Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Final Design Open House: Judkins park station

RantWoman meant to post this a good while ago. RantWoman posts it here just for the record.

Quick notes, Impressions from the most recent Sound Transit final design open house  at the NW African American Museum for the Judkins Park / Rainier Avenue link station and accompanying other changes.
Sound Transit Judkins Park Station project page

Warning: there is ONE visual. One, to appreciate aawesome Open House Swag: Hi vis zipper pulls as captured by RantWoman's Smartphone, accidentally mimicking RantWoman's visual experience.

The latest in SoundTransit swag: reflective zipper pulls
The rest of this is words. Sorry all you visual thinkers. You are going to have to use your words just like Blind people do, and RantWoman is penning this a little too late at night to be as gentle about such points as she aspired to during the day.

No, RantWoman did not spend the whole presentation period yelling at the presenters to please use the mic. RantWoman did do this a couple times and thought about doing it a couple more times. Then RantWoman decided she needed to save her breath and general RantWoman presence for other causes.

Yes, of COURSE there was Powerpoint and thus by definition enough Death by Powerpoint moments to send RantWoman on a fantasy involving a mobile hot spot, presentations on the web and ways for people to click in and follow the presentation on devices 12 inches away instead of many feet away. On the other hand, RantWoman has learned that the world does not necessarily stop if she does not interact with every digital scribble in a Powerpoint deck. On the third hand, sometimes RantWoman remembers to make reasonable accommodations requests either for copies of the Powerpoint via email or for links to a web location. Sometimes RantWoman remembers to make such requests. RantWoman did not remember to make such a request. So for now we will rely on RantWoman's cultivated sort of somewhat enhanced capacity to focus orally on key points and on RantWoman's memory.

RantWoman takes note again: the existing ramp up to the Rainier flyer bus stops is too steep for people in manual wheelchairs. The only wheelchair RantWoman has talked to about this problem usually just rides the bus further downtown and makes connections via the International district tunnel station.

For the record, RantMom with her cane also is not too crazy about the steep ramp; if she were travelling regularly, we might complain louder. As it is, the ID workaround is a fallback.

RantWoman mentions the steep ramp problem though because adding an elevator on the Rainier side of the station will be a step forward in accessibility. Adding TWO elevators, one for each side of the tracks would be better, but there are details like cost and preserving SOME of the existing bridge structure. (on the pro-2 elevator side, ask RantWoman about a certain 3-week-long elevator outage at the pedestrian overpass over International Boulevard at the SeaTac station)

At the open house, RantWoman zero'd in on two questions.

1. Bicycle and pedestrian streams near the bicycle freeway, please excuse RantWoman the Mountains to Sound Greenway. When the new station opens, ther e will be:
--bicyclists commuting through the area and not wanting to be impeded by pedestrians
--Bicyclists wanting to use the bike lockers as they get on and off the light rail
--pedestrians who need to cross paths with the commuting bicyclists.

RantWoman very much appreciates that someone else asked a question about these two non-motorized people flows.  RantWoman can handle the response, basically 
"we haven't figured it out yet, except that leaves RantWoman wondering whether any substantial design adjustments should be considered. Maybe the world just goes out and gets data with the design as it is and then for future stations....

2. The at-grade track crossing, necessary because of building only one elevator. This one did not come up in the presentation to the whole room. RantWoman is glad to have found the conversation about it after the public presentation. The points RantWoman came away with:
--RantWoman is still having trouble visualizing different elements of this including the track crossing.
--Provision HAS now been made at least to add tactile indicators such as yellow domes to the at-grade crossing path. This at least will help blind or deaf-blind riders find a safe crossing path.
--The at-grade crossing is on the side of the tracks where the train will be stopped in the station. The assumption is that the driver will see any pedestrians including  deaf or deaf-blind pedestrians and not start the train until the pedestrians are safely across the tracks.
--No there is not any kind of barrier system approved for this context and there are big liability concerns even trying to consider design of such a barrier system.
--Here somehow RantWoman thinks of the option of taking two stop light cycles to make it all the way across both tracks and both directions of traffic and of the barriers in use along MLK for the at-grade crossings NOT in the stations. RantWoman definitely would not mind understanding a little better exactly what is supposed to happen in the new station.

Additional notes:
At transit open houses, after the presentation, RantWoman tends to fog around, find someone's easel and ask what they are there to talk about. RantWoman scored when she did this and wound up talking to the representative from Metro tasked to talk about what will happen to the bus routes that usually stop at the Rainier Flyer station. RantWoman is wondering whether the final design session is too soon for the whole room to start to hear more about what will happen during construction.

Tonight's conversation mentioned either bus stops at Judkins and 23rd or bus stops on Rainier at Charles. RantWoman is a little unclear about details regarding both but does have a concern. RantWoman gets the concept of temporary bus stop but definitely strongly prefers that there be a stoplight near any place where there are bus stops boing both ways.

RantWoman ADORES the current I 90 flyer stop because on the right buses from the tunnel it is one stop  out of the bus tunnel to Rainier Avenue under the overpass. RantWoman thinks sending a bus out of the tunnel up Jackson and down 23rd or out of the tunnel and to something else along Rainier will add travel time, not just travel time but travel time in annoying stop and go traffic.  At this moment RantWoman does not have a better idea. Plus Metro has bright talented service planners who, in RantWoman's experience, listen well and get paid to think about such problems. So Here is a RantWoman vote encouraging them to do so.

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