With talks of the Lakewood line coming online in late 2011, there has been some surface talks among the public of – what’s next? The final three mainline stations will be Lakewood, South Tacoma for the South corridor and Mukilteo for the North corridor but should Sound Transit look further? With Roads and Transit behind us and King County being tax happy, would the public even want additional train service or improves?

With the North corridor ridership less than 53,000 a year it’s time to look at ways to improve this service to make it more viable and attractive to those coming from Everett and Marysville. Could a train leave Stanwood, a future Amtrak station set to open in November 2008? Could we gather additional funding for parking garages at Everett, Mukilteo, and a permanent station and garage improve the overall ridership?

I can only think of two locations that could support having a commuter rail station for the North corridor; Galar Street/Interbay also known as lower Magnolia area and Alaskan Way/Broad Street as a walk-on/off only station. The Galar Street option would have Amgen, Seattle-PI and Louis Dreyfus employees not to mention employees of Pier 90/91. The Streetcar if extended to the future cruise ship terminal at Pier 90/91 it too could use this station. The Broad Street would not have any parking available. It has been too densely developed to allow a parking garage but it does have easy access to many Belltown businesses and quick access to the Seattle Center.

For the South Corridor, a station at Lakeland Hills/South Auburn would be an excellent medium. There is a good amount of users between the Auburn/Sumner corridor that would use a medium station. Many folks use Auburn from Sumner because there is no additional parking available. The Lakeland Hills station would be located at Lake Tapps Pkwy & East Valley Hwy E and could have a parking facility for at least 500 cars easing the load at Auburn while reducing the need of having an additional garage which may end up being needed in the future anyways. I’m not sure of BNSF’s exact plan for triple tracking between Tukwila and Sumner or if that will even happen at all but I can tell that it will be double track from Sumner to Tacoma as Sumner and Puyallup stations does not have provisions to accommodate a third mainline.

It’s all just an idea, but I could foresee the additional stations and parking garages much welcomed to commuters and those that wish to try out Sounder without having to worry about parking on the street or a business’ parking lot that doesn’t allow Sounder use. How would we fund it is really the question?

One Reply to “Time to Expand Sounder?”

  1. Hmm..I think Marysville and Stanwood along with a station at Lakewoood/Smokey Point would be a good point for passenger trains. Everett suffers from the bottleneck of having only 8 lanes of traffic on roads being able to get into and out of the city from the north and east. I-5 has 3 lanes in each direction, Hwy 529 has 2 lanes in each direction, Hwy 2 has 2 lanes in each direction, and Lowell Rd has 1 lane in each direction.

    Any expansion of Sounder service though from the north should really be coupled with a possibility of running a shuttle train of some sort from Mukilteo Station up the Boeing Spur Line through Japanese Gulch to the plant as frequent as possible. A lot of the car traffic in Everett is due to the shifts at Boeing Plant and a lot of those employees come from north of Everett. In fact, before around 1995 there were no traffic jams in Everett except around the time Boeing shifts got out.

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