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Seattle Times: UW pushing for more expensive light-rail entrance

Capitol Hill’s connection between an institution of higher learning and its light rail station is sorted out but the Seattle Times is reporting that the University of Washington end of things is back up in the air — or, to be more accurate, on the ground:

UW officials are pushing for what they consider to be a more elegant idea. The university calls it the Rainier Vista extension, which would add $12 million in cost.

Instead of a skybridge, transit riders would use a new crosswalk on Montlake Boulevard, aided by a new, midblock traffic signal. State traffic engineers warn that change could worsen traffic on Montlake.

Riders could reach the campus via a new “land bridge” to be built over Northeast Pacific Place. The bridge would help create a visual connection with the UW’s Drumheller Fountain.

Here are Sound Transit’s plans for the connection between the Broadway light rail station and Seattle Central Community College:

An underground pedestrian tunnel will provide direct access from the west entrance (next to Seattle Central Community College) to the mezzanine level of the rail station. While this tunnel is under construction, a portion of Broadway will be reduced to one lane in either direction, with no on-street parking. The pedestrian tunnel construction will take approximately six months, and will probably be one of the last activities in the station construction.

The Times piece doesn’t lay out a scenario where the change would impact the planned start of service for the downtown-Capitol Hill-UW extension of the city’s light rail system in 2016 but it does note that the university wants $4 million from the City of Seattle to complete the project — money, officials tell the Times, Seattle does not have.

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4 thoughts on “Seattle Times: UW pushing for more expensive light-rail entrance

  1. I think you’ve got the stations mixed up – the UW is pushing for a different entrance scenario at the UW station – by the UW stadium in Montlake. The Capitol Hill Station interfaces (tangentally) with SCCC, not UW. There are no current changes proposed there.

  2. I think the UW should be ashamed of raising a red flag (with an additional $12 million pricetag that it’s not footing) so late in the game. The Seattle Times article states that the city is trying to “discourage sky bridges” (yet they can’t come up with money for the pedestrian improvements for the UW’s suggestion, either), but I don’t understand why the city would discourage a sky bridge at all. Any thoughts? It’s certainly possible to build a skybridge that would allow for handicapped accessibility and bicycles.

    It seems more like a vanity project for views from the UW campus than any true traffic or pedestrian benefit.