After reading pages of Sound Transit study and reports, the superior choice for the transit construction to serve the Chinatown-International District (CID) is clearly the North and South (N&S) design.
What is not to like about the (N&S) transit construction design that takes five years instead of 10?
What is not to like about the (N&S) design that costs millions less?
What is not to like about a (N&S) design that is constructed away from the streets of the CID?
What is not to like about a (N&S) design that avoids using South King, SouthWeller and South Lane streets as staging sites for piles of building materials, trucks, machinery, equipment and cranes for years, obstructing the front doors of CID shops, businesses and restaurants?
The CID is best served with surface stations, not a gigantic, mega transit hub of transfer sites underground. In the (N&S) design, stations serving the CID would be constructed across the street from Uwajimaya—on 5th and Jackson Streets (about 3 blocks apart)—with the mega transit hub constructed about four blocks north. Those who want to travel north or south in the CID have only a short station hop away.
It is unrealistic to think that a mega transit hub under 4th Avenue would bring customers to the CID. The purpose of riders going to the transit hub is because they are headed elsewhere. How many would ride up 45 feet from underground to patronize CID shops? Besides, shops would have to wait 10 years. And after 10 years of construction outside their front doors, how many of the CID shops would still exist?
Keep in mind that Portland’s Chinatown was killed off during 18 months of construction—Seattle’sCID would surely not survive the intrusion of 10 years of construction.
The (N&S) design would not destroy CID shops and businesses. The (N&S) design is endorsed by ACRS, JACL, and over 100 signers, including small shop owners.
In conclusion, the (N&S) transit design will preserve the CID and is the best choice. Please help urge a vote for the North & South (N&S) Sound Transit design.
– Bettie Luke
Kathleen Barry Johnson says
Unfortunately, moving the new light rail station out of the CID will not eliminate construction impacts. Two bridges underlying 2nd Ave. Ext S and Jackson are slated for seismic upgrades or rebuilding. 4th Ave S viaduct is up in the air. The new transmission line from the new Denny Substation is going to trench it’s way down 5th.
Bottom line: Chinatown is going to face many shorter but continuous big infrastructure upgrades. A 4th Ave station gives us the opportunity to coordinate these infrastructure projects (for example, Seattle City Light is literally waiting to find out where the station will be before they finalize their plans). The N/S option would leave us with construction impacts anyway, and a bad train system for ever.
Betty Lau says
Where is the documentation that Portland Chinatown is gone after 18 months of light rail construction? In my experience as a Portland visitor, the Chinatown there has been in decline since the late 1990s. Today, visitors are directed to the Pearl District, where New Chinatown and New Japantown are located. So is it really gone? Let’s look at Sydney, New South Wales, in Australia for what could be. Sydney has a large, bustling Chinatown served by light rail, bringing in hundreds of visitors per day. Let’s keep that in mind as we ponder the options.
Amy Lozano says
Let’s be transparent and call the N station what it really is; it’s the James St. Jail station. An area that no one travels to and no one wants to get dropped off at. It serves none of the neighborhoods that will be impacted by the construction.
The only person who benefits is Dow Constantine who is using the “no build” folks to push his own agenda to “revitalize” an empty Downtown, rather than investing funds into the nearby bustling, yet poor neighborhood of color.
Donald Liu says
The 4th Ave Shallow Alternative is by far the preferred station location, not the North or South of CID Alternatives. The 4th Ave Shallow Alternative places all the construction on 4th Avenue, and not on 5th Ave. Chinatown businesses will still remain open with the ongoing construction on 4th Avenue.
The CID Station location is the nexus of all Sound Transit trains, Link light rail and buses, Amtrak, Seattle Streetcar, Metro Transit buses. The hub is also the transportation destination for fans attending Lumen Field and T-Mobile Stadium events. With a new Link light rail Line 2 intersecting with the existing Link Line 1 at a 4th Avenue Shallow station would be a natural hub integration as well as an expansion of the transportation hub’s outreach. This Alternative has the advantage of making excellent public use of the iconic Union Station Building (which is now underutilized and the Plaza area can be unsafe), and it provides ready accessibility to those visiting or living in Chinatown and facilitates transfers from those traveling on Link light rail from the Eastside to change trains at the 4th Avenue Shallow station to go to and from Sea-Tac Airport.
The 4th Avenue Shallow Alternative is also best for Chinatown and Pioneer Square residents. If the North or South of CID Station Alternatives are selected, riders using the current CID station will no longer be able to take the Link light rail directly to Sea Tac Airport. Riders will have to transfer to Link Line 1 trains at SODO Station to travel to and from Sea Tac Airport. Having to transfer trains is not only inconvenient when travelling with luggage, but also adds travel time in waiting for the arrival of Line 1 trains to the airport.
As a resident I am more than willing to put up with the construction work and noise, additional traffic and some inconvenience to ultimately achieve a long lasting easily accessible CID station serving all corners of King County and beyond that will make Chinatown more accessible to all. It will help revitalize Chinatown for future generations.