Capitol Hill Station sniffs 7,000 boardings a day as ridership continues to climb

Walking Fingers by Ellen Forney

Sound Transit’s annual light rail ridership rose around 13.5% through September — about 10% of the 72,000 additional daily boardings across the system’s 16 stops happened at Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station.

Overall, third quarter boarding totals show Capitol Hill Station’s 2017 jump of 13.4% pretty much mirrors the full system’s rise:

Link light rail ridership continued its strong growth during the third quarter, with a 13.5% increase compared to the same period last year. Average weekday boardings were 76,821, a 13.5% increase compared to the third quarter of 2016. The Angle Lake extension opened the last weekend of the third quarter in 2016. The continued increase in ridership and average weekday boardings is attributed to the two service expansions in 2016 as well as the addition of the Angle Lake Garage with more than 1,100 parking stalls. The region has enthusiastically adopted Link as a convenient transportation choice.

According to Sound Transit’s just released quarterly ridership report (PDF), around 6,953 people board trains below Broadway every weekday — up by about 800 per day from 2016.

Not every piece of data in the set is good news for the system, however. Boardings at Sea-Tac were down more than 13% in the period. UPDATE: Sound Transit attributes the drop to the new nearby Angle Lake Station:

Sound Transit won’t have a enough history for full year over year annual Broadway-boosted comparisons until 2018 — Capitol Hill Station debuted in March 2016 and immediately helped jolt light rail ridership to “record” numbers.

 

Planning for Seattle AIDS Memorial begins at center of Capitol Hill Station plaza

The Capitol Hill Station plaza is set to be a new center of activity on the north end of Cal Anderson Park. Its center will include a memorial to those lost to the AIDS crisis — including park namesake Cal Anderson, Washington’s first openly gay legislator who died of “acquired immune deficiency syndrome” in 1995 at the age of 47.

The Seattle AIDS Legacy Memorial group is working to fund and create the monument.

“We’re thrilled to be able to connect the history of the neighborhood to be centrally located where all Seattleites tend to come,” said Paul Feldman of SALM. “We’re hopeful, through careful planning and careful engagement, that we’ll hear stories we’ve never heard before and we’ll make clear to visitors that there’s still much work to do.”

Most of the details will be decided in the months ahead as the plaza and the surrounding developments move forward toward a possible late 2019 opening, but the SALM group will call for artists in the coming months. Finalists will be asked to offer specific design proposals fitting the following requirements: create a place of reflection and remembrance, provide a call to action, tell the history of King County’s AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s, the lessons that came with it, and the diverse community responses.

Artists must also make the installation prominent, visible to passersby, mostly outside, accessible to convenient public transportation, easily maintained, accessible to the disabled, wifi-abled and powered. One important consideration when choosing the artist is that, although the plan spans three spots joining the plaza, the Nagle and Denny festival streets and the northern edge of Cal Anderson, it’s clearly one project. During the design review process, some community members suggested plaques honoring those who died including Anderson.

While Cal Anderson Park honors the late politician by name, there is no permanent marker in the area acknowledging his history. In 2012, a temporary portrait of Anderson was unveiled on the giant wall that surrounded the Capitol Hill Station construction site.

The plaza — by necessity due to legal requirements and the physics of construction over an underground light rail facility — is somewhat of a blank slate planned for community activity. The four buildings that make up the surrounding developments will create more than 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space, and more than 200 new parking spaces below ground for residents and shoppers. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Station development designs finalized

By the end of 2019, you might be living above Capitol Hill Station. The development projects to create four new buildings and a public plaza above the bustling transit terminal passed through the final step in design review Wednesday night.

Still, not everybody is satisfied.

One man stood up during public comment to say, “I think this project should’ve been built yesterday.” He then urged the board to reduce the number of parking spaces. “This is a transit-oriented development, right? Like, y’all, come on guys.”

The four building designs finalized Wednesday night will create more than 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space — and, yes, more than 200 new parking spaces below ground for residents and shoppers. Continue reading

With one last step in design review, hopes for 2018 start of construction for Capitol Hill Station projects

Above the future Capitol Hill Station developments (Image: Alex Garland)

CHS is back in business just in time for the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” projects set to create 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space along Broadway to finally pass through design review.

Probably.

The four buildings face a second round of review in the design “recommendation” phase Wednesday night.

Design Review: Capitol Hill Station projects

Two months after getting sent back to the drawing board in the final segment in the review process, the project’s lead developer Gerding Edlen is back with proposed facade, color, and material changes for the design as the search for daycare and grocery service providers to anchor the commercial aspect of the project continues.

Gerding Edlen’s Jill Sherman tells CHS they are not at a point where they’ve signed with anchored tenants. So whoever the grocer and daycare services may be is still up in the air. The project’s planned childcare did move to another building, however, closer to the park. The review board also suggested changing the configuration of the childcare space, reducing frontage along Broadway. There was no decrease in square footage.

“What we’re trying to do now is show we think we can design a daycare and what the storefront looks like in a way that will be attractive and interesting for pedestrians,” Sherman said. “We originally proposed a daycare because we knew it was a community priority.” Continue reading

What the Capitol Hill Station development will probably* look like

The design process to create 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space around Capitol Hill Station will move back into motion next week. Here is what the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” is planned to look like.

Architects for developers Gerding Edlen and Capitol Hill Housing have submitted the second — and final — round of design proposals for the project planned to create four new seven-story buildings on Broadway and 10th Ave just north of Cal Anderson Park. The full proposal is available here (PDF).

Design Review: Capitol Hill Station

Continue reading

How they dust the Capitol Hill Station jets

(Image: Sound Transit)

Since its opening in March 2016, Capitol Hill Station has helped move thousands of people through their lives in the city. Every descent to the platform has left neat freaks a little more freaked out. Jet Kiss, the work by artist Mike Ross that turned A4 fighter jet war machines into sexy pink gloss love machines, often looks like it needs a good dusting. Hopefully it will help you to relax to know Sound Transit has an expert on the case.

Meet “Art Collection Specialist” Tim Marsden:

As the person in charge of more than 100 art installations at bus and train stations and other Sound Transit facilities from Everett to Lakewood, Marsden is the chief caretaker of a collection of museum-quality work by nationally-renowned artists.

His official title is “Art Collection Specialist.” That’s a catchall for everything the Seattle artist juggles to maintain an art collection exposed to the elements, passing trains, buses and thousands of riders every day.

“In a nutshell, I am responsible for the care and maintenance of the public art collection – which to my mind is to identify problems before they become problems,” Marsden said. “I like to get eyeballs on the work and a good method for this is to schedule regular cleanings.”

More on Marsden and the special challenges of keeping Jet Kiss shiny bright here.

Station development update
Meanwhile, you will have the opportunity to see the updated designs for the development projects set to rise around Capitol Hill Station in an open house on June 6th. The projects including four seven-story buildings with a combined 427 market-rate and affordable apartment units, plus more than 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space are lined up for a second and possibly final round of design review this summer — likely in August — following a first review session last December.

The Capitol Hill Champion community group reports that lead developer Gerding Edlen is in the process of interviewing potential anchor tenants for the project. Also, Gerding Edlen and the Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market “have agreed on a tent layout that accommodates approximately 70 stalls for the large weekend market in the plaza and festival street and approximately 30 stalls for the smaller weekday market” in the project’s plaza, the group reports.

Central Co-op drops Capitol Hill Station bid over cost concerns

When the development opens in 2019, Central Co-op won’t be the retail anchor at the middle of thousands of square feet of new restaurants, shops, services and community space surrounding Capitol Hill Station. Interim CEO Garland McQueen announced the decision to drop its bid for the project Sunday night at the co-op’s annual owner meeting.

In a statement sent to CHS, McQueen said cost was the big factor: Continue reading

You might be able to move into your new Capitol Hill Station apartment in 2019

Earlier this month, Sound Transit and Capitol Hill Station celebrated one year of service carrying thousands of riders every day on the light rail line connecting downtown to Montlake by way of Broadway. The two acres of so of pavement around the station, you might have noticed, remain empty but there are big plans. Here is what comes next after December’s first design review — and why the one-year celebration didn’t include a ribbon cutting from the project’s developer Gerding Edlen for the some 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space planned to rise around the station.

Destined to begin construction in 2018 and open for new residents late the following year, the architects behind the largest buildings and the key central plaza above Capitol Hill Station are refining plans following the project’s first step in the special streamlined design review process set up for the community-guided “transit oriented development.” As part of its application for the critical land use permit, Hewitt Architects submitted a roster of planned design changes based on feedback from the design review board for the project’s main Site A building along Broadway and the pedestrian plaza that will sit above the busy light rail station below and is hoped to create a central gathering place, a home for the Capitol Hill farmers market, and a new gateway for the adjacent Cal Anderson Park.

Here are some of the changes being planned for the next and final round of design review expected to take place this summer:

  • Parking: The developer’s rep told the crowd at the December design review that there was likely to be fewer parking spots than included in the design plan. True… kind of. The big lot is down to 158 spaces: Site A was previously showing 183 parking spaces on 3 below grade parking levels. This has been reduced to 158 spaces. 
  • Broadway pass-through: The plan for a passageway through the development to connect Broadway through to the internal plaza will be de-cluttered and the quasi-public space will hopefully be more inviting and provide small retailers with a more active environment: The pass-through for Site A has remained at 15’-0” minimum width and all bicycle racks have been removed. The residential lobby no longer lines the entire south side of the pass-through allowing for further activation of the retail spaces. Retail is now visible at both the west and east. Continue reading

Part of SDOT’s Broadway safety fix will also roll out across Seattle: a head start for walk signals

We gave the coming Broadway “all way walk” the headline but one of the safety improvements coming to the busy area around Capitol Hill Station will be part of a simple but hopefully effective change to pedestrian crossing signals across Seattle:

At intersections where the city knows accidents are likely, SDOT will preemptively add what Murray called “pedestrian-friendly signals” — walk signs that allow pedestrians into an intersection before drivers’ light turns green, giving walkers greater visibility — and traffic lights with left turn signals, which reduces conflicts between left-turning cars and pedestrians (or trucks) heading straight through an intersection. By adding leading pedestrian signals at 40 intersections citywide, Kubly said, the city expected to reduce crashes by 50 percent at those intersections.

After SDOT analysis, the re-timed signaling will be deployed at the busy Broadway/John/E Olive Way intersection to give pedestrians an advance walk signal before drivers get a green light. SDOT is also planning to add left turn lanes on John and E Olive Way to help better control vehicular traffic flow.

Dongho Chang, city traffic engineer, said pedestrian collision reports including near misses contributed to the decision. “Pedestrian-wise we hear about a lot of close misses,” Chang said.

The department found the majority of collisions were left-turn related from east and westbound drivers on Olive and John. Drivers heading north or south on Broadway didn’t experience many left turn collisions but did have a few rear-ending incidents.

SDOT is planning to implement the changes before summer.

Serious crash tangles John near Capitol Hill Station

(Image: Matt Mitgang via Twitter)

(Image: Matt Mitgang via Twitter)

One person had to be cut from a crashed vehicle and police were investigating after a two-vehicle collision at John and 10th tied up rush hour traffic and added to street safety concerns on the increasingly busy streets around Capitol Hill Station. There was also a report of a pedestrian possibly injured in the crash.

UPDATE: ‪SFD says patient removed from the crashed car was a female in her 30s. Her injuries were reported as not life threatening. The report of a pedestrian injured in the crash was apparently a mistake in the early confusion at the crash scene.

Seattle Fire was called to the scene around 5:20 PM to a report of the collision. One victim was removed from a car involved in the crash by a fire crew that sliced through the vehicle’s roof.

Police were at the scene to close off John to traffic and begin the investigation of the collision. UPDATE 3/23/2017 9:00 AM: A department spokesperson tells CHS the initial response to the scene was quickly downgraded after the situation as sorted out and a full traffic collision investigation was not necessary due in part to the lack of any serious injuries. There did not appear to be any citations issued to drivers of either of the two vehicles involved in the crash.

The intersection is part of an area identified for pedestrian and street safety improvements. SDOT began gathering feedback on proposed improvements including curb bulbs and plastic posts for the John Thomas corridor this week. Meanwhile, CHS reported that the city has also decided to add left turn lanes on John and E Olive Way at Broadway as well as add an all-way crosswalk at Broadway and Denny after a car struck a pedestrian and other near misses were reported near the busy transit station.