Most of the conversation at tonight’s meeting on the Roosevelt Station to be built by Sound Transit revolved around the impacts of construction on the neighborhood and the effects of the functioning station on things like parking and traffic. But another serious issue emerged: why is Sound Transit proposing a station that puts a hole right in the middle of the business district? The proposed station doesn’t have any proposed secondary use on top of it, and some neighbors are incensed.
The fact is that incorporating stations into development is doable. Sound Transit is already proposing it at the Brooklyn Station in the University District.
It’s also desirable. As one neighbor pointed out, the boxy design leaves “prime real estate” under used, with only the station use. Everyone talks about the station being a 100 year decision, one we’ll all have to live with for a long time. So then why leave a hole in the donut of transit oriented density?
Sound Transit’s facilitator handled the questions politely, and said that there are “different views on that issue.” It is true that residents and the property owner adjacent to the station’s south entrance voiced concerns about impact on them.
But the question remains. Why having 65 feet of capacity over a cut and cover station rather than building a harder lid to accommodate more housing wasn’t addressed.
Could it be cost? Maybe risk? Possibly, but the agency could get some or all of that extra cash they spend on a harder lid for the station when they sell the improved, developable air space above the station.
The point is, building on the station is feasible and maybe even affordable. Furthermore, if there isn’t agreement and action on other rezones–especially east of the station–building on top of the station ensures real TOD for years to come.