SEATTLE—A new, improved ticket and baggage area will open tomorrow (Wednesday, May 23) in Seattle’s historic King Street Station, upgrading the facility to meet the present and future needs of rail and bus passengers. Completed by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to better serve Amtrak’s customers, this work is part of the ongoing major restoration of King Street Station.
What passengers will see tomorrow in the new ticket and baggage area is new terrazzo flooring, salvaged marble wall panels, refurbished wood doors and upgraded lighting. New baggage carousels will facilitate baggage handling and Amtrak buses will load and unload passengers in a newly paved turnaround area on the west side of the station. A quiet, energy-efficient ground source heat pump system has also been installed to provide heating and cooling for this area, and Amtrak employees will enjoy new office space.
Peter Hahn, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, explained, “The beauty of this work is that we’re preserving the station’s historic elements while also adding modern passenger conveniences to better serve its customers.”
“Amtrak will be working hard to make sure that our passengers can navigate in and around the station during the next phase of construction,” said Amtrak Assistant Superintendent Gay Banks Olson. “There will be some challenges with regards to access to the station and the other construction occurring in the immediate vicinity. We want to let passengers know in advance so they can be prepared.”
As part of the station’s rehabilitation, vintage lighting was recently added to the new plaza that fronts on South Jackson Street. Other recently completed elements include all new electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, and the addition of a fire sprinkler system where none existed before. Renovation of the grand stairway that connects the Jackson Street Plaza to the station entrance below has been completed but it will not be available for use until the current seismic upgrade work is finished. Restoration of interior and exterior historic architectural details including the waiting room’s ornamental plaster work is now underway, in addition to seismic upgrades.
“Passengers are the reason behind everything we do,” said John Sibold, director of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Rail Office. “We are pleased to implement federal funding to enhance the customer experience for all Amtrak Cascades passengers.”
Passengers will now enter the Amtrak ticketing and baggage area from a temporary entrance to the north of the current station entrance, but still located on the western side’s lower floor. There is a new taxi queuing area on South King Street, where there also are temporary 15-minute passenger load and unload spots, along with temporary ADA parking stalls to facilitate access to the station during construction. Passengers are advised to arrive at the station well in advance of the normally-recommended 30 minutes prior to departure and to be aware the ticketing area has been relocated. Parking in the area is also severely limited which may require additional time and passengers may want to be dropped off or take transit to the station.
King Street Station serves more than four million passengers a year with Amtrak trains, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches and Sounder commuter rail. The multi-year project is financed with a combination of funds from the city’s Bridging the Gap transportation initiative as well as state, federal and private sources.
For more information on King Street Station, please visit its Web site at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/kingstreet.htm.