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Sound Transit dropping color plan so you can take the 1 Line to Capitol Hill Station

(Image: Sound Transit)

Sound Transit is transitioning to an alphanumeric system for naming its light rail lines and bus routes. The public transit agency announced the decision last week to adopt the new system of numbers and letters that will change the line currently connecting north and south through the city via Capitol Hill to the 1 Line.

In November, CHS reported on the agency’s ill-fated “Red Line” designation of the route serving Capitol Hill Station as Sound Transit was preparing for the launch of the Blue Line serving a new connection to the Eastside.

“As the term Red Line became more visible we heard concerns from members of our community, that this term carries unfortunate associations with the punitive practice by lenders of ‘redlining,'” Sound Transit said at the time.

CHS wrote about the practice and the use of racial covenants around Capitol Hill and the Central District here.

New signs and system maps are now being readied for the opening of light rail service to Northgate planned for 2021.

“When the system is complete in 2041, Link light rail will have five lines (1, 2, 3, 4, and T), Sounder will have two lines (N and S), and Stride bus rapid transit will have three lines (S1, S2, and S3),” Sound Transit’s announcement reads.

Meanwhile, the enveloping economic pains of the COVID-19 crisis for governments from Seattle to Olympia is also hitting Sound Transit.

The agency is “financially well-positioned to maintain operations” to keep trains and buses moving, the Seattle Transit Blog reports, but the timeline for its longer term plans for expansion to serve Ballard and West Seattle could now be in jeopardy.

Sound Transit, like transit agencies across the region, has also suspended fare enforcement amid a major downturn in ridership during the COVID-19 restrictions.


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PD
PD
11 months ago

“‘As the term Red Line became more visible we heard concerns from members of our community, that this term carries unfortunate associations with the punitive practice by lenders of ‘redlining,’” Sound Transit said at the time.”

Really? This objection is absolutely ridiculous…. The “red” in “Red Line” here refers to a color coding scheme…why are these voices amplified in these debates? They should be ridiculed and driven out of the conversation.

This reminds me of the debate over “Central District” versus “Central Area,” because, apparently, the term “district” has–apparently!–negative connotations.

It doesn’t, by the way. And we also have the International District and the Admiral District and the University District in this city, and they all seem to do just fine.

Plus “Central Area” as a name for a neighborhood sounds awful. Moronic, really.

EricB
EricB
11 months ago
Reply to  PD

You literally are tone deaf! Peoples objections have to do with the racist policy of red lining areas where banks refused loans to African-americans, asians, and other people of color!

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
11 months ago
Reply to  PD

The term Central Area is/was the name preferred by the African American residents of the area, when I was involved in neighborhood activities in the late 90’s, early 2000’s. See https://www.seattle.gov/opcd/ongoing-initiatives/central-area

“The Central Area of Seattle lies midway between the Central Business District and Lake Washington and is the city’s oldest surviving residential area. Sometimes known as the Central District, or affectionately by African Americans as the CD or the Colored District, it is bounded by East Madison on the north, Jackson Street on the south, 12th Avenue on the west and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way on the east.”
https://www.historylink.org/File/3079

The term Central District has become more popular again recently, seemingly coinciding with the “gentrification” of the Area/District.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_District,_Seattle

ChrisJB
ChrisJB
11 months ago
Reply to  PD

OK. Leave the racial aspect aside for a moment and consider this: “Red Line” has other unpleasant connotations as well. For example, Syria was widely said to have crossed a “red line” when it used chemical weapons. We often speak of “red lines” in personal and business relationships that have negative consequences when crossed. Use of the term would inevitably trigger unpleasant thoughts in many people, even if only subconsciously. Yes, I know many other transit systems use it, but those decisions were made long ago and would be excessively disruptive to reverse now. Sound Transit acted rashly in trying to foist it on the public without soliciting any input or providing any explanation of what it even referred to, and is smart to have changed course while it was still relatively painless to do so.

louise
louise
11 months ago

Real world problems being solved during a pandemic.

XR
XR
11 months ago
Reply to  louise

No kidding, this is how you end up with a backlash putting Trump in office.

MarciaX
MarciaX
11 months ago
Reply to  XR

Perhaps, but that says a lot more about the petty, myopic worldview of Trump voters than it does about Sound Transit.

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
11 months ago

FWIW relabeling seems common round here. I often come across old street names inlaid in the sidewalk, identifying what we now call XXth Avenue East as XXth Avenue North!

Xtian Gunther
Xtian Gunther
11 months ago
Reply to  Ann

Yes, but Seattle has an ugly history of Redlining that was highlighted by 60 Minutes for its egregiousness and the filthy banks and real state agents who purported it. Very incongruous with what we think of Seattle and very harmful and hurtful to POC here. I’m guessing you are white?

Also, PDX has one of the most bigoted histories of all of the US states. So, I wouldn’t hold it up as an example to prove your point ;-)

BW
BW
11 months ago

Super interesting, thanks for the info.

jonc
11 months ago

Glad to hear this. I’m sure colors work for some, but numbers seem more intuitive to me. “Catch the #2” has a ring I don’t sense with “catch the blue”.

ChrisJB
ChrisJB
11 months ago
Reply to  jonc

On my monitor at least, the colors for 1-4 look like green, cyan, rose and lavender. I wouldn’t mind saying “I gotta catch the Lavender Line.” (Hmm, maybe that should be the one that goes to Capitol Hill.)

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
11 months ago
Reply to  ChrisJB

Do you think many light rail passengers, first arriving at the Capitol Hill Station, realize that the station’s logo is a black and white representation of a rainbow flag?

iluvcaphill
iluvcaphill
11 months ago

So glad they went away from the color scheme which just doesn’t work for those of us who are color blind. This is a much more logical set up.

Question Mark
Question Mark
8 months ago

The 1 line will only come to Capitol Hill until sometime between 2030 and 2035, according to the curious scheme now being described. Somehow it has been chosen for the communities of West Seattle and Redmond/Bellevue to have direct rail lines to the University of Washington in Seattle. And of course Capitol Hill will retain that direct link.

But if you are in South Seattle and southward, sometime after 2030 your single-track destination will be Ballard.