Lynnwood TC (Sound Transit)

One frequent open-thread discussion is the merits of Lynnwood as a destination for rail. I certainly agree that it shouldn’t be the highest priority for rail in the region, although perhaps it should be the highest rail priority in Snohomish County. That’s where the money is coming from and by law must be spent. Although I suspect most people’s opinion of this is motivated by something other than the specific situation in Lynnwood, here are some facts about what currently funnels into I-5.

Bus service into Seattle currently consists of Sound Transit routes 510 through 513, in addition to wide array of 400- and 800-series Community Transit (CT) commuter routes that terminate in either Downtown Seattle or University of Washington. As Link will provide frequent, traffic-separated, reasonably direct access to both destinations without having to stage through the HOV-lane-free I-5/UW bottleneck, it would take suicidal tendencies on the part of CT to not truncate their buses at Lynnwood and/or Mountlake Terrace and transfer riders to Link.

According to Martin Munguia of CT, in 2011 CT’s commuter routes to both destinations had 9,800 daily boardings, all in the peak. That’s down from 12,000 per day in 2008, before everything imploded. According to ST’s 2012 Service Implementation Plan, weekday ridership on routes 510 through 513 was 8,002* in 2Q 2011. We can conclude that if Link through Lynnwood opened tomorrow, they’d draw at least 8,501 boardings at the two stations, presumably most at Lynnwood. For comparison, in 2Q 2010 the most weekday boardings at any Central Link station was at Westlake, 3,976.

And when I say “at least,” I’m assuming that the service hours saved by not sending buses into downtown Seattle go into the ether, rather than being redeployed to improve service. I’m assuming that absolutely no one is attracted by the superior speed, reliability, legibility, and frequency of rail. No one finds Link to be superior to the 510/511 to go to a game or get to the airport. And of course, the station will actually open in 2023, when the region will presumably have grown, CT might not be destitute, and from which point Lynnwood will take their shot at fostering development in the station area.

Finally, a note on capacity and headways: with the peak lasting about three hours, those 4,900 AM peak rides on CT comes out to about 63 riders per train at six-minute headways. The 510 and 511 average 53-64 passengers per trip in the AM peak and at the peak of the peak arrive 10 times an hour. Together, that’s about 125 people per train before it crosses the county line. If you want to use the Tokyo-style capacity of 800 per train, that’s 15% full under extremely conservative ridership assumptions. Using ST’s planning capacity of 548 per train, which provides a little slack in the system, it’ll be about a quarter full before a single King County resident gets on.

All this is not to say that Lynnwood is transit Nirvana, as high a priority as UW or Northgate or downtown Bellevue, or even some unserved King County neighborhoods. From a narrow engineering perspective, it might have been possible to build something nearly as nice with buses, with less capital cost but with supreme political will from both voters and agencies at all levels.**  Nevertheless, it’s a good project to provide a high-capacity link to the natural collection point of all the county’s buses, and a sensible use of Snohomish County funds.

* Add 946 more boardings for 2012, but I’m trying to keep my inputs constant.

** As with all idealized BRT concepts that demand total focus of all players in the political system on good service delivery at minimum cost, I have my doubts!

133 Replies to “Lynnwood Ridership”

  1. So if I’m reading this right, it means that under optimistic assumptions regarding rail bias, bus system restructure, and regional growth, 6 minute peak headways may quickly become insufficient for North Link. That could be interesting.

    1. I see it as a given that we will eventually need additional Northgate turnback trains. In the long term, the segment between Northgate and downtown has epic ridership potential. A substantial portion of all the added density in the entire north half of Seattle in the next 15 years will be within the Northgate station’s walkshed.

    2. Where do you get your numbers for regional growth?

      Almost all the Census data point to the regions south of Seattle up to Olympia and even south of there as being the high growth areas with everything else pretty much static.

      I would be putting all my money into rail for the Seataco region. (Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia).

      1. I’m not talking about regional growth, I’m talking about “added density in the . . . north half of Seattle.”

        In any case, the Census data shows that Seattle grew at roughly 8 percent between 2000 and 2010, as did Olympia. Tacoma grew at 2.5 percent.

      2. Washington state’s population barely budged in the last 12 months, although some cities grew significantly, largely because of annexations.

        The Evergreen state’s population increased a scant 0.64 percent to 6,767,900 as of April 1, according to an annual estimate released Thursday by the state Office of Financial Management.

        The state agency attributed the “unexpected slowdown in population growth” to the weak economic recovery following the financial crisis of 2008.

      3. I see Seattle, the Eastside, and South King County on that list. I don’t see Pierce or Thurston Counties.

  2. I think Martin has this just about right. Lynnwood LINK will be crush-loaded during peak, and almost empty north of Northgate off-peak, mostly absorbing former mid-day riders on the soon-to-be 512. With demand that peak-oriented, light rail is a poor but tolerable technology choice. I completely agree that Lynnwood LINK will represent fiscal salvation for Community Transit.

    1. You have no understanding of how transit works, or else you have no idea of the definition of “crush load.”

      Transit systems in the U.S., outside of NYC are never “crush loaded” during normal commutes. Commuters refuse to put up with that sort of crowding on a regular basis, and simply start riding in cars, or van-pooling or telecommuting to avoid anything close to “crush loads.”

      The highest capacity Link can expect to achieve long-term during normal commutes at the peak load point along the line, during the peak hour is about 132 passengers per Link car. This is what the capacity of Link cars are at 2 standees per square meter of standing space, and 2 standeess per square meter is the U.S. standard for “comfortable” conditions on light rail cars.

      This capacity of 132 per Link car assumes no bicycles and no large pieces of luggage are on the cars. A bike or large piece of luggage will take up the space of about one passenger, thus reducing capacity by about one passenger per bicycle or large piece of luggage.

      1. I have lived in Boston and DC and both of those systems quite regularly feature “crush loads” by any definition of the term. NYC is not the only one.

        I agree with you they will not ever happen on Lynnwood Link.

      2. The definition of the term “cush load” is usually the maximum load that the vehicle can operate under. In other words the suspension, brakes, motors, et. al. won’t work sufficiently over the “crush load.” “Crush load has nothing to do with real-world capacity of everyday commuting.
        What you perceive as “crush load” is probably not close to the actual definition of “crush load.”

        For example, Metro has reported that some buses from W. Seattle have been carrying 90 to 100 passengers after the service change. Articulated buses have normal capacity of 90. 90 is not close to a “crush load” for an articulated bus. The “crush load” for an articulated bus is probably around 120. In other words, those buses engines, brakes, suspensions, etc. will still work with 120 passengers. At over 120 passengers (or, whatever the actual “crush load” is for articulated buses), the weight is too much for the suspension, brakes, engines, etc.

        Many riders from W. Seattle were describing those buses as “crush loaded” with 90 people on board, but that is not accurate. 90 riders on an articulated bus, with about 60 seated and 30 standing is the actual normal “capacity” of those buses. They are designed to have 90 passengers.

        In Seattle, a lot of transit riders think any bus or light rail car with all seats filled and any standees at all is “crush loaded.” That is ludicrous, of course — they are designed for a certain number of standees.

      3. While for all I know some regulatory document may define “crush load” that way, that is not how the term “crush load” is normally used.

        Usually it means roughly a load where no more passengers can physically fit into the cars. That doesn’t mean “a few standees.” It would typically mean about 100 people on an articulated bus and about 160-180 in a Link car.

        Granted, people in Asia are willing to crush closer than people in the US. But I’ve seen plenty of everyday loads in the Boston and DC systems, and occasional loads on buses here, that qualify as “crush loads” under any circumstances. Trains regularly pass people up for lack of physical room on Boston’s Red and Green Lines and on DC’s Red and Orange Lines.


        I don’t know if that link will work, but you can just google, “Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual—2nd Edition” and you should be able to get this document.

        On page 5-25: “Exhibit 5-21 shows loading standards over the peak 15 minutes for selected heavy rail systems.”

        Passenger Space (based on gross floor space)
        System (City)……….. ….(ft2/p)………. (m2/p)

        NYCT (New York)………. 4.0 into CBD….. 0.38 into CBD
        CTA (Chicago) …………7.0 into CBD …..0.67 into CBD
        SEPTA (Philadelphia) …..8.0 into CBD …..0.77 into CBD
        MBTA (Boston) …………5.0 into CBD …..0.50 into CBD
        BART (San Francisco) …..5.75-9.0 ………0.53-0.83
        WMATA (Washington) …….5.0-12.0 ………0.50-1.11
        MARTA (Atlanta) ……….6.75-7.5 ………0.63-0.71
        TTC (Toronto) …………4.5-6.0 ……….0.42-0.56
        STM (Montréal) ………..3.4-4.0 ……….0.31-0.38
        CBD: central business district

        This chart may not be very readable the way I copied and pasted it here, but if you go to the document, you can see that of the U.S. cities listed, only NYC has a loading standard for the peak 15 minutes at the peak point of less than half a square meter per passenger, or more than two passengers per square meter. This includes Washington D.C. and Boston.

        If you measure a Link car’s capacity in this way, each car’s passenger compartment has about 65.6 square meters of gross floor space, so 2 passengers per square meter of gross floor space gives a capacity of about 131 for each Link car.

      5. Loading standards adopted don’t tell you much about the actual loads on the ground. WMATA, for instance, would readily admit that loads on the morning “Orange Crush” (trains on the Virginia side of the Orange Line) exceed their own standards most of the time. If you were standing in an Orange Crush car at 8:30 a.m., you wouldn’t be arguing with me over standards, you’d be saying “This car is crush-loaded.”

      6. Any particular car could always be over the “capacity” at some point. The accepted “capacity” figures are for estimating what you can expect over time at the peak point at the peak hour.

        For example, for Link’s “capacity” over the I-90 bridge, 132 per car is what you should use, because over the long term, that is the highest load you can expect Link cars to carry during the peak hour, on average. Some cars will have more than 132, and some will have less, but, over months, or years, Link won’t exceed an average of about 132 per car during the peak hour. That is what the research shows is the highest ridership Link will achieve at the peak point during the peak hour.

        So, if you are discussing Link’s highest normal commute capacity over the I-90 bridge, for example, the figure you should use is 132 per car.

      7. One minor quibble

        90 riders on an articulated bus, with about 60 seated and 30 standing is the actual normal “capacity” of those buses. They are designed to have 90 passengers.

        The design capacity of a DE60LF(R) is 62 seated, 53 standing, for a total of 115. Metro considers a bus overcrowded at a lower level, but that’s what they are designed for. This capacity is exceeded on a regular basis during the peaks on bunched 48s, and I’m sure other places in the system as well.

        Bunched buses, with empty buses following blocks behind full ones, skew the average loads and hide this reality. Bunching is epidemic in Metro’s system.

      8. We’re not talking about engineering specifications, we’re talking about North Americans’ space tolerance. Even before the train can’t physically move, you’d need Japanese-style pushers to pack people onto the trains. North Americans obviously won’t tolerate this, so it’s moot, just like the engineering definition of crush load is moot. If ST defines 132 as practical fullness, which is already down from 200 the train capacity, I’m inclined to defer to it.

      9. Zed was correct. Norman has clearly never seen the places he claims “crush loads” do not exist:,08+043.JPG

        But Bellinghammer has distorted Martin’s mathematically sound analysis by implying crush loads from Lynnwood. Martin said nothing of the sort:

        …it’ll be about a quarter full before a single King County resident gets on.

        1/4 full crossing the county line, max. Then a few extra people at North King’s two least-accessible stations. Then Northgate, where ST intends to double the frequency, reducing loads from further north to a little over 1/8 of capacity.

        You won’t see any “full” trains until you pass Brooklyn. Only there will the capacity afforded by 3-minute (versus 6-minute) vehicles actually be necessary to avoid crowded (not even crush) loads.

      10. dp’s two photos prove my point perfectly. Particularly the second one. That train is nowhere near “crush load”, but he apparently thinks it is. For many people, if there are any passengers standing in the aisles, that means it is a “crush load.” A “normal capacity” load has almost as many riders standing as sitting, with every seat filled. That is not close to being a “crush load”, which would be about twice as many riders standing as sitting, with every seat filled.

        Great illustration of how so many people in this area have no idea what “crush load” means.

      11. Oy.

        Norman, I dare you to find a place to stand in a non-contorted way in that photo, or to get to the doorway without pushing bodies from your path. The only reason there aren’t bodies scrunched right up against the camera lens is that the photo is taken from the articulated part of the car, and there are only moving parts between the photographer and the three foreground passengers.

        That’s far from the fullest those trains get — that looks typical for 8:00 at night, or 3:00 on a Saturday. At true “crush loads”, you’d be lucky to be able to move your arms enough to raise your camera.

        Such crushes are a daily experience at rush hour:

        …and epidemic after Sox games:

        …though it should be noted that the T is amazingly capable of moving tens of thousands into and out of the Fenway area in a very short period of time, despite the constricted infrastructure and the loading difficulties.

        Still care to claim I don’t know what a “crush load” is?

        Anyway, it’s a moot point, because even Martin admits we’ll be barely a quarter of the way to what no one would consider “crushed” between Lynnwood and Northgate.

        But rest assured that David L and I know infinitely more about what we’re talking about than you do.

      12. I regularly ride on buses with far more than 2 standees per square meter of space. Crush loads are the norm on the 41 for much of the day and for the 71/72/73/74 in the AM peak as well as much of the afternoon and early evening. Also look at the 545 during Microsoft commute hours.

      13. d.p.,

        Please don’t mischaracterize what I said. I said that *under draconian assumptions* we’d end up with 1/4 full trains. I don’t really have any idea how full they’d really be, but if I had to guess I’d say half.

      14. dp, once again, you prove my point. Those 2 video clips are, indeed, “crush loaded.” Compare those to the photos in your earlier post, and you will see there is no comparison. Particularly the second photo is nowhere near a “crush load.” If you see no difference between that photo and the two videos, then there is no help for you.

        A “full” Link car (not crush-loaded, but just to capacity) would have 58 standees — 29 at each end of the car. That is just about what that second photo looks like — that is how a Link car looks with about 29 standees in one end of the car and every seat taken. That is just a “full” car, not even close to “crush loaded.”

        The two videos were during particular events: the first day of Spring Break, and after a baseball game. Everyone agrees that trains and buses will be more packed after events (games or concerts, for example) or some holidays, etc., than during normal commutes.

        Again, showing packed trains after ballgames or during the first day of spring break makes my point. Those videos were not taken during normal commutes. I consisently have written about “normal commute” peak hours. I wrote nothing about after events or during holidays when a lot more people than “normal” are traveling.

      15. chris Stefan: how many people do you consider to be a “crush load” on an articulated bus?

      16. Norman:

        That’s any weekday at 5:00 PM. Really. Year-round.

        The “spring break” description is irrelevant, except inasmuch as it may suggest the video was shot by a student unaccustomed to taking the train at that hour.

        You know absolutely nothing of what you speak.


        Fair enough. Though the assumptions you used might be reasonably characterized as “baseline” rather than “draconian”. (Draconian would imply no feeder service or mode-shifting at all.)

        And remember, that’s “1/4 full” rather than “1/4 crush-loaded”, which you defined very differently.

        Any way you slice it — draconian, baseline, or successful beyond your wildest dreams — you’re not looking at anything resembling full trains before Northgate, and you’re not looking at truly full trains until Brooklyn. That’s the first place on the line where 3-minute trains will become necessity rather than luxury.

    2. That is actually a very lightly loaded train for evenings on the Green Line. Trust me, they are crush loaded on a regular basis. Sometimes Japan-style.

      The same thing can be observed by standing on the platform at Rosslyn outside of DC on any weekday morning.

  3. Lynnwood is trying to become a new mini Downtown Bellevue, much like Federal Way is. In this timeframe, they might be successful at moderate scale, making them destinations and also providing more walkable residents.

    1. I hope they don’t become more of an employment center. That will just end up pushing sprawl and traffic out even further. The skyscrapers in Bellevue (and technology “campus” in Redmond) is a big reason that traffic is a mess in this region and sprawl is so horrible. Thank God Amazon has the good sense to do what companies used to do: Put your company downtown.

      1. No, it’s not. Sprawl existed on the Eastside before Bellevue’s rennaissance and Microsoft. The golden age of sprawl began in the 1960s when 520 opened and it was suddenly easier to cross the lake by car. In fact, officials underestimated growth so much that the tolls paid off the bridge seven years early.

        Around 1990, Bellevue decided to grow up and become more city-like. Then came all the skyscrapers and expanded Bellevue Square, thus making Bellevue a satellite downtown. There’s nothing wrong with satellite centers as long as there’s frequent transit between them. If Bellevue hadn’t changed, there likely wouldn’t have been an urban renaissance at all on the Eastside, and Microsoft and all the other companies in downtown Bellevue would have scattered to sprawlsville further out, thus making the area even harder to navigate by transit or walking, and expanding the suburban ring further like Silicon Valley.

      2. The best* place for a new job is downtown Seattle. The second best place is a transit-connected hub near downtown Seattle, with good limits on parking. The worst place is an unconnected sprawled area.

        Some job growth in Lynnwood is fine, as it’s probably just absorbing jobs that would have been created in sprawl. Bellevue, however, has likely gone too far and taken workplace demand from Seattle. This is bad overall, as it’s much easier to commute long distances and get to Bellevue.

        * with respect to climate, land, pollution, and resource impacts.

  4. The refusal to take Lynnwood Link seriously is part of a larger belief that suburban peak ridership is not “real,” given the lack of all-day demand and walkable communities, and the number of empty vehicles that must run off-peak if all-day service is provided.

    But suburban peak ridership drives the extremities of pretty much every rail transit system in existence, from New York to DC to Boston to London to Paris to Moscow. And the public demand for service to accommodate that ridership is great. Suburban residents think of transit as a commute tool, and don’t understand city residents’ ridership patterns either.

    ST2 would not have battled to an electoral draw in Snohomish County without its promise to fix the severely broken commuter transit situation there. Lynnwood Link is a good investment and will maintain area-wide support for the overall ST project going forward. From a purely transit-planning perspective, there is no way it should be done before Ballard. From a political perspective, it had to be.

    1. From a purely transit-planning perspective, there is no way it should be done before Ballard. From a political perspective, it had to be.

      This is tragic. True, but tragic. And it will be even more tragic if all Ballard gets is a glorified streetcar.

      1. The way to avoid that is to keep our eye on the ball and get as much of Ballard Link as we can into ST3. Seattle Subway is doing exactly the right thing in that respect. Lynnwood Link (and S 200th Link and East Link) will provide political cover for in-Seattle Link projects that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Yes, it’s taking freaking forever, but it will take even longer if we abandon those efforts, don’t take them seriously, or carp constantly from outside the system instead of working within it.

    2. This is why I belive letting taxes (and initiatives in general) to go to the ballot is a mistake.

      1. In a democracy, it’ll come back to the ballot one way or another. Even if ST had been a pure legislative creation, it would have kicked up a political Hurricane Sandy in the suburbs if it had spent most or all of its initial capital funding on the Seattle projects that will ultimately have the highest ridership. With the existing schedule, at least some suburban taxpayers will feel like they are seeing a return on their investment, which would generate political capital for ST going forward no matter whether the voters or various legislative bodies were making the decisions.

        The only way to avoid that fact would have been to raise money in Seattle alone — a tall undertaking without the suburban tax base.

      2. Of course, only transit initiatives go the ballot, not road initiatives. :-)

        I’m always struck by the parallel of WA520 and Link, both of which connect Seattle to Redmond via Bellevue. Somehow 520 got built and upgraded w/o voter approval (as far as I can tell), while Link needs a voter initiative.

      3. Not only that, 520 is getting built out without even obtaining full funding, with expensive 100% subsidized decorative lids/parks in some of the nation’s wealthiest neighborhoods, and with TWO of those areas getting direct access to center lane-running bus platforms that obviate the need for the bus to leave and re-enter the freeway.

        Montlake? Not so much.

  5. This reinforces my point from yesterday, about planning for proper bus/rail integration before station design is too far along. Northgate is holding 60% open houses, and the bus bays are a Metro deal, while the train bays are an ST deal. I hope they have learned how to play well together, and things happen seamlessly.
    Looking at Lynnwood, taking Martins numbers, works out to about 60 buses per hour at todays volumes, and double that in 2030 based on scoping docs calling for 16,500 boardings just from LTC (most boardings are in the AM peak).
    To put that in perspective, that’s about double the number of buses through the DSTT in it’s bus only heyday. Now, look at how many staging lanes and buses per lane are at Convention Pl. Stn in Seattle. That took care of half the tunnel throughput, because as many buses were arriving from N.King, and just passing through.
    Will LTC be designed to accommodate that many buses to allow 2 per minute to stage, load, and move out in the PM, when all these crush loaded trains arrive every 6 minutes, discharging hordes looking to queue up for their bus to get home?
    Keep in mind, the plan now adds only 500 park and ride spaces.

    1. +1. When I lived in Edmonds off 196th and 76th, I loved riding the Sounder home in the evening (it didn’t run early enough in the AM to get me to work on time, so I only took it home), but I got really tired of watching the local CT bus up the hill to my house pulling away while our train was still pulling into the station. Waiting 15 minutes in the cold and rain for a bus every night added time to my commute that made it faster for me to get home on the CT commuter bus that stopped in front of my condo, even with I-5 traffic. It used to make me so frustrated, because it seemed like such a simple fix and yet through a couple of schedule changes, they still hadn’t fixed the routes from downtown Edmonds to ensure a good connection with Sounder. Every time I read an article about north Sounder underperforming, I wonder if CT has finally fixed their schedules to work with Sounder.

    2. Another consideration is that Lynnwood’s downtown planning has made the conclusion that one station at LTC is inadequate to serve their diverse needs which would require three stations (TC, CBD, Alderwood Mall).
      So they have no incentive to make LTC large enough to accommodate everything in one stop. That would defeat their plan to have two more, and any bargaining after ST2 to make that happen.
      Effectively, LTC is not up to the task of handling all the bus movements until ST3 is built. (not much different than the Northgate situation with Lynnwood Link on it’s heals)
      Oh, the games we play!

      1. Yes, that’s a good sign. It’s also a good argument to extend Link to Ash Way, if not Everett. Ash Way would include the Alderwood Mall station, and it would make a nice terminus P&R that already exists. There’s good reason to keep Everett-area P&R cars outside of Lynnwood’s emerging downtown. It all depends on ST’s/CT’s long-term plans for Ash Way P&R: will it remain a prominent transfer point? Why or why not?

      2. Boeing would be a significant detour west. :) On the other hand, one resident at a Lynnwood open house shouted, “Build it to Boeing and see if they’ll help pay for it!” Since the Everett routing hasn’t even been proposed, there’s room for wide variations. From Ash Way, we can postulate a wide detour via the Mukilteo Speedway, Boeing, and 529 to Broadway. That would incidentally cross Swift at 148th station and Casino Road station (84th street). The only people whose travel time would increase are those north of 84th, which may be offset by the ridership to Boeing.

      3. (Musing) Is there any place for a Boeing station that could include redevelopment with TOD and all-day-and-weekend destinations?

    3. I think CT/ST will probably feed all those 60 buses per hour through the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station, rather than building LTC to handle that kind of load.

      1. Several things come to mind.
        1. The freeway stops may be used for Link (no buses), or Link may be a separate elevated station. That’s a lot of vertical distance between platforms.
        2. Where do you stage PM northbound buses? It has to be south of there to get over to the HOV lanes.
        3. That station is horrible. It’s a 1/4 mile walk just from the current bus zones on the street to the platform. Only a few bus transfers happen now as it’s mostly just a park n ride so who cares. 5 or 10 thousand a day is as many as will use all of Bellevues E Link stops – yes, all three combined.

      2. 1) I expect an elevated station preserving existing freeway bus stops. Seems like ST just sunk a bunch of money into the surface bus stops there and would be loathe to tear it all back up. And ST has shown that they are not afraid of building stations that require long escalators – they probably don’t care much about the vertical distance.

        2) Probably with a new transit ramp from the center stops to the 236th overpass, then you can stage buses at the P&R.

        3) I don’t honestly think this would dissuade them from using it. After all, they built it in the first place. The walkshed is crap anyway; this is a P&R stop. But for a moment, forget the P&R or the bus zones on the street. We’re just talking about a high-capacity transfer point between freeway expresses and Link, for 60 buses an hour at peak. Stack an elevated station right on top of the freeway station, escalators between the platforms. They would both share the same walkway to the P&R proper.

        For better or worse, that’s what I predict will be constructed here.

      3. I think ST is leaning toward the east side of the freeway, which would be next to the bus bays. There’s a trail through the woodsy park to the east to the library and maybe-someday town center. I think it’s a 6-minute walk via the trail, and still less than 10 minutes via streets (ADA route).

        The station height has mostly to do with fixed altitude constraints. E.g., in Tukwila the track goes over highway overpasses, and then has to make a gentle slope down to TIB station, so the platform had to be two stories high. I don’t know what height constraints are around Mountlake Terrace station.

      4. Height constraints here aren’t all that bad. The freeway is on a slope and all the obstacles are downhill from the stops – the 236th overpass is the closest one, and it’s far enough down the slope that the top of it is roughly ground level at the freeway bus stops.

        Running it east of the freeway but next to bus bays would mean either taking out the shiny new parking structure, or running it around the west side of the structure, making freeway-stop to train transfers a worst-case scenario. I figure, from the south, the line comes elevated over 236th just between the freeway and the parking garage, looping slightly to the left to hit for an elevated stop either stacked on top of the freeway bus stops, or over the northbound lanes of I-5. North of the station it veers back into the east shoulder, and probably comes back down to surface level as it continues uphill.

        Ultra-cheap low-budget version would put the station north of the garage and right up against the east edge of the freeway, right around the bend in the walkway. You could put a real cheap station on the ground there with a center platform, accessed by a escalator down from the existing pedestrian overpass. Transfers from the center stops have to cross the freeway, but walk-ups and local transfers get an equal improvement.

        These plans do kind of snub transfers from the P&R bay, and walkees from that potentially dense enclave along 56th. But lets be honest, the local feeders at this stop are never going to compete with the amount of riders now passing through that freeway stop, who will be forced to transfer. Even if Mountlake Terrace explodes in development to the limit of zoning and the feeder service becomes excellent, I don’t see those local riders outnumbering the N/S intermodal transfers in the 50 year plan. Maybe in 100 years when Link is built to Everett and a couple more rounds of upzoning have happened in the station area. Or maybe if Lynnwood changes its mind and decides to accommodate a space-consuming bus-layover-center in what they’re trying to reimagine as a 140′ pedestrian oriented downtown core.

  6. Central Link avoided Southcenter because powerful downtown Seattle businessmen feared losing shoppers, so will Lynwood Link avoid Alderwood mall and end at Paine Field?

    1. Conspiracy theory. There’s no evidence that mall competition has to do with the Link lines, or that Metro signed up for the RapidRide grant just to get free buses. If ST is playing favorites with malls, you have to ask, how did Simon Malls and Kemper Freeman get more clout with the ST board than Westfield Malls, and where is that clout in evidence? Especially since Kemper does not want East Link but it’s happening anyway.

    2. Central Link didn’t ‘want’ to avoid Southcenter. It was Tukwila that didn’t want Link to ‘invade’ its territory there. Such a shame because I’m sure there are a lot of people with maybe 3-hour layovers at Sea-tac that would’ve loved to have a bit of time at a shopping mall but didn’t want to risk going all the way to downtown Seattle.

      1. Actually, Tukwila threatened to stall Link unless it *DID* go to Southcenter. But the sound transit board voted no because it would cost more and add 7 minutes to the suburban commute.

      2. ST wanted to run Link down International Boulevard, Tukwila wanted it to go to Southcenter. Instead, nobody won and we got the windy path that added travel time over International Boulevard.

      3. It’s been well documented on this blog what really happened. But since we’re going down an alternate reality I’ll add my 2 cents. Tukwila wanted the train to go to Southcenter but didn’t want it on 99 which were a direct contradiction. But really, Southcenter Mall is not on the route between DT Seattle and the airport. Neither is the RV but shrew politicos like Ron Sims had that covered. Net result, the RV delay including the uber expensive Beacon Hill tunnel got done and Tukwila came off looking like the municipal equivalent of Pacific. Bellevue’s city council is looking more and more like the mayor of Pacific than an effective city government.

  7. I don’t think anyone will ever convince me that a frequent, all-day train is necessary to run along a freeway and stop at parking lots. Or that sub-area equity is equity at all. Other infrastructure is built where it’s needed, not where the money comes from.

    If we’re dead-set on building a train to Lynnwood we should be siting stations with at least potential walksheds, not walkshed nightmares like Lynnwood TC and Mountlake Terrace. If Lynnwood wants to be the new Bellevue, well, Bellevue’s transit center isn’t right on the freeway.

    1. Al, it’s not at all clear where LTC station would exactly be sited. In my opinion, it’s quite likely to diverge from the freeway and end up closer to the bus bays and parking.

      1. So in the best case scenario half your walkshed is used by parking instead of half by parking and half by a freeway. That still sucks. Bellevue’s transit center is far enough off the freeway that it has a real walkshed.

        I used to transfer at Lynnwood TC otfen. There are parking lots both north and south of the bus bays. Maybe a good place to put the train station would be in place of the parking north of the bus bays. Even so, your walkshed is limited to the south by parking and freeway, and to the west by the creek. Bellevue TC is surrounded by actual stuff, not parking lots.

        I grew up in a suburb of Chicago served by commuter rail (with probably less local transit service than Lynnwood has). That walkshed isn’t wasted on parking either. There are businesses and residences right across the street from the tracks on both sides. Parking is located in strips along the tracks farther from the station, and in lots and garages a few blocks away that people pay to park in.

        There’s only one word for the walkshed around the Lynnwood station (not to mention Mountlake Terrace, which is worse): BART.

      2. You may be underestimating the walkshed. When I worked at the office blocks just across the freeway, a surprising number of my co-workers commuted by bus.

      3. A “surprising” number of people walking under I-5 (or taking connecting buses?) is small compared to the expected number that will walk across the street. 550 reverse-peak ridership demolishes 511 reverse-peak ridership.

      4. FYI, the rebuild of Lynnwood Transit Center will, necessarily, look nothing like what exists today. Basically everything about the existing LTC is forbidden by the zoning now in place for that neighborhood. Surface parking is completely verboten; structured parking needs occupiable frontage, and is required to provide a certain percentage of HOV designated and bicycle parking.

        They still have large parking minimums in the new code, but they want it all out of sight, preferably underground, and attached to a large mixed-use development. Parking structures for parking’s sake don’t really fit into their plan for the area; they’d much rather ST/CT buy spaces in a garage underneath a new 140′ mixed use tower than build a dedicated structure.

    2. Other infrastructure is, unfortunately, quite definitely built where the politicians come from (not really where the money comes from). We have freeways collapsing in Seattle and pristine rural roads repaved after less than 10 years in Eastern Washington. Go driving over there — you’ll be astonished at how good the roads are.

      1. Oh… so that’s why we’re building that floating bridge in Puyallup, that international hub airport in Pullman, and that salmon ladder on Capitol Hill.

        Al’s point is that for non-transit infrastructure, form follows function and location has at least some rational relationship to need.

        Much of PugetBART makes about as much sense as my examples above.

  8. The issue of 1-seat versus 2-seat rides will still come into play when Lynnwood Link opens.

    There are currently 8,440 park-n-ride spaces available in Snohomish County that offer 1-seat rides to downtown Seattle or UW, in 21 lots. Approximately half of the Snohomish County commute ridership is park-n-ride, with the remainder using feeder buses, carpooling, walking or biking. In 2023, only 2 lots (2,258 spaces) will have direct Link access.

    Will Snohomish County drivers continue to drive to Ash Way P&R, for example, to board a freeway bus to Lynnwood TC and connect to Link? Or will they try to drive to Lynnwood TC? Or will they try to drive to Lynnwood TC, find that its full, curse ST, and drive to work?

    The most likely scenario will play out something like this: Nominal fee for Lynnwood & Mountlake Terrace Link Station parking spaces; expansion of parking spaces at those 2 lots; CT will continue to run peak hour commuter buses from some locations, such as Everett, Ash Way and Marysville.

    1. And if you expand the number of parking spaces at Lynnwood TC suddenly this place where you want to build stuff in the walkshed of your big regional train system is jammed up with park-and-ride traffic.

      I’m not sure about the land ownership situation, but it looks like there

      1. … (somehow it’s really easy for me to tab off this field and submit my post accidentally)

        … it looks like there’s unused paved land across Scriber Creek that could be turned into parking. There’s already a pedestrian connection from there to the train station, and it would use different streets than the rest of the transit center as an approach.

    2. Or will they try to drive to Lynnwood TC, find that its full, curse ST, and drive to work?

      They might once or twice, but if there’s any significant congestion on I-5 it could still be a slower trip. The reliability or time advantage could make people more willing to transfer. In reality I would hope that the reinvestment of direct-to-seattle service hours in local routes would mean more people walking to their stops rather than using P&Rs.

    3. The money CT will save by truncated the commuter routes has to go somewhere. In theory, it could go to feeder buses, but I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of political pressure to spending it on larger parking garages instead.

      1. Chad’s logical deduction and your conclusion about it’s outcome hit me smack in the face, like an errant salmon thrown in Pike Place Market.
        “OUCH, that’s gonna leave a mark.”
        The net shortage of parking is 6,182 spaces by chad’s math. If we use just half the area available at LTC for the ‘Mother of All Garages’ to be built, it will be a 13 story building, costing somewhere between $123,360,000 and 1/4 billion.

  9. So, there are a few issues. (1) Does Lynnwood have enough all-day ridership to “deserve” a Link extension, based on some abstract urbanist ideal. (2) If not, then is the Lynnwood Extension worth $1 billion if it mainly addresses peak congestion? (3) Does anybody have standing to answer this except Snohomish County residents who will foot the bill? (4) Does a Lynnwood Extension really harm or delay Seattle Subway lines? (5) What about 185th station?

    So my answers are: (1) Maybe not, but we must be optimistic and build transit ahead of the development, because we’ve seen what happens if we don’t build transit before sprawl happens. Better to just get over the hump and build the trunk lines now, because it’ll be easier to get density once the lines are open.

    (2) Yes, Lynnwood Link is worth $1 billion even if it only addresses peak congestion. Each of the freeways cost that much, so it’s a reasonable investment to try to improve the situation. And so what if off-peak trains are mostly empty? The cost of 8 miles of empty runs north of Northgate is X. Is X too large? Really?

    (3) No, it’s really Snohomish County’s decision.

    (4) No, because Snohomish County was never going to pay for Seattle Subway anyway. We’re never going to have a transit authority with dictatorial power like Vancouver or Germany.

    (5) This should give the naysayers pause. 185th is only four miles from Northgate. Shoreline is arguably more urban-minded than Snohomish County. It has gotten nothing for its ST taxes except the promise of the Lynnwood Extension. So even if we don’t build to Lynnwood, we should consider building to 185th.

    1. (1) Sprawl has already happened. This is redevelopment. Except that we’re building stations along the freeway where the walkshed and potential for redevelopment is limited. Or in the case of Mountlake Terrace, 100% non-existent.

      (3) It’s only Snohomish County’s decision because of subarea “equity”, which doesn’t apply to any other kind of big infrastructure projects. Snohomish County doesn’t need the same kind of transit Seattle does, and never will unless it redevelops in a way completely inconsistent with the types and locations of stations we’re going to build there.

      (4) Money isn’t the only commodity involved.

      (5) You know what would be great for Shoreline? A Link stop not saddled with a freewayside location.

    2. Pretty good answers, but I’ll argue about the framing of the first question. It should be possible to look at potential operational savings to help inform whether it’s a worthwhile investment. “Abstract urbanist ideals” has nothing to do with it.

  10. While d.p. would disagree, I think part of the reason people don’t like running rail to Lynnwood isn’t because it won’t attract riders, but because they don’t want to “subsidize” the suburbs or use urban rail for the wrong purpose (that is, they feel like park-and-ride and urban rail don’t mix, and of course they’d prefer that Link be true urban rail instead of Seattle’s version of BART).

    Of course Seattle’s geography means Lynnwood is “closer” than it would otherwise seem, but it’s still very suburban and still feels like a pretty long distance.

    1. You make it sound like “true urban rail” vs “Seattle’s version of BART” is a value judgment. It isn’t. True urban rail is something Seattle would and could use. BART is expensive and ineffective. It’s a square peg sitting on the ground next to a round hole. And when our region chases BART it makes decisions about stop spacing and siting and station design in Seattle to the detriment of its function as an urban rail system.

      (Of course some of the problems with Link in Seattle are squarely on the shoulders of Seattle politics and process and can’t be blamed on regional and suburban forces.)

      1. There’s nothing wrong with the core of BART. Even DP has said the part to Oakland and Berkeley can maybe be justified. I’m not interested in where exactly it should have been truncated, whether before Concord or Castro Valley. The point is that whenever voters have choice of extending a rapid transit line or doing something else (commuter rail, surface light rail, expanded buses), they usually choose the rapid transit line, as both BARTizens, Vancouverites, and Torontoans have done, because it’s obviously better. A frequent rapid line is better than an infrequent line, and is better than a non-rapid line, even if it goes to the sprawlin’ suburbs.

      2. If you read the scoping report prepared for the 1968 Forward Thrust subway system (I did, many years ago), BART was one of the things specifically mentioned as what to avoid. The reasoning given, almost 45 years ago, was exactly what we’re seeing in the comment section here: poor walkshed and the fact that often suburban commuters arriving at BART stations would just decide to get on the freeway as they were already there. Now, increased congestion and higher in-city parking costs have probably mitigated that a bit, but I imagine it still isn’t that uncommon.

        Of course, the proposed 1968 system was light-years ahead of what we are ending up with, primarily because there was no thought of mollifying suburban political entities–the pull wasn’t in the suburbs yet. All four corners of the city were served, plus an eastside line. By now we’d have added as necessary and actually had a useful system for getting around the area AND the city.

        Damn 60% required approval for bonding measures back then. The thing passed by a healthy margin–just not by the 20% required. GRRRRR.

      3. BART didn’t open until 1972 and 73. Were they going by the construction map and what they presumed riders and non-riders would do?

      4. I want to make clear that I don’t necessarily disagree with this perspective, as anyone who’s read me calling for a Maple Leaf Link station might have been able to guess.

    2. Yep.

      1. Do I like building rail to a non-urbanish suburb first? No. Even if we have to choose a suburb, I’d rather build to Kirkland before Lynnwood.

      2. Is Mike Orr correct that this has everything to do with Snohomish County voters and nothing to do with me? Absolutely. So too bad for me about #1.

      1. So you don’t think that a political process where the only possible outcome is BART II is so flawed it needs to be looked at on that basis alone?

      2. I think the BART angle is overhyped. We are not setting up a BART-like situation quite yet. If ST3 focuses only on yet more suburban extensions and doesn’t offer any sort of city HCT corridor, then we’ll talk about it.

        Lynnwood is not Berkeley, but it’s not Concord either, for two reasons. It’s more central and a more natural collection point than a lot of the BART extremities, and it is more likely to (eventually) urbanize a bit. And don’t forget that Lynnwood is only one part of North Link, and the least expensive one. Northgate is the real deal no matter how you define it.

        Similar logic applies to Federal Way. Overlake is tougher, but at least the station is right next to the headquarters of a monster regional employer.

        The proof will be in the ST3 pudding.

      3. One more thought: it’s not really about the political process, it’s about money. Why haven’t we just up and built Seattle Subway with no interference from the suburbs? Because it’s too damn expensive. We need suburban dollars to get it done. That’s going to result in concessions to the suburbs, no matter what political structure is used.

      4. But that’s ONLY NECESSARY because transit funding has to be local, unlike other big infrastructure projects.

        When the state builds a new road it doesn’t go to all the subareas and make them pass penny sales tax increases to fund it (and it doesn’t force already built-up cities nearby to build equal proportions of new roads), it takes funds from all over the state, including lots of areas that won’t benefit (and some that will be harmed!). Maybe it implements tolling, but never enough to cover the costs. The funding model we’re stuck with for transit forces us to build BART II and that is a real problem.

        If SnoHoCo really wants to build great transit then they should do it wholeheartedly. But great transit depends on walkability, and I don’t see a commitment to walkability. It doesn’t matter at all if Lynnwood is more central than BART endpoints. What matters is that walksheds along the entire I-5 corridor are nearly worthless and have very little potential. What matters is super-wide stop spacing. If they don’t commit to walkability their rail ridership *and* the potential of their “new Bellevue” downtown will be absolutely limited by how many cars they can jam into and out of the place during peak hours, and I don’t think that’s a scenario anyone wants. (Bellevue has elements of this problem, too, despite its better transit walkshed situation — its downtown road design caters so much to peak traffic flow that walking is inconvenient and slow).

      5. Actually, sub-area equity ensures we have to do everything in our own borders with our own money anyway. No matter how much more useful our stuff is to them than their stuff is to us (see: I-90 freeway station, and North Link as far as the county line).

        So they wind up dictating the form that our projects, paid for with our money, can take.

        This is a net loss any way you look at it.

      6. Meanwhile, lack of variable levy rates between the sub-areas is why we are never going to be able to fund the billion-dollar New Downtown Tunnel that Ben envisions and ST likes to claim would be requisite for more in-city rapid transit.

        Adhering to the current political structure sets us up for failure (read: streetcars) in an obscene way.

      7. d.p., I agree 100% that the lack of variable rates between subareas is totally boneheaded. If we don’t see an encouraging project list for ST3 as the process continues, that is when we should start agitating for changes in the ST structure.

        Al, I feel (as I alluded to above) that you’re stuck in an urban-transit-only mode. Urban transit is best, and key for urbanization, but it’s not the only model. There is also the suburban model — used all over the world, with degrees of effectiveness that vary just as much as with urban transit — where transit exists mostly for commuters, provides a fast alternative to traffic-clogged streets, and enables the city to absorb more employment and economic development than it could if all of those suburbanites had to drive.

        Much of BART (Millbrae and Berkeley excepted) is a great example of the suburban model executed poorly. Look at the outer portion of the WMATA Orange Crush for an example of it executed well. Vienna, like Lynnwood, is dead central on the major artery from crowded suburbs into the city. Also like Lynnwood, despite occasional halfhearted stabs at TOD and urbanization, it remains suburban to the core. But it generates massive ridership and revenue, and is the only reason Arlington can get away with not allowing the expansion of I-66 into a Houston-style superfreeway. During the peak it runs every 3-5 minutes with trains that are SRO to packed before they even reach urban Arlington. Lynnwood doesn’t have the catchment area of Vienna, but it’s more like Vienna than Concord, and it likewise has the potential to generate massive peak ridership by Seattle, 3-car-train standards. That’s not the Ballard Line, but it’s not the joke and waste you think it is.

  11. I guess I should sell my house well within city limits and move 20 miles out of the city (and County!) to the deepest suburbs where I can actually live along a light rail line. Good to know they built density housing in my backyard and made the neighborhood more walkable so we can all find our cars parked along the street somewhere and drive them around the city core. Who needs a West Seattle/Ballard Line when there are a few Lynnwood commuters to satisfy?

    Save us, Seattle Subway!

    1. Good to know that vast swathes of single-family Seattle, north of NE 65th, N 85th, and east of 15th E, have been redeveloped to multifamily and mixed use so that they have the density to justify close stop spacing. Oh, this isn’t Chicago’s north side? Sorry, it must have been a dream. How can you talk about the low density of the suburbs without also talking about the low density of half of Seattle?

      1. You’re either purposely or unintentionally choosing a location with what look like protected greenbelts, so the area looks less dense than it is. In any case, this suburban location, which is on the same Link extension, looks more like your Seattle picture.

      2. I chose an image with Lynnwood Transit Center and “downtown” Lynnwood in the dead center. Emphasis on “dead”.

        Both images are at the same scale. The differences speak for themselves.

        Zoom your Shoreline image out to that scale, and it does not hold up either.

      3. Hard to raise density or get support for it when north of NE 65th and east of Lake City Way there is NO transit service to downtown and NO straightforward connection to any sort of frequent transit (nobody in most of those areas would consider taking a winding, traffic-encumbered bus to Northgate and the 41 any more than they would drive to Northgate to get on I-5–and the 522 does not stop south of 125th and Lake City Way).

        This in an area of approximately 55,000 and with density per sq mi at least the equal of West Seattle (even in zip 98125 at the city’s north border).

        But hey, if you want to go to the UW or U Village you can get there!

  12. I could see a station at Alderwood being a great remedy to the problem of the Lynnwood end of the line being too peak-oriented. I would imagine mall traffic is higher in the midday, evening, and weekend times. Ash Way, despite being originally just park-and-ride, has attracted some walkable mixed-use development and could also generate a fair amount of all-day ridership. Maybe in the next few years, the City of Lynnwood could pay for as high a level of design as possible on extending it to Alderwood and Ash Way to make the project shovel-ready for whenever funding is available. Once Link is already at Lynnwood TC you’d get a pretty big bang for your buck for that two-station extension.

    1. I would love to see LINK extended to Alderwood Mall(or Ash Way). I look forward to the day when I can take LINK to Northgate and downtown from Shoreline, but even then, Alderwood Mall will always have stores that the others don’t. Or, if I just want to go to a different place than the normal one. If there were good bus access to Southcenter from TIBS or Sea-Tac, then I might go there more often now.

    2. The first proposal for ST2 did go to Ash Way. But it was defeated along with the highway part of the package, and the second proposal was a shorter line. Still, Ash Way could easily come back in ST3.

      1. Wait… Ash Way? Ash Way makes Alderwood Mall look like midtown Manhattan!

        Speaking of Ash Way, if I were the czar of ST I’d refuse to operate the 511/512 there until whatever city it’s in fixed the horrific pedestrian/bike crossing of I-5 at 164th. If I were the czar of putting people in jail, I’d put whoever designed that interchange in jail.

    3. I would imagine mall traffic is higher in the midday, evening, and weekend times.

      Traffic from the mall’s suburban catchment area, which has nothing whatsoever to do with traffic along the Link line’s service area.

      Who’s going to use this thing to get to this mall? The 16 people who live near the Shoreline station? Seattleites who precisely once each year need an item that can only be procured at one particular corporate franchise?

      Nobody upon nobody is going from any other Link station toward Alderwood in a manner for which Link will be useful. And unlike Northgate, there isn’t even the slightest chance that they could be connecting elsewhere with an Alderwood stop on the way.

      “Imagining” transit lines to be usable and useful in ways that they will clearly not be usable or useful is kind of a hallmark of Eager Transit Enthusiasts(tm). That’s why we shouldn’t give ETEs full control of planning and vision any more than we should politicians.

      1. Besides work and home, what other major destinations are there in any populated region? A SHOPPING MALL. Even if not for all the customers, in a big mall like Alderwood or Southcenter, you’ve got EMPLOYEES. As a destination, a shopping mall is a pretty good one. Retail, restaurants and a movie theatre. Sounds like heaven to me, especially with LINK.

      2. I asked where your demand is coming from.

        The next closest station with anything resembling an “origin” walkshed… has a mall of its own!

        There is literally zero demand for Link trips to Alderwood Mall.

      3. I suppose a few people who live in apartments near Lynnwood TC or Ash Way P&R might take the train to Alderwood Mall. Not a lot compared with traffic to downtown or the U-district, but it’s not zero.

        And while one might want to ask the question of why people in Seattle might want to go to Alderwood Mall when Northgate is closer and is reachable without even leaving home, remember Seattle isn’t a vaccum and some people in Seattle are friends with people in Lynnwood. If you live in Seattle and want to go shopping with a friend who lives in Lynnwood, either you have to go to them or they come to you – either way, somebody is going to a mall that isn’t the one they would be going to if they were doing it alone.

      4. So a resident from one of a handful of hypothetical apartment buildings might hop the train one stop…

        Yeah, that counts as zero demand.

        either you have to go to them or they come to you…

        You can’t possibly build your way to this working for every possible social situation in every possible direction. The sprawl friend will just have to suck it up and visit the less-sprawl friend more often, or pick up the less-sprawl friend somewhere that it actually makes a shred of sense to build to.

        My god. If I started exclusively dating Marysville residents, I’d adapt my method of getting around to make such interactions feasible. I wouldn’t suddenly demand an express subway to my girlfriend’s house.

        Sometimes our Eager Transit Enthusiasts’ expectations spill over from “idealistic” into “spoiled brat”.

      5. d.p., you ignorant slut. Why do you think two lines from Redmond are heading to Northgate and Lynnwood with 6 minute headways? There is pent up demand for the masses to hit every 50% off sale in the region.
        LOLUOP’s (little old ladies using orca passes)(tm).
        And you of all people should understand that. Shame, I say Shame on you.

      6. In any case, malls and the blocks around them have some unique small businesses, not just duplicate chains. And even the chains have different things in different stores or run out of stock in one store but not another. And even if the idea of visiting a friend’s mall is farfetched, visiting their house is not. Right now, the inconvenient transit is a hinderance to visiting people in Lynnwood or going to unique businesses or events in Lynnwood. Improving the transit connection would make people more willing to go there, so it would increase all-day two-way ridership even if it’s a modest amount.

      7. Here’s the thing about malls: they’re pedestrian retail spaces. Sure, the outer facades are designed to be seen from the freeway, and the superblocks and huge parking lots are crimes against humanity. But inside you have mostly narrow storefronts connected by wide pedestrian walkways. Many have retail carts, some even have food carts.

        If you drop transit passengers in the middle of a mall (not the parking lot, the middle of the mall) there’s a lot within their walkshed. The problems with Alderwood are: that none of the stations near it will have much housing in their walkshed because of the freeway, and off-peak connecting bus service will be limited in coverage, frequency, and span (SnoHoCo doesn’t even have local Sunday service). This limits shopper ridership. I’d be more interested in ridership to mall jobs. A lot of mall employees, particularly seasonal ones, are students on breaks without easy car access.

        I don’t know if there are any redevelopment plans for Alderwood, but you could imagine either apartments or offices going in near an Alderwood stop. They wouldn’t be served so well by a stop right inside the mall, of course (unless they were built on the roof of the mall or something crazy like that). Ultimately transit accessibility would allow denser development, like it has around Northgate and B-Square, and encourage better pedestrian routes between the various sites on the complex, and then to the surrounding streets. I’m not sure the potential is as great as in Bellevue or Northgate, but it’s at least something. If we’re building rail to Lynnwood, an Alderwood mall stop might have more long-term potential for two-way all-day use than Lynnwood TC. That really depends on how the area develops, of course.

      8. I assume the station would be on the mall’s outer wall or an adjacent block. Then the station could have entrances to the mall and to whatever TOD building the station is in. If you have to walk a distance or cross a street to the mall, there could be a pedestrian bridge. I’m pretty sure ST would reject a station in the middle of the mall even if the mall owner was for it, because then the station wouldn’t engage the neighborhood. Alderwood station would not need a P&R, or at most a small one, because the nearby stations have big P&Rs. So that would lower the station’s footprint and technically allow a TOD building around it. (Whether TOD is politically feasable is a different question; it would be shocking if it were as big as U-District station’s building. But on the other hand, there are no single-family houses in the immediate area who might object.)

      9. I’d like to see the area around Alderwood redeveloped the way Northgate has. And I could see people in Mountlake Terrace or even Shoreline taking the train to Alderwood.

      10. d.p.,

        When I was young, I would take bus #16 from Wallingford to Northgate. My friends would take other buses from their homes to get to Northgate. We would all meet there to see “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or “Poltergeist” as well as eat at Farrells Ice Cream Parlour. Or, we’d take #6 up to Aurora Village to do the same but in a different location. Basically, by taking the bus to the Mall–any Mall–we learned how to be independent and how to get around town without a car. These are traits that have carried over for us as adults because of the ‘training’ we did many years ago. Teens today could ‘train’ themselves with LINK to the various Malls around the region and then they will be comfortable taking transit as adults.

        Remember, there are many different kinds of people here in the Seattle region–they are not all clones of you.

      11. I’m not arguing that malls are easy, logical places for teenagers to hand out.

        I’m simply arguing that you’re not going to get a convention of teenagers from all over the northern half of the metropolitan area hanging out at Alderwood by transit. The geography simply doesn’t support it; there is no equivalent of your own teenage, grid-connected, Northgate- (or even Shoreline)–focused connective transit.

        The argument that kids from three cities to the south (where the first walkshed of any sort appears) are going to regularly travel to Alderwood to hang out is bunk.

        So is the argument that a handful of apartments popping up in cul-de-sacs near Ash Way is a reason to build billions of dollars in rail infrastructure between there and a mall they’re still likely to drive to.

        You’re grasping for examples so fringe that even if they were 100% predictive, their numbers still wouldn’t justify stopping at yet another sprawling mall.

  13. So are there any Snohomish County residents on this blog? What do you think of the Lynnwood Extension and Everett Extension vs alternatives?

  14. Ash way has a lot of potential, lots of apartments up and down 164th and new developments going in on Ash Way to the North of the p&r now. The bus commuter service is great now and i hope it does not go away, i get a 1 seat ride to the U (on campus) or downtown Seattle , and I don’t think Link will beat it for comfort and time (although many of the U trips are standing room now). I would ride link locally though to the mall area and shoreline.
    I know none of you live up here, but take a look at the peak time traffic on 164th, we need help!

    1. If the problem is peak traffic on 164th, a train station at Ash Way P&R will never solve it, because the low density, poor connectivity of the street network, and extremely bad local pedestrian environment doom it to largely serving park-and-riders who have to use 164th to get to the station.

      I don’t live in Snohomish County but I used to work there — I used to bike from my office in Canyon Park up to the Ash Way P&R to catch a bus going home because there was no reasonable way to bike to Lynnwood (a lot of people wouldn’t have considered my route to Ash Way reasonable either). Without fixing connectivity gaps in the street network and improving walking and biking access over I-5 a train station in that area would be a curse, not a blessing. Even if improvements were made, I-5 would continue to be a big drag in terms of station access.

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