The 4th Ave station is a train wreck for the CID

Ohio’s recent Norfolk Southern train wreck happened literally overnight, devastating the small town of eastern Palestine with an environmental catastrophe that no one saw coming.

In Seattle, Sound Transit is planning its own train wreck – a new light rail station in the Chinatown International District called “4th Ave Option,” which will create a construction nightmare for a decade or more, wreaking havoc on small businesses, mass transit, and pedestrian safety.

But unlike the East Palestine community, we see this train wreck coming, and we know Sound Transit has a better option. Instead of building the station at 4th Ave, the agency can build two new stations north and south of the neighborhood, both faster and cheaper.

Not Godzilla, CID, Sound Transit Design by Aunt Bettie Luke, Binko Chiong Bisbee, Sue Kay

The CID is invaluable to the Seattle area. It survives as one of the few remaining Chinatowns in the USA and Canada, which are both culturally and economically active.

First and foremost, it’s a vibrant neighborhood that’s more than pretty buildings. Tens of thousands of immigrants, refugees, elders, youth and mom and pop businesses rely on its unique cultural services each year. Unlike most Chinatowns in North America, it’s still the first port of call for many Asian immigrants.

The CID is also a welcome hub for hundreds of thousands of downtown sports fans and workers, and serves millions of drivers as the region’s largest transportation hub. Local Asian operating companies offer visitors a much more interesting experience than the corporate chain hospitality that dominates the redesigned stadium areas in other cities.

Although not often cited, the CID also adds a unique destination as the only remaining Chinatown in the Pacific Northwest for the Ten million of annual travelers to Seattle, including cruise lines and business travelers. This value is difficult to calculate, but it is real and has regional implications.

Not only 10 years of construction time will hurt. Extensive scholarship shows that gentrification and displacement often follow new investments in light rail. The CID is already surrounded by land that has been approved by the City Council for development 170-270 feet tall– Requests for sanitation. are speculators Camping on much of this landwaiting for the right moment to build Condominiums in high-riseHotels & office space.

As high-income residents are attracted to CID, the small businesses that serve the many Asian and Pacific Islander communities will be outbid by chain stores and restaurants for space. This could be accelerated if shops close during construction. The Proceedings This is how most Chinatowns in the US are disappearing.

A sketch of the north-south plan. sound transit

The location of the light rail stations to the north and south represents a compromise for travelers to and from the CID, including changing from one of the three lines and a slightly longer journey five minutes. Groups like Pioneer Square Alliance and Historic South Downtown would argue that not all three lines at 4 go through a CID hubth Ave will harm the mobility of future CID players. But Sound Transit hasn’t studied future mobility for any of the proposed locations — particularly low-income residents, seniors, and workers. which mostly use metro buses– to make such a sweeping claim.

Many of the world’s best transit systems use hubs that still require transfers flagship goals, such as main train stations and tourist attractions. The main hub connecting all three light rail lines will be the proposed northern CID station, connecting to the existing Pioneer Square station.

Some opportunities for equitable, transit-oriented development north of the neighborhood. sound transit

Unlike 4th Avenue, The CID North option also has land nearby which Sound Transit can acquire for the construction phase and return to the community for affordable housing. And Sound Transit, in partnership with Seattle, can invest in street design that will make the short walk between Yesler and Jackson safer for pedestrians. County Executive Dow Constantine just announced the possible closure and demolition of both the King County Jail and the County Administration Building, which will sit right on the corner of CID North Station.

The CID Südbahnhof offers similar advantages. It would be just one block south of Uwajimaya and could catalyze both new, inviting street designs and affordable housing on nearby land. Visitors to CID could hop off here and walk just three blocks to experience all that CID has to offer. It would also provide another station for stadium goers, which would relieve the pressure of the match day crowds.

There are more housing options here, as well as street design opportunities to activate the area. sound transit

Additionally, the northern and southern CID station locations appear to be associated with a lower risk of delay. The proposed 4th Ave station would be installed in soils at risk of liquefaction and under the 4th Ave Viaduct, with the potential for surprises that add length to construction – the Highway 99 bored tunnel was a grim example of costly delays. Ten years of building the station could easily turn into 15.

At the end of the day, decisions to locate massive infrastructure projects involve trade-offs. Usually, marginalized communities bear the brunt of these compromises.

Is a missing CID an acceptable compromise? Historic buildings that were built by Asian immigrants and where no Asians or only rich Asians live is not what our community needs. The CID was founded by poor, working-class Asians looking for a home and a sense of belonging in a hostile city. It is still home to many residents and workers who cannot afford to live anywhere else. The 4th Each option will erase this community of residents and legacies that shaped them. Transit planners should not make us choose between the protection and sustainability of a vulnerable community and the convenience of a transit system, especially when an alternative option is available.

The damage of a 4th Ave Station is just too risky. Few places in the Seattle area are as valuable and at the same time as vulnerable as the CID. In today’s generation, many of us hope to bring our children and elders to CID to observe our celebrations, connect with our legacy, and experience a taste of cultural belonging. With the 4thth In any case, this may no longer be a viable reality and we may only read about a living CID in history books.

With the North and South option, our families and communities can enjoy a sense of belonging, knowing that the preservation of our history was intentional and not just an afterthought. Our officials must do everything in their power to make sure it doesn’t go away, and that includes Sound Transit building two stations north and south of this priceless neighborhood.

Christina Schimizu is a managing director at Puget Sound Sage.

Sue Kay is an organizer at the CID Coalition.

Mike Vu owns Itsumono.

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