Thousands of passengers who enter the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel learned a while ago to sidestep broken escalators marked by yellow barricades, avoid the fentanyl smokers huddled outside certain entrances and take shallow breaths inside fetid elevators.

They’ve endured service shutdowns, like the electrical flaw in the emergency ventilation fans Feb. 14 that closed all four downtown stations all day.

On rare occasions, transit users have suffered assaults, the worst a year ago when a random attacker threw a nurse down a staircase at the International District/Chinatown Station. Passengers encounter people in mental health crises, unsure whether to get help or steer clear.




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