The Cactus Speaks: Sound Transit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect different opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at [email protected].]

by Earl Gipson

The Ugly
Lets start with the Ugly and how Sound Transit maintains the Kick’N Ride at 176th and International. The potholes pictured have been there a long time and presents a great obstacle course and a sweet greeting to drop-offs and visitors alike (sarcasm). My rural driveway is bigger/maintained better than this and I don’t have Sound Transit money.

The Bad
The Sound Transit pedestrian elevator at 176th hasn’t worked in months (My wife tells me its been a year) and travelers with backpacks and/or luggage from our local hotels must trudge 4 flights of stairs to reach the train platform and airport. That’s great if you are 20 or so and have exercise guilt but some of us need to get somewhere, no spring chickens, and we paid for the darn thing to work reliably. In Seattle this would be called user friendly.

The City has been aware of this and contacted Sound Transit. They have been unresponsive as of this writing. Contact Sound Transit numbers (here)

Long drive to the Angle Lake Station? Got to go potty?
Sound Transit continues with the bad with non-operational public restrooms that we paid for, SeaTac Citizens insisted upon, and of course expected to be open by now. Not so. The pictures I took Friday show where the restrooms are supposed to be.

While I was taking pictures at the Angle Lake Station the Sound Transit police said howdy, immediately got on the phone and said some columnist was taking pictures. What do we do? What do we do? This was about ~ 8:30 AM Friday and they were “Johnny on the Spot” in approaching me so restroom security doesn’t seem to be an issue. I felt better (except I had to hold it till I got somewhere else). Does anyone remember I suggested a Depends ® store in the retail space if there were no restrooms in the station plan?

The retail space at the station is now available for lease. A Sound Transit contractor had occupied the space for a while. It is ~2200 sq ft. Interested? Call (206) 398-5152.

The Good
This has nothing to do with Sound Transit (shocking as it may be). Just thought it was a nice column heading. This is regarding the Angle Lake Park extension and it coming to fruition.

Many Citizens, staff, and Council have worked on connecting Angle Lake Park with the Hughes property (since ~ 2010). On Wednesday (03/29) we got to see the design and you can find the PowerPoint (here)

The new Residence Inn being constructed on the front of the Hughes property is paying for the construction of the park and all easements are in place. Thanks to all who worked on this. From what I can see the park addition is going to be very nice, well designed, and a great asset to the City.

Cactus song selection
Now I will take some liberties. This will complete my recurring 5 year requirement to show some emotion now and again (besides irritability). Seriously, my wife and others have supported their spouse’s crazy ass endeavors but no recognition most times. For my friend Pat and my wife Cindy of 38 years (and others whom I don’t know but will understand).

For My Lady-Moody Blues-1972:



7 Responses to “The Cactus Speaks: Sound Transit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
  1. chuck darielli says:

    think it’s bad now see what happens if they reel back the car tabs

  2. I write about transit and occasionally visit Seattle, but would not be likely to go to this station, as I am more likely to travel between the airport and Seattle.

    Reading this, I’d say a couple things, it might not be Sound Transit is responsible for that Kiss and Ride at the Airport, but that’s no excuse.

    And wrt your point about “restrooms” at Angle Lake Station, while I can see how they might not want to put restrooms there now because “eventually it won’t be the terminus station,” I think you make an excellent point that transit systems haven’t really considered, about terminus stations having restrooms, because of the length of trips, etc.

    And while transit systems aren’t into providing restrooms because of the cost of maintenance, maybe having some stations, at key points, is better than none at all, and that to pay for it, it can come out of what I called “Transit Public Improvement Districts.”

    Anyway, thank you for this piece, as it is extended my way of thinking about these issues.

    (This blog entry was listed in the Google transit alert, and because I’ve ridden and written about Link light rail, I read the piece.)

  3. Jo says:

    Since I ride the rail to work and back most days, I’m regularly afflicted by the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’. I’m still able to climb the steep stairs even in my 60’s but feel empathy and sadness when I witness a handicapped or wheelchair bound citizen looking with dismay and confusion at the small ‘out of service’ sign posted on the elevator door. it’s heartbreaking and I find it cruel that sound transit did not make proper & expedient repairs a high priority for an airport station. As you stated, elder travelers attempting to drag their luggage up the multitude of steep flights of stairs is quite impossible for many. Tell me please?! What’s the excuse for this elevator to be consistently OUT OF SERVICE?!

    So this morning I was genuinely surprised to see the doors open and reall human beings inside. Generally, I would sprint up the stairs for my morning workout but thought I’d try it out as it was conveniently awaiting my entrance.
    Strangely, the doors closed agonizingly slow. Oh well- I ignored this and rode the slow ascent of the newly repaired machine. It arrived at the top only to stop and then descend again holding us all captive as everyone moaned. On our descent, we watched as our train arrived that we all should have been on had the elevator doors opened.
    Only the door furthest from me opened at the bottom or I would have exited (not trusting this beast to deliver me yet again) but I was packed in – unable to escape.
    Slowly we ascended again. The elevator stopped. For a few seconds, I believed history would repeat itself when not so suddenly the doors started to creep open – sort of…….the process was so agonizingly slow, we weren’t sure they were moving at all. I asked ‘should I push them open?’ And everyone yelled no! They might get stuck and then we’d all be stuck!’
    As soon as the opening was just large enough for me, I leapt to my freedom (making the mental note to NEVER step foot into this box of false pretense again).
    [Side note: Kinda like how I’m thinking the underground replacement for the vioduct might be – the tunnel of death!]

    So we all stood waiting when finally, a light rail train arrived only to immediately leave while we all stood watching again as no doors opened to take us to our destination. All I could do was laugh and proclaim ‘just another day in the light rail world!’
    Was I late for work? YES, but I knew I had lots of company…..

  4. Earl Gipson says:

    Sound Transit seems to have some elevator problems system wide. Good these things are not in skyscrapers.

    • chuck darielli says:

      Well Earl at least their consistent consistently late consistently over budget consistently broke down consistently asking for more money.