Here’s Sound Transit’s plan to make the display signs at Capitol Hill Station work (or, at least, stop showing inaccurate info)

Next Monday will mark the second anniversary of the opening of Capitol Hill Station. And, yes, the station display signs showing train arrival and departure information still don’t really work.

“We’ve found that the display signs show significantly inaccurate arrival predictions when: (1) trains are deployed (or removed) outside of the schedule that’s been loaded into the legacy system; (2) a major service disruption occurs, such as a disabled bus blocking the tunnel,” a Sound Transit spokesperson tells CHS. “The legacy system cannot account for these situations, resulting in wrong arrival times.” Continue reading

Asian flavored H Mart in talks to fill key retail space at Capitol Hill Station

With PCC announcing its plans to open a new downtown Seattle store in 2020, another potential player appears to be off the board to fill the key anchor tenant space in the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” project slated to finally break ground this spring after a decade of planning. After a series of names attached to the project have either backed out or moved on, CHS has learned that talks have centered on a new, growing part of the region’s grocery and retail economy.

Capitol Hill Station master developer Gerding Edlen is finalizing talks with Han Ah Reum Mart, Inc. to fill the key retail space in the massively important housing, commercial, and community development set to fill a block of Broadway surrounding the light rail station, a person familiar with negotiations tells CHS.

The company’s H Mart stores are known for their Asian foods and home goods. The U.S.-based chain featuring fresh produce, meats, seafood, snacks and more opened in the University District last summer even as a long anticipated downtown Seattle project has remained on hold. Continue reading

Latest Metro boosts and changes mostly leave Capitol Hill routes unaltered


After a busy few years of upgrades, optimizations, cuts, and eliminations, the next wave of Metro bus route changes scheduled to roll out starting Saturday mostly leave Capitol Hill’s routes out of the equation.

“Riders will receive more King County Metro bus service starting March 10 on dozens of routes, including more frequent daytime service, more commute trips to ease crowding, and expanded evening and weekend service,” Metro crows in its announcement of the new changes.

Routes like the 8, 11, 12 are lined up to receive “additional resources to improve the reliability of service” but most of the big changes are off Hill and, in some cases, out of the city. Continue reading

Spring groundbreaking planned for Capitol Hill Station development

Development on the four, seven-story mixed-use buildings surrounding Capitol Hill’s light rail station is proceeding toward a groundbreaking this spring, possibly in late April, according to Jill Sherman. Sherman is head the project for Gerding Edlin, the Portland-based developers leading the project.

The date has some community members ready to celebrate. Brie Gyncild of the Capitol Hill Champion group said her organization is hoping to host some festivities to coincide with the start of construction.

“We’re just excited we’re going to have a groundbreaking,” Gyncild said.

Sherman expects the construction to take about 21 months, assuming there are no significant delays, putting the opening in early 2020, as has long been planned. Continue reading

Get to Capitol Hill safely as you ring in 2018 with free bus rides, later light rail

The New Year is already shaping up to be better. King County Metro and Sound Transit have announced free bus service, more night service, and longer hours for light rail to ring in 2018:

For the first time, King County Metro will offer free rides on New Year’s Eve between 4 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, and 4 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1, including DART and Access service. In addition, Metro will add service to its night routes. The Seattle Streetcar will also be free on New Year’s Eve and Sound Transit will extend Link light rail service between Angle Lake and the University of Washington.

“As we put the finishing touches on 2017, we want you to be able to get out on the town and come home safe,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in the announcement of the holiday service upgrades that safety advocates and nightlife industry have been calling for. “Whether you are heading to the Seattle Center or other King County destinations on New Year’s Eve, Metro will get you there and back, all for free. It’s our way of saying thank you for making Metro the nation’s best transit system, and we look forward to riding with you next year.”

CHS reported here on King County Council member Dave Upthegrove’s legislation introduced in early 2017 to make the changes possible.

In addition to free Metro service from 4 AM on Monday, December 31st through 4 AM on Monday, January 1st, Sound Transit will run its light rail trains later through the night, operating “extended Link light rail service” with trains running northbound from Angle Lake Station every 30 minutes until 1:30 AM. Southbound trains from the University of Washington will run until 2 AM. Sound Transit typically operates the light rail system with a four-hour downtime overnight. Capitol Hill Station and the rest of the line operates 5 AM to 1 AM on weekdays and Saturdays.

Additionally, the First Hill Streetcar will operate until 1 AM.

The county says Metro routes with added service will include 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 14, 24, 32, 36, 40, 41, 62, 65, 70, 101, 106, 120, 124, 150, 255, RapidRide A, B, C, D and E Lines, and ST 550, ST 554.

The fareboxes and ORCA card readers on Metro buses will be covered to remind customers not to pay. Regular fare will be required on Sound Transit services.

On New Year’s Day, buses and rail service will operate on Sunday schedules, and “regular valid fare will be required on all services.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Station sniffs 7,000 boardings a day as ridership continues to climb

Walking Fingers by Ellen Forney

Sound Transit’s annual light rail ridership rose around 13.5% through September — about 10% of the 72,000 additional daily boardings across the system’s 16 stops happened at Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station.

Overall, third quarter boarding totals show Capitol Hill Station’s 2017 jump of 13.4% pretty much mirrors the full system’s rise:

Link light rail ridership continued its strong growth during the third quarter, with a 13.5% increase compared to the same period last year. Average weekday boardings were 76,821, a 13.5% increase compared to the third quarter of 2016. The Angle Lake extension opened the last weekend of the third quarter in 2016. The continued increase in ridership and average weekday boardings is attributed to the two service expansions in 2016 as well as the addition of the Angle Lake Garage with more than 1,100 parking stalls. The region has enthusiastically adopted Link as a convenient transportation choice.

According to Sound Transit’s just released quarterly ridership report (PDF), around 6,953 people board trains below Broadway every weekday — up by about 800 per day from 2016.

Not every piece of data in the set is good news for the system, however. Boardings at Sea-Tac were down more than 13% in the period. UPDATE: Sound Transit attributes the drop to the new nearby Angle Lake Station:

Sound Transit won’t have a enough history for full year over year annual Broadway-boosted comparisons until 2018 — Capitol Hill Station debuted in March 2016 and immediately helped jolt light rail ridership to “record” numbers.


Planning for Seattle AIDS Memorial begins at center of Capitol Hill Station plaza

The Capitol Hill Station plaza is set to be a new center of activity on the north end of Cal Anderson Park. Its center will include a memorial to those lost to the AIDS crisis — including park namesake Cal Anderson, Washington’s first openly gay legislator who died of “acquired immune deficiency syndrome” in 1995 at the age of 47.

The Seattle AIDS Legacy Memorial group is working to fund and create the monument.

“We’re thrilled to be able to connect the history of the neighborhood to be centrally located where all Seattleites tend to come,” said Paul Feldman of SALM. “We’re hopeful, through careful planning and careful engagement, that we’ll hear stories we’ve never heard before and we’ll make clear to visitors that there’s still much work to do.”

Most of the details will be decided in the months ahead as the plaza and the surrounding developments move forward toward a possible late 2019 opening, but the SALM group will call for artists in the coming months. Finalists will be asked to offer specific design proposals fitting the following requirements: create a place of reflection and remembrance, provide a call to action, tell the history of King County’s AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s, the lessons that came with it, and the diverse community responses.

Artists must also make the installation prominent, visible to passersby, mostly outside, accessible to convenient public transportation, easily maintained, accessible to the disabled, wifi-abled and powered. One important consideration when choosing the artist is that, although the plan spans three spots joining the plaza, the Nagle and Denny festival streets and the northern edge of Cal Anderson, it’s clearly one project. During the design review process, some community members suggested plaques honoring those who died including Anderson.

While Cal Anderson Park honors the late politician by name, there is no permanent marker in the area acknowledging his history. In 2012, a temporary portrait of Anderson was unveiled on the giant wall that surrounded the Capitol Hill Station construction site.

The plaza — by necessity due to legal requirements and the physics of construction over an underground light rail facility — is somewhat of a blank slate planned for community activity. The four buildings that make up the surrounding developments will create more than 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space, and more than 200 new parking spaces below ground for residents and shoppers. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Station development designs finalized

By the end of 2019, you might be living above Capitol Hill Station. The development projects to create four new buildings and a public plaza above the bustling transit terminal passed through the final step in design review Wednesday night.

Still, not everybody is satisfied.

One man stood up during public comment to say, “I think this project should’ve been built yesterday.” He then urged the board to reduce the number of parking spaces. “This is a transit-oriented development, right? Like, y’all, come on guys.”

The four building designs finalized Wednesday night will create more than 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space — and, yes, more than 200 new parking spaces below ground for residents and shoppers. Continue reading

With one last step in design review, hopes for 2018 start of construction for Capitol Hill Station projects

Above the future Capitol Hill Station developments (Image: Alex Garland)

CHS is back in business just in time for the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” projects set to create 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space along Broadway to finally pass through design review.


The four buildings face a second round of review in the design “recommendation” phase Wednesday night.

Design Review: Capitol Hill Station projects

Two months after getting sent back to the drawing board in the final segment in the review process, the project’s lead developer Gerding Edlen is back with proposed facade, color, and material changes for the design as the search for daycare and grocery service providers to anchor the commercial aspect of the project continues.

Gerding Edlen’s Jill Sherman tells CHS they are not at a point where they’ve signed with anchored tenants. So whoever the grocer and daycare services may be is still up in the air. The project’s planned childcare did move to another building, however, closer to the park. The review board also suggested changing the configuration of the childcare space, reducing frontage along Broadway. There was no decrease in square footage.

“What we’re trying to do now is show we think we can design a daycare and what the storefront looks like in a way that will be attractive and interesting for pedestrians,” Sherman said. “We originally proposed a daycare because we knew it was a community priority.” Continue reading

What the Capitol Hill Station development will probably* look like

The design process to create 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space around Capitol Hill Station will move back into motion next week. Here is what the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” is planned to look like.

Architects for developers Gerding Edlen and Capitol Hill Housing have submitted the second — and final — round of design proposals for the project planned to create four new seven-story buildings on Broadway and 10th Ave just north of Cal Anderson Park. The full proposal is available here (PDF).

Design Review: Capitol Hill Station

Continue reading