Bob’s Political Opinions

A Suggestion for a Transit Hub under the Washington State Convention Center

There is a convention Pklace Transit Center in Seattle at the northeastern entrance to the Downtown Transit Tunnel. Here a number of bus routes converge and enter the tunnel. Also, there is a light rail line in the tunnel, but it does not have a station adjacent to the Convention Center Transit Center. This place in called the Convention Place Transit Center because it is just across the street from the Washington State Convention Center. Now the Convention will expand to include the space now occupied by the Transit Center, which would be eliminated.

In my opinion, this is a huge wasted opportunity! Why not retain a portion of the bus station and also build an adjacent light rail station that would be a major Transit Hub for the Convention Center, for the adjacent major South Lake Union business and residential district and other surrounding areas?

The existing transit center is below surrounding ground level (but mostly not covered), with ramps for buses to leave and exit to an adjacent street and also from the freeway, Interstate 5. There are three lanes for buses to pick up and discharge passenters just outside the entrance/exit of the Downtown Transit Tunnel.

The Sound Transit light rail line also uses the tunnel, but it diverges from the tunnel just inside the entrance and runs about 50 feet or so south of the Transit Center with a wall separating the two, and there is no train station here.

The plans are to demolish the transit center and build the expansion of the Convention Center in this place, and buses would no longer use the tunnel, only light rail.

My suggestion is to retain a portion of the Transit Center, which would then be underneath the new building for the Convention Center expansion, and also to open up a portion of the wall separating the Transit Center from the rail line, and build a light rail station adjacent to the bus station. This would then provide an underground transit hub below the Convention Center, similar to what is below the World Trade Center in New York City.

This Transit Hub would not only provide easier access to the Convention Center, espicially for out-of-town visitors and convention goers, but also serve the growing South Lake Union area beginning just a block or two north of the new Transit Hub. The South Lake Union area includes several large buildings for the Amazon headquarters in addition to many other growing businesses and large residential buildings. There are also many people working in areas south and west of the transit center. Thousands of people would now be within a short walking distance of the new Transit Hub and this would cut down considerably on private use of automobiles.

One argument in favor of closing the transit tunnel to buses is that as light rail traffic expands, it will be too difficult to use the tunnel for both buses and an increasing number and frequency of trains. There may be ways of mitigating this problem so that buses can continue to use the tunnel along with the trains. Moving buses from the tunnel to surface streets will increase already bad traffic problems on the surface.

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