No downtown light rail this weekend as Sound Transit’s winter construction project reaches halfway point

Where to find your free CHS shuttle

Sound Transit contractors have reached the halfway point of this winter’s construction project to connect the coming East Link light rail expansion to the city’s existing underground transit tunnel running from downtown to Pioneer Square. What comes next this weekend is the second of three planned service disruptions with downtown stations completely closed from Friday 9 PM until Monday morning. “During that time, there will be no Link light rail service between Capitol Hill and SODO,” Sound Transit writes. “Shuttle buses will make surface stops at the closed stations. Fares will not be required for train or shuttle bus passengers.”

Then comes five more weeks of construction and a reversal of sorts for the single tracking solution Sound Transit has been using to keep trains running during the work:

When service resumes, Link passengers traveling through downtown will still need to make a transfer via the new center platform at Pioneer Square. However, the operating platform will have switched to the southbound platform at stations north of Pioneer Square and to the northbound platform at stations south of Pioneer Square. Extensive signage marking the change will be deployed, and Sound Transit ambassadors and security staff will be present to assist passengers in getting where they need to go.

Sound Transit says bikes will remain prohibited at Pioneer Square station throughout the construction. Riders with bikes must exit at University Street or International District/Chinatown stations.

The final planned weekend light rail closure is scheduled for March 14th and 15th.

More than 1,300 apply for 110 affordable apartments above Capitol Hill Station

A sample floor plan of a two-bedroom unit at Station House

CHS reported on the January 7th opening of the application process for the 110 affordable apartment units slated to open later this year in Station House, the development from Capitol Hill Housing part of set of brand new buildings rising above the Capitol Hill Station light rail facility.

Just how big was demand for the six-story building’s affordable units? Capitol Hill Housing tells CHS that within 10 minutes, 300 respondents had filled out the form expressing interest in the application process — and more than 1,300 registered through the mid-January deadline. Continue reading

2020 off to good start: Capitol Hill Station has platform stairs (Now, get ready for 10 weeks of downtown light rail disruptions)

2020 is already better than 2019. There are stairs to the platform in Capitol Hill Station. But like most things in these challenging times, you also need to get ready for a 10-week start to the New Year with Seattle’s light rail system slightly hobbled as it is prepared for big expansion ahead.

First, the good news. After months of waiting and a fair amount of systems and infrastructure updates to make it safe, Sound Transit announced the opening of the new stair access at Capitol Hill Station this week. Last March, CHS reported on the plan to repurpose emergency stairs to add an option for reaching the platform beyond the frequently busted escalators and elevator access. Continue reading

Sound Transit fare enforcement reform recommendations get early 2020 deadline

A roster of King County and Seattle officials are asking for Sound Transit to have answers about how it will reform its fare enforcement policies early in the new year.

A letter signed by Sound Transit Board officials including King County Council member, Joe McDermott, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Seattle City Council member Debora Juarez calls on Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff to have findings and recommendations for overhauling how the agency manages fare enforcement by February. Continue reading

Want to be part of 110 affordable new apartments above Capitol Hill Station? Here’s how to join the Station House crowd

(Image: Capitol Hill Housing)

With rent for even its most expensive units expected to be 35% below Capitol Hill averages, the affordable Station House apartments above Capitol Hill Station are set to draw hundreds and possibly thousands of interested residents.

There are only 110 units to go around.

The Capitol Hill Housing-developed component of the massive complex of housing, retail, community, and plaza space being built above the busy light rail station is set to begin its leasing process in the new year with its new apartments planned to open by March:

CHH will build 110 apartments affordable to households earning at or below 30%, 50%, and 60% of area median income in a mix of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units at the corner of 10th Avenue East and East John Street. The building is being built with a goal of reaching a LEED Platinum standard and will also include a 1,409 square foot community room.

The first stage of the application process will begin January 7th. It will be a busy day. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Giving thanks for the bounty at the Capitol Hill Farmers Market

Last Sunday on a crisp afternoon, CHS found the sidewalk and plaza along Broadway in front of Seattle Central filled with the tents and vendors of the weekly Capitol Hill Farmers Market as shoppers stocked up on fresh vegetables and goods for their upcoming holiday feasts.

The dusk-like sunshine of an unusually dry Seattle November was a reminder that the sun will, indeed, be setting on this regular neighborhood scene. Don’t worry. There will be a new dawn in 2020. Continue reading

Sound Transit wants feedback on fare enforcement, searching for new name for Seattle-side ‘Red Line’ light rail

(Image: Sound Transit)

Sound Transit is taking on some important social and operational issues to end 2019: fare enforcement — and the end of the unfortunate “Red Line” name for its future Seattle-side light rail routes.

When CHS has reported on light rail fare enforcement over the years, it has never been good news. Last year, we reported on a video showing a rough “use of force” arrest for a reported fare enforcement issue aboard a train in Capitol Hill Station. This fall, Sound Transit scrambled to explain aggressive fare enforcement efforts against students on the first day of school.

Now, following a Seattle Times report in October showing how Black passengers are cited and punished disproportionately by Sound Transit fare enforcement, the agency is beginning a process to collect feedback on how to address equity and safety issues related to how it collects fares: Continue reading

Also coming to Capitol Hill Station: Trophy Cupcakes

Thanks to CHS reader Brian for the tip (Image: Trophy Cupcakes)

With details of the cornerstone retailer in place, we’re also getting an idea of some of the smaller pieces of commercial activity that will be part of the mixed-use development of housing, groceries, day care, businesses, and a new plaza above Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station.

According to city permits, a Trophy Cupcakes shop is also in the works for one of the development’s retail berths.

The small project will create a new Trophy selling pre-made cupcakes and merchandise. The 2007-founded Seattle company currently operates five locations in the area. Capitol Hill’s existing cupcake royalty, Jody Hall’s Cupcake Royale, debuted on E Pike in 2009. We’re waiting to hear back from Trophy for any more details about the Broadway shop. Continue reading

Sound Transit says November Capitol Hill Station to SODO closure won’t be needed

Good news, weekend light rail riders. Sound Transit announced Monday that a planned series of three weekends of closures between Capitol Hill and SODO stations only took two to complete the work:

Crews completed work ahead of schedule on a new temporary center platform at the Pioneer Square station that will allow light rail trains operate on a single track through downtown Seattle during Connect 2020.

“As a result, a planned downtown light rail closure scheduled for the second weekend of November has been canceled,” Sound Transit writes. Continue reading

Reminder: First of three weekends with no light rail between Capitol Hill and SODO

Where you can catch the Sound Transit “bus bridge” this weekend

This coming weekend will be the first of three planned this fall with no light rail service between Capitol Hill and SODO as Sound Transit prepares for major construction of its coming new line:

We’re laying the groundwork to open the Blue Line, a new Link line that will begin taking riders from Northgate to Redmond in 2023. As part of that work, we need to reduce Link service for three weekends this fall. On the weekends of October 12-13, October 26-27, and November 9-10, there will be no Link service between SODO-Capitol Hill. Trains will run from Angle Lake-SODO and UW-Capitol Hill, and free buses will connect the six stations in between.

CHS reported on the planned closures in August when October probably seemed like a long time away. But now the first weekend of service disruption is here. To try to help cover the gap, Sound Transit will be offering bus service between Broadway and John, downtown, and SODO Station. Sound Transit says it chose these weekends because there are no Seahawks or Husky football games. Continue reading