CHS Video | A walk in the light rail tunnel to Capitol Hill Station — UPDATE

The video stops at Capitol Hill Station -- but the CHS photographer went all the way to Pine. Here, the track curves beneath I-5. More pictures from the trip soon. (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

The video stops at Capitol Hill Station — but the CHS photographer went all the way to Pine. Here, the track curves beneath I-5. More pictures from the trip below. (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

The best news: It will take you less time to ride from the University of Washington to Broadway when light rail’s U-Link opens in early 2016 than it will to watch this hastily edited video of CHS’s walk Friday afternoon from Montlake to the future Capitol Hill Station with the winners of a Sound Transit contest.

Four winners of a contest designed to buck up a local restaurant’s prospects during construction made the 3.1 mile trek under Capitol Hill from the construction site at UW’s Husky Stadium to the edge of the downtown transit tunnel beneath the Paramount. They were escorted by a gaggle of Sound Transit representatives and a small pack of media for the Friday afternoon hike.

Arriving at the future Capitol Hill Station

Arriving at the future Capitol Hill Station

More than 1,000 entries were received in the Annapurna Cafe contest, officials say. One winner declined to make the journey. Commence your “Hey, I would have taken your place!” complaints. Continue reading

Capitol Hill meets prospective developers of Broadway light rail station housing + retail + community projects

IMG_3173It was a speed dating session of sorts as potential developers of the future retail and housing sites to surround the Capitol Hill light rail station met with the public for the first time to tout their experience and qualifications and hear about the public’s wide ranging priorities.

Some 200 people gathered in the Broadway Performance Hall Monday evening to demand space for a Broadway farmer’s market, ample affordable housing, and to urge the eight shortlisted firms to adhere to the community priorities for the Broadway properties, which were hammered out over several years in an effort led by the group Capitol Hill Champion.

“We’re asking you to be bold, think historically. We’re here to help you succeed,” said Michael Wells, co-chair of the Champion group and director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. “There’s no need to move in darkness in this project.”

The participating developers have until September to submit bids to develop four housing and retail properties that will surround the future Capitol Hill light rail station. Sound Transit stands to net millions from the sale. Continue reading

14 developers in running to forge Capitol Hill Station retail and housing sites

Just build this -- a design submitted by a team of University of Washington students for the Capitol Hill Station "transit oriented development" in a 2011 class exercise

Just build this — a design submitted by a team of University of Washington students for the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” in a 2011 class exercise

Surrounding the under-construction Capitol Hill Station, the development sites will line Broadway and neighbor Cal Anderson

Surrounding the under-construction Capitol Hill Station, the development sites will line Broadway and neighbor Cal Anderson

The candidates to develop some of Capitol Hill’s most prominent and prized projects have added their names to the list and they include a mix of neighborhood, local, and national developers. Fourteen companies and nonprofits officially responded to Sound Transit’s February request for qualifications to develop 100,000 square feet of “transit oriented development” that will surround the future Capitol Hill light rail station. The project will include housing, retail, and community space on five sites stretching along Broadway from John to Denny.

A couple of familiar Capitol Hill names have thrown their names into the hat, including Capitol Hill Housing and a partnership that includes local developer Maria Barrientos. Sound Transit spokesperson Bruce Gray said the agency recieved more responses than it expected.

“It’s obviously a hugly desireable site,” Gray said. “It’s a fantstic opportunity for great development, and people want to be in the middle of Capitol Hill.” Continue reading

Plan ahead to meet the developers hoping to be part of Capitol Hill Station projects

The Capitol Hill Champion group has a big job ahead making sure developers understand and adopt the community priorities established for the development planned to surround the future Capitol Hill Station light rail facility on Broadway. You’ll want to plan ahead, too. The Champion group has set June 2nd for its community meeting with prospective developers bidding to be part of the project:

The bidding is underway for developers to be part of creating new housing, retail and community space around Capitol Hill Station

The bidding is underway for developers to be part of creating new housing, retail and community space around Capitol Hill Station

Save the date!  Meet the Developers June 2nd

Let developers know that you support community priorities at the Capitol Hill Station TOD sites.  Attend a Community Meeting with short-listed bidders on June 2nd from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the SCC Broadway Performance Hall (corner of Pine and Broadway).  Bring your questions!  Refreshments will be provided by the Broadway Farmer’s Market.  Keep Capitol Hill’s voice strong!

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What image should be used on light rail signs for Capitol Hill Station?

crow_pictoBeacon Hill’s Othello Station is represented by the noble stag.

Sound Transit is running a survey through mid-April to help determine what imagery should represent Capitol Hill Station, Broadway’s under-construction light rail stop:


Othello Station’s pictogram via Beacon Hill Blog

Sound Transit is developing pictograms for future Link light rail stations. A pictogram is an icon that conveys meaning through its pictorial resemblance of a physical object. Pictograms are used on Sound Transit’s Link light rail station signage and way-finding materials. Paired with station names, they help identify stations and the surrounding neighborhood. Pictograms serve as station identification symbols for non-English customers, primarily those that use a non-Roman based alphabet.

Sound Transit would like to begin the process by getting input from you.

You can take the questionnaire here. It includes interesting queries like this as planners seek to build community descriptions of the areas where upcoming stations are planned:Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 11.52.06 AM

A Sound Transit rep says the feedback will be just part of a community process to arrive at the final symbol for Capitol Hill’s Broadway stop, UW and beyond. To  be effective, the final symbol must achieve three goals:

Pictograms are intended to be station identification symbols for non-English audiences, primarily those that use a non-Roman based alphabet. To be effective, Sound Transit’s Link light rail station pictograms must meet these requirements:

  • Simple in form, and are an easily recognizable symbol

  • Readable at many scales; including signage, print material, online and mobile devices

  • Are individually distinguishable and read as a family

Capitol Hill Station is currently described as at around 30% complete as construction crews continue to work at building the station’s platforms and light rail facilities. Meanwhile, a separate process to determine developers for housing, retail and community space on Sound Transit-owned land around the station is underway. Capitol Hill Station and the 3.1 mile U-Link extension connecting the downtown transit tunnel through the Hill to Montlake is expected to open in early 2016. No word, yet, on who the lucky winners are who will get to take a walk in one of the completed twin-tunnels as part of a Sound Transit promotion.

Inside Capitol Hill Station (Image: Hewitt Seattle)

Inside Capitol Hill Station (Image: Hewitt Seattle)

Win a *walk* under Capitol Hill through the light rail tunnel

8444270641_5b235c14e3_o (1) 8445359548_ee92ffe3d5_o (1)Sound Transit has come up with a unique way to aid a Capitol Hill business in a bit of a pinch due to construction on Capitol Hill Station. Eat at Broadway’s Annapurna Cafe between now and March and you’ll have a chance to win a one-of-a-kind, three-mile walk *under* Capitol Hill from downtown to Montlake. Here are the details from Sound Transit:

When you eat at Annapurna Café, 1833 Broadway, you can enter to win a Sound Transit walking tour of the U-Link tunnel-from Capitol Hill to the University of Washington.

To be eligible, you must spend at least $10 at the Annapurna Café and fill out an entry form at the restaurant. You can enter every time you visit. You must be at least 18 and able to walk the entire 3-mile concrete-lined tunnel.

A drawing in early March will determine the winners.  No entry form information will be sold to an outside party.

By 2016 only U-Link trains will be running in the tunnel, no pedestrians allowed.

Earlier, CHS reported on the impact from construction work slated to last through summer to create a pedestrian concourse beneath Broadway to provide a passage for some of the thousands of riders expected to use the light rail station when it begins service in early 2016. Now 11 years old, Annapurna is soldiering through the remaining two years of construction and continuing to offer its delights of India, Nepal and Tibet on Broadway. Neighbor King’s Teriyaki shuttered last summer and Peet’s Coffee pulled up stakes long before that. “Our focus has been on promoting and marketing Broadway through a $610K agreement with the Chamber to keep shoppers, diners and drinkers in the neighborhood,” a Sound Transit spokesperson told CHS via email about the agency’s efforts to support area businesses through the years of construction to create the Capitol Hill portion of the U-Link extension.

Sound Transit is an occasional CHS advertiser and advertises its mitigation efforts on CHS.

The three-mile walk will likely take the eventual winner a few hours to complete as the course through one of the line’s twin tunnels winds its way from the downtown transit tunnel beneath the Paramount up through Capitol Hill and then down through Montlake and under the Cut to Husky Stadium. Riders will soon travel the same route in under 10 minutes. The tunnel boring on the $1.9 billion project was completed in spring 2012 and was achieved by a team of two 21-foot-tall boring machines that completed their mission with almost no hiccups along the way barring an occasional burst of muck at the surface and some strange vibrations around the Hill and in Montlake.

The twin tunnels between downtown and Montlake pass beneath dozens of apartment buildings, about 250 homes and several municipal structures at depths between 15 feet (beneath the Montlake cut) and 300 feet (beneath Volunteer Park) below the surface. The deepest digging between Broadway and downtown bottoms out at a still impressive 150 feet below the pavement. The journey from downtown to Capitol Hill includes some of the most technically challenging work of the project. Navigating a continuous curve that at one point brought the process within 21 feet of I-5 at the surface, the tunnel boring machine operated by a team of around 17 people operating five days a week, 24 hours per day for weeks at a time, traveled from Broadway to the edge of downtown’s transit tunnel. At its fastest rate, the machine was able to churn through 105 feet of soil in a day. On the other end of things, the lucky winner will descend a steep slope down the northside of the Hill into Montlake and under the waters of the Montlake Cut. It was an incredible feat of engineering — geek out here in this document (PDF) from the project team if you want to lear more — and all the more amazing given the continued troubles faced by the efforts to bore the waterfront tunnel.

The Annapurna contest has no limit on entries — you can add your name on each visit to the restaurant, according to Sound Transit. Just make sure you can still walk, come March.

Concourse digging creates a dangerous snag on the Broadway bikeway

To turn south on Broadway from Denny  cyclists must cross and ride on the sidewalk. (Photo: CHS)

To turn south on Broadway from Denny bicyclists must cross and ride the sidewalk. (Photo: CHS)

As work got underway this month to make it safer for pedestrians to cross Broadway into the new light rail station when it opens in 2016, a crucial part of the street got more dangerous for bicyclists.

On January 13 Sound Transit contractors began tunneling under Broadway at Denny to build a pedestrian concourse connecting a light rail entrance on the west side of the street to the Capitol Hill Station. In order to do the work, contractors had to shut down one southbound lane of Broadway, now walled off by large concrete barriers, and scrub out the bikeway between Denny and Howell.

Seattle Department of Transportation’s Ethan Melone told CHS that despite the headaches, this has been part of the plan all along “We knew Sound Transit was coming,” he said. “If we waited to open it, [the bikeway] would be completed, but not accessible, which would be frustrating.” Continue reading

With developer selection process for Capitol Hill Station properties impending, group shifts focus of its advocacy

(Image: Capitol Hill Champion)

(Image: Capitol Hill Champion)

Change is about to accelerate on Broadway’s central strip. After several years of planning and negotiation, all eyes are about to turn to potential developers for the land around Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail Capitol Hill Station, and the Capitol Hill Champion group, a player in the development process since 2010, is wasting no time preparing to shift its focus.

Champion steering committee member John Akamatsu presented an update of the Champion group’s most recent efforts—the group advocates to secure the inclusion of what they have identified as features beneficial to the community in future developments on the land—at the January Capitol Hill Community Council meeting last Thursday night. Akamatsu is also vice president of the Community Council.

“We want Sound Transit to hear the community,” Akamatsu said about the Champion group’s planned efforts to influence Sound Transit’s developer selection process. The group — a joint venture between the Capitol Hill Community Council and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce – will also be working to influence the developers making a bid for a parcel of Sound Transit’s prime real estate. Continue reading