Utility poles in a row on S. Stevens St. Photo by Wendi.
The power lines and tall poles that have concerned neighbors in the vicinity of 12th and Stevens will be changed starting next week. City Light crews will install new utility poles along S. Stevens St., as well as replacing the 71-foot pole at 12th Ave. S. and S. Stevens with a 55-foot pole. Additionally, one circuit of power cables will be moved underground to reduce view impacts in the area.
The work will begin on June 13 and continue until September.
The changes are the culmination of two years of discussions between Beacon Hill residents and City Light after a new power circuit was added to the Hill to support Link Light Rail and expected future demand. When the large poles and new wires went in, neighbors in the area of 12th and Stevens found the views from their homes were affected. Neighbors also expressed concern about the impact of the poles and power lines on the nearby 12th Avenue S. Viewpoint park. Over 100 neighbors signed a petition asking that the poles be removed.
Previous posts about the poles/power lines are here:
Today’s loser: Residents of Southeast Seattle who might, had Sound Transit not decided to build an expensive (and over-budget) station through Beacon Hill, have had two more light-rail stations in their part of the city.
Barnett’s analysis appears to be in error, however. She claims that:
…The distance between stations on the south end of the line is much longer than in the central, north, and (planned) east portions of the line: Nearly two-and-a-half miles from station to station, compared to just over 1.5 miles for the north section and just over a mile for the central portion.
However, the 2009 Seattle Transit Blog article in which she has found this statistic is not referring to Southeast Seattle when it describes “South Link.” The existing light rail line, from Westlake south to Sea-Tac, is known as “Central Link,” and is listed on the STB article with an average station distance of about 1.2 miles. “South Link,” on the other hand, is used in the STB post to refer to the extension of the line from Sea-Tac to Tacoma (or Redondo/Star Lake — it’s unclear which version of the proposed line is being referred to here). The distance between the Rainier Valley stations actually averages (very roughly) 1.25 miles.
More recent numbers released by Sound Transit last month (February – June station activity based on actual boarding data instead of survey responses as was the February survey) found here and here show Beacon Hill Station with more boardings than Columbia City, Othello, Rainier Beach, SODO and Stadium, and more deboardings than all of the above plus Mount Baker, and only a few short of Pioneer Square.
Sound Transit is spending nearly $500,000 to purchase a home on the brink of one of the notorious “voids.” BHB news partner The Seattle Timeshas the story:
Christine Miller-Panganiban discovered a 21-foot-deep hole in her yard, at 2605 18th Ave. S., in March 2009. She and her husband, Rommel Panganiban, will receive $400,000 for the house, $11,350 for giving work crews access to the property and $65,000 compensation for stress.
Sound Transit will be seeking to recover expenses such as this from tunnel contractor Obayashi Corporation. Read more in The Times.
Starting Monday, July 19, Sound Transit will return to Beacon Hill to continue underground exploration and backfilling work near Beacon Hill Station related to the voids discovered last year. Expect restricted parking, flaggers directing traffic, heavy equipment, and some noise. Construction is anticipated to take at least two months.
These activities will be the first phase in the current work plan of exploratory operations to find and fill the remaining voids. The subsequent phases of the work plan focus solely on private property. If you have not been previously contacted by Sound Transit, no work will be on your property.
If you have any questions about the project or the Beacon Hill Station in general, please contact Jennifer Lemus, Sound Transit Community Outreach, at 206-398-5314.
This map shows the section of 17th Avenue South that will be affected by the lane closure, sidewalk closure, and parking restrictions:
Since the light rail station opened last summer, the crosswalk at Beacon and Lander has become the busiest on Beacon Hill. The majority of the people exiting the station are headed west to go to the bank, Red Apple, the southbound bus stop, or home. All of these people must cross Beacon, and many get very creative in the process. Because the crossing is way out at the corner and runs diagonally to the corner away from Red Apple and the bus stop, many people choose to just cross through the middle of the street. Because the crosswalk—which now has flashing beacons and signage, but once only had markings on the pavement—is at the intersection with Lander, there is not only north-south traffic moving through but also people turning onto Beacon from Lander. With the long crossing, the multitude of car approaches, and the scurrying light rail riders, it is ripe for an accident.
The other day I camped out at the crosswalk from 5:00-6:00 pm and filmed about 16 pedestrian crossings when cars were around. I put them together and, with very little editing, made this video:
This was not a “best of” video, but simply what you see at every rush hour here. After bemoaning the miserable state of our most popular Beacon crossing, I started to think about how the pedestrian infrastructure at all the other light rail stations in Seattle seemed satisfactory and even exemplary. Yesterday I decided to take a ride on the light rail and check out each station and then do a little compare and contrast with what we have been dealt. The results from this foray are here:
Apparently Sound Transit is only responsible for putting things back the way they found them, and Seattle’s Complete Streets Ordinance—which requires attention to pedestrian safety among other things—does not apply to them when they do their repave this summer. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has been working with Beacon BIKES! to improve this crossing, but they have limited funds. I am suggesting that Sound Transit work with us and SDOT to improve this crossing as part of the repave this summer. If you want to get involved please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and attend the next Beacon BIKES! meeting on Monday, June 21, at 6:00 pm at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.
(This is Dylan’s first post for the Beacon Hill Blog. Thanks, Dylan! — Editor.)
The tunnel “voids” affecting properties above the Link Light Rail tunnel path through the hill continue to be identified and addressed. From an article in the Engineering News-Record:
Crews have filled in about 80% of nine voids leftover from a 2-mile tunneling job through Seattle’s Beacon Hill. Japan’s Obayashi Corp. did not discover the voids while boring the parallel, 1-mile tunnels as part of its $280-million contract, which has since increased to $312 million. Owner Sound Transit contends the contractor is at fault.
. . .
“We put Obayashi on notice that we think this is an avoidable situation, and the cost is going to be withheld from its final payment,” Gray says. Sound Transit has spent $1.6 million filling the voids.
“The adequacy of the geotechnical data supplied by Sound Transit and the actual behavior of the ground during construction are under discussion with Sound Transit,” says Obayashi spokeswoman Carmen Stone.
And they’re not quite done yet: Sound Transit estimates about 430 cubic yards remain left to find and fill. Read the rest of the article at ENR.
Many neighbors living east of Beacon Hill Station received a flyer (PDF) from Sound Transit this evening, describing the current status of the “voids” discovered when digging the Beacon Hill tunnel. Last year, nine sub-surface voids were found and filled with a controlled-density fill, and the ground at the bottom of the voids was injected with grout to stabilize it.
According to the alert sent out by Sound Transit today, there are still about 400 cubic yards that need filling, but the voids aren’t large or near the surface, and Sound Transit believes that there is no imminent danger to property nearby.
Sound Transit’s next steps are to work with local property owners and their neighbors to coordinate work to fill the voids. They expect the project will take about four to six months.
12:08 pm update: According to an announcement on Sound Transit’s website, the station has reopened. However, you should be aware that the ticket machines at the station are currently not accepting credit and debit cards — cash only. (This problem predates the station closure.)
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The Link light rail station at 2700 Beacon Ave S is closed. bhnw.org scanner logs indicate it is closed until Monday. Metro is running shuttle buses from in front of the station to Mount Baker Station on the east side of the hill. Sound Transit and Metro customer information lines make no mention of this closure as of 10am, but there is a posting on the Sound Transit website.
KIRO noted the closure at about 1am on Twitter: “ST: Beacon Hill Station is out of service, closed. They are experiencing some sort of signal issues. Back up bus service is available.”
Security personnel at the station do not have any information regarding the reason for the closure or when it will re-open.
10:10 update: After multiple attempts and a lengthy wait on hold, a Metro customer service agent says the only information they have is that “The tunnel between stations closed, shuttles until further notice on Saturday.”
Good news! The Beacon Pub is celebrating the New Year all weekend long. They’ll have a DJ on NYE, and will be hosting their world-famous karaoke Friday and Saturday nights. On New Year’s Day, they’re opening early: 10am for both food and drink, and featuring drink specials all weekend long.
Got something else going on?
Let us know what you’ve got planned in the comments!