King County Metro has released the Executive’s Proposal for a restructure of bus service to be rolled out early next year to coincide with the opening of light rail stations on Broadway and at the University of Washington.
If you were hoping for your bus service to mostly stay the same, this proposal should please you. But if you were hoping for a dramatic change in Metro’s approach to transit service, taking advantage of quick transfers to a fast train at any opportunity to reduce duplication and provide more frequent service to more destinations, then this proposal might leave something to be desired.
Almost every bus route on Capitol Hill stays entirely intact. Here are the changes:
- The biggest change will be to the 43, which will be deleted. In its place on E Olive Way is the new route 11. Between downtown and 19th Ave E, this route will follow the route of the current 43. At 19th, it will turn right and continue south to Madison Street, where it will take a very tricky left turn onto Madison and continue all the way down Madison and terminate in Madison Park like the current 11. This diversion down 19th Ave was not in any previous restructure proposals and is very unusual. Also of note is the fact that this route will not be able to run on trolley wire, leaving the 43’s trolley wire between Summit Avenue and 23rd Ave unused.
- The 8 will receive the only other change in physical routing and the change does not come on Capitol Hill at all. At Mount Baker Station the 8 will terminate and anyone who would continue south on Martin Luther King Jr Way S will need to transfer to the new route 38 to Rainier Beach. Splitting the 8 at Mount Baker will likely do little to alleviate reliability problems relating to the the Capitol Hill segment of this route. I talked about those reliability issues in the last column. The 8 also retains its 30 minute frequency at night and on Sundays. It will receive some added trips during weekdays and end service later at night.
- The 25, which serves Capitol Hill’s northwest edge on the way to Laurelhurst in an infrequent manner, will be deleted.
- The 10 and the 12 stay just as they are, bypassing Capitol Hill Station. Increased service thanks to Prop 1 will bring the 10 to 15 minute frequency at most all day long including Saturday and Sunday. The 12 will see weekday evening service increase to 15 minute frequency as well. Many of these frequency changes were already approved by the County Council with the passage of Prop 1 so it’s not immediately clear of the immediacy of their inclusion in this proposal or if they are merely included to clarify the longer term goals for frequency in the area.
- The 49, despite also connecting Capitol Hill to the University District will remain entirely in place and increase to 12-15 minute frequency at all times. However, U District Station at NE 45th Street will open 5 years behind the station at Montlake, at which point this route will be truly duplicated by Light Rail.
- The 48 will, like the 8, become split into 2 routes, in this case in the University District where riders can board the new route 45 which will take over the Green Lake/ Crown Hill portion of the route. With this will come an increase in frequency at most times of the day
After two rounds of public comment and three other proposals, this set of changes is very likely the final one that will get put in place in the first quarter of 2016. At this time, the only changes will probably come directly from the King County Council. The only two council members whose districts these changes are taking place in are Larry Gossett and Joe McDermott but contacting the entire council as well as County Executive Dow Constantine is probably the route to take to communicate any last minute suggestions on this restructure proposal. At this point it is not known when a final vote will take place.
UPDATE: Bus Stop missed the fact that the route 8 will also be making the same deviation via 19th Avenue that was in no earlier proposals from Metro. This deviation to a tricky turn between Madison St and 19th Avenue adds at least 2 minutes to every 8 trip, reducing the impact of splitting the 8 at Mount Baker Station and comes with little apparent justification.
You can read more about the proposals here.
(Image: Baso Fibonaci)
With just about 220 days until Capitol Hill Station opens at Broadway and John, the Red Wall is gone. It’s been coming down for months. We told you about the organic, random, artist-by-artist decisions on what comes next for the various pieces of amazing public art that have been displayed on the wall.
The most iconic, most photographed work on the wall will live on, it turns out. But it will live on in pieces. And it could live on… on your wall.
Want a piece of the Big Red Wall? Go here
Artist Baso Fibonacci is selling off eight by four-foot panels from his “Capitol Hill mural” for $500 a pop:
The mural that has graced the corner of 10th and John for the past 5 years has finally come down. We were able to salvage 7 pieces from the wall and are selling them for $500 each. Each piece is 8 by 4 ft. First come first serve.
“Email me to purchase one,” the artist adds. You can see the four remaining panels and learn more here.
The 24-foot by 120-foot self-portrait-with-owls mural that dominated most of the East John street stretch of the red wall since 2010 was designed by the local street artist and painted by Zach Rochstad and Japhy Witte.
Thanks to Matt for the tip!
Though it will be rendered only in blue and white, Sound Transit has selected a symbol of Gay Pride as the legally required identification icon for Broadways opening-soon Capitol Hill Station.
“Pictograms, as part of our overall general signage program, are not produced in color,” colorful Sound Transit spokesperson Bruce Gray regretfully informed CHS.
The new symbol was spotted by eagle-eyed @gordonwerner in Sound Transit’s latest project update newsletter. Sound Transit also announced that the Seattle-side line of light rail will be known as the Red Line while Eastside extensions will be known as the Blue Line.
The Pride-based icon was selected as part of a design and community feedback process designed to “create pictograms to identify Sound Transit Link light rail stations” that “serve as a tool to easily differentiate stations.” “This is important for non-English speaking audiences, particularly those that do not use a Roman alphabet,” a report on the process reads.
It’s choice comes in a summer of revival for the rainbow flag on Capitol Hill. While the flag continues as a ubiquitous symbol around the neighborhood every June for Pride, the addition of 11 rainbow crosswalks in Pike/Pine has represented a small restoration, for some, of the neighborhood’s eroding LGBTQ identity. For others, it’s a groovy photo op. You might expect a similar response for the Capitol Hill Station icon — though we wouldn’t mind holding the license for the branded blue Pride flag merchandise.
Art inside the station will be, well, kinda gay, too, with war+love machine Jet Kiss (Image: CHS)
Sound Transit officials have announced that an important “first phase” of testing on the University Link light rail extension connecting downtown to Montlake via Capitol Hill Station is complete. And they included this groovy video view from the operator’s cab to show you how it feels to zoom through the twin tunnels at speeds up to 55 MPH.
The testing of “new power, safety, train control and communications systems in most of the 3.1 miles of tunnels between Westlake Station in downtown Seattle and the University of Washington” involves coordinating the newly installed equipment with the system’s existing infrastructure. The work is part of phases of testing that will continue through the summer and will grow to include Sound Transit’s working fleet of trains. “(W)hen final phases of testing beginning this fall, all trains that operate during normal service hours will continue on to Capitol Hill and UW Station before returning south,” the announcement on the completion of the first phase of testing reads. The full announcement is below.
CHS took you inside for a first look at Capitol Hill Station as work continues to have the new extension ready for service by early 2016. You can also join CHS on a walk through the light rail tunnels here. Meanwhile at the surface, the process to develop the land around Capitol Hill Station with a mix of market-rate and affordable apartments, commercial space, and community space is underway.
Sound Transit completes first phase of University Link testing
New video from operator’s cab previews fast and frequent service that starts in early 2016
Sound Transit contractors have completed initial work to integrate and test University Link light rail signal and power systems as part of the push to open the extension in early 2016. Continue reading
All 86 units planned for Site B-North will be below market rate. (Image: Gerding Edlen)
A prominent Capitol Hill nonprofit will be taking the lead role in developing an all-affordable housing building as part of the four site, mixed-used project that will one day surround Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station.
Master developer Gerding Edlen has selected Capitol Hill Housing to develop, own, and operate the seven story, 86-unit building. According to Gerding’s winning proposal, half of Site B-North’s units will be restricted to households making no more than 30% of the area median income. The other half will be made affordable to households at or below 60% of AMI. Initial plans call for a community center and a day care, as well as a rooftop deck and computer lab. Continue reading
CHS showed you our take on the first look inside Sound Transit’s $110 million Capitol Hill Station. Here’s what the rest of the world saw:
- The Seattle Transit Blog — Inside Capitol Hill Station:
Sound Transit brought a four-car train up to Capitol Hill for the tour, providing a glimpse of what service levels could look like in 2021. Spokesman Bruce Gray noted that while two-car trains will still be the norm for U-Link, three-car trains will be mixed in during peak, with flexibility for four-car trains for special events. In 2018, three-car trains will be the norm, and four-car trains will run full-time upon the opening of Northgate Link in 2021. The station itself is compact, deep, and tall. Relative to the DSTT, the mezzanines are graciously much smaller, and the center platform really narrows the feel of the station box. The overall feel is reminiscent of a cross between an industrial cathedral and the flight pod from Battlestar Galactica.
- The Stranger — A Tour of the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station That’s Set to Open in Early 2016:
Lest the Bertha boondoggle hog all the limelight, let’s not forget that Capitol Hill has its own tunnel project. The only difference is that everything about it is wonderful. Instead of tunneling to build a massive highway, the project is to build a subway line connecting the heart of Capitol Hill to downtown Seattle and the University of Washington. It is under budget and ahead of schedule. It is definitely not sinking the Earth around it. It will be adorned with eye-popping artwork made by local artists.
- The Stranger also posted pictures here of the Jet Kiss installation provided by Sound Transit.
- CHS, by the way, posted pictures from 2010 of artist Mike Ross and crew at work on one of the jets:
Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A4 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)
(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)
With a message one Sound Transit official was so proud of he repeated it twice, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray led a media tour Tuesday morning of the “ahead of schedule and under budget” U-Link subway line’s Capitol Hill Station.
“When U-Link opens early next year it will transform how people get around this city,” Constantine said before getting to the heart of the matter — a public push to pass the state transportation budget in Olympia including a fully-funded Sound Transit 3 package.
Mayor Murray echoed the call to Olympia before heading underground below Broadway. “Tens of thousands of people will use this as a way to commute to work,” Murray said, “to enjoy life when they’re not working. It’s going to make a difference.”
Tuesday’s tour was the first public opportunity to see inside the $110 million station that stretches from John to Denny below two acres of Broadway just northwest of Cal Anderson Park. Later this summer, Sound Transit says it will begin “pre-revenue testing” on the twin tracks between downtown and Montlake via Capitol Hill. Starting around August, every train will continue from Westlake tunnel to put the system fully through its paces. Passengers, of course, will need to get off the train before it continues all the way to UW station.
A cutaway view from the north of Capitol Hill Station’s main entrance at Broadway and John (Image: Sound Transit)
If you see smoke Friday night coming from the under construction Capitol Hill Station, you can probably relax. Sound Transit says contractors will be conducting tests of the station’s “airflow” —
Friday, May 22, from 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Sound Transit’s contractors at both the Capitol Hill and University of Washington Stations will perform airflow tests in the University Link tunnels. Nearby residents and passersby may notice artificial smoke (a dense vapor produced by a fog machine) exiting vent shafts at the station sites. Additional airflow tests will also be performed on May 30-31 and June 6-7 during daytime hours.
If this were an actual emergency, never fear — Capitol Hill’s Fire Station 25 is home to Seattle’s only special tunnel firefighting machine.
The work is part of preparations through the rest of 2015 to open Capitol Hill Station and the U-Link light rail extension connecting downtown to Montlake by way of Broadway.
You can get a sneak peek here of the UW station and a look here at what it’s like inside the 3.1 mile tunnels. Riders will descend around 90 feet via escalators and elevators to reach the Capitol Hill Station platform, according to Sound Transit diagrams. In addition to the main entrance near Broadway and John, the station will also be accessed by an entrance near Denny on the west side of Broadway and a third entrance on the south end of the site. By 2030, about 14,000 Capitol Hill riders are expected to board the light rail trains each day.
Above ground, the process to develop the sites around the Broadway light rail site with a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments, a community plaza, and commercial space — including a home being planned for a new grocery store — is underway and planners are adjusting bus routes in anticipation of the new transit service coming online. Meanwhile, the surface level streetcar has begun testing on Broadway with hopes of opening the service to riders later this summer.
For the first time since they were selected to develop the housing and retail sites that will one day surround the Capitol Hill light rail station, developers Gerding Edlen met with the Capitol Hill community Saturday to show off its early designs for the project.
The Portland-based developer set up posters inside E Pine’s Century Ballroom for a public viewing of the company’s winning proposal, which Sound Transit selected and made available last month. The event was co-hosted by Sound Transit and Capitol Hill Champion, a neighborhood group that’s worked for years to insert community priorities into the “transit orientated development” project.
Members from the Gerding team and architects from Schemata Workshop were on hand to answer questions and take public feedback during the three hour open house. The event was a kickoff of sorts to a new round of community engagement on the project as Sound Transit spent much of the past six months scoring proposals from four teams.
A dog swimming pool, music practice spaces, a newsstand, and more vibrant color palettes were just a few of the colorful suggestions attendees offered after viewing the designs Saturday. Continue reading
The proposals for improving the bus network in Capitol Hill that have been coming from King County Metro over the past few years have varied pretty widely. From an emergency service proposal to staunch the effect of massive bus cuts, to a Seattle-only expanded service proposal that hasn’t even taken effect yet, the ideas for changing bus service on the Hill have been all over the place, and it would not be unreasonable to assume that the average Hill resident has not been able to keep up with them.
This week, Metro released its latest University Link restructuring proposal for Capitol Hill and northeast Seattle, set to take effect in the first quarter of 2016. After taking comments regarding its two alternatives, Metro has released a third proposal, dropping most of the really frequent service and retaining almost every area’s direct connection to downtown. The result is a proposal that falls short of a frequent service grid that was its clear ambition with alternative 1.
Here are the proposed changes, with the most dramatic stuff first. Continue reading