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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

March 19, 2003

Seattle Popular Monorail Authority

The Securities Building
1904 3rd Avenue, Suite 525
Seattle, WA 98101
Attn: Kristina Hill
Chair, Green Line Design & Construction Committee

Dear Kristina:

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board eagerly anticipates the release of the Green Line Preferred Alternative. We would like to offer first some general principles that we believe will help keep the monorail pedestrian-friendly, and, based on the Draft Preferred Alternative (DPA) information released so far, offer our comments on some of the alignment and station location proposals. The DPA comments should be taken as specific examples of our general principles.

General principles:

  • There must be safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian access to all stations. Since the vast majority of riders will walk to stations, it is the Monorail Project's responsibility (in concert with SDOT) to ensure that the areas around stations are exemplary pedestrian environments. This includes adding signaled crosswalks where necessary; ensuring that sidewalks are wide enough to handle added capacity; adding and retaining separation between pedestrians and moving traffic; and using pedestrian-visible monorail-branded signage for wayfinding as much as several blocks away from each station. No station design should be considered complete without an accompanying plan to attract pedestrians and cyclists from a reasonable radius, and funding should be made available to use station construction to address existing pedestrian problems in station overlay areas. We encourage SMP to look at Sound Transit's signage regime and see what can be reused; the documentation is available from Sound Transit.
  • Bicycle storage should be planned up-front and not added later at the expense of pedestrian areas.
  • Monorail funds should be used to develop an ongoing promotion program to encourage walking and bicycling to stations, and to periodically evaluate pedestrian and bicycle use of the system. Small decisions about design, promotion, and maintenance can have a large effect on whether a person chooses to walk or bike to a monorail station or get in a car instead.
  • Stations should be designed using CPTED principles, because people who don't feel safe in stations won't use the system. The ultimate in "eyes on the station" would be staffed vending, and we urge you to consider staffed vending in every station. Advertising that changes often is another signal that stations are being cared for.
  • The monorail should not only comply with the ADA but be a genuine pleasure for wheelchair riders and other people with assisted mobility devices.

Comments on the DPA highlights:

Second Avenue alignment. SPAB is most concerned about the idea of pylons on sidewalks, which would present a formidable pedestrian obstacle. Therefore, either the bus lane on the west side of second or the parking lane on the east side would be appropriate for the guideway. We urge the Monorail Project to adopt a "No Pylons on Sidewalks" policy; while we believe that the monorail guideway can be made attractive and minimally intrusive, our sidewalks are already too encumbered by obstacles and we believe the monorail should strive to be a friend to pedestrians both in station areas and along the guideway between stations.

Seattle Center. SPAB supports the "Northwest Route" through Seattle Center, with stations at the current Northwest Rooms site and at 5th and Broad. Of the three Center alignments proposed, we are most concerned about the Thomas St. route, which would endanger one of Seattle's most important pedestrian areas. If the Northwest Route is chosen, we encourage the monorail project to make the Green Line integrate well with the view from south of the International Fountain. Special attention should be given to ensure that the Northwest Rooms station provides easy pedestrian access to the Uptown retail core.

15th Ave W and Elliott W. The monorail has an opportunity here to alleviate an existing pedestrian problem: utility poles on the sidewalk. We urge you to add to the scope of the DEIS a study of carrying these utilities on the monorail infrastructure and removing the poles from the sidewalks on 15th, Elliott, and wherever else the guideway will be traveling down the center of the street.

SPAB looks forward to working with SPMA to help make the monorail an extraordinary improvement to pedestrian life in Seattle.


Rob Ketcherside, Chair, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Matthew Amster-Burton, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

cc: Mayor Greg Nickels Seattle City Council Member Nick Licata, Neighborhoods, Arts, and Civil Rights Committee Chair