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Special station planned for East Link downtown

 

Sound Transit introduced residents to its 60-percent design plans for East Link transit stations downtown on Tuesday night, including what has to happen to bring light rail under the city and back up at City Hall.

Bellevue Transit Center

A working title, the Bellevue Transit Center will be incorporated into the north side of City Hall at Northeast Sixth Street, just down the hill from the Metro station. This station is being touted as an at-grade, elevated tunnel station that will save taxpayer dollars and be a light rail rarity, said John Walser, Sound Transit architect.

"You probably won't find a station like this anywhere else in the U.S.," he said.

Responding to comments during its 30-percent design presentation, Sound Transit has extended its platform to 90 percent to minimize wind and weather impacts. There will be eastern and western entrances with elevator and escalator access, including at the City Hall Plaza, which will also be modified to make way for the transit station. The city will also be reconstructing its parking garage, with a large part of public safety parking being displaced by the light rail tunnel portion.

Sound Transit is looking for artists for the transit center, which will include a glass wall for the enclosed stairway to the light rail platform, said Barbara Luecke, Sound Transit art program manager. She said a selection committee already has been formed that includes members from the Bellevue Arts Commission, Bellevue Arts Museum and Meydenbauer Center situated across the street. The hope is for a nighttime lantern effect, said Luecke.

Walser said it's important to Sound Transit to maximize property next to the station being purchased by the city from King County Metro to allow for transit-oriented development there after construction. A firewall will replace a portion of the glass wall where that property will be developed. The station also will use terra cotta tiles similar to what's present at City Hall, but use different colors.

"So, we're relating to City Hall, but we're not matching City Hall with the color of our materials," he said.

Tunnel

Starting at the East Main Station, the East Link tunnel will run from 112th Avenue Northeast to Main Street before running up 110th Avenue Northeast all the way to the Bellevue Transit Center, turning at Northeast Sixth.

In order to access ventilation fans along the route, a mid-tunnel access structure is planned to be built at Northeast Second Place and incorporated into pocket park design planned there. The building will simply house the stairs leading to the tunnel for maintenance.

Hospital Station

The Hospital Station will be an elevated, center platform design, about 22 feet above Northeast Eighth Street and down the road from Group Health. An ADA-accessible pathway will run from the station to the hospital complex.

Metro has requested space for a bus shelter in a limited parking area to be constructed by the station. The lot will not be used for other bus stops, said Walser, as Metro has no plans to add the Hospital Station to any of its routes.

 

For a video guide along the East Link track, go to this shortened link: http://bit.ly/1fKtne6

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