Two cities. Two train stations. Two completely different vibes and messages.
Portland’s AMTRAK station:
Walk outside the doors and you see the Greyhound station 500 feet away. A light rail train glides by. Bike paths with signage pointing you toward downtown are clear and highly visible. Wide sidewalks too.
The message is clear without a word being spoken. The physical surroundings announce, “Welcome to our city. Come explore. We assume you don’t have your own car. In fact, thanks for not driving.”
Seattle’s AMTRAK station:
Walk outside the doors and … you are greeted by an ENORMOUS parking lot for Qwest field. A few taxi’s are waiting at the curb. Yes. Seattle has bike lanes and local bus service, even light rail. But where are they? I guess you have to be a local to know that the Greyhound station is across town. No easy bus connection and a very long walk with baggage. The bus tunnel and light rail are a couple of blocks away … but that appears to be privaleged information as well.
The physical environment screams, “You’re on your own. Take a cab and remember to drive your own car next time.”
First impressions? As a cyclist or pedestrian, Portland embraces you … while Seattle tolerates you.