(Images: Hewitt Architects)
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
Around 7,000 riders utilize Capitol Hill Station on any given weekday. As expected, it has become a new center of the neighborhood — and a high speed portal connecting us to a new spine through Seattle. You may have found yourself at the University of Washington or in Pioneer Square more often since the service started in March 2016. Friday, Sound Transit, perhaps shy after some of the negative reaction to its launch celebration of the U-Link line, perhaps busy with larger concerns, will hold a small, few-hour party across the Broadway light rail station and its sister UW Station.
Capitol Hill Station 1st Birthday Celebration
We visited the other CHS and joined its riders this week to capture the line as it looks and feels today and as a kind of thank you. It’s a good train. With worries about what comes next for big projects like it, we should celebrate it.
CHS ARCHIVES: Capitol Hill Station Opening Coverage — March 2016
On Saturday, March 19th, 2016, public transit on Capitol Hill changed in a big way. The Sound Transit light rail U-Link extension connecting the downtown transit tunnel to Husky Stadium and the University of Washington via Broadway opened. Capitol Hill Station has been the Seattle Subway-level success most predicted. To celebrate, Sound Transit is planing a little fun this Friday:
Friday from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. we’ll have ST staff greeting riders for U-Link’s Happy 1st birthday at the UW and Capitol Hill Stations. Folks will see/hear staff passing out Happy 1st birthday stickers and birthday cards, live music by street performers, and, at Capitol Hill, a Sounders FC pop-up tent with giveaways.
It is a pretty modest celebration. We suggest you hold a light rail party or two of your own this week. Send us pictures.
The scale of success has been much larger. Continue reading
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.
Here 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
The entrance from 23rd Ave. (Images: Sound Transit)
Wind barriers and solar panels on the station platform.
There is a 60-foot difference in elevation between the station entrances.
The pedestrian bridge access point on Rainier.
The station entrance on Rainier.
With a transformative light rail expansion measure now in voters’ hands, Sound Transit offered Central District residents an opportunity this week to see the fruits of passing the measure’s predecessor in 2008.
Judkins Park Station is slated to open in 2023 along with the rest of the 10-stop, voter initiative-funded East Link light rail line that will dramatically expand Sound Transit rail service in the region. The Judkins station open house Tuesday at the Northwest African American Museum served as an unofficial unveiling of the (nearly) final designs for the project. Continue reading
Entrances from 23rd Ave (above) and Rainier Ave. (Images: Sound Transit)
Jimi Hendrix will be looking down when you hear that train a comin’ at the Judkins Park Station in 2023. The Central District’s most celebrated son will be honored with two large murals at his home neighborhood light rail station, according to the latest designs for the Judkins Park Station.
Architects from Hewitt and Sound Transit presented the most recent artwork and schematics for the elevated station to the Seattle Design Commission Thursday. The station design is currently 90% complete, putting Sound Transit on track to start construction by next spring. Continue reading
How the TOD sites look now. (Image: CHS)
What the project might look like in 2019 (Image: Gerding Edlen)
In spring 2018, developer Gerding Edlen will finally break ground on the 100,000-square-foot Capitol Hill Station commercial, housing, and community space project. To do it, the developer needs to sign a land lease for the Sound Transit-owned property.
On Thursday, the Sound Transit board will vote on three 99-year lease agreements to hand over control of Sites A, B-South, and C — the paved over, fenced off parcels along Broadway between E Denny Way and E John. If approved, it would put Gerding on track to finish the project in fall 2019.
UPDATE (3:20 PM): The Sound Transit board unanimously approved the lease agreements Thursday afternoon, paving they way for Gerding Edlen to dive into the design phase of the project. “Today is a really exciting day,” said Sarah Lovell, a member of Sound Transit’s “transit oriented development” staff.
In addition to some 400 apartments, the project will include a retail “bazaar” anchored by a grocery store. Portland-based New Seasons Market and Capitol Hill’s Central Co-op are currently vying to take over the space. The project is also slated to include a daycare, community space, and permanent home for the Broadway Farmers Market.
Board members said the project would be an example for all future TOD projects along the expanding light rail system. Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff praised his staff following the vote, saying many had lived and breathed the deal for the past six months. “It’s easily the most ambitious TOD action the agency has ever taken,” he said.
Your three minute and change light rail rides through the tunnels to downtown and UW via Capitol Hill Station might seem a little longer. Tuesday, the switch was flipped to turn on the neutral host 4G LTE cell network — a multi-carrier network with data — built to eventually service all of Sound Transit’s underground light rail stations and tunnels.
Wireless infrastructure provider Mobilitie built and runs the network and is working with Sound Transit to roll out the service segment by segment, carrier by carrier. Anybody annoying you this week by grunting “uh huh” over and over again is a T-Mobile customer. Soon, Verizon and AT&T “uh huh” grunters will follow. Seattle Transit Blog reports Sprint has yet to sign a contract to be part of the early service deployment.
There have already been a few early adopters, of course: Continue reading
Over the weekend, CHS’s Re:Take history series took a look back at some of the lost bus routes of Capitol Hill. We don’t have to look back far in time to find the changes. Late last year, Metro planned out a wave of revisions and reroutes to optimize its service around the opening of light rail service to Capitol Hill Station and UW.
Now, the Seattle Transit Blog has provided the first look at how ridership on the altered bus lines has changed in the first months as ridership on light rail has soared.
STB grouped the impacted Capitol Hill routes into a set of winners…
- Route 11: up 38% — The #11 is likely absorbing demand on Pine Street east of Broadway for former Route 10 riders unwilling to walk to Link. Continue reading
Sound Transit may consider it an encouraging problem to have that the chief complaint among riders of its recently expanded light rail system is that trains are sometimes overcrowded. During last week’s Sound Transit board meeting, members asked transit officials to respond to public demand for more capacity and explain why more three-car trains are not running on the mostly two-car system.
It turns out that even with the huge boost in ridership since the Capitol Hill and UW stations opened in March, Link light rail is still well within its capacity on most trips.
“We cannot guarantee that everyone will have a seat during peak hours, nor was that how the system was designed or funded,” said David Huffaker, Sound Transit’s deputy executive director of operations. Continue reading