Monday, November 27, 2017

Redmond's Station Designs

Seattle Transit Blog

Hand sketch of the Downtown Redmond station (Image: Sound Transit)
Last Thursday, Sound Transit and the City of Redmond held an open house to share the latest designs for the two stations on the Redmond Link extension, planned to open for service in 2024. Following a Sound Transit Board decision in June to ratify alignment recommendations from the City of Redmond, the agency has moved quickly advancing design on stations in Downtown Redmond and Southeast Redmond.
The Downtown Redmond station is a simple elevated design between Cleveland St and NE 76th St. Elevating the station eliminated conflicts with pedestrians and vehicles crossing the line. The Redmond Central Connector trail is diverted very slightly to the north. There will be space for bus access and layover on both sides of the station area. The station platform is centered above 166th Ave NE, with entrances at either end.

Downtown Redmond Station Site Plan (Image: Sound Transit)
East of downtown Redmond, the alignment quickly comes to grade before passing underneath SR 520 where the off-ramps to Redmond Way will be rebuilt. It then turns sharply to the southwest where a second station will be built in the Marymoor area. That larger station is close to the southern perimeter of SR 520. The city this year adopted a package of zoning amendments intended to remake the Marymoor Subarea as a denser mixed use neighborhood. With downtown increasingly built out, Marymoor is likely to become an important growth area for Redmond.

Hand sketch of the SE Redmond station area, facing east with the platform to left and parking structure in background (Image: Sound Transit).

The Southeast Redmond station itself is at grade. To the east is an 1,100 car garage. It’s a five level structure, with parking on the upper four floors. Because of the tight geometric constraints, the trains will travel through the first floor, which also contains bus bays for connecting service and bus layover space. To avoid conflicts, cars will access the garage via ramps directly to the second and third floors.
Another 300 parking spaces (Sound Transit has committed to 1,400 in all) will be in a surface lot. If a partner is found, that lot could be redeveloped and the developer would accommodate the rail station parking along with their own needs.

Southeast Redmond Station Area (Image: Sound Transit)
The alignment choice (elevated in central downtown, but at-grade elsewhere) has enabled a connection of the East Lake Sammamish Trail with the Redmond Central Connector. Currently these trails, both built on the old BNSF corridor, are separated by the ramps at the end of SR 520, requiring dangerous street crossings. Both of the ramps to/from Redmond Way will be rebuilt and raised to allow trains to pass underneath. This allowed a connection for the trail with short tunnel sections under the ramps at little additional cost.
survey on design options is open through the end of this month. Online resources include the staff presentation, open house overview displays, and preliminary designs.

Rebuilding two ramps to SR 520 creates an opportunity to connect the East Lake Sammamish Trail to Redmond Central Connector Trail (Image: Sound Transit)

Comments (read more)

Overall, these designs work well.
It’s a bit mystifying that Redmond hasn’t tried to make as many places as easily walkable as possible from station platforms. In the Downtown station, the escalators are almost across the street from each other rather than have one pointed in the other section. It would seem so easy to turn one set of escalators or stairs in the other direction, rather than have entrances directly across the street and less than 200 feet from each other.
In the SE station, all the passengers will have to cross a track going in one direction. I get how that the crossing will allow trains to see anyone walking across the tracks since they will be stopped at the eastbound station platform — but I’m left wondering how the conflict will actually work as people getting off the train will block a leaving train. (Note that most of the users — probably 95%+ — of this station will not be going to or from Downtown Redmond but instead will be going to or from all of the points west of the station.) The surge of eastbound people getting off the train will all cross the tracks in front of the train, creating a conflict. There may be people running in front of an arriving eastbound train to get on a westbound train, but those people wouldn’t likely run across an eastbound train pulling into the station unless both trains arrive at the same time. In sum, a second track crossing behind the eastbound train is needed and doesn’t appear to pose much of a problem and would make it easier for eastbound trains to leave the station!
The other big elephant in the room that continues to be under-addressed by ST is the growing demand for drop-off and pick-up. This acts like there will just be two or three cars meeting every train. With Uber and Lyft, cell phone texting, employer and apartment shuttles — and maybe even driverless cars, this need will have to be increasingly accommodated more in the future. I don’t know why ST continues to design stations like it is 2005, when these were only about 5 ort 10 percent of how people get to stations. Surveys across the country at other urban rail stations already put this at 25 to 30 percent!

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