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.
The Central District station will be tucked into and underneath I-90, spanning Rainier Ave and 23rd Ave. With a 380-foot long platform (80 feet longer than a football field), the Judkins station will be the longest in the entire light rail system. An existing pedestrian bridge over Rainier will be maintained and an elevator and stairway will be added to get riders to the station entrance.
The Sound Transit 2-funded East Link will replace I-90’s current center-running express lanes to cross Lake Washington and connect with Central Link. Demolition of the lanes at Rainier Ave will make way for the Judkins station street-level entrance below the platform.
Construction is slated to begin in mid-2018 and last through 2021. Officials said they were still working on plans to minimize impacts to the Mountains to Sound Greenway and I-90.
Officials told CHS the current station renderings are nearly final, but architects are still working on incorporating recommendations from September’s Seattle Design Commission meeting. Commission members were primarily concerned with the prominence of the “gateway” feature at the station’s Rainier Ave entrance. The structure was added in order to hold the roll down gate to close-off the station from 1-5 AM.
Sound Transit officials walked through the station in their third and final open house on the station design, noting architectural elements, art, and landscaping.
Images of the Central District’s most famous native son will be prominently displayed outside the station. A New York-based artist is creating two large murals of Jimi Hendrix, one for each of the station’s entrances. Artwork from local artist Barbara Earl Thomas will be included within the station, primarily on wind guards surrounding the platform seating.
“It will be a regular part of your life,” said Kurt Kiefer, Sound Transit’s public art coordinator.
Having to meet various, sometimes opposing needs, Sound Transit architect David Hewitt said the design team strived to create an interesting station that was still functional and fiscally responsible.
“This needs to be serviceable for 50 years,” he said. “It has to display a sense of prudence.”
It seems that a more interconnected region may also come with having to travel longer distances for public meetings The next East Link extension meeting is planned for November 17th in Redmond.