Post navigation

Prev: (03/21/19) | Next: (03/21/19)

Capitol Hill Station is getting a late third birthday present: stairs!

Preparation work has begun on Capitol Hill Station’s “back of house” stairs beneath the Denny entrance to the busy subway platform, Sound Transit tells CHS:

Once back-of-house stairways are open, riders will be able to use them during all Link light rail operating hours. One important note: work on back-of-house stairs will occur one stairwell at a time, with follow-on work happening for a while. This means after we open BOH stairs, riders may notice some stairways closed while work continues.

When it opened on March 19th of 2016, Capitol Hill Station was born with only emergency stairs connecting to its arrival and departure platform. It was designed to be accessed by escalator or elevator with the emergency staircase to be put to use in, well, only emergencies.

BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

But later this spring the back of house stairs will be there for you when the fragile conveyance systems are out of order or if you you feel like getting in a climb.

The work comes after decisions made last fall by Sound Transit in the wake of repeated access failures on Broadway and at UW Station. Sound Transit did not adopt the “Mitch Hedberg principle” — An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs — but, instead, decided take on the expense of building entirely new staircases at UW by 2022.

On the Hill, the much faster and cheaper BOH will have to do. Note to Capitol Hill Station’s escalators and elevators: You are not off the hook. Many riders will still depend on you so try to stay on the job delivering riders 65 feet below Broadway to the platform, OK?

Work underway to prepare for the new access using the stairs that connect from the mezzanine level to the platform involves the installation of safety and security systems, Sound Transit says.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

5 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Station is getting a late third birthday present: stairs!

  1. Sigh. Thanks for the update. I was wondering what was going on.

    Dumbest thing ever invented, an unclimbable escalator. Of course when it’s moving, people can walk up and down the stairs. But when it’s not, people can’t walk up/down same escalator stairs.

    Far more brilliant mind at work finding ways to spend millions of tax dollars than using frugal common sense.

    The Seattle Way.

    • Far more brilliant mind at work finding ways to spend millions of tax dollars than using frugal common sense.

      The Seattle Way.

      It’s funny when faced with a conflict, certain people just devolve into anti-government drivel.

      It’s actually state code that drives the broken escalator rule and that code is driven by industry regulations and recommendations for liability reasons, stupid or not.

      I know for Vancouver’s SkyTrain stations, they allow people to use broken escalators at their own risk, but the US is a highly litigious society, so industry and government prefers to be overly cautious.

      If you want to direct your anger towards existing tort law and advocate for tort reform.

      • Ah yes, the easy solution: tort reform.

        Somehow the DC area metro manages to allow users to use its escalators as stairs when they aren’t running.. Great workout at the Rosslyn station. Same goes for Atlanta MARTA.

        But I get it. Seattle is very special and in an economic boom. What’s a few million tax dollars?

  2. The cost difference between building stairs for daily use and emergency stairs is 10% (I was told this when I was on the Board of the Seattle Monorail Project). If Sound Transit had paid just 10% more, there would be no need for ‘work’ on the stairs to make them ready for daily use. I notice that it wasn’t until the last paragraph that the writer mentioned that the depth was 65 feet. That is a six story building climb. Not undoable but not for many of us.