting downtown to Husky Stadium via Broadway. 16 to 18 trucks per day were used to haul dirt away from the site during construction. Sound Transit officials said some 19,900 trucks plied the streets of Capitol Hill hauling muck churned up by the boring machines.

5/16/2011 was the start of the tunnel boring process for U-Link. That effort was complete by 5/15/2012 when work began to lay tracks and build the new stations under Capitol Hill and at UW. To make way for the tunneling and the new station below Broadway, the block was mostly scraped of the decades of history that had built up and grown rusty and dusty on the block of Broadway between John and Denny.

A planned Sound Transit third birthday gift to the station hasn’t yet been put in place. At Capitol Hill Station’s southern Denny entrance, the emergency stairs that connect from the mezzanine level to the platform are planned to be converted with elements like security video systems for use as an alternative to the frequently out of service escalators. That birthday gift will be a little late. Maybe working arrival screens will be part of its fourth birthday celebration.

At Capitol Hill Station’s third birthday, instead, the big cranes have returned to the block. This time they are building new mixed-use development creating some 428 residential units – 41% of which (176 units) will be designated affordable housing. There will be 31,150 square feet of residential space, 216 parking stalls for cars, and 254 parking stalls for bikes. Designs for the project were finalized in October 2017. Retail and housing will finally return to the block when the buildings open in late 2020. The AIDS Memorial Pathway will connect to Cal Anderson Park from the new plaza at the center of new businesses and hundreds of new apartments.

With those new neighbors and the Hill’s continued growth, Sound Transit has said it expects Capitol Hill Station’s 7,698 ridership number to double by the time of its March 2030 birthday. Connections through the Central District (2023) and to West Seattle (2030) and Ballard (2035) will also help.

 

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