As the Everett Station is celebrating its first ten years I felt compelled to write the following letter to the building manager and Sound transit regarding some observations that a concerned passenger has made.
As the Everett Station celebrates its first ten years it is becoming increasingly evident that looks was and still is more important than practicality to the designers of this very essential transportation hub. It appears very little thought was given to making it convenient for passengers to be just dropped off for busses or commuter trains, only the Amtrak area has a substandard drop off area. I say substandard as there is no way to return to the same entry point for the person dropping off the passenger to continue on their route as would be seen at most air terminals. Parking is another poorly designed item and at best seems an afterthought. The South most parking lot has the best parking spaces reserved for BNSF employees, something that any business who values its customers would not do. The ticket machines for the sounder are so inconveniently placed that now a homemade sign, reminiscent of elementary education posters for kindergartners, has been devised to direct people to it. Then there is the placement of the ORCA card readers mostly north of the Sounder train where the least number of people would be walking from and no card readers south of the train where the majority of parking exists. Any commuter who uses the south or east parking area must walk past the south end of the train to the first ORCA card reader. Anyone coming from the west parking area must look behind the pillars supporting the ineffective decorative roof structure that graces the platform. The designer of this structure should have to spend some time on a typical rainy day trying to stay dry while waiting for the Sounder train. The fact that it does not even extend anywhere near the train is another matter that defies logic or explanation as to the intended purpose of this structure other than possibly an art installation intended to give an impressionist representation of shelter. I am a huge believer in public transportation and expect it to be a major part of any solution to the current and future energy crisis, but convenience will be the best way to hasten its adoption.
I congratulate the City of Everett for taking such a bold step in planning for the future and for making it prior to the current economic crisis that will make public transportation even more attractive. It is just that mere looks should not be the primary driving force in the design for the future. More attention to making it convenient to the passengers will encourage more ridership, and at the same time improve efficiency as the usage increases. The easiest and quickest return on investment move that could be made is to move one or two of the ORCA card readers that are currently located north of the Sounder train to the south end and to place a ticket machine back at the wheelchair ramp where one originally was. Future plans should include a replacement of the overhead roof structure on the sounder platform that extends closer to the train and does not have large gaps between sections that provide no shelter from the elements.
Thank you for listening,