A month ago, I wrote about options that would help make a parking garage at Northgate more acceptable – pricing the parking, funding a pedestrian bridge, and splitting up the parcel so that not all of the park and ride area was a single structure, helping bring needed variety to the station area.
Most of these things are now within reach. Sound Transit reached out to the community and listened to their concerns. Councilmember Conlin has proposed matching funds for a pedestrian bridge across I-5. The parcel is to be split into four sections. We just don’t know about pricing, which is a contentious issue that Sound Transit staff have expressed interest in pursuing many times – pressure is building in the right direction, but it’s possible that because of adjacent free mall parking, this can’t be the place to start.
Remember that this is about fairness. 92% of Northgate station users will be coming on foot, by bike, and on transit – but the original concepts would have spent far more on a parking garage for only 8% of users than on everyone else combined. That can now be rectified with only a little more work on our part.
Tomorrow, the Sound Transit board will consider a better deal for users of Northgate station: 25% contribution to the pedestrian bridge (up to $5 million). $5 million in matching funds for city access improvements, like sidewalks and bike lanes. And, sadly, still $12 million for a parking garage, but only 450 stalls, not the original likely 900. It’s still less than half the money to serve more than 90% of the people – but it’s a better deal than was originally likely.
To help out, go here! Cascade has set up a great way for you to let Sound Transit know you support a better deal. Remember, if we say “yes, you moved in the right direction, and we agree with that,” they will be more receptive to public opinion next time. This part is just as important as demanding change in the first place.