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UW design students present ideas for transit service in Ballard

Posted by Meghan Walker on March 15th, 2012

At the Ballard District Council meeting last night, a group of students from the University of Washington presented design concepts for improving transit service in Ballard. Led by UW’s Julie Johnson from the Department of Landscape Architecture, the 17 students examined transit conditions, researched public policy, and consulted with members of the Ballard District Council to develop ideas for a better functioning transit system in our neighborhood.

The students focused on Rapid Ride station locations, opportunities for intermodal connections around Ballard, and the potentials associated with Seattle’s streetcar system. Johnson says they looked at, “how these areas might become more diverse and thinking broadly about becoming a healthier neighborhood.”

With the upcoming Rapid Ride line coming to Ballard, the students looked at major intersections and stations along that bus route. The northernmost location they focused on was the Carkeek Park station, where the goal was to create a more gentrified economic center in Ballard’s northern end with better pedestrian walkways. They also looked at each major stop along 15th Ave NW. At NW 85th St, they chose to make it a dining destination and a safer place for pedestrians. At 75th St, they wanted to find ways to integrate more art and improve storm water management.

At 65th St, near Ballard High School, the students focused on connecting the neighborhood through multimodal transportation and creating a bike space that links into the Rapid Ride station. The group who made a design plan for  15th and NW Market St. focused on creating a landmark for the entrance to Ballard’s commercial district as a sort of gateway to the neighborhood.

The students who worked on 15th and Leary looked at finding ways to foster pedestrian interaction and develop more pedestrian-friendly walkways and gathering spaces. In addition to the areas along 15th, the students studied how the Seattle streetcar system could serve the east/west attractions, starting with Bergen Place, where the students wanted to find ways to connect historical Ballard to the new Ballard.

Project leader Julie Johnson said she hopes the designs offered to the Ballard District Council turn into something fruitful down the road. In addition to teaching urban design to the students, she said the project was to help start some discussion about ways to make Ballard a more transit-friendly and pedestrian-safe neighborhood.

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