A Sound Transit and City of Lynnwood community outreach meeting regarding current environmental evaluations occurs tonight, June 25, at Meadowdale High School Great Hall from 7 to 8:45 p.m. The meeting will focus on the proposed alignments and stations. Community members will have a chance to submit their thoughts and concerns and receive progress reports so far on the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Screenshot 2013-06-24 at 3.39.17 PM

Mike Orr’s coverage of the Shoreline version is here.

38 Replies to “Lynnwood Public Meeting on Light Rail Environmental Planning”

  1. I find it amazing that ST is planning to leave Link hanging a mile from Alderwood Mall for how many years? Whichever station site at the Transit Center and access alignment is selected, the line needs to have its terminus at a Mall station, not the TC.

    I understand that Snohomish County and Lynnwood together have plans to create a new Bellevue around the Transit Center, but they might fail. North Link needs an “anchor” destination at its north end, not a parking lot.

    1. The whole reason Bellevue works (to the extent it does) as a transit-friendly urban center is because it has no huge parking lot making distances unwalkable. The Lynnwood Transit Center will never be anything more than a P&R and transfer point unless the parking lot is buried or eliminated. I think that’s unlikely, so I agree that they need to get to Alderwood ASAP. I hope they can do it as a small standalone project like the Airport and Angle Lake stations.

      1. And the mall is less of a sea of parking than the TC is?

        In my opinion it is actually worse. In fact, it is horrible.

      2. Lazarus,

        Of course Alderwood is a giant parking lot. A station there would be to serve the mall, not be a neighborhood facility. There’s no “neighborhood” to serve in Lynnwood except in little pockets along SR99. So there’s no other activity center to serve than the Mall.

      3. Somewhere, somehow, Link should serve Highway 99 inside Lynnwood. The more southerly such a station, the better.

      4. Of course it’s horrible. But at least there’s a destination on the other side of that giant parking lot, which there isn’t at the P&R. Alderwood Mall Station would generate some amount of all-day ridership. The P&R really won’t, unless the parking lot is turned into actual development.

    2. Na, the TC is the proper terminus for this phase.

      After Link gets to the TC and the line gets established we can debate future extensions, but it is far from clear that a “Mall Station” would be successful or even desirable as a terminus. I can understand how the mall owners might be want any sort of boast they can get (that mall has some serious issues), but it’s not ST’s job to throw them a lifeline.

      That said, once the routing for the next phase is determined there probably will be a mall station. It’s hard to imagine the next phase not going through that area somehow on its way either up I-5 or up SR526 on its way to Hwy 99.

      1. OK Moar-on. Don’t you know you can’t be stopping the damn train every couple of miles? How do ever expect to get anywhere? It’s only a 1.3 mile walk to the mall, which is good exercise for granny, and with a stolen shopping cart it’s a breeze. No hills or water to contend with.
        Get with the BART II program!

      2. What else, other than mall transit, can be built in the Snohomish County subarea?

        Oh, that’s right, HCT to a town that might support a couple BRT lines if it were lucky.

      3. I was mostly joking, and taking an easy potshot at the “Tukwila Is For Tourists!” folks from a prior thread.

        But we are better off recognizing that outer Link is just a glorified commuter shuttle, rather than pretending it will instigate magic density or bi-directional commerce, or that any tangible destination points would be added should it be allowed to sprawl further to the north and south.

      4. Next to Everett! Marysville! Tulalip Outlet Mall! Dubai-on-the-Skagit!

        You suckers want HCT to Ballard/West Seattle/Lake City? Build a damn mall! (tongue slightly in cheek)

      5. Yeah I admit that the attaching to a mall is a less useful idea than I once thought it would be. I still would like there to be better long term transit to places that currently attract large numbers of cars.

        Until the density improves though, we will just be picking where to put the parking lots.

        As much as we complain about buses here in Seattle, the first mile is much, much worse in the suburbs. (Where half hour buses are the best you can expect). Car to a park and ride is the only real transit option for those folks until we get enough density to make more local transit, walking and bicycle options viable.

        I think these lines will help start that process though. Once people start living closer to the lines and experiencing how nice it is to have a fast, reliable way to the city, the more valuable and densely populated that land will eventually get….

        In the mean time getting more lines in Seattle for those of us in town who want to get across town and for those outside of town who work in a part of Seattle that is not downtown is a must to make the overall system a truly viable option for those who do not want to drive.

      6. “too bad it’s so hard to get to from either”

        ST’s long-range plan includes a line from Northgate to Lake City and Bothell. Seattle Subway envisions connecting that to the Ballard north-south line. Then you’ve got ten minutes from Ballard to Northgate and five minutes from Northgate to Lake City if it’s grade-separated.

        (ST may study Lake City to Roosevelt in the alternatives analysis, or it may connect the Ballard line to the 45th line. This would cause a 3-seat ride from Ballard to Lake City (45th Link + Central Link + Lake City Link). I think a Ballard – Northgate – Lake City routing is more sensible for the overall network, so hopefully it will be studied.)

      7. People believed a light rail to Northgate and Lynnwood wasn’t going to happen either.

      8. If we were taking the long view, we’d build anywhere except right next to the freeway.

        But we’re taking the short view, and that’s a real shame. The existing transit centers and malls alike were built where they were because they were good locations for parking lots and freeway entrances. Negative factors for a train station, for walkable urbanism.

        It’s relatively easy for developers and transit agencies alike to get permission to build on these sites because nobody cares what’s there. The walksheds of the stations have been torn to pieces by the freeways and access roads, the noise, the bulk, the light, the ugliness of this baldly destructive infrastructure.

        This is a democracy, and like the saying goes, we’re building ourselves the transportation system we deserve.

    3. Frankly, the idea of a Lynnwood station being anything but a Kiss and Ride is probably fantasy, build a huge parking garage and call it good.

  2. Wouldn’t Alderwood Mall draw customers away from Northgate Mall and Westlake Mall, thereby lowering Seattles sales tax revenue?
    Oh wait, that’s why we didn’t go to SouthCenter Mall or Bellevue Mall.
    It’s really hard to keep them all straight sometimes.

  3. The only direct way to get to this meeting seems to be CT 119 (Mountlake Terrace TC – Meadowdale HS – Ash Way P&R). Swift is 1.3 miles away at 176th. Does anybody know if it will talk about all the stations in the extension or just focus on Lynnwood TC? If it’s talking about all the stations there must be some meetings in King County if they haven’t occurred already.

  4. Q: What is worse than a transit center with no walkshed?

    A: A transit center with no walkshed that becomes a light rail station and prevents light rail from serving nearby dense, walkable communities.

    Okay, so Lynnwood, Federal Way, TIBS, and Northgate don’t have any really dense neighborhoods. But I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when ST decided to finally study the possibility that a pedestrian bridge across I-5 might just perhaps add additional ridership to the station. So, before the bridge, the station was located there just to serve a park & ride, er, transfer center? Really?

    Bellevue’s station got located really badly because its riders are going to come from the parking garage on the east end of downtown? Huh?

    Federal Way’s excuse is they spent a fortune (by Federal Way standards) on their fancy new parking garage, with federal help, and so the transit center must stay, or else the feds get their money back. Fine. Let the transit center stay, for commuter buses, but let the connecting buses shave five minutes off of the travel time for passengers who just want to get on the train. Pretty please?

    Lynnwood, at least, has the excuse that they have no dense urban center. I guess the only thing that can be done with Link routing in Lynnwood is to find a good place for it to cross over to Highway 99, where it can have better bus connections (including SWIFT), and more possibility of a walkshed and TOD. Serve Olde Lynnwood!

    Have I whined sufficiently endlessly about how circuitous and painful the bus connections are at every transit center planned to become a light rail station? All that parking space will be needed just because cars will have a built-in advantage over connecting buses at all the stations.

    Could a single station have an entrance at its south end by Lynnwood TC, and at the north end close to the 196th St SW, shaving a few minutes off travel time for connecting buses, and putting the Lynnwood civic complex (the one with the library etc.) within the station’s walkshed?

    1. Then you’re going to go ballistic when they propose running Link to Paine Field to the new ??Airline Terminal A, for at least several flights per day, not to mention all the Boeing workers left behind from the move to Charleston.

    2. As neighborhoods go, Northgate is pretty dense (for the general area). It isn’t as dense as Ballard, or many neighborhoods in Seattle, but it isn’t as bad as lots of people assume. In other words, it isn’t what people think of as “Northgate” (a mall). You have some big apartment buildings, a community college as well as some big medical buildings. All of these are within walking distance of a station, especially if they build a bridge. A bridge is justified in its own right, just as a way to link up these spots. In other words, if you work or go to school at NSCC, but work in an apartment on the other side of the freeway, building a bridge means you won’t drive or take the bus every day.

      Northgate gets compared to other malls all the time, but people seem to ignore the geography. Northgate is within the city limits and only three miles to the UW. Eventually (probably well before the station is actually built) the area will fill in. I expect to see a lot more buildings in the area in the next five to ten years. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a lot of the parking spaces in the mall get converted to big buildings, some of which are apartments.

      Not to say that I disagree with you, these should be more obvious to the folks in charge. Unfortunately, I think there is a real “penny wise, pound foolish” attitude with regards to Link. It is as if folks just want to check off each item and call it a day. Northgate gets checked off because it already has a transit center. There is very little discussion as to the transit center’s good points and bad points, and how that fits into the future. The best part about the Northgate Transit Center is that it is close to the express lanes. This means the 41 can quickly get to or from downtown (during rush hour). That is what makes the 41 so popular. Of course, is is meaningless with regards to Link. The bad part of the transit center is that it is hard to access from surface streets. There is no through street, and other streets around there get bogged down (which is why the 41 takes forever to get from Lake City to Northgate). The obvious answer is to move the transit center (or at least the 41) to 130th. Meanwhile, Northgate becomes a station serving the college, the clinics, the apartment buildings and whatever else they want to build around there.

    3. Northgate is zoned to be an urban hub like the U-District so it’ll be larger than Ballard. It already has a wider variety of businesses and offices, even if housing is still catching up.

      1. Houston is also bigger than Ballard. That doesn’t make it transit-friendly.

        Zoning definitions on paper do not negate the facts on the ground. It’s a shame that Seattleites need to be reminded of this at every turn.

      2. Now you’re being parochial. The city, county, Sound Transit, and probably the Puget Sound Regional Council agreed over a decade ago that the hub urban villages would be downtown, the U-District, Northgate, and Lynnwood. That’s why Central Link goes between them. They also happen to be along I-5 so that drivers can get to to them. The officials aren’t going to suddenly change direction and designate Ballard the new Northgate, nor would Ballard residents accept a lot of ten-story buildings and a mall. Link will take several years to build. The buildings will take several years to build. Link is being planned not for the current state of development, but the state of development in ten, twenty, thirty years.

        The one thing Northgate doesn’t have is a cute 1890s street like Ballard Avenue, with cozy narrow 1-2 story storefronts. Sadly that’s not going to happen. it will be big and boxy like everything else that’s being built now. But still, people will be able to walk from their houses to the mall and the transit center and the community center, and that’s what we need to enable on a large scale.

      3. Mike, this isn’t about having a “cute 1890s street”. This is about having a public realm connected by public streets. That’s not decoration, it’s a necessary part of the city. The presence of I-5 doesn’t allow drivers to get to these places, it inhibits places from forming at all by breaking apart the public street network, by mowing down pedestrian movements.

        They chose places along I-5 due to an utter lack of imagination. This place has been growing in an unsustainable way along an overbuilt freeway, but it’s been growing a lot and from a satellite it looks like it has “big kid” infrastructure, so this has to be where we’re going. And, like I said above, because they can get building permits really easily to build up a place where nobody cares to stop them because what’s there is loved by exactly nobody. They can build buildings with no connection to public space on the ground because nobody spends time on the ground and so nobody can envision what’s going to be created there. They can use construction vehicles and techniques that have no place in an inhabited city because there’s nothing there to disrupt.

  5. One other pet peave: The process is missing a whole dimension by treating each station as a point/singularity on the map, when a better representation would be a line approximately the length of a football field, with points on each end representing the entrances. If the entrances are not at the ends, then walkshed is being wasted. If there is only one entrance, that’s an additional public safety issue that got overlooked.

    For any engineers just joining the ST team, I also have to point out that center platforms increase access redundancy, which is a good thing. If you want to understand why, consider the signs that get put up at Mt. Baker Station every so often stating that an elevator is out of service, and to continue on to the next station, and catch another train back to the opposite platform at Mt Baker Station, in order to use the other elevator.

    1. That’s a much better argument for center platforms than Mike’s thing about passengers needing to reverse direction constantly (nobody makes directional mistakes that often).

      That said, where side platforms are able to expedite street access versus center platforms (by being located directly above/below the street and eschewing mezzanines), they may still preferable to center platforms. In a POP system you don’t even have to worry about duplicate turnstile-control points.

  6. A link to the mall seems useful (like in the middle of it, not to a parking lot) but I agree there needs to be a lot more density around these stations to make them really useful.

    Unfortunately I don’t really know of a lot of high density areas in Snohomish county in general, especially near the freeway. There are a lot of scattered apartment complexes, and sprawling single family home development tracts, but I can’t think of a single area that fits as the best place to put a train station. I say this as someone who grew up in Snohomish county, so if someone who lives there now knows better than me, feel free to correct me.

    I suspect the suburbs are going to be a lot more like “park your car and ride the train” or “take a bus to the transfer station and ride the train” until we have a lot more TOD after the stations get put in. It might be worth picking locations where there is a lot of land that can be converted into apartments/condos by the station, and where there aren’t so many height restrictions. It could take decades for that to fall into place though.

    In the mean time, I think we can expect the light rail to act a lot like the buses in the area do, albeit grade separated, because that is the infrastructure we are building on top of. At least parking lots seem easier (politically) to convert to apartments and condos then blocks of single family homes.

    If memory serves, it seems that most of the city centers are quite a distance from the proposed lines (other than maybe downtown Everett… eventually). Does Lynnwood actually have a city center? Neither the mall nor the convention center really seem to qualify…

  7. From the flyer sent to postal customers drumming up attendance:

    “The proposed Lynnwood OMSF site is adjacent to a residential neighborhood and the potential impacts include:
    • Noise • light & glare • decreased property value •
    decreased quality of life • loss of critical wetlands • impacts
    to a city park and regional trail • damages to the Edmonds
    School District and their residents who have already
    spent $14 million to develop a District Support Center.”

    Anybody wanna guess how pitchfork sales will be today?

    1. “Captain! The ‘light rail’ euphemism… she isn’t working!”

      “Execute full spin! And… promise them free parking.”

      1. “I’ve giv’n her all she’s got captain, an’ I canna give her no more. —
        She won’t take much more of this.”

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