JUDKINS PARK STATION
The Judkins Park Link Light Rail Station in Seattle’s Central District is expected to open in 2023. It will become a key interchange station between East Link light rail and frequent transit routes on Rainier Avenue South. The station will also be located within walking distance of local parks, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Northwest African American Museum, and multiple nonprofits that serve the community. This future station will occupy the site of the current Metro flyer stop on I-90 between Rainier Avenue South and 23rd Avenue South.
This station has some serious challenges. The station’s location in the median of a highway interchange with a major arterial street does not provide a safe and inviting pedestrian environment for people on foot.
This station is less than ½ mile from the Lighthouse for the Blind, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides social support and training for people who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities. Some of these people with vision or hearing-impairments are anticipated to use the Judkins Park station.
Current designs show that the west approach to this station has a crossing of the westbound light rail track for pedestrians. These plans do not include any installation of tactile and audible pedestrian signals to make this rail crossing safe for pedestrians with vision and/or hearing disabilities. Such patrons will have to rely on guided assistance to know when it is safe to cross and to be aware of oncoming trains.
To address these challenges, Feet First held a Walk & Talk here in June, 2015 to discuss improvements. A lot of good things came from this event and from meetings with Sound Transit. One positive note is that the agency has agreed to open a station entrance on the west side of Rainier with a pedestrian bridge over the arterial to improve pedestrian circulation. Another positive note is that Sound Transit added a stairway and an elevator to the east side of the station to connect with the Mountains-to-Sound Trail and frequent bus service on 23rd Avenue South. In addition, Feet First attended a Find it, Fix Walk with Seattle Mayor McMurray in August 2016 to reiterate concerns and to elaborate on collaborative, context-sensitive solutions. However, these events and meetings are not enough to make the area safe and inviting to walk for all users.
Thus, we continue to push for additional improvements. Like we did in Northgate, we have created a Judkins Park Coalition made of people who live and work in the neighborhood.
- Provide seamless, safe, inviting, and universal access. We support pedestrian facilities and connections between the station, transportation options, and local destinations. This means we need to have safe crossings at Rainier Ave South and connections to local destinations like the Sound-to-Mountains Trail and improved crossings at the I-90 ramps.
- Install tactile, audible pedestrian signals for DeafBlind users. These devices provide tactile and audio information to blind, deaf, and Deafblind pedestrians on when it is safe to cross the tracks and warn all patrons of oncoming trains.
- Install pedestrian-scaled lighting and wayfinding. The trails within nearby Judkins Park are poorly-lighted and difficult to navigate at night. Lighting and wayfinding will greatly improve walking access.