Underground light rail station
Sound Transit is constructing the University District (U District) station in Seattle, Washington in the US. The project is part of the $1.9bn Northgate Link light rail extension between the University District and Northgate.
Originally known as “Brooklyn Station” in the initial planning stages, U District is estimated to cost $159.8m. The station will support the future transit-oriented development above and between the entrances to the station.
The concept design phase and schematic design phase of the station project were reviewed by the Seattle Design Commission in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The design development phase was approved in January 2016. Construction on the U District light rail station began in 2017 and the new station is expected to be opened in 2021. The University of Washington is responsible for the development of the station area.
The station will serve approximately 12,000 riders per day by 2030 and a projected 22,000 to 26,000 daily riders by 2042.
The U District station is located at the intersection of Northeast 45th street and Brooklyn Avenue Northeast in the University District neighbourhood.
Situated between Northeast 43rd and Northeast 45th streets, the University District station will serve retail units and businesses on the University Way Northeast, UW Tower, nearby residential community, and the northern part of the university campus.
The station will have two at-grade entrances, of which the south entrance will be located on Brooklyn Ave NE at NE 43rd St and the north entry will be near the Neptune Theatre.
The project is designed to enable a transit-oriented development over the top of the station, with a height of 280ft. Covering 117,000ft², the underground light rail station is being developed under the Northgate Link Extension of the light rail system.
The 6.92km-long Northgate Link Extension will have three stations, including U District and Roosevelt underground stations as well as an elevated station at Northgate. It is expected to enter service in 2021.
The station will have parking infrastructure to accommodate 100 bikes. The two entrances will feature elevators, escalators, and stairs to connect the passengers to the platform, which is 80ft below the surface.
The U District station will facilitate the riders to travel to downtown Seattle in eight minutes and Northgate in five minutes. The travel time between the station and airport is expected to be 41 minutes, while riders will be able to reach Stadium Station in 15 minutes.
Site preparation works including the demolition of the former Chase Bank building began in 2013. The project completed the final design, demolition, excavation and tunnelling before the commencement of the construction of the station.
In March 2020, the contractor started replacing portions of sidewalk on both Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and Northeast 43rd Street. The existing pavement will be demolished, removed and replaced by a new sidewalk. The construction will not impact access to residences and businesses.
According to the mobility plan sponsored by Sound Transit and other stakeholders for the University District Station area, the NE 43rd Street from Brooklyn Avenue to 15th Avenue NE improvements is being constructed to address the projected increase in the number of pedestrians between the station, the Ave, and the university. The mobility plan is intended to improve access and pedestrian circulation near the station.
The plan also involves the construction of a bike lane on the 11th Avenue NE as part of the Roosevelt RapidRide project, which is now known as RapidRide J Line. The pedestrian crossings of NE 45th Street at the Brooklyn Ave are being improved through measures such as better crosswalks and signal timing. The upgrades will improve access to the U District station from the north.
The pedestrian improvements on NE 45th Street and the RapidRide transit will be undertaken between 2021 and 2028.
Hoffman Construction Company was awarded a $159.8m contract to construct the station in March 2017. The contract includes the construction of structural, civil, and architectural finishes, and providing equipment such as escalators, elevators, electrical and mechanical equipment, and landscaping.
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