With officials touting ‘record transit’ numbers, Capitol Hill riders trading bus for light rail

Opposite Day On the Escalator, Capitol Hill Link Light Rail Station

More Capitol Hill commuters are traveling by public transportation — and they’re ditching buses in favor of light rail and the First Hill Streetcar in droves. The new numbers come from the Seattle Transit Blog’s analysis of the first release of systemwide ridership data following the opening of Capitol Hill Station, UW Station, and the U-Link restructure that optimized Metro’s lines around the opening of light rail service between downtown and the University of Washington via Broadway.

While Capitol Hill-area riders are less likely to be hopping on a bus, the data comparing Fall 2015 with Fall 2016 activity show Metro’s restructure apparently paid off by putting the county system to work serving areas away from the light rail circuit and feeding riders to the stations. “Despite an aggressive ULink restructure, Metro ridership stayed flat, declining by just 0.2%,” the STB wonks write. Continue reading

SDOT plans additional analysis of Broadway-John-E Olive Way for all-walk intersection

Gridlines at Broadway and John

Call it an all-walk, a scramble intersection, or a diagonal crossing, some community members say the intersection at Broadway, John, and E Olive Way needs one. But the Seattle Department of Transportation isn’t quick to OK an intersection that would stop cars in all directions and allow all pedestrians to cross.

Dongho Chang, a city traffic engineer, said those kinds of crosswalks can have unintended consequences and increase delays for everyone. But Chang said the increase in foot traffic in the last year since Capitol Hill Station opened in March does warrant additional analysis of the intersection.

“We definitely want to look at how to improve conditions for them,”  Chang said of the increasing number of pedestrians traveling through the intersection.

Chang said a new analysis was planned to begin this week. Continue reading

Woman hit by driver at busy Broadway/E Olive Way crossing

dsc00446A woman crossing one of the busiest intersections on Capitol Hill was struck by a driver witnesses said appeared to be rushing to make the light in a Friday noontime collision at Broadway and E Olive Way.

Seattle Fire rushed to the scene of the collision after callers reported the woman down in the crosswalk in front of the Rite Aid. She was conscious and received treatment at the scene before being taken to the hospital with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries. One witness said the woman appeared to have stepped into the crosswalk as her signal turned green

Police were interviewing the driver at the scene. E Olive Way just west of Broadway was closed for westbound traffic for around 30 minutes during the response.

Already one of the busiest Capitol Hill areas for pedestrians, the Broadway/John/E Olive way crossings have become even more active with the opening of Capitol Hill Station on the intersection’s southeast corner. Last summer, CHS reported on a study showing street and crossing dangers around the station. Late last year, intersections from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park were selected for major pedestrian improvements though the project does not seem to include the western edge of the intersection across E Olive Way where Friday’s collision took place.

Sound Transit trying to sort out how best to keep Capitol Hill Station escalators moving

Ongoing maintenance issues have Sound Transit considering doing away with escalators altogether — in future stations. At Capitol Hill Station, however, the one-year warranty has expired and the frequently out of service moving stairways will continue to be an ongoing nuisance on the 65-foot journey to and from the light rail platform. Continue reading

Police search Capitol Hill Station after another Broadway robbery

Thanks to a reader for information and a picture from the scene

Thanks to a reader for information and a picture from the scene

Police focused their search Tuesday night on the nearby Capitol Hill Station after a man held up the drugstore across the street in the second reported armed robbery of its type on the block in the past week.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the suspect was wearing a ski mask as he walked into the Broadway Rite Aid around 8:30 PM and handed employees a note demanding cash and threatening that he was carrying a Glock pistol in his pocket. The man reportedly apologized as he fled the store carrying a bag full of money. No weapon was seen. There were no reported injuries. Continue reading

Survey: Capitol Hill Station buskers? Great or totally great

Your various government entities seem to have a lot of questions for you in the new year. Sound Transit wants to know how its pilot to allow busking in Capitol Hill Station is going. As occasional users — why leave the Hill, right? — CHS can’t really identify any downside to having the performers be part of the station.

But Sound Transit also wants to hear from all you buskers. Here’s the survey:


What kind of busker are you, anyhow? Sound Transit will ask.

The survey will be part of Sound Transit’s evaluation of the pilot and decision on what to do next with the program when the test phase ends in February. CHS reported here on the pilot’s September launch and the program’s goals of helping to “retain existing users, as well as attract new users, and is consistent with promoting transit-related activities.”

Do you have a favorite Capitol Hill Station busker? The survey doesn’t ask but you can let us know.


Survey: How will you use new Capitol Hill Station community room?

How about a little thought exercise to start the year! Here are the parameters of your assignment:

The development around the Capitol Hill light rail station includes a community room. The room will be approximately 1300 square feet in size, including dedicated restrooms. The room will be able to accommodate 60-80 people seated lecture style or 40-60 seated at round tables. The developer and design team want to design it in a way that is most flexible and useful to the community.

Just before the holidays, the project to create market-rate and affordable housing, community space, and a block of new Broadway retail around Capitol Hill Station passed its first design review en route for the hoped start of construction in spring of 2018.

Your deadline for this part of the development is a little more pressing. You have until Wednesday, January 4th to tell the Capitol Hill Champion group — continuing its work coordinating community priorities on the project with developer Gerding Edlen — how you and your community group might put a planned community facility inside the development to use:

We wanted to make sure you and members of your organization saw this opportunity to provide input on the design of a future community center at the Capitol Hill light rail station. The new development around the light rail station includes a 1300 square-foot community space, but that space hasn’t been well-defined. Now, the developer and their design team need guidance to design the space and determine how it will be managed.

They probably can’t fulfill every wish, but they would like to design it in a way that provides the greatest flexibility to meet diverse community needs. If you would be likely to reserve the space for an event — a meeting, art class, performance, or something else —please complete this survey to tell us what you’d need. Please also pass this message on to others who would be likely to use the space.

Want to catch up on the latest on the Capitol Hill Station development plans? Start here.

Here’s why Capitol Hill Station’s escalator has been busted for weeks

We have been celebrating Capitol Hill Station’s first Christmas of service but in what has mostly been a season of light for the light rail facility, there has been one holiday dark spot.

The “up” escalator from the main platform has been out of service for weeks — some say two, others, three. While outages for the escalators haven’t been uncommon, this one might, indeed, have set a record:

Sound Transit blames the delay on the state telling CHS that the agency is awaiting word from Washington Labor & Industries to “approve the repairs.”

In the meantime, the blocked-off route shows there is, yes, such thing as a broken escalator.

We’ve already documented why Capitol Hill Station’s escalators are sometimes reversed. If the current outage continues, we may be faced with another perpetually broken Capitol Hill escalator. Remember what happened to the other one: It’s now stairs.

Capitol Hill Station’s first Christmas


With suitcases full of holiday cheer, many neighbors are taking the light rail from Capitol Hill Station to SeaTac — and vice versa — this week. Others are picking up weary, fresh-off-the-Link family and friends at the Broadway light rail station.

The travelers CHS spoke with during the holiday rush said they are choosing light rail for a variety of reasons — cost and convenience topped people’s lists. Continue reading

26+ things CHS heard as Capitol Hill Station development passes through first design review

It turns out that after 10 years of public process there were, indeed, more things to talk about as the development of market-rate and affordable housing, community space, and a block of new Broadway retail around Capitol Hill Station passed through its first session of design review Wednesday night. More things like…

  • A “European-style” Market Hall
  • Plaques or artwork in the project’s central plaza commemorating the neighborhood’s history or important figures like Cal Anderson
  • A better home for the planned daycare center than along Broadway
  • “Shared street” treatment for the extension of Nagle Place
  • Probably less parking
  • And, no, no bollards in the plaza — “I personally would not like to see bollards,” said one member as the rest of the design board nodded in vigorous agreement.


Below are some of the things we saw and heard during the review board’s session including a wave of online feedback sent in on the project by CHS readers and others — and some of the elements the project’s developer Gerding Edlen and its design team will need to address before returning this summer for what could be the final planning milestone before construction.

img_1595With the developer’s preferred plan –“Alternative 2” — on its way to approval, board member Natalie Gualy was ready to look ahead to the summer and another three hour session to fit and finish the project’s design. “This could be the most important development that we’re seeing,” Gualy said to her fellow board members, reminding them to hold the project to the highest possible standards.

Even with three hours Wednesday, it was a bit of a rush.

26 things CHS heard at the Capitol Hill Station development “Early Design Guidance” meeting

  • “The success of the project is related to the success of the plaza,” Schemata Workshop’s Grace Kim said during her portion of the night’s presentation.
  • “This will be the permanent home of the farmers market.” The central plaza will host the Capitol Hill Farmers Market on Sundays and an additional weeknight market, presenters said. Continue reading