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

Capitol Hill Community Post | An open letter on Capitol Hill Station development

commentfigurescaphillstationedgBy Andrew Haas

There have been many large commercial projects on Capitol Hill over the last decade, but none have the power to shape the neighborhood’s future more than the redevelopment of the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station. As the project heads for Early Design Guidance on Wednesday, now is the last real opportunity for the Capitol Hill community to shape the project. Let the East Design Review Board, Capitol Hill Champion and Gerding Edlen, the developer, hear your input.

While Gerding Edlen has an excellent team and their early design proposal is strong, five design issues need to be addressed to make this a great project for the neighborhood. Continue reading

Reminder: First Capitol Hill Station development design review — UPDATE: Approved for next round

UPDATE 12/14/2016 9:27 PM: We’ll have more on the ins and outs but the project gained easy approval of the design board Wednesday night — though there is work to be done on the design by the time the recommendation phase is entered in summer 2017. The board asked for a better solution for a large residential lobby currently planned in Site C and also suggested that incorporating the planned daycare in C along Broadway needed to be reconsidered. The board will also look for a better concept for landscaping and trees in the expansive plaza as well as smart treatments for possible blank spaces created by Sound Transit requirements that force separation between the mixed-use building and structures housing the two station entrances. The board also expressed its expectation for a creative solution for the station’s large vent which will eventually be surrounded by the development at the center of the central open plaza. One public speaker suggested that the plaza could be home to plaques or murals expressing the history of the neighborhood or honoring a figure like Cal Anderson. The vent house could eventually be home to such a display. Public comment was generally supportive of the ambitious development concept. Many online comments were received including several which asked the board to do more to ensure a Market Hall small retailer concept is designed into the development. The board included the concept in is requests for the applicant to address in the upcoming “recommendation” round.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-6-13-49-pmAfter 10 years of community process, there may not be much left to talk about Wednesday night as the four seven-story buildings destined to rise around Capitol Hill Station undergo the development’s first round of design review.

But not everything is a done deal with master developer Gerding Edlen, Hewitt Architects, 12th Ave-headquartered Schemata Workshop, and landscape designers Berger Partnership. Public comment will be part of the proceedings Wednesday night — your email comment to the city’s planner might even make it under the wire. UPDATE: Make sure to include project numbers and addresses (found here) with your comments.

Design review: 118 Broadway E — Capitol Hill Station development

To be effective, your comments should focus on the aspects the city’s design review process is there to shape:

  • The overall appearance of the building
  • How the proposed building relates to adjacent sites and the overall street frontage
  • How the proposed building relates to unusual aspects of the site, like views or slopes
  • Pedestrian and vehicular access to the site
  • Quality of materials, open space, and landscaping

Continue reading

12+ things CHS heard at the Capitol Hill Station development open house

Before heading to its December 14th public design review meeting, the developers and architects behind Capitol Hill Station’s “transit oriented development” held an open house to share plans with the public Tuesday night.

Attendees got the first look at designs for the four seven-story buildings including a combined 427 market-rate and affordable apartment units, more than 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space, and parking for more than 300 vehicles planned to join Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station.

Design review: 118 Broadway E — Capitol Hill Station development

At the open house, master developer Gerding Edlen broke the preferred project design down into display boards describing the overall site plan, each of the four buildings, the plaza, and the affordable housing components. Residents provided comments through conversation and sticky notes.

12 things CHS heard at the open house

  • “Parking is to me, generally useless on top of a transit center,” said Saunatina Sanchez, who lives a few blocks from the development. Continue reading

First look at Capitol Hill Station development designs — Seven stories, 427 units, and a new Broadway plaza

Here are the first official public design proposals for the four seven-story buildings including a combined 427 market-rate and affordable apartment units and more than 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space slated to rise surrounding Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station.

The proposal represents a decade of planning and public process that is set to further reshape Capitol Hill’s Broadway core and make new housing for hundreds while adding a new community plaza adjacent Cal Anderson Park. The full review proposal is at the bottom of this post.

As the project is lined up for its first design review next week, master developer Gerding Edlen will meet with residents, and business and community group representatives who will neighbor the massive — and massively important — development in an open house Tuesday night:

Capitol Hill Station development open house

The open house is designed as drop-in event with opportunities to speak with Gerding Edlen representatives — and practice your feedback on the project’s planned 668 334 parking stalls. The 1.5 0.78 stall to unit ratio is just a little higher than pretty much in line with recent trends across the city. UPDATE: Sorry for the error!

Continue reading

Get ready to help shape four new seven-story buildings at Capitol Hill Station

It is showtime. After years of planning, December 14th brings the start of the public design review process to shape the four seven-story buildings that will create 444 affordable and market-rate apartments plus thousands of square feet commercial and community space surrounding Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station:

118 Broadway E: EDG application proposing a 7-story apartment structure containing 153 units & ground level retail. 1830 Broadway: EDG application proposing a 7-story apartment structure containing 92 units & ground level child care facility & retail. 923 E John St: EDG application proposing a 7-story apartment structure containing 99 units & a community room at ground level. 123 10th Ave E: EDG application proposing a 7-story apartment structure containing 100 units & ground level retail.

Design review: 118 Broadway E — Capitol Hill Station development

The development will finally put the two-acres of fenced-off empty pavement around Capitol Hill Station into motion sometime next year. It will also begin a new stream of communications around the project, eventually helping the neighborhood navigate another two years of major construction at the site. But first there are the pesky details of what it all is going to look like. Continue reading

Popular: Sound Transit 3’s big win celebrated

Tuesday’s national election results were a prime example of how, sometimes, it’s not as important how many votes you get but how you get them. But the hugely important decision faced by Puget Sound voters on the future of the region’s transportation system ended up a celebration of the popular vote. The campaign to deliver a combined “YES” on Sound Transit 3 vote across King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties celebrated its victory Thursday.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-21-52-amHere is the statement from Abigail Doerr, campaign manager for Mass Transit Now:

Today, I am honored to officially declare that Sound Transit Proposition 1 has passed with majority support from voters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties.

With this landmark vote in favor of regional mass transit we’ve turned the page on our tumultuous transportation past, and begun a new chapter that will redefine our future.

Proposition 1 finally gives us the full-scale public transportation system we have always needed. It will benefit all of us, as well as our children and grandchildren by improving the environment, our region’s economy, and the quality of life of people in the Puget Sound for generations to come.

On behalf of the entire Mass Transit Now campaign and our coalition partners, I extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who supported Proposition 1 with their time, treasure and votes.

Prop 1 passed despite failing to our south in Pierce County. You can see by the tallies, with King County’s strong support, the more far flung “NO” voters didn’t have a chance: Continue reading

Why they’re building a hotel and apartment building on Harvard Ave

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-4-13-49-pmAdding some hotel space and apartments to Capitol Hill was an easy decision for Jon Coulter and his business partners Rod McClaskey and Terry Boyle.

In spite of the common perception of soaring rents and developers making money hand over fist, Coulter says they are running up against some softness in the market, at least in the higher-end range where they build.

“The pressure of the rents is downward,” Coulter said. “We’re testing the top of the food chain.”

Design review: 1818 Harvard Ave

And he’s expecting that downward pressure to keep up, with hundreds, if not thousands of new units coming online over the next few years.

“We’re not sure what 380 square feet will get us in Capitol Hill in three years when it’s done,” Coulter said. Continue reading