by JANINE BLAELOCH (Coordinator, Lake City Greenways and Vice-Chair, Lake City Neighborhood Alliance), SANDY MOTZER (Chair, Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and Chair, Lake City Emergency Communication Hub) with support from STB EDITORIAL BOARD
Sound Transit is expected to make a decision in April 2015 regarding light rail station locations in the Northgate to Lynnwood extension, and a NE 130th Street/I-5 station remains under consideration. As Lake City residents working to make our community healthier and more accessible for people traveling in all modes, we are urging Sound Transit to include a NE 130th Street station among the stations that will open in 2023.
The Lake City Hub Urban Village is the third densest urban village in Seattle. It has one of the lowest median household incomes and home ownership rates in Seattle while also having one of the largest increases in percentage of persons of color in the city.*
The proposed NE 130th Street station would be a critical link to light rail for the Lake City community, which consists of many residential neighborhoods and a fast-densifying Hub Urban Village. In the near future, Lake City will be growing and changing dramatically, as the Pierre family car lots undergo redevelopment. And let us not forget our neighbors to the west in Bitter Lake, who are underserved by public transportation–they, too, would benefit from a station at NE 130th.
The 130th/125th corridor has far more room for additional capacity than Northgate Way or NE 145th Street and offers faster travel between the heart of Lake City and the station. A new bus route could easily and efficiently serve the community with quick access to light rail without the delays and congestion on NE 145th and Northgate Way.
A NE 130th station:
- Would bring fast and dependable light rail access to two of the densest and most underserved communities in North Seattle: Lake City and Bitter Lake.
- Would promote more walking and biking to light rail. Many commuters in the walkshed of a NE 130th station would easily be able to walk to light rail at NE 130th when they would otherwise need to drive or take a bus to the Northgate or NE 145th stations.
- Would reduce pressure on demand for building expensive parking garages at both the Northgate and NE 145th stations.
- Would increase ridership on LINK light rail. At least 3,200 riders daily are projected to board at a 130th Street station from the nearby neighborhoods by foot, bike or transit.
- Would be relatively inexpensive compared with other stations.
While we still have time to make these decisions, we should plan wisely and maximize the benefits light rail will bring to all of our communities. A NE 130th station makes great sense, and deserves to be part of the light rail plan.
*For all of these facts, see pages 51 and 52 of this DPD document.