Sound Transit is hosting a series of open houses about station locations and track alignments between Northgate and Lynnwood starting Tuesday, March 13th. The project page is here.


Tuesday, March 13, 4-6:30 p.m.
Bitter Lake Community Center
13035 Linden Ave. N.

Saturday, March 24, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Safeway Pinehurst
12318 15th Ave. N.E.

Wednesday, March 14, 4 – 6:30 p.m.
Dale Turner YMCA
19290 Aurora Ave. N.

Thursday, March 15, 4 – 6:30 p.m.
Shoreline Library
345 N.E. 175th St.

Friday, March 16, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Top Food Market Street Café
1201 N. 175th St.

Tuesday, March 20, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace Library
23300 58th Ave. W.
Mountlake Terrace

Thursday, March 22, 4 – 6:30 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion
5303 228th St. S.W.
Mountlake Terrace

Saturday, March 17, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Top Food Market Street Café
21900 Highway 99

Monday, March 19, 4 – 6:30 p.m.
Lynnwood Recreation Center
18900 44th Ave. W.

Wednesday, March 21, 4 – 6:30 p.m.
Lynnwood Library
19200 44th Ave. W.

I hope attendees will emphasize the importance of finding station locations that maximize developable land within the walkshed, given the very large constraints of being next to the freeway.

65 Replies to “North Corridor Meetings Start Tomorrow”

  1. TOD is simply not possible given the terrible alignment choice the Sound Transit Board made. TOD is not a substantive factor in their decision making. Further, to get ridership will require significant bus infrastructure and as the experience in Rainier Valley shows, there is almost zero consideration for bus connections to light rail. East/West connections are infrequent and inconvenient. So when ST is “puzzled” at failed ridership projections, they will have to look back at the short sighted decision they made to “cheaply” route this up the freeway.

    1. I’m going to have to disagree with you at least in regards to Snoho. While the walksheds would be better absent a freeway routing the 236th St and Lynnwood stops are both Transit Centers that see the majority of routes going through their cities. CT shouldn’t have as many problems as Metro with connecting to LR due to the fact that their stops are already hubs.
      There’s also plenty of land near all three Snoho stops that could be developed as TOD if MLT and Lynnwood decide to do that.

      1. Transit Oriented Development happens when the station is in the midst of dense housing and commercial districts. Not even a Transit Center at least not the ones in Lynnwood count towards that.

      2. I may have muddled my two points. I brought up the Transit Centers in response to your comment about bus connections and how they’ll be essential to LR’s success with the I-5 routing.
        MLT is zoned mostly single family next to the Transit Center, my point was that if MLT upzones there is plenty of room for TOD. Also, the former Evergreen Elementary site, which is just South of 236th on I-5. is sitting vacant while Edmonds School District waits for the economy to rebound to sell it to a developer. It’s a huge parcel of land that could be developed as TOD.
        The best TOD may not be possible, but if people in Lynnwood and MLT have the political will they can see an environment more amenable to transit use.

      3. I’m not sure about Mountlake Terrace, but I’d say more than half the people who use Lynnwood Transit Center get there by bus. A good percentage of CT’s routes converge on that point. Several routes serve the MLT transit center, too. A stop at 220th would not have these advantages and doesn’t really make sense to me.

        One thing to keep in mind, though, is that upon the event of Link reaching Lynnwood (or even Northgate to a lesser extent), CT’s local service will likely get much better, as it should longer have the expense of running commuter buses all the way to Seattle.

    2. “TOD is simply not possible given the terrible alignment choice the Sound Transit Board made. TOD is not a substantive factor in their decision making.”

      ST is not allowed to consider speculative upzones: only known projects and established zoning. If Seattle and Shoreline had upzoned Aurora five years ago, it would have made a difference in the equation.

      “Further, to get ridership will require significant bus infrastructure and as the experience in Rainier Valley shows, there is almost zero consideration for bus connections to light rail.”

      There was consideration. It just couldn’t get past the County Council’s veto, and then he recession dashed any hopes of additional service hours. Metro did propose to put the 42’s service hours into the 39 for east-west service, and the council vetoed it.

      I won’t get into whether it’s egregious to not break up the 7 or truncate the 101 or 150 because these really are borderline cases.

      “Transit Oriented Development happens when the station is in the midst of dense housing and commercial districts. Not even a Transit Center at least not the ones in Lynnwood count towards that.”

      TOD means multifamily housing within a convenient walk of a frequent transit route, ideally mixed with commercial development. What you’re talking about is more than that, essentially an urban village. Holding Northgate-Lynnwood transit hostage to an urban village at every station is too much. I wish the villages were there, but we can’t keep transit underpowered just because they aren’t. Inadequate transit promotes car dependency and auto-oriented development.

      1. Yes, you are correct in saying Sound Transit isn’t allowed to consider “speculative upzones”. But that is the key problem. They are a “sovereign agency” making decisions with major regional impacts independent of all the other stakeholders. Many cities especially suburban ones already recognize that increasing density is the key to remaining viable in the region but so far, there is no consensus on how to apply that. If megaprojects such as Link are tied to regional land use decisions, then Sound Transit should have been required to be part of the formula for increasing density where its stations land.

        Your explanations don’t quite go far enough because if we really want the sweet-spot of increased density, then North Aurora is one of the key places in the city to develop that (e.g. >40 thousand units). You can call it what ever you want in land use jargon – Urban Village, Urban Center etc. But if we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars for each station, we should have the economic benefit of them either being in the center of an already existing urban center/village/whatever dense is, or being the catalyst for one.

      2. That would make ST a transit-and-land-use-and-urban-planning agency rather than just a transit agency. It’s not clear that that would be a wise thing. ST has a straightforward mission right now. It might be better to have another agency in charge of all those things, and subordinate ST to it. The Puget Sound Regional Council sounds like what you’re talking about, or something at that level.

  2. FYI, there is a Bitter Lake Neighborhood Plan meeting at Broadview-Thomson K-8 (right next door to the Bitter Lake community center) immediately following the north corridor meeting tomorrow.

    The plan includes the following:

    *Create a Linden Ave N Village Center: that is a vibrant neighborhood and where neighbors come together to shop, dine, and play.
    *Transform Aurora Ave. N: to be a great business district and a safe place to walk, take transit and drive.
    *Build Community: that is identifiable, interconnected and resilient by strengthening organizations and neighborhood activities.
    *Improve Safe Walking and Biking: along a network of major streets that connect people and places, and promote a sense of place and a healthy environment.

  3. Also, I am hopeful that by having the two Seattle meetings near 130th, they’ll get feedback about putting the stop there instead of at 145th. There is slightly more opportunity for development at 130th.

    1. Agreed. I was up in my old stomping grounds this past weekend and I am amazed at the changes. Substantial new density where open fields once stood but still maintaining a balance with greenspace. It just demonstrates the fantastic potential for building density in this city if our planners and politicians would be courageous.

    2. Of course, if Jackson Park golf course can become Jackson Park Urban Village, then 145th becomes much more attractive.

      1. Yes indeed, how about Jefferson Golf Course as well? You would think the land would be far more valuable as housing instead of golf courses? Seattle rarely walks the walk when it comes to density. No more sprawl? How about selling 2 of the 3 golf courses for housing?



      2. There’s already so much underdeveloped land within city limits. We don’t need to start reclaiming parks.

        Zone everything within city limits for multifamily and then we’ll talk.

    3. +1

      If we can’t get both, 130th is clearly a better choice. There is more developable land there; there’s not just the golf course at 145th, the Lakeside School is in that area as well. Also, there are better crosstown connections on 125th/130th: direct to Lake City and Bitter Lake, as well as a NW/SE diagonal–Roosevelt Way N–that buses southbound on Aurora could use to access a 130th station directly from 145th/Aurora.

      1. Exactly. Right now there is terrible cross-town bus service along 130th. It would take me at least 2 buses and about an hour to get from my home near Bitter Lake to 125th & Lake City. Maybe if they put a station at 130th they will build a bus route along 130th/125th from Greenwood (or even further west) to 35th (or even further east). Or, really, do the same on 145th.

  4. What’s the maximum number of stations they’d consider building between Northgate and Lynnwood Transit Center? Any chance of all of these getting built?

    1. Let me rephrase this: how many stations are they planning on putting between Northgate and Lynnwood?

      1. The plan as I understand it is for a station at Mountlake Terrace, a station somewhere in Shoreline (175th or 185th), and a station at either 145th or 130th.

    2. While there may be some wiggle room to add an additional station most of the planning assumptions have 4 stations in the NCT project including Lynnwood TC.

    3. The maximum number depends on what ST can afford and doesn’t consider excessive. The 99 alignment had one more station than I-5 in the alternatives analysis: it had both 135th and 155th. The above diagram has two more stations: 130th and 220th. They’re all colored equally, and there’s no mention of ST being unable or unwilling to build all those stations. It really depends on the cost of the rest of the project; whether it’s above or below estimate.

      Several people including me have told ST that a 130th station is important to allow for an east-west bus from Lake City to Aurora. That would be better for both those areas than the 75 with its myriad traffic bottlenecks. The new map seems to reflect that feedback.

      I don’t know what prompted ST to add a 220th station. Hopefully its advantages will become clearer or the station dropped.

      1. The 220th Station would be good for MLT, although I don’t really think that MLT needs two stations and 236th offers better transit connections and developement potential. 220th is the major employment center in MLT with Premera Blue Cross’s sprawling headquarters, and it’s about a mile from Swedish Edmonds. Hopefully ST is only planning one station in MLT and they’re proposing two sites.

  5. I recall that at a session at Northgate, I asked about direct bus ramps between I-5 and the station. Answer: not worth it. Very likely thinking is that since Northgate is only a the “temporary” end of NorthLINK, we can skip some things.

    Seattle originally planned for Freeway Park to cover I-5 the whole length of Downtown. Same approach, which should have been applied to whole planned length instead of just part of it, really shows about the only way present alignment can maximize its potential.

    In the time-frame we’re talking about, the transit-connection and commercial neighborhoods that don’t exist on I-5 at 145th and Edmonds Way can be built on structures over it. By the 2030’s, Mountlake Terrace could be the north portal for high speed rail headed under Seattle on the way to San Diego.

    The whole Interstate system is overdue for a rebuild, and this country could certainly use the employment. Not really worried about transit if necessary change of mentality doesn’t happen, because in that case, there won’t be a country here anymore.

    Mark Dublin

  6. Couldn’t ST use the small-ish Park And Ride at 145th as some sort of transit center? If they insist on building a station at 145th, then at least there is space to build it. I live walking distance to 145th/I-5, but if there is good bus service/feeder route to a station at 130th, meaning every 10 minutes or less, then I wouldn’t mind having a comfortable and quick 2-seat ride to downtown or the airport.

    1. I think that’s why they’re talking about putting the station at 145th instead of 130th, because they already have the land there for the tiny P&R.

      Agreed about the buses–I am sad about Aurora being nixed as the route because they would have probably put a station right by my house, but if we can at least get decent connectivity to the station from the surrounding neighborhoods, all will not be lost. Really, anything that gets me off the 358 is a win in my book.

  7. I know this is North of the North Corridor being discussed, but I hope that when time comes, LINK will have a station at Paine Field. It would make sense in at least two ways, the Boeing factory (The largest in the nation, if not world), and the Airport.

    1. I think Everett might be best served by a branch line with tracks splitting off toward Everett Station & Boeing. The scheduling could be based on Boeing’s hours, which are a bit different from the standard 9-5. Their peaks are early morning and mid-afternoon, so more trains could be directed that way during those hours and more to Everett during the regular peak. The branch could either split off at Mariner P&R (could serve Paine Field, connection to Swift at Airport/99, and the 128th corridor — most densely populated area in SnoCo) or at the Boeing freeway (more direct, connection to Swift near Casino/Evergreen, could serve Casino Road).

      Going from Lynnwood to Boeing to downtown Everett via a 128th/Airport Rd/Boeing Freeway alignment seems a bit out of the way, but who knows, not having the loss of headways to downtown Everett a spur would cause could make up for the loss in time.

      1. Instead of a branch track, why not just make it a loop? I can’t see Link going all the way to Marysville.

      2. A loop would have to double back between the Boeing Freeway and Everett Station, anyway. That doesn’t quite work geographically.

        Marysville isn’t in ST’s district.

      3. Just because Link runs along I-5 between Northgate and Lynnwood TC doesn’t mean it needs to stay in the I-5 ROW all the way to Everett station. Any line North of Lynnwood TC is a long ways off, so keep your eyes open and ensure alignments that include Evergreen Way are on the table.

        Personally I’d like to see Link extent all the way North to Everett CC with service along Broadway between Everett Station and Everett CC.

        Past that I hope Link can hit as much density (residential, commercial, and retail) as possible between Lynnwood TC and Everett station.

    2. Boeing would be better served by an in house ad hoc transportation system similar to what Microsoft provides their employees. I think it would be far cheaper an preferable for the governments to provide tax credits to large employers to provide this transportation system that would dove tail on existing infrastructure.

      1. Yeah, but it’s worth noting that Microsoft (a smaller employer, although obviously not out of the way to Redmond like Boeing is to Everett) is also getting Link service themselves. Do you know if Microsoft currently gets such a tax credit for their employee transit?

        It’s completely possible that Boeing could pay the capital costs to bring service there. The state already made them pay for a bunch of upgrades to the Boeing Freeway and related interchanges in exchange for letting them expand their factory.

        I do think, regardless, that some sort of connection to the Evergreen/99 corridor is necessary. A lot more people in Everett live there than along I-5, which mostly skirts along the side of town and doesn’t even really connect well to cross-streets like it does in Lynnwood/MTL/Shoreline.

      2. I don’t know of the tax credit availability. I recall Washington State has a Commuter Trip Reduction program that provides incentives for business to encourage reductions in commuter trips via car pooling, van pooling, transit etc. But what would it take to get the tens of thousands of cars that must park near Boeing plants each day to not have to do that? What will it take to service the thousands that work swing and graveyard shifts at plants when public transit systems often don’t run?

      3. Yeah, I mean, obviously all that would be great. The sea of parking around Boeing is ridiculous and the current transit to Boeing is subadequate for an business of that size. I don’t think there’s any direct service from South Snohomish County, where a ton of Boeing workers live.

    3. Perhaps the market can be tested now with a connection between South Everett and Boeing. This would connect with the ST service on I-5.

  8. It seems that link north of Northgate should be thought of as commuter rail and not urban light rail…

    What are peoples thoughts on this?

    1. Certainly not urban, certainly focused on commuters, but it’s still light rail thanks to the vehicles. I don’t recall the plan for running trains, but it would make sense to sto most trains at Northgate and change directions during non-commute hours.

      If we don’t add parking and make them true TOD, it might make sense to run them more frequently. But ST’s track record so far has been plenty of free parking outside the city instead of TOD.

    2. Link north of Northgate = BART south of Oakland. A train built to metro standards for a market that really needs/wants commuter rail. Our job as enlightened people is to figure out how to make Link north of Northgate not a total money sink for ST.

      1. “how to make Link north of Northgate not a total money sink for ST.” Take the lanes of I-5? It’ll likely happen someday anyway, why not now?

      2. I don’t think Sound Transit plans on any of the segments of Link or any of their other services taking in more firebox revenue than the operating cost. I wouldn’t particularly worry about NCT being a “total money sink for ST”.

        Besides even though I think ST’s current projections of ridership north of Northgate are a bit on the optimistic side I’m inclined to agree the ridership from Snohomish county will be quite healthy. Especially compared to anything from Downtown Seattle South.

    3. Link is like BART or the DC Metro, a combination of a metro and commuter rail, with close station spacing and underground segments in the central city but wide spacing and elevated alignments in the suburbs.

    4. There is already all-day demand between Seattle and Lynnwood or Everett (see the ST express routes). Lynnwood is planning to be the next Bellevue and is going to zone for quite a bit of density in the corridor between the TC and the mall.

      I’d love to see Link hit all of the nodes of current and future residential, retail, and employment density between Lynnwood TC and Everett Station.

      1. At the first North Corridor meeting a year or two ago, several Lynnwoodites asked for a second station at Alderwood Mall. Doubtless this will resurface when the Everett extension is considered.

      2. I don’t think it will be a big stretch for ST to put another station or two in central Lynnwood if Link ever heads further north. If I had to guess one would be at the mall and the other in the middle of the CBD the city is planning.

  9. they should design the route so that at some point in the future they can add branches off the main line to other places like Shoreline, Bothell, Edmonds, etc … no need for every train to go all the way to Lynnwood

    1. An east-west line would be better than branches. Branching either undercuts the frequency or replicates the situation people are complaining about with buses — too many one-seat rides to downtown. Frequency on one line is vital for establishing a better transit network in Snoho and convincing people to use transit. Adding branches while preserving Lynnwood’s frequency would overwhelm the Seattle tunnel’s capacity.

      You need one frequent north-south line first. Lynnwood is the center of the developed area and is in-line for Everett. Then increase the east-west routes and possibly convert some of them to Link. Only when they get full or travel time is unacceptable, would it make sense to add branches or a second north-south line.

  10. regardless of where the stations are going to be … please make the track as straight as possible (and flat) … all the zigs and zags, ups and downs from Rainier Beach to TIBS makes the wide wobbly and slows things down

  11. Just saying, this alignment is awful. Fail Sound Transit. Just had to take another pot-shot. That said, while the walksheds will be terrible and there is limited potential for development at most station areas, the more critical issue is noise. Good luck on any significant TOD. I know I would never live by one of the stations north of Northgate if I absolutely didn’t have to. Thanks Sound Transit and your poor alternatives analysis!!!

  12. I trekked up to the Bitter Lake Community Center and found the table the Sound Transit folks were occupying. Had an interesting conversation with a couple of the people there. I registered my disappointment with the alignment and asked what were some of the decision factors for it and got some rather interesting tid bits.

    It seems that one factor in this decision was a concern about the investment already made in road infrastructure along North Aurora including center boxes and BRT infrastructure that would be supplanted by Link. Also mentioned was the impact on parcels adjacent to Aurora might be rendered nonviable if they were used for Link ROW. And also mentioned was the opposition of Aurora corridor businesses.

    I appreciate the representatives openness in mentioning these items. It drives home the point that we as an activist community need to be much better organized, and plugged into the planning process. If we want to see the density improvements coupled with major transit decisions, this is where we need to focus. All of these “objections” the representative mentioned in my opinion were not valid reasons to disqualify an Aurora alignment but it is certainly understandable how Sound Transit took the path of least resistance.

    The other thing that I discussed with them was the preference for a 130th alignment. They also mentioned that there is an alternative 125th site that would flow with transit operations.

    1. Wait, huh? 125th & I-5? What kind of transit operations are there at 125th & I-5? They don’t mean that just because there are some buses that lay over there, it’s a good spot for a light rail station, are they? The cross-town connection would be worse there, since there is no freeway crossing at 125th.

      Also, their responses about the Aurora alignment smack of Shoreline once again messing up a transit project. Metro staff I spoke to at a community meeting placed the blame for the ridiculous stop spacing on Rapid Ride E squarely at the feet of the City of Shoreline–apparently the city said they want close stop spacing because they think people won’t walk to the stops if they’re any further apart than 5 blocks. Now we hear that they don’t want to mess up the nice trees Shoreline just put in along there and that’s why we can’t have light rail where there is at least a potential for TOD?

      I was at a neighborhood planning meeting last fall about the Bitter Lake neighborhood plan, and I heard the same line from the city officials about properties along Aurora being negatively impacted by light rail along there. The concern expressed was about left turns and trucks, like, Home Depot or whoever would have trouble getting deliveries because of the light rail tracks. It just, I mean, WHAT? That the city had bought into such a stupid argument on top of Sound Transit doing it just made me even more mad.

      1. yep, the “excuses” seem pretty specious. I wasn’t able to stay for the community meeting so if any STB people went to that I’d be curious to know how that went.

      2. It looks like the first meeting that’ll fit into my schedule is the Saturday mid-day at 220th & 99. Not looking forward to spending over an hour on the 358+Swift to get there, or being the only person who won’t be defending the 220th station. It would be easier to wait till Mountlake Terrace next week, but I don’t want to wait that long. :)

        Note to those who deride the “commuter” routes: it’s the only way to get from Sand Point to Mountlake Terrace in a reasonable amount of time: the fact that it happens to coincide with when the CT-UW routes are running. Of course, Link would be able to do it with one hand tied behind its back: Brooklyn-MT or 130th-MT. Go Link.

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