Sound Transit East Link Light Rail Stations

Bellevue, Washington

Project Status:

Anticipated Completion 2023

Vision
East Link is expanding service across Lake Washington to Bellevue and Redmond as the third segment of Sound Transit light rail system’s Phase II expansion. The region’s explosive growth and resulting traffic congestion has added urgency to developing a high-capacity transit solution for the entire metropolitan area. The fast-growing city of Bellevue and technology hub of Redmond are major employment, residential and cultural centers whose integration with light rail will further ensure their long-term vitality.

As the primary architectural consultant to H-J-H (HNTB, Jacobs Engineering, Hatch Mott McDonald), LMN is leading design for all aspects of the segment’s stations—from buildings to pedestrian bridges to guardrails—to ensure a cohesive experience across locations and scales. The philosophy underlying our approach is that “elements of continuity” and “elements of differentiation” inform the design of complex systems, highlighting elements common to the entire system, while also drawing from each station’s unique context and culture for site-specific solutions. In this way, we are providing a strong identity for the entire East Link, as well as for the individual stations.

Site and Program
Encompassing over 10 miles of light rail tracks through numerous distinct neighborhoods, the East Link corridor serves as a series of connected urban places, each with its own unique topography, density, culture and demographics. From verdant single-family residential areas to dense urban high-rise districts, the segment weaves from I-90 at its south end to the Microsoft Campus adjacent to SR-520 at its northern extreme.

The eight stations correspond to a range of at-grade, elevated and tunnel-portal trackway configurations. Each station fits into its urban context and responds to current ridership demands, while also anticipating future transit-oriented development (TOD) that will strengthen neighborhood character as part of a natural evolution. Of the six stations in Bellevue, LMN produced the final design for four stations, including the hybrid-type downtown, and provided design oversight for the other two. For Redmond, LMN produced the preliminary design for two stations, as part of a Design-Build delivery process.

Design
LMN’s light rail designs share several key precepts: the desire to provide overall continuity while allowing for individual station expression; the need to integrate the designs into the larger family of Sound Transit facilities; the composition of disparate components into a coherent architectural design; and the constant search for technical innovations that elevate the passenger experience, while making the best possible use of public resources.

LMN values our role in transportation projects as an opportunity to strengthen the cultural experience, civic identity and economic livelihood of communities. Light rail transit systems are extremely complex and inherently expensive to build, so we ensure that design excellence aligns with strategies for meeting both budget and schedule, while also ensuring ease of long-term maintenance. Working collaboratively as part of a large consultant team, LMN’s design approach promotes the user experience, creating places for the public in and around the stations that transcend functional requirements to delight, surprise and engage patrons.