Love you Sound Transit, but please do these things

What you see while you head down to the platform. UW Station / Photo by Kevin Scott

Sound Transit does many things really well, so consider this criticism from a friend.

On-time-or-better completion? Check. Beating budgets? Check. Creating the new backbones of the region? Nice stations? Check and check.

But a few very fixable things would make a huuuge improvement to usability.

Let’s talk about a drink of water. Or coffee. Am I missing something obvious, or is there precisely nothing to drink at UW station unless you go to a nearby building? And same at other stations?

At Westlake or Capitol Hill at least there are businesses outside. You can buy a coffee.

But at UW Station…nothing. Sometimes the absence of commerce is a benefit, but not here. Wouldn’t a coffee cart or little cafe pavilion be awesome? What about three strategically-located drinking fountains? Since social equity is supposed to matter, why are we forcing everyone to buy a drink at a store or lug something from home instead of having a free respite for everyone?

What you see while you wait on the platform. UW Station

And heaven forbid having bathrooms there too. Try the hospital or the HUB. Because every onsite solution costs too much, barring a commercial solution, so we get nothing. This is an ongoing Seattle problem of course.

Artwork is featured at every station, but something odd happened at Capitol Hill and the UW. All of the visual interest is in the entries and route downward. The waiting area, where people wait, has an almost featureless putty-colored motif. The only color is warning lights and those bumpy yellow pads. Is artwork coming at some point? Even ads would be welcome, which is something because I usually hate ads with a passion.

Signage is a fourth topic. It’s generally well-done. But how about clearer “way out” signage at Westlake, where tourists constantly get off and wander around before heading out via the Nordstrom sign (not seeing the signage that does exist). And how about more integration of Metro into ST signage, since nobody really cares which agency runs each route?

This entry was posted in Architecture, Design and Art, Parks and open space, Policy, transportation. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Joe

    Thank you so much for this blog.

    #1. I agree, we need way better signage at Westlake. It would be so nice if there was a clear pathway to the South Lake Union Streetcar.

    #2. Being I am transit-dependent and travel for hours on public transportation, there ought to be a law requiring bathrooms. We can make them gender-neutral where you just go in a stall, do your business, rinse oneself and get own with your day. For the record, I am male and intend to go to the grave male but…

    #3. I really would like to see some coffee for sale too. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAD! As in, I can’t go past the Everett Station coffee shop without making an order!