Community Transit Board Chair Mike Todd and artist Julie Berger cut the ribbon to dedicate Smokey Point Transit Center Saturday morning

Braving Saturday morning’s cold conditions, onlookers watched Community Transit Board Chair Mike Todd and artist Julie Berger dedicate Smokey Point’s new transit center with a traditional ribbon-cutting, complete with oversized scissors. The transit center features five bus bays (four at the center island and one on Smokey Point Boulevard), improved lighting and shelters, and the notable exclusion of a park-and-ride. The $4.4 million project began with the demolition of the previous, smaller transit center that closed in 2005 after reconstruction of the nearby I-5 interchange limited access for buses. The Smokey Point Transit Center was originally proposed as a 200-stall park-and-ride at 169th Place NE, but the plans were scrapped in 2008 in favor of the cheaper option of renovating the old transit center and an adjacent vacant lot.

The transit center’s most visible aesthetic features are the shelter’s white, pointed fabric roofs and the use of light green paint on the benches and information boards. The centerpiece of the complex is Julie Berger’s “Honoring” Tenses of Time, a large “story pole” beacon adorned with metal shapes representing the past, present and future of the area, in the form of a phoenix, forestry and an airplane, respectively.

The Smokey Point Transit Center opens to bus riders on Monday, February 16, served by six routes connecting it to Arlington, Darrington, Stanwood, Marysville, Everett and Lynnwood.

The peaked canvas structure of the Smokey Point Transit Center’s new shelters

4 Replies to “Smokey Point Transit Center dedicated, to open on February 16”

  1. When I went up last year to see how Smokey Point was doing, everybody except me got off at the second-last stop (at 172nd & Smokey Point Blvd across from Safeway), and the bus went on to an out-of-the-way park n ride. To me a transit center works best if it’s in the center of the commercial district or next to the largest pedestrian destinations. On return I walked to the other stop because it was a more pleasant place to wait even though it was just a pole-in-the-ground bus stop. Is the transit center still out-of-the-way, and have they done anything to improve those bus stops if they’re going to be the effective transit center that people actually use?

    1. The transit center is somewhat out-of-the-way, but at least it now has better pedestrian connections to Smokey Point Boulevard. I’d describe it as a bit of a miniature version of Federal Way Transit Center, located behind commercial buildings and away from Interstate 5. There aren’t any pedestrian destinations nearby, but the main role of Smokey Point TC is to facilitate transfers from feeders to Routes 201/202.

      The park and ride you rode to is actually Smokey Point Community Church, which leases a small portion of its parking lot to Community Transit.

  2. The major problem with the design of most transit centers is the distance a bus has to travel off the highway to reach them and leave them. Even with a ramp from I-5 to the cross-street, Federal Way is at least half a mile from the freeway.

    At both Hawk’s Prairie just south of the Nisqually River, the ST 592 express can lose ten minutes making the loop from I-5 to the park and ride, with long waits at three stop lights. A few minutes later, at Dupont, across the river to the north, the bus can lose another ten minutes going trough the town center and back- again held by red lights with no traffic in sight.

    At both these places, the distance from the P&R to I-5 is much shorter than the present access roads. At Dupont, the highway literally passes over the transit center just across some railroad tracks- though at least a few stories vertically.

    The bus leaves the freeway again a few miles north at Bridgeport Way, and stops at the Lakewood bus and Sounder center, and again a few minutes later at SR 512 P&R- which can often take at least five minutes to access and leave, even at 6:45 in the morning.

    So an express bus straight up I-5 takes an hour to go 25 miles to 512- and then another hour to get to Seattle, non stop, another thirty miles away. And it doesn’t even go into Tacoma. Intercity Transit takes about the same time Olympia to Tacoma- but there’s time for a half hour coffee break before boarding Sounder.

    Those park and rides cost the system a fortune in lost operating time, and doubtless a lot of passengers. Much as I hate using my car where there’s any bus service, more and more the pathetic pace is just too much. I very often drive the 30 miles to Tacoma, and park at the Tacoma Dome garage.

    Ramps at Dupont should hardly be budget-busters. Same for access to Hawk’s Prairie. Meantime, at least red signals can turn to flashing yellow in places where there’s literally no cross traffic for ten miles off.

    Answer I get is “Well, agencies won’t cooperate…” That close to Olympia, can’t some budget pinching Republican MAKE them cooperate as a Democrat-shaming budgetary measure?

    For more or less local service, having the bus wind through town to transit centers is not a big deal. But “Express” should mean more than a slow bus featuring a sign with an X in it.

    Mark Dublin

  3. The shelters look fancy but rather ineffective for our climate. The white fabric will soon be green with mildew and lichen. Will they have the budget to replace the fabric in 5-10 years? While it wouldn’t be pretty pole barn would last longer and provide better shelter. Hopefully future designs will take better advantage of durable materials like metal roofing.

Comments are closed.