King County Alternatives
King County Alternatives

[UPDATE: C segment cost figures corrected Sept. 30th.]

ST will hold open houses on the new draft EIS for the Lynnwood Link extension between August 14th and 22nd in Mountlake Terrace, Northgate, Lynnwood, and Shoreline. The DEIS has six alternatives for King County: three with stations at 130th+155th+185th, two with stations at 130th+145th+185th, and two with stations at 145th+185th, all along I-5. South Snohomish County has four alternatives: three with a single station at Mountlake Terrace TC, and one with a second station at 220th St SW. Lynnwood has three alternatives, each putting the station on a different side of the transit center. (Executive Summary, pp. 8-15) The low estimate for the cheapest combination is $1.23 billion; the high estimate for the most expensive combination is $1.74 billion. (pp. 23-26) So let’s look at it in terms of which alternatives are minimally acceptable, which ones add substantial benefit for passengers arriving by foot or bus, and which ones don’t add enough benefit to justify their costs.

A 130th station is an absolute necessity, to give Lake City meaningful access to Link. Lake City is the largest existing urban village north of Northgate, and one of the most affordable. So imagine a pedestrian at 125th & Lake City Way. For her, a 130th station would be a short bus ride away, and faster than the buses slogging through Northgate traffic. A 145th station would be beyond walking distance, and the indirect bus ride would negate much of Link’s advantage. A 130th station would also facilitate an east-west bus on 125th/130th. If this were a reorganized 75, it would give northwest Seattle, Lake City, and Sand Point easy access to Link and to each other. Currently it takes a whopping 45 minutes to get from Magnuson Park to Aurora Avenue.

The most economical King County alternatives — surprisingly — include 130th station.* That’s a relief to transit fans who were worried they’d have to fight for the station over its cost. Alternative A5 has stations at 130th + 155th + 185th. Alternative A10 has stations at 130th + 145th +185th. The 130th and 185th stations would be at-grade, while 145th/155th would be elevated. The “at-grade” segments would pass under cross streets like the freeway does, mostly in retained cut-fill trenches.** Alternatives A7 and A11 are similar but have fully elevated stations and more overall elevation, at a cost of $90-120 million more. I don’t think elevation is necessary here because there are no intersections to eliminate or spectacular views to see.

As for 145th vs 155th station, I have no strong opinion. 145th has more potential for development because it’s already a highway, so NIMBYs have less standing to object. The main advantage of 155th is it’s closer to the Safeway-Sears cluster at 155th & Aurora, but it’s still not close. It’s a 15-minute walk away, and I don’t see a major increase in pedestrians unless Shoreline turns 155th & Aurora into another Lake City and upzones the connecting street. More after the jump.

Mountlake Terrace
Mountlake Terrace

In South Snohomish County, alternatives B1 and B2A put Mountlake Terrace station on the east side of the freeway next to the bus bays, and are a five-minute walk to the city center through Veterans Memorial Park. Alternative B1 puts the station in the freeway median (subtracting $3 million), but it’s unacceptable to me because it would add some two minutes to the walking times, all along a boring freeway, and that’s enough to adversely affect people’s walking decisions. B4A has both an east side station and a second station at 220th (adding $120-130 million). I don’t know the area well enough to have much of an opinion, but it would be adjacent to several medical office parks, and new pedestrian cut-throughs could improve access to the surrounding businesses and the Interurban Trail. Swift’s 216th station is a 15-minute walk away. East-west buses 110 and 119 could serve the Link station with just a slight reroute. The B4 alternative raises the cost without adding a 220th station, and I don’t see any benefit in it.

Lynnwood Alternatives
Lynnwood Alternatives

In Lynnwood, the main difference between the alternatives is which side of the transit center the station is on. C1 is on the north side, C2 on the west side, and C3 on the south side. All three locations are in the southwest corner of the emerging urban village, making a less-than-ideal 20 minute walk to the opposite corner of the village, and a 35 minute walk to Alderwood Mall. C3 is unacceptable because it’s furthest from the center of the village and has no immediate walkshed: the P&R is on one side and I-5 on the other. C1 is closest to the center of the village (apparently replacing the strip malls on the south side of 220th) but it costs $30m $300-340 million more than the other alternatives. I’m not sure that the cost is worth it for just a 2-3 block gain, because unlike the Mountlake Terrace freeway station these are ordinary blocks with potential destinations on all sides. It may be better to save the $300 million for a future extension to Alderwood Mall and Ash Way.

Summing it all up, the cheapest acceptable combination is A5/A10 + B1 + C2 at $1.26-1.45 billion. That would give an at-grade station at 130th, an elevated station at 145th or 155th, an at-grade station at 185th, an east side station at Mountlake Terrace, and a west side station at Lynnwood. It’s $30 million above the minimum (the unacceptable Mountlake Terrace freeway station in B4). Adding some wishlist options, A7/A11 would elevate all King County stations for $90-120 million more. B2A would add a 220th station for $120-130 million more. C3 would move Lynnwood Station to the north side of the transit center for $300-340 million more. The elevated option is unnecessary, the 220th station may be worthwhile, and the north side station seems like a lot of money for not much more walkability.

* According to ST spokesman Bruce Gray, the contradictory DEIS text that says that 130th is more expensive is a clerical error. More on the cost differences:

The reason some of the alternatives with the 130th station are less expensive is because of the way supporting elements like parking and road rebuilds were packaged within the alternatives.  For example, Alternative A1, with only two stations at 145th and 185th requires rebuilding the 185th St. bridge over I-5 and has more expensive parking facilities than does Alternative A5, which has three stations at 130th, 155th and 185th, but less expensive parking treatments and no bridge rebuild at 185th.  All other things being equal, a third station in Segment A is $30-$50 million more expensive than alternatives with only two stations.

** That “at-grade” is still traffic-separated is not clear from the DEIS, but confirmed by ST.

101 Replies to “Lynnwood Extension Draft EIS”

  1. Thanks for the report, Mike.

    A 130th station is essential for all the reasons you listed. Further, it would allow truly effective connections to Link for 522 bus lines, which would lose a lot of time reaching either Northgate or Roosevelt from 522. Making sure it is present should be the first priority in this process.

    As for 145th vs. 155th, I think 155th is the far better option in the long run, for two reasons: 1) effectiveness of connecting transit, and 2) local development potential.

    Connecting transit. During peak hour, 145th is often jammed by traffic seeking to reach I-5, particularly eastbound from Jackson Park. 155th, not having an I-5 interchange, is free-flowing at all times of day. The current peak-only 330 is a good template for an all-day frequent connecting route along 155th, which would provide reliably fast access from Link to the Aurora business cluster, Shoreline Community College, the Jackson Park neighborhood, and north Lake City (a high-density, low-income area in desperate need of more transit options).

    Local development potential. A 145th station has permanent non-transit-friendly uses at two corners (the golf course and Lakeside School), and will be very pedestrian-hostile even for people going in other directions. 145th is just a terrible pedestrian street, with a huge interchange, fast-moving traffic, wide intersections that often get blocked, and narrow sidewalks. By contrast, 155th is pedestrian-friendly, and has room for development very close at all four corners (although the room at one corner is limited by Twin Ponds Park). The neighborhood is currently pure single-family residential, so substantial opposition to upzoning would be expected — but at least upzoning is possible, which it really isn’t in any meaningful way at 145th.

    So I have a very strong preference for Alternatives A5 and A7, although I need to do more reading before I know which one of those two is preferable.

    1. What David said. As TOD potential is never going to be that great in the vicinity of I-5 regardless of the exact location, it’s vital to have a fast, direct and reliable bus connection to neaby urban villages and redevelopable areas, and 145th is going to suck for that purpose, because of the interchange.

      130th has a partial interchange, to and from the south, but the off-ramp is metered by a stop sign, which reduces traffic volume to a trickle, so there’s really only one ramp that can attract congestion. At 145th you have the whole enchilada.

      Let’s take 130th and 155th for transit and leave 145th to the cars.

      1. Although it should be noted that the “reconfigured” interchange proposed in conjunction with the 130th option will almost certainly eliminate the stop sign, which isn’t compliant with modern design standards.

        I’d like to see a single point urban interchange put in there if they’re going to rebuild it at all.

      2. War on cars!

        Seriously, though, I’d imagine the “reconfiguration” will just involve putting SB 5th N.E. in the trench with the tracks/raising the off ramp to eliminate the grade crossing. I’m just saying this would be a missed opportunity to put in more of a roundabout style interchange that could be a lot more pedestrian friendly and improve bus connectivity. And the state would be a lot more likely to pay for it if it eliminated the 1/2 interchange vestige of 1950s downtown demand centric planning.

      3. I could probably live with grade-separating that one intersection as a compromise to get the project built, but I’m definitely not OK will building the other half of the interchange. That’s just going to multiply traffic passing through, which is the worst possible thing we could do near a transit station.

        Now, I’d happily go for a rebuild and expansion of the interchange at 145th if it meant we could remove/reduce the volume through 130th.

    2. 155th St does not even go directly to Lake City Way — there is no direct connection to any of that ridership potential or any added potential for ridership coming out of Lake Forrest Park or Bothell via Bothell Way. Such a station at 155th would only draw ridership from the west side of I-5 and the bus connections would be horrible.

      145th St is busy for a reason — because it is the only real East-West travel corridor for that part of town and it connects economic centers on both sides of the freeway. Additionally it is close enough to the economic center at 145th and 15th to have at least some potential for TOD.

      ST should put the station where the people are and where they have good transit and travel connections to other modes. If that means working with SDOT to improve travel time on 145th then so be it. Re-stripe and add a couple of dedicated turn lanes — it isn’t that hard.

      1. Such a station at 155th would only draw ridership from the west side of I-5 and the bus connections would be horrible.

        Why? The current 330 travels between the station location and points east very quickly. As an all-day frequent route, it could be modified to stay on 145th a bit further west than it currently does and serve the developed area there well. And, during the peak hour, there is a very good reason it serves 155th rather than 145th today, even in the absence of a Link connection — reliability.

        145th St is busy for a reason — because it is the only real East-West travel corridor for that part of town and it connects economic centers on both sides of the freeway.

        No, the reason 145th is so busy is that it is full of traffic getting on and off the freeway. The proof of that is that there is almost never heavy traffic on 145th further than half a mile from the freeway in either direction. There is not presently much crosstown traffic there, and what there is could be equally well, or better, served by using 155th.

        145th does have an economic center to the east of the freeway, but the economic center to the west is closer to 155th.

        If that means working with SDOT to improve travel time on 145th then so be it. Re-stripe and add a couple of dedicated turn lanes — it isn’t that hard.

        There is no room in the 145th right-of-way for dedicated bus lanes, and without building flyovers you are not going to significantly improve car throughput through the I-5/145th interchange. Also, SDOT can’t do 145th improvements on its own — it shares jurisdiction over the street with Shoreline.

      2. Lake City riders are almost all likely to be going south, and they would access link at 130th.

        You can’t rid freeway interchanges of traffic, with striping or otherwise — cars will fill up whatever you build. See, for example, the monster Mercer St we just built, the Pacific Northwest’s largest holding pen for cars.

      3. Also, 145th is technically state route 523 from 99 to Lake City Way, so WSDOMA would have to get involved as well.

        Bruce, how would you have fixed the Mercer Mess?

      4. I would have built the Mercer project as-is. My point is not that the Mercer design was flawed (I don’t have a problem with it), but rather that you can’t “fix” traffic at urban interchanges, you can only shuffle it around into different boxes. See also, James St, Northgate Way, 45th St, etc.

      5. Route 330 only goes as far east as 15th Ave, and there is no (rational) possibility of connecting to anything further east than that. Additionally, there is essentially no economic activity at 145th and 15th Ave, and precious little opportunity to make any.

        145th is a much better east-west route than is 130th, and that is without any improvements to 145th (and the improvements wouldn’t be that difficult).

      6. Route 330 only goes as far east as 15th Ave

        What? Route 330 continues east all the way to Lake City. It’s not like it’s a hugely time-consuming thing to jog from 155th to 150th or 145th. (For the record, if the 330 became a frequent crosstown route, I would have it use 145th rather than 150th between 15th and 25th.)

        Additionally, there is essentially no economic activity at 145th and 15th Ave, and precious little opportunity to make any.

        Why precious little opportunity? There are a number of small strip malls there now, along with two grocery stores. This is multi-use zoning and the current commercial uses could easily be increased in number and/or made to coexist with housing. There is already substantial density in the area, both along 15th immediately south of 145th and along 145th east of the commercial development. There is another, much larger pocket of density south of 145th between 30th and Lake City Way, currently unconnected to the commercial development by transit; making a 330-like frequent all-day bus route could fix that.

        (and the improvements wouldn’t be that difficult)

        Really? There are already four lanes and itty-bitty sidewalks. The existing lanes fill up with cars waiting to access I-5 (and occasionally also with eastbound cars waiting to cross 15th). Adding more lanes would require more ROW ($). Do you have a plan to improve flow without adding lanes?

  2. By the time the Lynnwood extension opens, transit service in north Seattle will have been reconfigured to serve the Northgate Link station and riders will have had several years to accustom themselves to connecting at Northgate. The Pinehurst neighborhood should be very dense at that time with pedestrian oriented amenities and frequent transit service to Northgate. A prime corridor between Lake City and Northgate should be operating with very frequent transit service (@10 min) along the spine with a full list of transit amenities installed. There should be frequent transit service between the 130th station along 125th/Lake City Way, but I think the main orientation of transit service in that area will be to connecting at Northgate.

    I think the stations at 130th and 145th/155th will primarily build their ridership from the neighborhoods west of I-5, rather than the east. Jackson Park golf course and the topography of the area will limit pedestrian access from the east, but Broadview, Greenwood, south Shoreline and the Aurora strip will be a quick bus ride from the stations.

    1. While Lake City and Northgate should definitely be connected by frequent service, Northgate shouldn’t be Lake City’s only Link access, because it just takes too long to reach. NTC is a 9-12 minute trip (depending on the time of day) from 125th and Lake City. There’s not much you can do to reduce that, because there is no way to reach NTC without crossing the congested intersections near the mall.

      By contrast, TSP could make a trip between Lake City and the 130th station happen in 3-4 minutes.

      1. The trip from 125th & Lake City Way to Northgate can take considerably more than 12 minutes: on a bad day you’re looking at more like 25. A station at 130th street would also let us eliminate the exceptionally clumsy series of turns the southbound 41 makes at Roosevelt.

        If 125th-Roosevelt-130th got the Dexter treatment, along with some good TSP, we’d be in business.

      2. Daniel, David, Bruce: +1

        40+ years (okay, not all as a driver or even bus rider!) in the south Lake City/Meadowbrook area confirms everything you are saying. You go to Northgate either to go to the mall or because you are forced to by current transit routing. 125th/130th with a direct down-the-stairs transfer will be so much better than having to take the bus through the already congested Northgate area to the FAR side of the urban village that I can’t see anyone in Lake City connecting to Link there if there is a 130th station. Bitter Lake and Lake City both still have quite a bit of development potential, especially Bitter Lake (which is a large expanse of parking currently). A frequent cross-town bus there could be extremely well used.

      3. I’m a Pinehurst resident. I walk, drive and ride buses quite in from my neighborhood and I completely agree with Scott, Daniel, David and Bruce. A few years after the Northgate station gets rail, it will cease to be an important transfer transit station. It is just too hard to get there. Prior to light rail, it made sense, since there is an express lane entrance and exit ramp there. But once the rail goes in, every rail stop has quick access to the “freeway’ (AKA light rail). So it becomes a matter of which stop has better access to the neighborhood. It isn’t even close: 130th is simply much, much faster. Meanwhile, Northgate will be an important stop because it will serve a fair number of walk-up riders. Basically, it will be the equivalent of a smaller Capitol Hill station. Like the Capitol Hill station, there is access to the college on one side. While Northgate will probably never look like Capitol Hill, there are a lot of big buildings around there and likely to be plenty more. My guess is that it will be dominated by a combination of medical buildings and apartments. There is already a pretty good toe hold there (UW Medicine, PacMed, as well as some independent medical/dental buildings). Speaking of UW Medicine, this area perfect sense for expansion. A doctor or nurse who has to travel from the main UW Medicine building to Northgate would simply hop on the train and be there faster than any car (and faster than it takes someone to get from the UW to South Lake Union!).

        It’s just another example of how dynamic a city is, and how people adjust to transit. Lots of folks suggested we needed a park and ride at Northgate because it was a “terminus” and needed to serve the suburban neighborhoods. Wrong. It will only be a terminus for a very short time. Others suggest that it will serve as a transit center (which is similar). Again, wrong. The connecting streets are terrible. The station will be important because it will be a major urban center. Those that assume that Northgate is just a mall are probably surprised. The rest of us aren’t.

        The most surprising thing about Link, though, is the Tukwila station. This looked just like a classic suburban, bedroom community station. Fill the Park and Ride by day, watch it empty at night. Wrong. Way more people exit the station in the morning than enter. The opposite happens at night. Basically, it helps the people who work at the buildings close to SeaTac (motels, restaurants) get to work. Who would have guessed that? (not me, that’s for sure).

    2. I disagree. David L and I have discussed this quite a bit, and pencilled out the comparative travel times to downtown from 125th & LCW, based on the existing running time of the 522 and 75, and the Link travel time from Northgate. The bus wins convincingly, particularly outbound.

      The Northgate station is not ideally located for a transferring rider from Lake City — 105th is congested (freeway interchange again) and the bus will have to deviate off 105th. Northgate will work better for riders coming in on 92nd St to the west.

      By contrast, if 130th is built correctly (and ST’s record in this respect is mixed), a crosstown high-frequency service on 125th/130th could drop riders right at the station, without dealing with freeway traffic. It’s also a geometrically simple arrangement — straightforward E-W crosstown service, rather than partially northwest-southeast with an E-W jog and deviation at the end.

      1. The preliminary station designs seem good for bus transfers at 130th and 155th. The 130th station would be under the roadway (130th overpass) with bus stops directly on 130th. The 155th st station would be elevated over 155th with escalators on both sides of the road, directly serving the bus stops on 155th. Both stations have no mezanine level and escalators go directly from the road to the platform.

  3. The approach of representing the stations with dots continues to disappoint me. It is the location of the station *entrances* that really matter.

    The dots make 130th and 145th appear really close, with huge gaps on either side to the next station. But if you represent 130th St Station with a bar stretching between 130th and 125th, with entrances on the north and south end, its walkshed and busshed become more impressive. It also gives a little more guidance to the station designers, who are capable of making some whopping design errors, some related to entrance locations, that could be prevented if the EIS specified entrances that stuck out from the far north and south ends of the platform (as opposed to, say, elevators that zigged back to the middle, unnecessarily adding to walk times, minimizing walkshed, and forcing buses to turn off the street to get to the station entrance). Station entrance locations affect station length, and therefore should be covered in this EIS. Otherwise, the young engineers will say the EIS contemplated stations only 400 feet long, not stations 500 feet long, “so our hands are tied”.

    The limited utility of a 155th St Station becomes more apparent once you see the walkshed of the north entrance to a station just *north* of 145th. Still, there will need to be pedestrian access improvements to the other side of I-5, as well as across the overwide 145th.

    145th’s largest disadvantage in the station derby is that, while those who would benefit from such a station stretch from 3rd Ave NW to Woodinville, and there are lots and lots of apartments and thousands of businesses along the bus routes that would get their quickest Link connection at 145th, the neighborhoods next to 155th are a little more well-to-do. The only way 155th gets a station over 145th is through board politics.

    Hopefully not too OT, but if a 145th bus route is extended across I-5, it could serve the Northwest School for Hearing Impaired Children, perhaps as its western terminus, and give students and employees alike a really long one-seat-rideshed, and probably better frequency to serve that campus than a 155th St bus route would have.

    Lynnwood Transit Center need not have the whole station to itself. It should just get the south entrance. The location of the north entrance is critical to how well the station serves the business/office/library district, and whether it brings Edmonds Community College into the walkshed. BTW, is there any talk of improving the pedestrian paths among the station, the college, and the business district?

    Thanks for this analysis, Mike, and thanks to ST for its usual excellent and open public process.

    1. Brent, my feeling is that you’re saying “145th would be a really great location for a station if only we totally rebuilt the entire area.” Meanwhile, 155th is a decent location now, at least for connecting bus passengers

      Pedestrian access improvements to serve a station substantially north of the interchange would almost have to include a new pedestrian bridge over I-5, which is not included in this budget. Pedestrian access improvements to the interchange itself would require a pretty radical rebuild — the configuration of the interchange is inherently pedestrian-hostile, and has to be in order for the interchange to serve the volume of car traffic it does.

      Meanwhile, 155th is reliable enough that the apartments along 145th to the east could be reached very quickly on a connecting bus from the 155th station at all hours of the day — possibly quicker than from 145th if you count super-easy pedestrian access to the bus from the station at 155th. To the west, there is no more development along 145th than there is along 155th; the neighborhood is strictly SFH in both cases.

      Also, Shoreline Community College has many, many times the passenger volume of the NW School for Hearing Impaired Children, and is the appropriate terminal for a crosstown route from Link whether it’s using 145th or 155th.

    2. At the last Shoreline open house, the city said it was waiting to hear whether ST would choose 145th or 155th, and it would develop whichever station area is chosen. A citizens’ group was also forming, with an unwieldly name something like “Friends of 145th or 155th Station”. So that sounds promising for an upzone in either place. Except that, given suburban single-family pressures, I’m afraid it might be a watered-down upzone. Shoreline has upstaged Seattle in transit lanes on Aurora, upzones at RapidRide stations, and plans for the 185th community center site. So it may do something admirable on 155th or 145th too, but we just don’t know. Also, in the vacuum before ST’s decision, Shoreline is assuming 145th and preplanning there.

      I’m surprised there’s more support for 155th than I thought, especially because there was so much static about Roosvelt “not upzoning enough” due to single-family pressure. In a worst-case scenario, it would remain single-family and nothing within a 10-minute walk. As for the 330’s routing, I noticed it conveniently serves the station but I didn’t think much about it because the 330’s routing seems arbitrary: why is one single-family street better than another, they’re all low-ridership. But some people have said it’s a good location for a crosstown route, with better travel time than 145th’s congestion.

      So I could throw my support back to 155th, but I think we need to think further about what happens if the street doesn’t upzone at all. Do we just accept a station in the middle of nowhere because it’s on the 330? I suppose you could also say that 130th station is in the middle of nowhere, but Lake City is a large transit-trip generator, and there are several blocks of apartments east of the station.

      If any Shoreline residents are reading this, I’d like to hear what you think about 155th vs 145th. And also, how willing are your neighbors to support rezoning the street to multifamily/mixed-use, potentially from I-5 to Aurora?

      1. My generalization about suburban governments is that they are typically better about height/number of units but worse on parking requirements than Seattle.

      2. Mike,

        I live near NE 152nd and 5th NE. Either location is about the same walking distance from my house. I would prefer a station at 155th because I think the bus connection to the West(Aurora Avenue) would be better due to the future apartments/condos at 155th and Aurora. As long as there is a good bus/LINK transfer point created, of course. A bus route(whether or not #330) would improve my transit opportunities in the area especially to get to Central Market/Sears.

        As for feeling ‘against’ a station at 145th, it is already a congested intersection during rush hours, but with all the designs, it seems that they are planning a parking garage at that site. I believe building a parking garage is wrong as it would only increase vehicle traffic from out-of-the-area in a neighborhood that can’t really absorb more traffic. I think it would be wrong to have a lot more density immediately around the staiton, but having quick and easy bus connections to areas around there would be awesome. There are already a lot of apartments in North City with more that could easily be put in there. And lots of apartments near 145th and 15th NE with potential for more. I don’t believe this is a “NIMBY” feeling, but a realistic appraisal of my neighborhood. Just having a station there doesn’t mean there has to be automatic 12-story apartments or condos but having good bus(future trolley?) connections to close-by apartments is something to plan for.

      3. I think it would be wrong to have a lot more density immediately around the staiton, but having quick and easy bus connections to areas around there would be awesome.

        More density around the station would improve the probability that quick and easy bus connections would be worth implementing, under agency guidelines…

      4. I live in the Echo Lake Area. We already have the 185th group lead by an ELNA member. Much of the zoning and planning is looking to violate Shoreline’s Planning Policy from 1998 or 2001. The City wants to preserve the look, feel and culture of the various neighborhoods. It was discussed a year or so ago at an ELNA meeting.

        I made my statements earlier with regards to 145th. Rather than ST, Shoreline, Seattle and WSDOT not doing anything about NE 145th, how about mutual funding/participation to improve ped access in the corridor to maximize that bubble of transit accessibility/influence?

        For the record, the City of Shoreline is looking to develop the area within Westminster Way, Dayton Ave, N 160th, Aurora and N155th. A few tenants in this area want to be excluded from plans. Others are open to development and upzoning ideas.

      5. There are much more important things than preserving look and feel of neighborhoods. When we realize we’ve built our city (I’m using the wide sense, meaning the geographically contiguous economically independent area) in a variety of unsustainable ways, we have to think about how we can build urban forms that are less dependent on long-distance car travel for daily needs.

        It’s natural (at least, as natural as anything in urban development is) for town centers to grow around transportation nodes, and Link stations will be pretty powerful transportation nodes. It would be one thing to just build more residential density near the stations, but if businesses serving the neighborhood also move in, if we bring a little use mixture to areas that are residential as far as the eye can see, that’s a blow against the car dependency of these places. A frequent transit route can take you to distant stores; more use mixture lets you fulfill those needs right in the neighborhood, and allows even people that can’t walk very far to run errands on foot.

      6. Al…

        One of the reasons the neighborhoods that make Shoreline incorporated was to avoid being absorbed by Seattle back in the 90s. Not to mention, King County wad shipping tax money elsewhere and not investing in Shoreline.

        After incorporation, it developed a planning policy and charter that, even to me, seems zany and abundantly restrictive. It restricts density to Aurora and some to North City. Richmond Beach could use an urban village. …but Innes Arden would raise Cain!

  4. A station at 145th is highly preferable to a station at 155th.

    Because while such a station at 145th might be a long way from Lake City Way, there actually is a somewhat large developed area at 145th and 15th Ave which includes some apartments. This developed area is close enough to the proposed 145th St station to benefit directly and potentially see some TOD potential.

    No such developed area exists along 155th – it’s a TOD desert.

    1. lazarus, during much of the day, bus riders from that developed area would be able to reach a 155th station faster than they could reach a 145th station, using 15th and 155th. Westbound 145th between 15th and 5th is a parking lot during much of peak hour.

      1. No, not really.

        145th is usually the preferable route for people who know the area. It is actually relatively fast on the west side of the I-5, and it really isn’t that bad on the east side either. Plus there are more destinations along the way.

      2. Other than Aurora, I-5, and the commercial area at 15th NE… what destinations?

        Also, I’ve spent more than enough time sitting in my car on 145th to verify its unreliability. These days I use 125th/130th to 5th NE to reach northbound I-5 from Lake City. It’s faster almost every time, unless it’s early morning or late evening.

    2. I’ll grant you there’s not much at 155th now, but the neighborhood to the east has sidewalks on the arterials and a pedestrian-scale street grid, so it would be very cheap and easy to redevelop. All that’s needed is the political will to rezone it as multi-family without onerous parking minimums, and it would blow up.

      1. It would be far easier, cheaper, and faster just to improve 145th as opposed to doing what you propose on 155th. And 145th would still be the main route due to straight E-W travel between Lake City Way and Aurora. 155th will never be able to match 145th in that regard.

      2. What improvements would you make to 145th that would be easy and cheap but also ameliorate congestion and delays from cars waiting to reach I-5? Remember, adding ROW will be neither easy nor cheap.

        Anytime between 2 and 7, I would guess that I could “race” you from LCW to Aurora, with you using 145th all the way and me using 155th west of 15th, and I would beat you there 9 times out of 10.

      3. David,

        Your drag race is irrelevant. The stations are at I-5, not Aurora. The vast majority of the ridership at 145th St Station would be from east of I-5, and, unfortunately, arriving via bus rather than on foot. But then, the foot traffic to 155th St Station will also be quite small (and probably an order of magnitude smaller than what will arrive by foot at 145th, even if there is no more TOD on 145h).

        Still, the lack of easy space to build sidewalks on both sides of 145th does not negate the ability to at least build sidewalks on the north side. At least along the golf course, north sidewalks would be sufficient.

      4. The “drag race” is relevant because it’s about whether connecting crosstown bus service can be fast and reliable, or whether it will be sucked into the backups of cars waiting to get on I-5.

        Where would you put TOD at 145th? The southeast corner is the golf course. The southwest corner is Lakeside School. The northwest corner could be redeveloped, but has access issues from the station site (specifically, a cliff). Only the northeast corner is really suitable. If we’re going to rezone and eventually redevelop a station area, the one at 155th has a lot more potential.

        If by “TOD” you mean further density around 15th, I think it will be an uphill struggle to convince many of the residents to walk to Link when the walk will be 3/8 of a mile along a busy highway, even with sidewalk improvements (if you can find room for them).

      5. David L,

        You keep putting words in my mouth by saying i am claiming TOD will be easy on 145th. No, I’m pointing out that lots of TOD already *exists* on 145th. It just doesn’t happen to be right by the station, and a lot of it is not conveniently served by running the 522/372 down Lake City Way to 125th before finally turning west, and adding another 5-10 minutes to the commute of every rider along the corridor over if they had access to a 145th St Station. Don’t try to paper over the extra travel time along that slow 20 blocks of Lake City Way. The population of all the apartments that already exist along 145th probably exceeds the population of any TOD that is likely to be built around a 155th St Station.

        Did I mention that 130th also has traffic jams?

        So, let me return the favor and put some words in your mouth: “I could care less whether forcing SR 522 riders to go all the way to 125th St before accessing Link adds several minutes to their trip time in perpetuity. I have no plans of every moving out there. I just want more TOD next to the stations.”

      6. Brent, I didn’t intend to put words in your mouth; when I hear TOD, I think of development close to stations, so that is why I focused on the area around the 145th interchange. Apartments along 145th will (unless Metro is way dumber than I think they are) be served by frequent crosstown service with a quick Link connection regardless of whether that service is a continuation of 522 service or a separate crosstown route, and regardless of whether the Link stop is at 145th or 155th.

        And as I wrote earlier, I’d be fine with using 145th for 522 commuter service, if it were the quickest way. I just think the need to connect the communities along the corridor outweighs the travel time disadvantage (which would not be near 10 minutes at any time of day, especially after you count the slightly shorter Link trip) of using 130th for the all-day network. If only there were a Link stop closer to LCW/I-5 than Northgate or Roosevelt, I’d be advocating sending the all-day 522 buses to that stop rather than 130th to connect with Link, because it would preserve more of the corridor intact.

        (Also, for what it’s worth: the base route from the 72 terminal to Atlantic Base uses southbound Lake City Way rather than 145th, a decision based on travel time.)

    1. David,

      You’re talking about the quality of sidewalks right around the potential station locations. That’s a cheaply solvable problem. I’m talking about where the best access point is for bus riders from north Lake City, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, and Woodinville.

      Miles and miles of 145th and SR 522 are already built out, with *high* ridership on the 522 and the 372. Nor are most of them going to southern Lake City. They are going to UW and downtown. The quickest ride for them is a transfer at 145th. The vast majority of riders getting on and off in southern Lake City are also going to UW and downtown.

      Other than the golf course, 145th is less of a political obstacle. There are reasons you see federal housing complexes on 145th (which may be larger in population that the entire 155th walkshed). 145th is the city boundary and has half the NIMBY-shed that 155th does. If you think organized neighbors on 155th are more welcoming to TOD, you weren’t paying attention to the sweet-talking from the Roosevelt neighbors before they got their train station, only to turn around and meet the minimum density goals once they got their station.

      155th ends at 15th Ave NE, stopped by virtual parkland that is never, ever going to be redeveloped. West of I-5, half the walkshed of the station is taken up by wetlands that will also never, ever become TOD. Shoreline politics is all about defending open space, not TOD.

      The 330 could be altered to serve 145th St Station via 5th Ave NE, which would actually speed up the route for the majority of riders who are simply trying to get across south Shoreline east-west, and it would increase the route’s apartmentshed. The inconvenience to 330 riders headed to UW and downtown could be measured in seconds. The inconvenience of having the 522 backtrack 10 blocks would be expensive both for taxpayers and riders’ total trip time. (Although having the 522 or the 372 extend along that path to Shoreline Community College does have a lot of appeal.)

      Given the awesomely huge rideshed of 145th St, and the sparsely-populated SFH neighborhood that 155th St would serve, a station at 145th blows 155th out of the water (Twin Ponds, to be specific).

      1. I see 130th, not 145th, as the natural Link transfer point for all-day 522 service. Having it transfer at 145th would cut off Lake City proper from the rest of Highway 522, for only a marginal travel time benefit. That could well be worthwhile for commuter lines like the 306 and 308, but would kneecap the corridor lines like the 522 and 372.

        I don’t see a 155th station as any worse than a 145th station for “rideshed,” because I think during much of the day it will be faster to travel from eastern 145th to and from a 155th station, along free-flowing streets, than for buses to sit in traffic along 145th between 5th and 15th. If 145th were faster, the 330 would use it now — the reason the 330 uses 155th is because it’s faster.

        As mentioned earlier, from a TOD perspective, I also think the area immediately around a 155th station would have far more redevelopment potential than the area around 145th. Yes, Twin Ponds is there, but there is land ripe for redevelopment on the near side of it, as well as on all three of the other corners. At 145th, two corners are entirely blocked by the golf course and Lakeside School.

        Finally, the sidewalks along 145th are not as easy as you think. The street has the same issue that we’ve been discussing recently on 23rd — the ROW is too narrow for its intended use. But it would fail badly if reduced to three lanes. There isn’t room to widen the sidewalks without acquiring some property. On the south side east of I-5, the City of Seattle might be willing to give over a few feet of the park to the cause, but elsewhere that land is privately owned school and residential property.

      2. David,

        Your and Bruce’s arguments about 372 and 522 riders having just as fast access to Link by taking the slow way through Lake City or backtracking to 155th are simply bizarre.

        Perhaps going to 130th is “more reliable”. Perhaps the old 131 path from South Park through the Georgetown saloon district was “more reliable”. But it was still much longer.

        The majority of riders on the SR 522 corridor are coming from north of the city limits. I know this from years of getting on packed 522s at 143rd to commute downtown and seeing how many riders didn’t get on further down the line. To make all these riders ride all the way down to 125th before heading west to Link is just downright disrespectful of their time. Any claim that a trip from Lake City Way to I-5 on 145th takes longer than a trip from Lake City Way & 145th to I-5 and 130th doesn’t pass the laugh test. Maybe it could be true, but that goes against common intuition and all my observations as a former Lake City denizen that Lake City Way traffic was always slow between 125th and 145th. You’ll need reams of data to convince anyone that the trip to 130th & I-5 is shorter than the trip to 145th & I-5 from Lake City Way & 145th. But hey, if you can produce the reams of data, I’ll owe you an apology and a frosty beverage of your choice.

        Of course, I’m putting words in your mouth by saying you are claiming the longer path is faster, when a clear reading of your argument is that the travel time is merely more precise.

        Likewise, 155th may do better on TOD. But so what? It’ll take really tall towers there for the actual passenger count at 155th to match what 145th would get just by being the natural connection point for commuters from Jackson Park, north Lake City, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, and Woodinville.

        Also, the counter to your argument that leaving off downtown Lake City from the 522 would undercut the route’s ridership is that leaving off the rest of Lake City Way south of 120th from the 522 already undercuts the route’s ridership. The TOD on Lake City Way neither begins nor ends at 125th. Do you have a plan for how TOD-apartment dwellers south of 120th will access Link?

        I do hope Lake City denizens do get that quick Link access at 130th, just like I hope Georgetown continues to get quick access to SODO Station. But that doesn’t mean riders from Kenmore should have to take the slow ride through Lake City to get to Link any more than South Parkers should have to pass through the Georgetown saloon district to get to SODO Station. Respect the time of thousands of riders along SR 522 north of 145th, and the many apartment dwellers along 145h. Don’t lengthen their commutes for the sake of the richer SFH neighborhoods.

      3. Brent, I’m not claiming that the trip from 145th and Lake City to I-5 is shorter along 130th than 145th (although during PM peak, and to a lesser extent AM peak, it might not be that much longer). What I am claiming is that Lake City is an essential node for 522 corridor service. It would make no sense from a network perspective to have the core 522 corridor service stop at Bothell, Kenmore, and Lake Forest Park, and then force a transfer (to what service? would you extend the 41 replacement?) to get to Lake City, just for the sake of saving downtown riders 2 or 3 minutes (OK, possibly more than that off-peak).

        If there’s a 145th Link station, then maybe what we need is more commuter service specifically serving that station from LCW north of 145th, but the all-day service should serve the whole corridor.

        TOD dwellers in the Pierre redevelopment area would have two choices to get to Link: walk to 125th and catch connecting bus service to the 130th stop there, or catch whatever replaces the 75 and connect to Link at Northgate.

        Ridership south of 110th is pretty low, and most of it is walking some distance out of neighborhoods, and would be equally well served by walking to either 15th or 35th (along both of which my restructure proposal, coming Monday, would have fast and frequent service to Link).

      4. David,

        I hear what you are saying about riders at 135th and Lake City Way having the rug pulled out from under them. With a little imagination, a frequent bus route serving Lake City Way from 145th, or perhaps even further north, NE 125th St, and N 130th St could be contemplated. Guess what? The arrival times on such a route would be *more reliable* for those trying to time their shuttle ride to Link.

        I am torn, however, about the thought of having the 75 continue to turn onto Lake City Way. That straight shot to 130th St Station for all the denizens along the Sand Point Gold Coast merits some consideration.

        Keep in mind that most of the denizens of downtown Lake City aren’t going to places along SR 522 very often (or vice versa) even with the one-seat connection, so the real key is the fast connection to downtown and UW via Link.

        Also keep in mind that if riders further north don’t get to access Link until 125th or have to backtrack from 145th to 155th, they may collectively say “Fine, just keep the routes running all the way downtown and to UW.” Then, the magic carpet ride gets pulled out from under everyone.

      5. Brent and David I think your discussion is what the FEIS needs to address, although I believe on the balance David argument holds more water. Link stations should be located to make the best core service network, because after all it is core service. If that means running some peak hour express service that is fine by me. SR-522 is a perfect corridor for a high frequency BRT type service but putting the Link station at NE 145th is permanently break this corridor in half.

      6. Adam,

        What breaks the corridor in half is the two major destinations. I want to see *one* high-frequency route serving SR 522 instead of two low-frequency routes. North of 125th, the routes are nearly identical until the 522 diverges in Woodinville.

        If there is a high-frequency route serving Bothell Way and points NE connecting to 145th St Station, and another high-frequency route serving Lake City Way to 145th, NE 125th, and N 130th, then that actually heals a much bigger nuisance of a rift than the minor nuisance it creates at 145th and Bothell Way for the handful of passengers wanting to travel between the the Lake City Way corridor and the Bothell Way corridor.

        Having all-day 30-minute service on SR 522 to downtown, bypassing Link, and all-day/weekday-only 30-minute service on SR 522 crawling down 25th Ave NE to UW, also ignoring Link, would be just a huge waste, and a blown opportunity to create a BRTish corridor. I really don’t think the 130th connection compromise is going to sell well north of 145th and Bothell Way, and so it will not end up happening.

      7. The fate of the 522 will be decided on the travel-time difference, not on how many people want to keep it as-is. The 194 was replaced by Link even though it was 9 minutes faster, and the 545 will not be replaced by Link because it’s some twenty minutes faster. The 522 falls in between these, and it’s primarily due to geography, which determines travel time.. If ST decides the travel-time loss of transferring to Link is unacceptable, the 522 will remain as-is. If it decides that truncating it at 130th is fast enough to fulfill ST’s “regional transit” mandate, it will do that. If it decides that the difference between 145th and 130th has too much impact on the suburbs and it’s worth ditching Lake City which is local enough to be Metro’s responsibility, it will truncate it at 145th.

        Separately, ST and Metro may decide to lower the travel-time standard for off-peak service, and run the through routes only peak hours, hopefully in exchange for more frequency off-peak, because less waiting time compensates for more travel time in many people’s minds, and materially improves ridership, even if a few people grouse forever that “their 194” was better..

      8. When it comes to off-peak 522 frequency, the key is finding a way to combine it with the 372. 15-minute headway beats the heck out of 30-minute headway. That means connecting the combined off-peak route to Link somewhere north of UW. 145th will obviously pencil out better than 130th in total trip time off-peak, perhaps with some loss of ridership, or perhaps more ridership due to more directness. But so might Roosevelt Station. Has anyone done the math on that?

        If the 372 continues to go to UW off-peak, and the 522 continues to go downtown off-peak, then frequency loses.

        We’ve focused on 522 travel time to downtown during peak, but that is when riders most need the ability to transfer to Link. I assume everyone here has noticed the parking lot buses get stuck in when they have to take I-5 during peak commute hours.

        Do we then have a different version of the 372 during peak that makes a bee-crawl to UW via 25th Ave NE, suddenly transitioning to a route to Link at the beginning of off-peak? Or do we try to have a route that goes to a Link station all day, even if the 522 continues to brave the clogged waters of I-5?

      9. Brent, here’s my long-term 522 corridor solution at the moment. I welcome further discussion.

        1) The all-day routes in the corridor would be the 522, running every 15 minutes between Woodinville and 130th Station via Lake City, and the 69, a 372 replacement truncated to 145th but running every 15 minutes.
        2) Peak downtown or UW commuters from SR 522 north of 145th would use peak-only service that would connect to Link at either 145th or 155th. I don’t think 155th would be bad at all for this, once you get past the psychological feeling of backtracking. Extra travel time to 155th would be zero when 145th is congested (most of peak hour) and about 90 seconds when it’s not (an extra half a mile at 35 mph plus slowing down for two turns). Extra time on Link would be about 30 seconds.
        3) Peak downtown commuters from the north Lake City apartment district immediately south of 145th would either use my new frequent crosstown route (numbered 78 in my restructure) traveling along 30th to reach Link at 145th or 155th, or use the 522 to reach Link at 130th.
        4) Peak downtown commuters from the heart of Lake City to downtown would use the 75 or the all-day 522 to reach Link at 130th.
        5) UW commuters between 145th and 130th would likely find travel time on the 522/Link or the 69 a rough wash, and could use either option.
        6) UW commuters south of 130th would use the 69.

      10. The 372 also has riders living between 125th and 45th, and if Metro merges the 72 into it, it will be their primary route. Some of them may want to go to Bothell, but more importantly, it covers the “south of 125th” area that the 522 doesn’t serve.

      11. Can we continue this discussion on a post specific to North King County route restructuring? sooner rather than later?

      12. Brent the problem with a NE 145th St station over a NE 130th St station (that is the choice here, both are unlikely to happen) is that without the NE 130th St station all Lake City service will be forced to go to Northgate which can be very congested. A NE 130th St Station also makes high frequency E/W service between Lake City and Bitter Lake Urban Village (and RapidRide F and Aurora) much more likely.

        Yes the NE 130th St station would increase travel time to Link from areas north of NE 145th several minutes but I believe that the vast superiority of the network design made possible by NE 130th would allow for increased frequency up Lake City Way, reducing transfer time and making it a wash for people north of NE 145th and a huge gain for everyone else.

        Here is what I have in mind ( I’m only including very frequent routes in this map. If peak service is necessary it could be overlaid on this core system. By consolidating many nodes of activity along a single route and connecting Link (NE 155th), Bitter Lake, Aurora, RapidRide E-Line, Link (NE 130th), Lake City, and the SR-522 corridor (out to Bothell probably) you create very strong demand that can support very frequent all day service. I’m thinking 10-minute headways all day long, more frequent to meet demand during peak times. You also vastly improve E/W service in North Seattle.

        Without a NE 130th St Station this network design is *impossible* and can only be done with multiple, lower-frequency routes which will result in a fragmented North Seattle system. This is why a NE 130th St station is so important.

      13. “(Adam’s RapidRide X on LCW – 125th/130th – Aurora – 155th station.)”

        That is interesting. It would give 155th two-way access to Link, Aurora, and Lake City, and the backtracking can be blamed on the 155th hillside/low density/lack of roads rather than on Metro. Meanwhile from 125th/130th there would be no backtracking.

    1. It all comes down to budget. How much Snohomans were willing to spend in one phase, and how much it balanced the other subareas’ goals. ST has to charge a uniform tax rate in all subareas, so if that rate raises $X in Snohomish, $Y in North King, $Z in East King, etc, that’s how much each subarea has to work with. Snohomish and North King were hot on Lynnwood and Shoreline; East King was hot on Bellevue and Overlake; South King and Pierce were hot on Sounder and Federal Way, so this level of investment balanced those. (Except that South King’s sales-tax revenue crashed in the recession, so its Link extension south of 240th was deferred.)

      At the time, Lynnwoodites were mumbling that they’d like another station at Alderwood Mall, but Ash Way didn’t seem to be on the radar yet, at least that I heard. The Mukilteo bus (113) was truncated from Lynnwood TC to Ash Way a few years ago, but that may have been too late to affect ST2’s decisions.

      1. Has anyone got an estimate of how much of South King’s dropoff in sales tax revenue was caused by the change in the location at which delivered goods were taxed (used to be wharehouse location, now delivery location)? I remember there having been much angst among South king municipalities when the change was being discussed.

      2. I don’t know anything about which you speak, William, (and sorry to veer off topic) but I remain annoyed that some non-Seattle electeds continue to try grab transit money away from Seattle and insist on a bigger piece of the pie, while Seattle electeds make the effort to go to Olympia and DC and try to increase the size of the pie. Are South King County electeds being a part of the solution or a part of the problem?

      1. I’m not clear on whether the ST Board needs legislative authority to take another bond package to the taxing district’s voters. If it does, do we have any realistic expectation that will happen while the Repubicans control the Senate?

      2. I think it does need legislative authority, and will be going to the state next year to prepare the ground for it.

    2. Because Snohomish County blew 1/2 billion on a train to Seattle that barely anyone rides. Plus, they get to pay for all of the operating costs, and half of the 500 daily riders don’t even live in their county.

      1. Mic,

        It isn’t just barely. *Nobody* rides that train.

        Why? Perhaps it is because that line hasn’t actually been built.

  5. Really excited that 130th appears to be actually on the table. I just hope Metro comes through with a cross-town bus along 130th/125th. It takes a half hour to go from Greenwood to Northgate on the 345, then you have to take another bus (sometimes through-routed) from there to Lake City and 125th–whole thing takes close to an hour on transit, vs. 5 or 10 minutes driving from Greenwood to Lake City. To be able to make that trip in 15 minutes instead would be a HUGE improvement for folks living north of Northgate. But if Metro doesn’t come through with decent cross-town bus service, that station’s ridership will be a huge disappointment.

    Realistically, I don’t see TOD happening at any of the Shoreline stations in my lifetime. 145th is REALLY scary to walk along to the west of I-5 headed towards Aurora. I did it once last fall and it was terrifying–cars are flying down that road, and the sidewalk is tiny, without any real room to widen it. 155th is a less scary street, but a bus connecting a station at 155th with Lake City is going to need to run down to 145th. Honestly, I don’t think either is an ideal situation, so I don’t really have an opinion.

    1. Would a route running west from Lake City Way on 145th to 15th Ave, North to 155th, West on 155th, North on Meridian and west on 160th to Shoreline Community college work? I’m asking both whether there are any technical obstacles to such a routing [e.g. can the crossing of Aurora be made to work reliably], and whether it has enough ridership potential. Also, for people living near 150th and LCW would it provide a better connection to Link than a bus that connecting with the 130th station via LCW and 125th?

      1. That sounds a lot like the current 330, and even more like the crosstown route I’d suggest to connect to a 155th Link stop. I see no reason it wouldn’t work. Using 145th as far west as 15th would hurt reliability a bit, but not enough to undo the benefit of stopping right at the Jackson Park commercial area.

        I’d use Aurora rather than Meridian to get from 155th to 160th, and 30th rather than Lake City Way to get from 145th to Lake City (at least northbound, where the left turn from LCW onto 145th can take several cycles).

      2. I can’t see why that routing wouldn’t work. But as for ridership? I really have no idea. A lot depends on whether Metro actually commits to making great bus service to connect people to Link. I hope they will but I’m scared they won’t.

  6. On Lynnwood, C2 vs. C1… C2 isn’t in the middle of “ordinary blocks”, it’s buried behind the bus loop. To its south and southeast is parking; to the east (assuming the platform will run most of the length of the bus loop) the backside of a big-box store; to the west apartments; to the southwest Scriber Creek. The trail across Scriber Creek is narrow, unlit, and doesn’t lead to much, so it contributes minimally to the walkshed. C1 is certainly better, though I’m not sure how many million dollars better it is.

    I really think we should consider converting at least some of the Lynnwood parking lot space to TOD, and putting some of the parking across the creek, with whatever new pedestrian accommodations are necessary to make that work. I don’t think all of the parking can go across the creek because it would be a real PITA to get to from the east (I’m assuming another vehicle bridge over Scriber Creek is not happening, and forcing P&R traffic through the neighborhoods to the south sounds like a bad idea), but putting some of it there would help relieve peak-hour traffic at the main P&R entrances. The land across the creek seems less suited to TOD, especially any kind of commercial development that relies on public street frontage.

    1. (I haven’t read in much detail, but I assume a major part of the cost of C1 is land acquisition. The problems of C2 would be mitigated considerably by making better use of the surface parking lots, and the land across the creek has got to be cheaper than the land fronting 200th… or even than the land the parking lots are currently occupying. I don’t know what sort of permitting and environmental issues exist across the creek, though.)

  7. I live near NE 152nd and 5th NE. For the love of God, please no damn parking garages!!

    I would love having a station at 130th. A station at 175th would be good, too instead of 185th but I guess that discussion has already passed. Between 145th/155th, I would prefer a 155th station with an area cleared out to have good bus connections to Aurora Avenue and the Central Market. By the time this gets built, I may not be able to walk to Central Market like I can now. Plus, with the (someday soon) upcoming apartments/condos being built at 155th and Aurora, there will be even more of a need for better East/West bus connections.

    Building a station at 145th is going to make the congestion even worse because by building a parking garage there will make it easy for people to drive and park, making traffic that much worse at an intersection that gets clogged during rush hour.

    Distance-wise, each station would be about the same for me to walk to. That way, during snowstorms in the future, I’d still be able to get downtown without having to worry about “is the bus going to get stuck in the snow?”

    1. What makes you prefer 175th over 185th? I bike on 185th every now and then but I only know 175th from having to cross it. It sort of seems like 175th vs. 185th has some similarities to 145th vs. 155th. 175th, like 145th, has an I-5 interchange, giving it much heavier traffic, longer light cycles, and a worse pedestrian environment (and cycling environment — 185th has a very nice easy crossing of I-5 with no interchange and is generally a decent arterial commuter cycling corridor; 195th provides a lower-stress alternative from the Interurban to the pedestrian bridge over I-5; 175th is just a big fast arterial). On the other hand 175th is a bit closer to existing businesses (there’s a cluster on 15th Ave NE and it’s closer to Aurora).

      Current transit routes in the area include the 347 and 348. The 348 naturally serves a 185th St. station. The 347 doesn’t quite hit either, though when it’s all built out it will connect two Link stations, Northgate and MLT, with the commercial district on 15th Ave NE, which seems a reasonable enough goal. I wonder what the rationale is for the 347’s jog over to 5th between 145th and 175th — a connection to the 145th St. freeway station?

      1. I don’t think it really matters in the long run, a station at 175th or 185th, since the decision has already been made. I was just thinking there’s more room around 175th for higher density and the shopping areas(Haggens/City Hall to the west and Safeway/North City to the East) are more direct via the street. There isn’t much east of I-5 on 185th, not even really an arterial compared to 175th or even 155th. But, admittedly, 185th and Aurora does have good potential for growth as well as the Shoreline football stadium/community center. So, if Metro can make bus service good enough, then 185th could very well be a good useful LINK stop.

    2. How will building a station at 145th require a parking garage? (and where would there be room for it?)

      Not building the station at 145th will make thousands of northeast King County commuters opt to drive for their commutes, thus increasing congestion.

      1. It wouldn’t “require” a parking garage but the existing P&R makes a precedent for it. You could say that the garage — and the alternatives that don’t have a 130th station — represent the “old thinking” that was more prevelant when the corridor was first bringing drawn up: that everybody will drive to the station, won’t be enticed by a feeder bus, and Metro can’t afford enough buses anyway. The “new thinking” is what led to demands for a 130th station and a bus on 125th/130th. The quote at the end of the article hints at this: the money for 130th station is partly coming out of the original 145th station and its parking garage. That makes 130th a dual win for transit fans. I think it’s pretty certain that 130th will be chosen because the Seattle mayor and council unanimously support it, and ST has gotten hundreds of comments asking for it.

        People don’t focus clearly enough on, who is each P&R for? Where do the drivers live? Is it a large cachement area like Issaquah without hope of sufficient feeder buses? Or is it a small surrounding area that could be mostly addressed with feeders? How willing are those people to use feeders? Is the cachement area mostly east-west (perpendicular to the freeway) or north-south (along the freeway)? Are many drivers coming from SR-522, and should they be?

        In Northgate’s case, studies determined that most drivers come from the immediate east and west, not from the assumed Bitter Lake and Shoreline. And most drivers said they’d prefer more feeders and better bike/ped paths rather than a large garage. That represents “new thinking” in north Seattle. I wouldn’t expect as much of that attitude in Shoreline and Snohomish County, but you don’t know unless you ask, and prod them a bit, and realize that attiudes are changing and evolving.

        Also, drivers from north/south should not be accommodated because they should be going to another, closer station. But drivers from SR-522 don’t have that option because the hillside hinders access to 185th or Mountlake Terrace stations.

    3. @Cinesa,

      Would you rather have a more frequent, higher ridership version of the 330 serving 145th St Station, or a less frequent, lower ridership version of the 330 serving 155th St Station?

      1. I would love a high-frequency #330 to go west from LINK at NE 155th, then I would have even easier access to Central Market and Sears(or even Dennys at 11:30pm!). As has been mentioned before, NE 145th is already a crowded road between 15th NE and Aurora Avenue, so putting a high frequency bus route would only get mired in the traffic(think of it like Denny Way–there’s really no way to expand 145th without a huge cost and eminent domain). NE 155th is a quick and easy way to get from a LINK station to Aurora Avenue(Sears, Central Market, new apartments and condos that are being planned there). And, anyone coming from Woodinville most likely would be routed to a station at 130th as 125th has less traffic much of the day than 145th.

      2. The peak 522 connection at 130th, like the TOD at 155th St, is a fantasy. I have no reason to believe ST will alter the 522’s peak routing from going downtown if the only alternative is a transfer at 130th. Most of the riders will scream at the idea of such a forced transfer. At least 145h is a palatable transfer.

        Given 145th’s configuration, there is an easy way to get commuter buses through the traffic jam: a BAT lane.

      3. I think it’s safe to say that a 522 transfer at 130th, especially off-peak which is when it would be forced, would be a far, far easier political lift than taking two of the four lanes of 145th and turning them into BAT lanes. And correctly so! Putting BAT lanes on 145th would change the 145th/5th and 145th/15th intersections from failing only in one (very occasionally two) directions to failing in all directions much more of the day.

      4. Peak-hour service will take care of itself. There will be peak-expresses or an intact peak 522 if Link can’t produce comparable travel time. It all has to do with the angle of SR-522 and how far the cities are from I-5. What we need to worry about is off-peak service, because that’s what has been chronically inadequate. There has been a failure of imagination on how frequent off-peak service could boost ridership and dampen car-buying. That’s one of Link’s jobs to address.

      5. It would be an interesting exercise to imagine the future peak and off-peak networks in North King County, and see if anyone likes what we imagine. I foresee the imaginary plan to have the 522 and 372 go to 130th St Station off-peak (only off-peak?) going over like a lead balloon outside of the city limits. Has anyone at ST or Metro said the 372 or 522 would divert to 130th, peak/off-peak/both/neither? We’ve seen how much power we have to resist Newton’s First Law of Bus Routes.

      6. It all depends on what the ST and Metro boards decide in ten years. They won’t commit themselves now, and it may even be different boardmembers then. Metro will probably release a first proposal a year ahead, so in 2022.

        I have thought about feeder routes a lot, and I was going to write an article about it several months ago, but then it seemed so far off it’s not worth speculating now. The two main principles are that either the 75 or the 522 could be rerouted west on 125th/130th. Also, that whichever streets aren’t chosen (145th, 155th, 165th, 175th) will need some kind of feeders. I could see a loop on 145th and 175th, but then how would it get to a station without going out of the way. L-shaped routes may be the anser, extending existing routes, but I don’t see enough existing routes to be extended. My other impression is that Metro has the routes down pretty good for crosstown service, the problem is that they’re peak-only. So truncating the peak-express routes and making them all-day would solve a large part of the problem, without having to do a lot of rerouting.

        David L has been working on an unofficial countywide restructure which addresses your points of a future all-day and peak network, with minimum new revenues. I think he said he’ll announce it Monday, but even if not, it is coming.

        By the way, are David L and David Lawson different people?

      7. David L and David Lawson are the same person; it just depends whether I remember to log into my STB account or not…

        My restructure is indeed coming Monday, but doesn’t address this particular issue (except to create the new 330-like crosstown route), because it’s a Link-to-Northgate restructure. I had to draw the line somewhere, and that seemed like the most appropriate place as of right now. It’s also focused on Metro, not ST Express.

        So my restructure keeps the 522 as is, except to add stops at NE 115th and 15th NE. It also does the following that are relevant to this discussion:

        – Cancels the 41 (obviously, since there would be Link to Northgate).
        – Moves the 75 to the current 41 routing, along 125th and 5th, between Lake City and Northgate, and improves 75 frequency to 15 minutes all day. The idea is to prepare for the next step, when the 130th station is built. At that point, it would be easy to extend my new 75 further west on 130th, and extend the 67 (my 66+67 replacement) further up 5th to provide local service between Northgate and 130th.
        – Extends the 40 from NTC to Lake City along current 75 routing (but ending behind Fred Meyer at the current 41 terminal).

        For the moment, my solution gives 8 buses/hour along the two routes between Northgate and Lake City, and provides for a logical crosstown corridor on Northgate Way. Later, it makes it easier to restructure the service further north into Link-friendly crosstown corridors.

  8. I live in Lake City, used to live in Greenwood and I plan on coming on the 20th to support the 130th stop. Right now, feeder bus routes riding along 125th/130th corridor would hit Greenwood/Broadview, Bitter Lake/Aurora (& Rapid Ride E…assuming it still exists), the 130th LINK stop, Pinehurst, Jackson Park, Lake City, Sand Point. Right now that corridor actually has traffic moving efficiently, so it can support bus feeder routes. I think its nuts that it can be faster for me to get to West Seattle (522, C) or Rainier Beach (522, LINK) than it does for me to get to Greenwood (72, 48; 41/75, 40, 5). Remember that its Greenwood, Broadview, BitterLake, Jackson Park that uses the Northgate P&R; 130th would be instrumental in keeping Sound Transit transit.

    I don’t have much of a dog in the fight between 145th and 155th; I’ll leave that for others to comment on. 155th doesn’t go through to Lake City, but a bus feeder route that looks like a funnel could work on 155th, 145th goes west efficiently to Broadview, all the way west to 3rd Ave NW.

  9. The pictures in the post seem to suggest that 155th is off the table and 145th is where the station will be. Am I missing something here?

    1. I chose that picture because I was leaning toward 145th when I wrote the article. Now I’m not sure what I’ll tell ST about 145th vs 155th.

  10. Put me in the 155th Street camp for all the reasons stated: separate transit from cars wherever, whenever and however possible.

  11. OMG, seriously? Mike, you are saying “C3 is unacceptable because it’s furthest from the center of the village and has no immediate walkshed”. While C1 would bulldoze 77 homes and 31 businesses, not to mention that the Rail would be inside the protected lands of Scriber Creek Park. For the amount of money being spent, the hundreds of millions, perhaps they can cover the walkway. Or, maybe we should count on residents of the Pacific Northwest to carry an umbrella! Petition for “No on C1” at – search for Scriber Creek Park.

    1. How bad is C2 in this regard? C3 is a truly awful location (there’s some plausible mitigation if 44th Ave can be made less of a wasteland to walk through, but only a little).

  12. “The B2 alternative raises the cost without adding a 220th station, and I don’t see any benefit in it.”

    The point of B2 is that it allows for a potential future station at 220th by putting the alignment on the west side of I-5. B1 would preclude a future 220th station because the alignment would be in the median, where there is not room for a station.

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