Sound Transit East Link

Sound Transit East Link

So I get it…naming a transit station is not nearly as entertaining as naming the next British Royal. But it should be. Sound Transit’s East Link Extension design and station naming process is well underway. Ride the Wave! The City of Bellevue will be engaging stakeholders in further station naming efforts in the coming months before review with Council this Fall. Screen shot 2013-07-19 at 1.48.21 AM Open Transit design…a design process that leverages all things open data, open source, open process…in the service of achieving successful, innovative and inspired community-centered design solutions…intrigues me. It, like many other “open” initiatives, engages community in fun, creative and unprecedented ways. I am trying to learn more about this. This is an interesting article by Peter David Cabaluzzi Faia, describing a new approach to transit design: Open Transit Design: Why Station Designed for Non-Transit Users Are Most Successful. Fresh approaches to engagement to like these have the potential to be transformative tools in urban planning and community development.

City of Bellevue's "preferred alternative" map with 'cultural/arts district" identified (2009)

City of Bellevue’s “preferred alternative” map with ‘cultural/arts district” identified (2009)

The City of Bellevue’s vision for Bel-Red and the pioneering opportunities to ignite a wide range of economic, cultural, and community development there are inspiring. The rezone planning process allowed for the City and Commissions to collectively draft a plan for Bel-Red that included a vision for a vibrant arts/cultural district in the heart of BelRed, a perfect frontier for creative and entrepreneurial industry settlements. With this plan, Bellevue has an opportunity to create some differentiated urban and cultural spaces that compliment those in the Downtown. That differentiation really begins with the naming process. Below is the Sound Transit naming criteria that has been given:

  • Reflect the nature of the environment: neighborhoods, street names, landmarks, plus geographical locations
  • Be brief and easy to read and remember
  • Comply with federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines and requirements and be limited to 30 characters
  • Avoid commercial references because they may change, prove confusing to the public and be costly to change
  • Avoid similar names or words in existing facility names
Personally, for the 130th Street Station, I’m rallying for a name that stakes claim to this arts/cultural district rooted there. An ‘arts district’ station name seems a most appropriate station moniker. Perhaps a “Cultural Arts District (CAD)” Station. It’s proximity to the historic Cadman Concrete Hopper, Bellevue’s industrial icon, has added historical dimension.  

The Cadman Hopper in Bellevue. (photo: G. Tremblay)

The Cadman Hopper (photo: Gen Tremblay)

An Arts District Station moniker telegraphs the exisitng and soon to be rooted arts/cultural businesses in BelRed. Donn Bennett Drum Studio, Bellevue Art & Frame, Mike Lull Guitar Works, Northwest Guitars, Evolution Studios, American Music, Mills Music…and the jewel in the crown, Pacific Northwest Ballet School/Francia Russell Performing Arts Center are all familiar Bellevue cultural assets anchored in East Bellevue near the 130th Street Station. The recent issues surrounding the route alternatives around the Pacific Northwest Ballet illuminate the critical importance of our anchor cultural asset situated in the heart of BelRed…a stone’s throw from 130th St Station. Building on this key cultural asset, with the right transit path and the right transit station name, will be critical to creating an our East Bellevue arts/cultural district.

Pacific Northwest Ballet/Francia Russell Performing Arts Center, Bellevue, WA

Pacific Northwest Ballet/Francia Russell Performing Arts Center, Bellevue, WA

On July 31, 2013, King County is hosting  Open House for the Eastside Rail Corridor at Bellevue City Hall. This informational event is an opportunity to learn more about how the region is working together to maximize the benefits of the rail corridor between Renton and Woodinville. County staff will be on hand to answer questions, and comment cards will allow residents to share thoughts on what they would like to see for the corridor. ST has engaged the public in this process by offering surveys online for a short period of time around each open house during design open houses. There are currently no online surveys available, but you can still send in your station name ideas to Sound Transit. That, and stay tuned for Bellevue’s stakeholder engagement opportunities too. I’ll keep you posted. If you are down with the idea of an Arts District in BelRed or if you have other naming ideas…WEIGH IN…at eastlink@soundtransit.org!
More on the East Link Project

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