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.