N.E. 40th/Overlake Transit Center: Groundbreaking celebrates success of local partnerships

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Sound Transit joined today with its partners King County, the City of Redmond, the Federal Transit Administration and Microsoft to celebrate the groundbreaking for the NE 40th/Overlake Transit Center. When completed in early 2002, the center will be one of the Eastside's major transit access points and another key step toward easing traffic congestion.

"This project shows how local jurisdictions and the private sector can be creative in addressing our transportation needs while state funding issues remain unresolved," said Sound Transit Board Chairman Dave Earling.

"This is also an excellent example of what we can achieve when the public and private sectors work together," said King County Executive Ron Sims.

The $8.5 million, nine acre transit center will be a local and regional hub, providing approximately 230 Park & Ride spaces as well as a transfer site for riders using buses operated by Sound Transit, King County Metro and Community Transit. Private shuttle services operated by nearby employers will also use the facility. Bicycle riders will be served with a convenient station offering a changing room, lockers for daytime storage and three options for securing their bikes.

There are several other features that make this facility a unique and valuable addition to the Overlake community:

    • City of Redmond police will operate a field station at the site for officers patrolling the Overlake area;
    • The Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association will lease space so they can assist commuters and help employers market public transit services to their workers;
    • Space will also be available for potential food and/or beverage concessionaires as well as for bike repairs.

The transit facility is adjacent to the new SR-520 interchange at NE 40th Street and next door to the Microsoft Campus. It is a short distance from more than 20,000 workers in the middle of one of the Eastside's largest employment centers. It will serve such businesses as Eddie Bauer, Nintendo and Safeco Insurance.

Sound Transit was created by voters in 1996 to provide commuter rail, express bus, and light rail services in the central Puget Sound area. Sound Transit operates four commuter trains a day between Seattle and Tacoma and 14 express bus routes throughout King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Sound Transit's Tacoma Link light rail will open in 2003, and the agency plans to begin construction of Central Link light rail in Seattle next year.

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Background: Art to help Patrons at Sound Transit's Overlake Transit Center Find Their Way

According to project artist Karen Guzak, a basic approach to public art is to create and integrate art that helps people find their way and mark a place. The job of the public artist is to think of the history, context, and purpose of a place, to validate it, and express it visually. Using the image of the compass as a unifying theme, Guzak combines beauty with function to give the Overlake facility a unique identity, making it a classically timeless yet playful place for its patrons.

A large compass design in colored concrete will grace the surface of the center plaza. A group of light poles at a seating circle will mark the center, and indicate the cardinal points. The longest curvilinear arms of the compass will serve as an east-west orientation line for pedestrians, connecting the facility's service buildings with the bus loading areas and the Microsoft campus. "In the human experience of riding public transit there is a sense of wanting to be reassured as to where you are going," states Guzak. The compass element serves not only as a "wayfinding" device, but also adds color, pattern, and warmth to the plaza. Other elements include glass etchings in the windows, light poles, tree grates, and entry gates — all incorporating variations on the patterns and shapes found in the circular compass design.


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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.