NE 130th St Retained Cut Station
NE 130th St Retained Cut Station

CORRECTION 11/29: The Sound Transit board can select any alignment and station studied in the DEIS not just those studied in the FEIS as originally reported. Additionally, Sound Transit clarified that the NE 130th St and 220th St Stations were not advanced to the 30% design level as other alignments and stations included in the FEIS. However, their design and environmental impacts will be brought up to the same level as the rest of the DEIS analysis.

This afternoon the Sound Transit Board will vote on which Lynnwood Link alignments and station locations to include in the Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS). This step is critical because the Preferred Alternative, which will advance to construction, can only use alignments and stations studied in the FEIS DEIS. Additionally, as explained on Councilmember Conlin’s blog, Sound Transit is only allowed to deviate or modify alignments and station locations if it can stay within the voter approved budget. Conlin goes on to explain how Sound Transit has been able to modify the alignment to accommodate both stations in the future and what it would take to fully fund the stations:

The Preferred Alternative that the Board used as a starting point is the least expensive, no-frills alignment, costed out at $1.267 billion compared to the $1.322 billion budgeted for the route from Northgate to Lynnwood. We had several options to consider as possible additions, including possible rebuilds of bridges at 117th and 185th Street ($26 million), adding a 130th Street Station ($24 million), and adding a 220th Street Station ($42 million). Providing for the 220th Street Station would also require alignment modifications costing $36 million, while adding either of the two stations would require additional train sets at a cost of $40 million. Thus, to do everything we all wanted would bust the budget, taking it up to $1.440 billion.

For that reason, we negotiated a compromise, which drops the bridge rebuilds, modifies the alignment so that it a 220th Street Station would be possible, and builds out the infrastructure so that the two stations can be added at a later date – just barely staying within the budget at $1.321 billion. It’s a good compromise.

If the Board adopts this as the final Lynnwood Link design after completing the EIS process, it will position Sound Transit to add the two stations at one of three points down the line:

  • If the engineering undertaken during the EIS project indicates that the project will come in significantly below budget or if revenues significantly exceed projections by the decision point, the Board could decide to add them during construction.
  • The Board could include them in the ST3 ballot measure.
  • They could be funded at a future date as the system continues to unfold.

It’s exciting to see light rail continuing to grow, and to see the convergence of thinking around transit and housing as decision makers realize how interconnected these are. The decision to include these two provisional stations in the Preferred Alternative is a major step forward.

This is the kind of longsighted, smart planning that Sound Transit should strive for in all of its work. The Board will vote to approve this motion  today which you can watch live here (1:30-4pm).

14 Replies to “CORRECTION: NE 130th St and 220th St SW Station Likely in Lynnwood Link FEIS”

  1. It is disappointing that the NE 130th Street station is provisional in the motion; it would be worthwhile, as would provide for better transit access for the Bitterlake and Lake City urban villages; the cost of a surface station might be about the same as a 500-stall garage at NE 145th Street; zero out the garage and add the station and there would be a net improvement in access.

    1. I don’t know if this could happen or not but maybe cost savings from U-Link could be transferred to pay for the NE 130th St station?

    2. Adam: I’ve been told that money has already unofficially banked for North Link. Maybe it would be possible to use savings from North Link to boost Lynnwood Link, but we won’t be able to count those chickens for years.

    3. It’s unfortunate that nobody thought about the potential for 130th station to facilitate crosstown transit when ST2 was being written. That’s not only ST’s fault but also transit activists’ fault for overlooking it. It only emerged after ST proposed an extra 130th station on the Aurora alternative (after ST2), and then when the Aurora alternative got canned people started saying “Why not put the station on the I-5 alternative? If it works in one alternative it should work in the other.”

      1. It really does seem like transit activists around here only really started thinking about the best way to arrange transit around the region after STB got started, maybe even after STB writers started reading Human Transit regularly.

      2. To me the reason ideas like this are late to the table are because Sound Transit is focused on building rail and Metro is busy operating rail. They both have their own objectives and unfortunately long-term planning around bus-rail integration isn’t a goal of theirs.

        Next year Metro will be working on a long-range plan which I hope will help provide the type of long-term vision necessary for this type of integrated planning to occur.

      3. For me at least, I knew that all the alternatives would leave Lake City out, but I thought there was nothing we could do about that. It was only when I saw the 130th station and compared it to my own experience on the 75 that I realized the station could make a significant difference even if it wasn’t actually in Lake City.

  2. Damn! The engineers are going to make people transferring to or from eastbound buses walk across 130th Why can’t they make the platform long enough to extend under the new bridge and give people a grade-separated access in both directions???? So it costs another half million to gouge out a little more dirt on the south side of 130th, keeping the tracks apart, and maybe another half million after than for another set of stairs. It improves the connection tremendously, both from a safety and timeliness perspective.

    1. Actually, I don’t think they would even need to scrape out more dirt — just move the entire station over so it’s centered on 130th. Then both sides would have a stair and elevator. Really the only reason to have it there would be if your certain that the vast majority of people would approach the station from the north. Since that’s not true, center the station!

      1. Stephen,

        It’s actually “if you’re certain that the vast majority of people will approach the station from the northeast and depart from it to the northwest”. Which REALLY makes it foolish!

    2. I’m glad I’m not the only one that has noticed this. I’ve brought it up before but not to the level of decision makers that can actually make a difference.

    3. I noticed the same thing–there should be no reason whatsoever to have to cross the street to access the station platform. Get off the bus, go down the stairs, no matter what side you deboard at.

      Sometimes it seems as if there is some evil plot to design some of these stations in a non-intuitive manner….

      1. Sometimes it seems as if there is some evil plot to design some of these stations in a non-intuitive manner.

        Sometimes I wonder if there’s some evil plot to design every one of these stations in a non-intuitive manner. Yes, d.p., I sometimes understand what you’re feeling.

  3. I think that 130th was the superior choice as the first station after Northgate. But, the Shoreline politicians did a great job of keeping the conversation away from the considerable traffic on 145th (and substantial, beyond the likelihood of funding to fix it) while convincing the decision-makers that folks would forgo their ST express 522 bus as well as an all-freeway 10 mile drive to start of the line Lynnwood where at least triple the parking spaces will become to drive 20 traffic light-ridden miles – and probably at least an hour during rush hour – from Woodinville for a chance at one of 500 parking spaces at the shiny new light rail station there. In addition, the got folks believing that nobody from north of 145th on SR 522 ever desired to go to Lake City or even south of there (said so in public meeting). And, the Seattle politicians caved to their pressure, despite having the superior cross-town profile. The challenge now is to speak out/up often to the Seattle and Sound Transit politicians about the merits of the Lake City to Bitter Lake corridor. Hopefully, a 130th station will make it in this expansion; it shouldn’t have to wait.

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