One of the stranger proposals that came out of last month’s joint meetings between Sound Transit and Puyallup was the idea of a new “transit station” on Shaw Road, just less than two miles east of downtown. Although I’m still trying to figure out what “transit station” actually means, it sounds like Puyallup officials are referring to a brand new Sounder station– which would mean new platforms and presumably new parking.
So far, the Puyallup City Council hasn’t bought into proposals for more parking at the existing station or anything that would put more pressure on the downtown core. According to the Puyallup Patch, many on the council have warmed up to the idea of a new station, an idea which Sound Transit has balked at:
Most on the Puyallup City Council agreed with the idea that adding more pressure on the historic downtown core is not a feasible option and that a Sound Transit center on Shaw Road could help ease traffic, for both Puyallup and Sumner.
During a joint planning meeting on April 30, Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl said that a full service station at Shaw Road isn’t possible and is “a much more expensive scenario” than Sound Transit can commit to.
While I’m no railroad expert, I’d suspect that BNSF and the FRA wouldn’t be too pleased with a new mainline station, especially given the already short distance between Puyallup and Sumner. I’m also wary of the bad precedent this could set– a new Shaw Road station planned solely for park-and-ride customers would be the first not to serve a downtown core or activity center. That’s hardly the kind of regional planning investment we want to be making.