On Monday, from 6 PM to 8 PM at Olympic View Elementary School, Sound Transit is hosting an open house to discuss Northgate station construction plans, “including a potential shared use, replacement parking garage and an integrated station access plan”. Parking, specifically the possibility of constructing a 600-900 stall shared-use, shared-cost garage on the Northgate Mall property close to the station, has dominated coverage of North Link for the last few weeks, and I expect it to dominate Monday’s discussion.
The open house is a part of a welcome effort by Sound Transit to engage the community, present facts, and state its goals with respect to replacement parking at Northgate. On Friday, ST released a fact sheet and a press release which previews the arguments that will be made on Monday; the fact sheet in particular is required reading. From the presser:
Construction of the Northgate Station is expected to displace 428 park-and-ride stalls managed by King County Metro over a period of about seven years. In addition, station construction is also expected to displace 451 parking stalls at Northgate Mall for which Sound Transit must compensate the mall’s owner, Simon Property Group (SPG). In order to comply with federal ROD requirements for mitigating the lost park-and-ride capacity and to provide a way for SPG to replace its lost parking, a shared use parking garage is proposed with a total of 600 – 900 spaces split between transit riders and patrons of Northgate Mall. The preferred site for the proposed garage is on Northgate Mall property near the future station site. The garage would be built before station construction begins to minimize impacts to current transit users and Mall customers.
This engagement, unfortunately, comes a little late. The mythical “$40 million parking garage” (yesterday debunked again on Crosscut) has gone viral, with Cascade Bike Club and Feet First making it the centerpiece of efforts to rally opposition to parking structures at Northgate, illustrating the dangers of an information vacuum. I’m told these groups feel ST is stampeding towards building more parking, and want more consideration and study of alternate modes, with a possible bike-pedestrian bridge over I-5 the big prize, although I’m unclear how broadcasting such dubious information advances their cause.