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Sound Transit releases options for Brooklyn Station

With construction of the University Station near Husky Stadium underway, Sound Transit is developing plans for another underground station to be built in the U-District, under Brooklyn Avenue between Northeast 43rd Street and Northeast 45th Street.

At a community meeting last night, Sound Transit introduced two options for the design of the project: a single, street-level-entrance underground station near Brooklyn Avenue and a Modified Preliminary Engineering (PE) station that would have two street-level entries and be built under Brooklyn Avenue Northeast.

The station has been temporarily named Brooklyn Station, though it won’t have a final name until Sound Transit collects input from community members. Brooke Belman, Sound Transit community outreach director, said Sound Transit is accepting ideas at public community meetings and workshops.

Brooklyn Station is part of the North Link Project, which will be a 4.3-mile tunnel spanning from University Station to a Northgate Station near the Northgate Transit Center. Sound Transit plans to have the link open by 2021.

Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray explained that because of the high ridership in the U-District, two stations are necessary.

UW senior Andrew Acker, who attended yesterday’s meeting, thinks Brooklyn Station is a good location because the next light-rail station would be at the intersection of Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 65th Street, which would be far from campus.

“Lots of people take the Ave buses to go downtown,” Acker said. “This would be quicker.”

The University Station will cater to the southern part of campus, the stadium and the UW Medical Center, while the Brooklyn Station will be more accessible for people traveling to the UW Tower, University Way Northeast, North Campus’ residential community and buses that connect at Northeast 45th Street.

Gray explained that the Modified PE station is an adapted version of the original station design developed a year and a half ago. The proposed width of the station is 66 feet, while the street width is 70 feet, meaning Sound Transit is only 4 feet below the maximum. Because this would put the station in close proximity to the Neptune Theatre and UW Tower, Gray recognized the intricacy of the project.

“Looking at constructing the station, we saw some risks with building it right underneath Brooklyn and against the UW towers,” Gray said.

The Modified PE station would have entrances at Northeast 45th Street and Northeast 43rd Street, making the station more accessible for pedestrians. Sound Transit predicts that this station would have 12,000 people board per day.

The single-entrance station is an alternative design that would move the station eastward 25 to 30 feet and would have only one entrance in the middle of the station along Brooklyn Avenue Northeast, rather than at both ends. This proposal also has a lower cost for Sound Transit because the design is less complicated.

“Saving construction risks of building so close to the 22-story tower could save us up to $10 million,” Gray said.

The project would also have a five-month shorter construction period.

Despite a potentially shorter construction timeline and a lower budget, Gray said there are potential downfalls to the plan.

“We think we could lose up to 1 percent of ridership,” Gray said. “There would [also] be a little bit of a longer walk time to get to the platform … a minute longer walk from the bus transfers or either end of the block.”

In addition, the single-entrance station design would be built as close as 6.5 feet to the University Manor Apartments, located at Northeast 43rd Street and Brooklyn Avenue Northeast, and close to the UW Tower. Belman said Sound Transit would be working closely with the UW because of its proximity to the tower.

“The UW … is a major property owner,” she said. “We’ll be working closely with them as we develop our plan.”

Like the University Station, both designs feature amenities for bike riders, including 100 parking stalls and both escalators and elevators.

Once construction of the 75-to-85 feet below ground station begins in 2012, street detours will have to direct traffic around the area for the seven-year building period.

“With either of these approaches, Brooklyn will be closed for a long time,” Gray said.

After Sound Transit receives input from stakeholders and community members around the station site and nearby neighborhoods, they will give their recommendation to the Sound Transit Capital Committee Board on Feb. 10. There will be another public open house featuring a 30 percent complete design in the spring.

Reach reporter Daron Anderson at news@dailyuw.com.

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