Threat clears Capitol Hill Station construction site

Workers filled the street as they were cleared from the construction site Tuesday morning (Images: CHS)

Seattle Police and King County’s Metro Police were searching the area and construction workers were sent home for the day after a bomb scare Tuesday morning at the mixed-use development construction site surrounding Capitol Hill Station.

A county spokesperson tells CHS that the Broadway light rail facility was also being searched and checked out clear. The facility appeared to remain in operation throughout the morning. Continue reading

‘It’s good to remind folks how the system works’ — On first day of school, students get lesson in Sound Transit fare enforcement

The start of the year for Seattle Public School students who rode Sound Transit light rail to school Wednesday included an important lesson. The fare enforcement process deployed by the transit agency is draconian.

And you can’t trust adults.

A photo posted by SPS educator Jesse Hagopian showing an enforcement employee reportedly requesting and photographing student IDs on light rail Wednesday morning sparked backlash about the practices and policies deployed by the agents. Continue reading

Sound Transit: Plan for three weekends this fall with no light rail between Capitol Hill and SODO in preparation for 2020 Blue Line construction

Lots of good things are ahead for riding light rail to and from Capitol Hill Station but to get there, Sound Transit says coming construction will mean a few weekends without service this fall:

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.

Sound Transit says it chose those weekends because there are no Seahawks or Husky football games. Continue reading

Good news for bikes, more trains during rush hour, connection to the Central District, and more: What’s next for Capitol Hill light rail riders

(Image: Sound Transit)

They grow up so fast, don’t they? This summer, Link Light Rail is celebrating its tenth birthday.

Back then, the Link covered 14 miles. The Capitol Hill and University of Washington stations opened three years ago, and ridership is now at 8,100 weekday boardings at the Capitol Hill Station. Sound Transit projects the number to rise to 18,000 daily weekday boardings at the station in 2026.

With the addition of more stations and lines, new trains and information system, a lot more is going to change. Here’s a look at what’s ahead for Capitol Hill Light Rail riders.

Where the Light Rail will take you: Pretty far. It won’t happen overnight, but the system will grow to 116 miles by 2041 with 48 more stations. In two years from now, Capitol Hill riders will be able to hop on a direct line to the new, underground U District and Roosevelt stations, and an elevated Northgate station.

By 2023, also on a direct line, Capitol Hill riders will be able to reach the new Judkins Park station smack-dab in the middle of I-90. From there, passengers will be able to take in views of Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier if you’re lucky by riding the train on the I-90 bridge (or more precise: the world’s first train tracks on a bridge that floats) to Mercer Island and South Bellevue. Lynnwood, Kent, Federal Way and downtown Redmond will be within light rail’s reach just a year later.  Continue reading

Hope of revived plan for a First Hill light rail station is buried… again

From Sound Transit’s “Background Information for Section 4.10, Geology and Soils” appendix before First Hill Station was cut from U-Link planning

Any hope of a First Hill light rail station being part of Sound Transit 3 appears to have been left in the dust after deliberation by the transportation agency’s Elected Leadership Group Thursday afternoon.

CHS reported here on hopes from the First Hill Improvement Association and neighborhood and transit advocates that the rapidly growing, incredibly dense neighborhood would be included in planning for the coming third wave of Seattle-are light rail that will span a total of 11.8 miles and add 10 new and four expanded stations. West Seattle Alaska-Junction and Ballard routes will converge downtown by 2035.

But Thursday’s discussion of the planned Midtown Station seemed to lock in the idea that the facility should reside in the shadow of the Seattle Central Library on 5th Ave and basically takes further talk of a potentially expensive, probably engineering-challenged First Hill location off the planning board completely. Continue reading

Maybe Sound Transit’s ‘Vertical Conveyances Report’ will finally address the Hedberg principle — UPDATE

If you’re tired of encountering broken down — and blocked off — escalators at Capitol Hill Station and across the rest of Sound Transit’s light rail facilities, here’s hoping for some good ideas in the University of Washington Vertical Conveyances Report.

The wonky sounding update is scheduled to be delivered Thursday at the Sound Transit board’s afternoon session of the Operations and Administration Committee. The report follows a fiasco level incident in March in which every escalator at UW Station was out of commission and hundreds queued up for long waits for the only access to the platform — the elevator. Continue reading

Thirteen years after painful cut, First Hill still wants a light rail station

Capitol Hill Station celebrates its two-year anniversary this week. First Hill is still waiting.

The First Hill Improvement Association remains determined to get a light rail station built in the heart of its neighborhood — though Sound Transit cancelled a site there in 2005 citing geological instability.

“There’s a difference between hard and impossible,” FHIA director Alex Hudson said. 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.

 

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

You might be able to move into your new Capitol Hill Station apartment in 2019

Earlier this month, Sound Transit and Capitol Hill Station celebrated one year of service carrying thousands of riders every day on the light rail line connecting downtown to Montlake by way of Broadway. The two acres of so of pavement around the station, you might have noticed, remain empty but there are big plans. Here is what comes next after December’s first design review — and why the one-year celebration didn’t include a ribbon cutting from the project’s developer Gerding Edlen for the some 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space planned to rise around the station.

Destined to begin construction in 2018 and open for new residents late the following year, the architects behind the largest buildings and the key central plaza above Capitol Hill Station are refining plans following the project’s first step in the special streamlined design review process set up for the community-guided “transit oriented development.” As part of its application for the critical land use permit, Hewitt Architects submitted a roster of planned design changes based on feedback from the design review board for the project’s main Site A building along Broadway and the pedestrian plaza that will sit above the busy light rail station below and is hoped to create a central gathering place, a home for the Capitol Hill farmers market, and a new gateway for the adjacent Cal Anderson Park.

Here are some of the changes being planned for the next and final round of design review expected to take place this summer:

  • Parking: The developer’s rep told the crowd at the December design review that there was likely to be fewer parking spots than included in the design plan. True… kind of. The big lot is down to 158 spaces: Site A was previously showing 183 parking spaces on 3 below grade parking levels. This has been reduced to 158 spaces. 
  • Broadway pass-through: The plan for a passageway through the development to connect Broadway through to the internal plaza will be de-cluttered and the quasi-public space will hopefully be more inviting and provide small retailers with a more active environment: The pass-through for Site A has remained at 15’-0” minimum width and all bicycle racks have been removed. The residential lobby no longer lines the entire south side of the pass-through allowing for further activation of the retail spaces. Retail is now visible at both the west and east. Continue reading