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.

136 Replies to “Op-Ed: NE 130th Street Station will Provide Access to Underserved Communities”

    1. When a station can make a huge impact in a community, there shouldn’t be any doubt what so ever.

  1. Seattle Subway endorses this editorial. NE 130th MUST have a station. It has very good transfer and TOD opportunities.

    We think that Sound Transit can use project savings elsewhere to add this station with existing funding sources.

  2. I remain agnostic on a station at 130 St. There just isn’t much TOD opportunity near the station, and the bulk of the Lake City community is over 1.5 miles away — beyond what is normally considered for station spacing.

    Additional, the Lake City community is oriented in a fairly linear fashion. The south end (Pierre lots) is actually marginally closer on the street grid to the Northgate Station than it would be to a 130 St station, and the northern part of the community is closer to the 145th St station. And the projected ~3000 riders is underwhelming compared to other stations.

    That said, a far better way to serve the Lake City community directly would be to build something like what Seattle Subway proposes for serving Ballard. Take that line and bend it eastward at Holman and run it right up Lake City Way.

    Such a line is farther off, but would much better serve the Lake City Community.

    1. Yeah! Why create reliable and fairly traffic-immune transfer opportunities for a small amount of money now, when you could instead propose blowing billions of dollars to build 10 more miles of mediocre rail in the very, very, very distant future!?

      (And remember, the people above habitually oppose good east-west connections in the near future, in favor of this poor-ROI Holman crap that will never happen. Some folks never learn.)

      1. d.p. is right about this station.

        We can make things a lot better, sooner for a lot less money. Waiting because we might have a more expensive solution in the undefined distant future is foolish and a complete disservice to your fellow Seattlites.

      2. No triple layer ‘Irony Cakes’ this time.
        Building anything that Crushes the BART2-MeToo’s supporters get my YES vote. Just Do it!

      3. I’m gonna give you an analogy.

        The best model for Seattle transit looks like a tomato cage. Right now we have a lot of points that look like staves to the ground (downtown connections up and out). But a tomato cage has those circular levels to support the weight of the tomato plant. We need tiers of east west connections – 45th, 85th, 130th.

        If Metro is smart, the bus route is not just going from Sand Point to 130th station, it should go entirely on 125th/130th from Sand Point to Lake City to Roosevelt (and the 373/73) to Aurora/Bitter Lake (and the E), to Greenwood/Broadview (and the 5).

        Frankly, I think the numbers for 130th will surprise you.

    2. This is completely insane. Whatever distant future rail options for lake city there may be, this has the potential to improve transit now for underserved communities at a trivial cost. Not every station needs blockbuster numbers, especially a cheap one to build.

      I also think people dismissing the importance of this station must not have muck experience with the clusterf*ck that getting in and out of Northgate can be.

    3. I support adding a Link station at 130th St, but it may not be the bus efficiency slam-dunk that some assume. There will still be transit demand between Lake City & Northgate, and the distance is too short for a bus + Link trip to make sense. Plus, destinations in the Northgate area are spread out further than the immediate vicinity of the Northgate Link Station. Therefore, there will remain demand for a high-frequency one-seat bus ride between these two urban centers. In addition to this bus route, Metro will also need to run a frequent 130th St bus directly from Lake City to the Link station. (Both bus routes should be frequent because the distance covered is so short).

      Adding a 130th St Link Station could make a faster commute for Lake City to Downtown travelers, but the station splits the transit demand from Lake City to North Link.

      Hopefully we will have enough Metro service hours to do both well.

      1. The 41 already goes from Lake City to 5th Ave. and 125, which is most of the way there. With the 41 not needing to go downtown anymore, Metro should have no trouble providing frequent service to the station.

      2. As someone who lives half way in between, there is nothing special between Northgate and Lake City. They are joined together a lot less than say, Fremont and Ballard. There simply isn’t much demand between the two areas, or in between. The 41 serves both, and just about all the trips are between the neighborhood (Northgate, Lake City, Pinehurst) and downtown. Those that do ride to Northgate and exit are almost always transferring to another bus. With Link, that transfer (to the UW, to Roosevelt, etc.) will take place directly (via Link) or at another stop (UW).

        To be fair, I haven’t ridden the 75, so I have no idea what the ridership is like. But it does run every fifteen minutes (less often than the 41) and does pretty much exactly what you say. It shouldn’t go away. As you say, serving the area surrounding Northgate is critical. I would keep the eastern part of that route (the section between Lake City and Northgate). That would be an interesting experiment, though, if a bus headed to a station at 130th arrives at Lake City at the exact same time as a 75. How many people take the 75? My guess is very few. If you are headed to Link, than you take the other bus. Even if you are headed to the Northgate Transit Center, you might just take the other bus, transfer, and beat the 75. Either way, though, the 75 won’t need the frequency that the other corridor (between Lake City and Bitterlake) will need.

        If you eliminated the 75, then you could add service to the “core” of this route (Northgate Way and Roosevelt to the Northgate Transit Center) by adding service to the 348 or 68. That means losing some connectivity (at 15th NE with the 73) as well as a fair amount of coverage (e. g. 20th NE). Those aren’t really populous areas, but that doesn’t get you much (in my opinion). You also throw out service connecting the south end of Lake City Way (between Lake City and Northgate Way) to the nearest, closest, station (running buses south down Lake City to Roosevelt is very problematic). Just as it doesn’t make sense to send Lake City riders north to 145th, it doesn’t make sense to send “Bill Pierre” riders to 130th.

        So, basically, I wouldn’t worry about it. That section of the 75 is a given, in my opinion. It makes sense as a way to pick up the riders in between the two areas (Lake City and Northgate) as well as the riders you are concerned about. They actually compliment each other, quite well. For example, the 522 bus could easily be rerouted to serve this station at 130th. A bus (maybe even the 522) would also go frequently to Bitterlake. So now a rider who lives anywhere along the Northgate/Northgate Way/Lake City corridor (and there are plenty who do) would ride the bus in the direction they want to go. For example, if you live at Northgate Way and Roosevelt and want to got to Bothell, you take the 75 towards Lake City, and transfer in Lake City. That’s what happens when you build a really good bus/rail transit system. Buses get bogged down in traffic less (e. g. all going to the Northgate Transit Center) and transfers are a lot easier (because buses travel a lot more often).

      3. “I haven’t ridden the 75, so I have no idea what the ridership is like. But it does run every fifteen minutes”

        15 minutes peak, 30 midday/evening. Ridership is not spectacular but it’s important crosstown service. It used to run include the north part of the 40. David Lawson has made a good case that the route should have been split at Lake City rather than Northgate. A few people in Sand Point want to go to Northgate, but many more of them want to go to the west half of the city and other regional destinations. Whereas in Lake City, more people want to go to Northgate because it’s the next urban village, but it’s not clear that they have to go on the 75’s routing rather than the 41’s. And it’s not clear how much local service eastern Northgate Way compared to 5th Ave NE. So there are lots of ways the 75, 41, and 40 could be reorganized.

      4. If I want to get to Northgate Transit Center, I am in the position (125th/LCW) to choose between the 41 and the 75. I pick whatever comes first but I like the 75 better because it is faster, fewer people have discovered it, it goes along ‘downtown’ Northgate at Northgate Way, and it avoids two chokepoints – the turnoff crossing Roosevelt and the left to head southbound on 5th.

        However, it runs every 30 minutes when I want to use it.

        Don’t be too hasty about assuming that more Lake City denizens want to go to Northgate. Two weekends ago I needed an item at the Home Depot and I don’t have a car. It was faster and more robust for me to go to the Lander Home Depot (522/Link, which took 40 minutes) than it was to go to the BitterLake Home Depot using 41/40/E.

      5. I rode the 75 for years (before that, the 41 Sand Point). I lived for many years 1/2 block from the 75 on Sand Point Way not too far from Lake City. It was great for getting into Lake City but not so much for anything past that. Unfortunately before OBA you never knew if you could hop off and catch an arriving 522 at 125th or if it made more sense to stay on the milk run to Northgate where there was pretty much always a 41 arriving.

        However, the trip to Northgate from Lake City was so frustratingly slow that I eventually just gave up on the bus and went to work a lot earlier so that I could always get a parking spot at the transit center. It was a no-brainer. With the TC’s location (and now the rail station), you were forced to go through every inch of Northgate Way and 5th Avenue hell to get there, which is even worse on a bus. (It’s one reason that station location makes me livid–the only reason to site it there was because the TC is there, as far as I can tell–and the TC’s location only makes sense because buses can get on/off the express lanes there during peak. Not so useful for trains.)

        It should also be remembered that between 85th and 145th there are only TWO arterial lanes between Lake City and I-5/Northgate, one lane from LCW to 15th on Northgate Way and the other on 125th. The 125th route is so much quicker to the freeway/Link line that even from as far south as 95th if you were going north on I-5 or over to Aurora you’d go up to 125th and across rather than dealing with Northgate. Northgate is “the next urban village” on a map, but if your destination is not something at Northgate itself, you’d never go through it to get somewhere else if you could possibly avoid it, whether by car or bus. Baselle’s trip to the Home Depot in SoDo is proof positive of that.

        Yeah, Lake City is as deserving of a rail station as anywhere else outside of Ballard and the CD–more so in most cases. It is denser already than some neighborhoods that are clamoring endlessly about getting rail, it has an easily-served central component with room to grow, no NIMBY views to block in an upzone and it is actually on the way to somewhere else that will become a greater and greater trip generator as it grows (UW Bothell/Cascadia CC). It was up for rail in 1968 and had a line pointed its direction in 1911. If LC were up for a station in ST3 I’d consider forgoing 130th. But since, like has happened throughout its history, LC will be told to wait until ST5 or 6 or 23, the 130th station is a MUST. It is a hill worth dying on for the city.

    4. We need to get reliable, frequent, fast transit to all quarters of the city as quickly as possible. Lake City, Bitter Lake, and Broadview are three areas with lower rents that could help the housing crisis in the city, but only if people can get in and out of them easily. The 522 gets stuck in I-5 traffic, is overcrowded peaks, and infrequent evenings. The 41 gets stuck in Northgate traffic and I-5 traffic. The 5 takes 45 minutes from 145th to downtown. An east-west route on 125th/130th is much more likely with this station and would give neglected crosstown connectivity to north Seattle.

      It may be less ideal than a station at 125th & Lake City Way, but it’s something. The current situation is unacceptable. It’s hindering mobility in a large swath of north Seattle, hindering Seattle’s smart growth (thus encouraging suburban sprawl), and forcing people to choose between sky-high inner-city rents and being stuck at home or needing a car in far north Seattle. Expecting people to wait until ST4 which may never happen and may not include a Lake City line (much less a Homan Road routing) is unacceptable. So if you don’t like this, what alternative do you suggest before ST4?

      ST should pull out all the stops to find funding for this station and the Northgate pedestrian bridge in ST2. If it has to cut back on other things in North King to do it, tell us what they are and maybe we can find a compromise. For instance, much as I hate to say this and it goes against my frequency principles, dropping evening/weekend Link to 15 minutes for a few years to pay for these items might be OK. That’s better than depending on external funding (city, grants, private) which may end up delaying them or prevent them from happening.

      1. Precisely. Thanks, Mike. +1

        (turn the Ballard Spur north at U Village to serve LC/Kenmore/Bothell eventually, instead of Sand Point and that lake crossing idea, and you’ve got something.)

    5. I am beginning to wonder if you actually read the comments here, lazurus or even the articles. I ask because I, too, was rather ignorant in my suggestions initially. I can go back to some of my old comments and cringe. I thought building the spine made a huge amount of sense — it is, after all, what we’ve been trying to build for as long as I’ve lived here (fifty years and counting).

      But then I started listening. I started reading the arguments, and starting reading more about areas that actually have successful transit systems. I realized that a few of my assumptions were simply wrong. I started having “epiphanies” about transit systems, only to realize that other professionals had already come to the same conclusion and had plenty of data (real scientific studies) to support those ideas. I can’t help but think, based on this statement, that you are in the same boat I was, and the best thing to do is to spend some time listening and considering the arguments, instead of simply jumping to a conclusion based on your preconceived ideas of how a transit system will be successful.

      Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years:

      1) Seattle simply can’t afford a rail system that serves every community. So, while I love the Seattle Subway map, I know it will never be built.

      2) Seattle, like most cities, is not made up of dense urban “islands”, with uninhabited gaps in between. The census maps show this clearly. Central Ballard, for example, is dense, but not extremely dense (not “Manhattan Dense”). It is only marginally more populous than the surrounding areas. But it is the surrounding areas (with lots of reasonably dense areas spread over a wide area) that make it a prime candidate for improved transit.

      3) Therefore, bus to rail interaction is critical. Again, I came to this conclusion independently, the way a smart high school kid “rediscovers” a mathematical formula. Transit experts can, no doubt, show that for a city this size, with the population we have, that bus to rail service is critical. There are plenty of examples, too. Vancouver, BC, like Seattle, will never have a rail system like Toronto, New York, or Montreal. But they have really good bus to rail interaction, and it has lead to mind blowing success. “The third-highest per capita transit use in North America, after only New York and Toronto.”, ( They do this by encouraging transfers (from bus to rail).

      So, now that we know that, what about this station, and your comments?

      1) TOD for this station is meaningless. What matters is the bus to rail interaction.
      2) 125th/130th has a lot less traffic than 145th.
      3) 125th is further south than 145th.
      4) Stops to the south of this area (downtown, UW, Ballard, etc.) are likely to be a lot more popular than stops to the north (Shoreline, Lynnwood, Everett, etc.).
      5) Getting to the Northgate Transit Center involves many turns, intersections and a lot of traffic.

      Therefore, the fastest way (by far) for someone in Lake City (i. e. 125th and Lake City Way) to Link would be via 125th. Going north all the way to 145th would be crazy (since the vast majority of riders want to go south), and going via Northgate would mean getting stuck in traffic.

      What is true for Lake City is obvious for Bitterlake as well. Even if the 522 were to go via 145th (something that, for the above reasons makes less than using 125th) you would still want to connect Bitterlake and Lake City with fast, frequent bus service. Hell, even if Bitterlake and Lake City weren’t very dense, a station at 130th makes sense. Why build a multi-billion dollar light rail line, and not maximize bus to rail transfer?

      I really don’t understand your vision, lazurus, for Seattle transit. Mine is pretty simple. Basically, a lot of people walk to the train (but nowhere near as many as those in Montreal, Toronto or New York) but a lot take fast, frequent buses combined with fast frequent trains so that they can get anywhere in the city very quickly. Vancouver BC has already built it. I don’t see why we can’t build it, if we spend our money wisely. Building a station at 130th is ridiculously cheap for what it gets us. I really don’t understand why you wouldn’t come to the same conclusion, if you just open your mind a little bit.

      1. Love your posts, RossB–well thought out.

        A slight quibble–the “spine” was never the plan until the late 80s. The 1968 and 1972 plans specifically recommended against the spine for reasons as valid then as they are now. The PSRC and ST went towards the spine for cost purposes and because they needed sub-area equity politically, i.e. not building a far more useful urban network that could be extended, but serving suburban areas as quickly as possible by basically getting out of the city as soon as possible.

        Many eons ago, when I was in HS in the early 80s, I had a Thomas Brothers street atlas where I had put those rail lines on there with stations, and I used to try and figure out where crosstown buses could go that would take people to them. Not David Lawson brilliance by any means, but even then a punk-arse kid who’d been to Manhattan could figure out the ease of hopping a brief bus ride whenever you wanted to get to the train (not to mention how bloody hard it was–and is–to get crosstown by any means in this city).

      2. “Vancouver, BC, like Seattle, will never have a rail system like Toronto”

        Toronto has about the same length of rapid transit rail (excluding streetcars and regional rail) as Vancouver but your point about bus-rail connections is spot on. I visited Toronto during the New Year and was blown away by the quality of bus-rail connections. The subway runs every 5 minutes from open to close every day and many buses run every 10 minutes or better all day, every day. Free transfers happen inside the paid area with least effort walking distance to the bus platform. No other city in North America comes close. You can justify high frequencies without Manhattanizing the 1/4 mile station areas through seamless and frequent bus connections. Vancouver is a good implementation of the Toronto model to a smaller city but let’s not forget who pioneered it.

      3. Thanks guys, for the correction. For some reason, I remember the “Forward Thrust” plan including rail from Everett to Tacoma, but you are right, but that wasn’t the plan. I remember my dad, who voted for the plan, saying one weakness with the proposal (to him anyway) was that it was similar to BART, and thus had problems. I think one can argue we are building an even more “BART” like system now. One good think about the current ideas, though, is that we are at least discussing a line from UW to Ballard (the Forward Thrust plans were much more of an ‘X’, and obvious weakness) —

        As far as Toronto goes, I am very surprised, although I shouldn’t be. I’ve been to Toronto, and rode the subway and took a bus, but didn’t really pay much attention. I assumed the subway was much bigger, because Toronto is much bigger (and older) but this chart (showing a density map along with the subway lines) shows exactly what you are talking about: It looks surprisingly similar to Vancouver. That is not nearly as extensive as New York or Montreal. Mainly, though, while a city like Toronto would be justified (and successful) in making a huge set of subway lines to cover most of the city, a city like Vancouver (or Seattle) can’t. The Toronto model, as applied so well by Vancouver, makes a lot of sense for Seattle.

      4. The population distribution and trip patterns have changed dramatically since 1972, and it’s all because of I-5, 405, 520, and I-90. Forward Thrust went to Lake City, Bellevue, and Renton. (I don’t remember if it went further to Kenmore or Bothell.) That’s because Southcenter and Northgate were barely anything yet, and the Kent Valley, Federal Way, and Lynnwood were just starting their development from small towns. People did not expect them to become big, just like they did not expect the Eastside to become big. And the failure of the 1972 subway contributed to that situation, because the subway would have attracted people and compact development to it, and that might have counterbalanced the sprawl and given people an alternative to it. (Appreciation of density was not as strong then, but the number of people wanting to live near stations would have forced at least some compact development.) Of course the subway would have been extended after that, in the 80s or 90s, and it’s not much worth speculating where it might have gone, except to say that new lines or extensions might be going toward Lynnwood or Kent, just as the current Link is doing now.

      5. Has math changed since 1972? No?

        Okay, well then the “spine” is just as awful an idea now as it was then.

      6. It is mindbogglingly frustrating that Forward Thrust got a majority, but failed because the laws at the time required a *super*majority.

        Let this be a lesson to you: supermajority requirements should be reserved for stuff like changing the Constitution.

      7. @Nathaniel,

        School districts have been suffering under the supermajority requirement for a long time because of bond measures. See the recent failures in the Highline and Lake Washington districts, despite clear and immediate need for funding.

        This state in general is just totally screwed up with its funding of public projects.

    6. As one of the critics of the wild-eyed claims by some here that the neighborhoods directly adjoining 130th will tolerate TOD right next to the station, I apologize to lazarus for leading him astray. My point all along is that there are much more real reasons for supporting 130th than that it is better than 145th (an argument I am glad not to see in this post), or that it is an easy place to do TOD.

      The TOD already exists, from 145th down to Northgate Way, and a little bit beyond, along Lake City Way, along with older apartments that seem not to get the TOD label, simply because they are old. Lake City is Apartment City, as much as any neighborhood in Seattle. That TOD is aligned for well-gridded bus service, with a line along Lake City with more stops all the way to Roosevelt Station, and cross-routes to 145th, 130th, and Northgate. 130th St Station supports the future bus grid, and the ability to pack even more TOD along Lake City Way, among other places. The TOD just doesn’t happen to be next to the station.

      1. Its true that most of the TOD is a bus ride away from the station. There could still be a little near it, but its not nearly as useful as the bus connection.

        I still think we should try to get at least a little extra zoning right outside the station (and perhaps a height limit boost at 130th and Aurora) but that is less important than getting this bus connection.

      2. I completely agree. We really shouldn’t worry about TOD, or how many people will actually walk to the station at 130th. I could care less, really. To be fair, the area does have some apartments (on Roosevelt) and is not as sparsely populated as folks might imagine. So some people will walk or bike there. But focusing on TOD is silly. It won’t add much. You aren’t going to tear down a three story apartment building for a six story building. Meanwhile, much of the land around there is either eaten up by the roads (from 5th NE to west side of I-5) or parks. You could change the zoning in the entire area and only see a handful of buildings change hands (there aren’t many rentals here, either, so it will take a while to see any change at all).

        This is all about building a good bus to rail grid. 125th is a critical piece of that grid.

      3. And we need both the 130th with bus along with a 522 BRT to Roosevelt.

        Its a crying shame that there is no full service 15 minute everyday bus service plying the entire length of Lake City Way. There is commuter service (312), there is fast service down to 125th (522), there is the 372 that cuts out to Ravenna. There is the 75 that goes between 125th and 113th. There is the 65 that parallels LCW to from 125th to 145th. Despite it being linear, despite it having actual destinations on the 125th and 130th (north) and all of Roosevelt (south), despite it being an arterial where one expects transit service, we get edges and bits.

        Who do we have to stupe to get some service around here? :)

      4. As someone who would really, really appreciate good bus service on Lake City Way (from Roosevelt to Lake City) I think there are some problems with that. In the evening, southbound traffic along that stretch of Lake City is completely stuck. This is because the city has left turn arrows heading north to 15th (from Lake City Way) and these go for quite a while. So folks heading south (on Lake City Way) have to wait several cycles to get through the intersection. The city does this to prevent traffic on I-5 from backing up to the freeway.

        This is why, for example, rerouting the 522 to Roosevelt, while a good idea much of the day, would be a complete mess in the evening (from Lake City to Roosevelt). I’m not sure what the solution is. There certainly is a strong argument for serving those two popular destinations with a (very direct) bus route. You would get decent ridership while providing lots of coverage (there is a big, unofficial coverage gap through there that is extremely irritating).

        Maybe the answer is to get the city to do away with the left arrow and simply ban left turns from 4-6 p. m. (when the arrow is usually in effect). That gets people off the freeway just fine. That will force drivers to take a right on 80th, and a left on 15th. That could back things up as well, unless you added a left turn arrow on 80th. I would actually support that, but that means backing up 80th a bit (small price to pay, in my opinion). Or you could force people to make three rights, instead of a left. That might not go over well, but it would be an improvement, in my opinion (and I speak as someone who takes advantage of that left turn arrow all the time). But all that requires the city to change their signalling. I think it might happen, but it will probably take a while.

        Occasionally the southbound traffic is stuck in the morning, and there is nothing the city can do about that (the freeway just backs up). So, maybe the best thing to do is have a bus like that, but have a two variations (rush hour and non rush hour). During rush hour, southbound buses take a left on 20th (not great, but not horrible) then right on 75th, then down Roosevelt. Northbound buses would do something similar (using 12th instead of Roosevelt). But outside of rush hour, the buses just go quickly to Lake City Way. That would work for me.

      5. “Who do we have to stupe to get some service around here?”

        Vote for more service hours, as we did in November. It’s coming in June. I don’t remember exactly how much Lake City will get,. but the 41 will be frequent evenings. After the June and September expansions, some of our gripes about Metro’s inadequate service will be obsolete.

  3. At least someone has asked for this station. Though considering Seattle Transit Blog’s view of dense development, it might be a good idea to speak with this project’s leadership for their ideas about it.

    Meantime, on that subject, at this tentative stage, ST could use the at least idea of this station to suggest that if Mercer Island doesn’t want proposed development…….

    Just sayin’.


    1. There is underdeveloped Neighborhood Commercial and L-zone property already in the walk shed to the 130th site. And, there are opportunities for redevelopment and rezoning both inside and outside of the walk shed what could be done with our without changing existing current SF zoning.

      130th is also an easy walk from the north end of the Northgate urban center (think Hubbard Homestead Park) where significant redevelopment will likely occur soon.

      Projected boardings at Mercer Island: 2,000
      Projected boardings at NE 130th Street: 3,200

      1. For one thing, Pinehurst already has quite a number of townhomes near 125th. I am sure they could fit a lot more of those along this corridor in SF zoning.

        A zoning upgrade right around the station might be worth considering though. Even though the land around the station is limited, adding a small commercial center there seems to make sense to me. The addition of the bus line also feeds in way more to this station that we are likely to see at almost any station outside the city limits.

      2. Because the 3200 boardings for 130 St is gross — the actual net ridership gain to the system is less than 500.

        500 is a nothing burger.

      3. Yeah! Why serve those other 2700 people well, when you could instead serve them laboriously and terribly!?


      4. I have no idea where ST came up with that 400 daily boardings figure. It is laughably way low. Were they just thinking walkshed?

  4. How is this serving Bitter Lake and Lake City? Almost none of that is within a mile walk. The walkshed is mostly Jackson golf course and Northacres park.

    1. This isn’t about the people who will walk to the station. This is all about building a good transit network. That is, it is all about bus to rail transfers. The links that d. p. includes are just one suggestion — they are plenty out there. I broke it down in more detail above:

      Long story short: without good bus to rail interaction we will have spent billions of dollars on a crappy system. With good bus to rail interaction we can someday hope to be in the same league as Vancouver BC, which has spent about as much as we have on light rail, but has over three times the transit riders than us (and is third, per capita, in North America, behind New York and Toronto).

    1. Lakeside is also a short walk from 145th. In fact, Lakeside is pretty much the only non-single-family-home destination directly served by the station at 145th.

    2. No, Lakeside must have front-door service at the otherwise traffic-logged and nothingness-abutting 145th interchange, thank you very much.

      Because #priorities.

  5. I’m trying to figure out how this would be best served by bus to provide for those transfers. Swift and RapidRide are on Highway 99, so there is some frequent transit there too. Maybe something like a C shaped route that would do Lake City, 130th Street Station, Highway 99, south on Greenwood to 105th, then east to Northgate? It would help provide feeder connections to two stations.

    1. The plans I’ve seen call for a 1-mile extension of Swift to connect with Link at 185th, which is a whole separate beast. The E-line routing would remain unchanged. A logical feeder route to 130th would likely take 125th from Lake City to I-5, then stay on 130th out to Bitter Lake. The tail can turn north on Greenwood Ave. and end at Shoreline Community College.

    2. I did some thinking about that a couple years ago. At the time it was thought that Aurora Village transit center might move to the Shoreline P&R. So my goal was to support 185th station, Shoreline P&R, E+Swift transfers, and Aurora Village.

      Swift was easy because it makes sense to extend it on Aurora to 185th and east to the station. That serves Shoreline P&R and the station, preserves the natural north-south direction, and adds crosstown service on 185th. Alternatively, it could be extended from Aurora Village south on Meridian to 185th station. Either of those preserves the natural north-south direction, but the former is better for Aurora-to-Swift transfers.

      The E is more difficult. It could turn right at 185th, bypassing Shoreline P&R and Aurora Village, but that may be too radical. It would also force E+Swift transfers to cross the street or ride redundantly to the station and back. (For productive non-Link trips think “85th or 155th to Edmonds CC”.)

      Or the E could be extended from its current terminus south on Meridian to 185th and the station. This preserves Aurora Village and Shoreline P&R, but is a longer backtracking trip from Aurora to Link which may become the largest transit market. If Swift goes on Aurora/185th, this would allow a same-stop transfer on Aurora for north-south trips. If Swift instead goes on Meridian/185th (identical to the E), it would overserve those streets and also force north-south passengers to detour to Aurora Village as they do now.

      I also considered terminating both routes at Mountlake Terrace Station instead of 185th Station. In this case Swift would go on 205th bypassing Aurora Village, and the E would be extended on 205th. That would raise questions about whether it should replace the 348 in Mountlake Terrace (48th/236th) or take a more direct route to the station. I don’t know enough about North City’s or Mountlake Terrace’s trip patterns to comment on that. But overall I think terminating at 185th Station fits more people’s destinations than terminating at Mountlake Terrace. It would also serve a 185th/I-5 urban village and contribute to Shoreline crosstown service. So those all are in 185th’s favor.

      So Swift will do the right thing, hooray. And I hope that Metro does something good with the E, although it’s not as clear what’s best, or whether it would be OK to eliminate or downgrade Aurora Village service to allow better E+Swift transfers on Aurora and crosstown service on 185th.

      1. Acoustically speaking, The existing Mountlake Terrace Station is awfully designed. The roar of the freeway echos throughout the garage the moment you step out of your car. I haven’t actually measured it, but the volume is high enough to be almost painful, and just walking from car to bus stop, alone, is a good couple minutes of it. At the actual bus stop, the glass walls make it slightly better, but it’s still loud enough that you can’t carry on a conversation without shouting.

        Compare this with just about any other freeway station in the Puget Sound region. Evergreen Point, Yarrow Point, Montlake, I-5/145th, I-5/45 – are all not nearly as noisy as this.

        Given the conditions, I am not the least bit surprised that the huge amount of parking capacity there is under-used. And, unless the design dramatically improves, designing a bus network to make people wait there for transfers should be a non-starter, unless we want to move to a world where people are expected to war earplugs on their daily commute.

    3. I’m hoping to write up a little “Page 2” about this subject (I was out of town and now have a few things going on). But basically, I will make the case that the 522 should be rerouted to go along 125th/130th all the way to Greenwood. That is a bit long, but would probably be faster than the current route (that gets bogged down in Lake City and downtown traffic). I would argue that this could easily justify BRT style improvements (off board payments and level boarding). It already has a fair amount of bus only lanes (and Seattle could improve on that). You get Link connectivity with this, as well as highway 99 connectivity (Swift or RapidRide) along with the 5 (on Greenwood). This would mean getting to, say, Bothell UW would have a very fast, very frequent two seat ride from much of the city. There are dozens of other combinations that would make a lot of sense to, along those corridors. Building a station at 130th would thus lead to lots of improved bus service that would lead to a lot of transit ridership that doesn’t even involve Link. For example, getting from Bitterlake to Lake City is a very easy drive, but a horrific bus ride.

      1. Great idea. I was thinking along these lines. It would stretch the definition of ST Express into something a service more like Rapid Ride for the Bitter Lake to Lake City segment. Hopefully ST won’t get hung up on that. Ridership isn’t demonstrated to be high enough for local/limited stop shadow service, so one route will need to serve everyone along the corridor & provide speedy Link connections. 1/3 to 1/2 mile stop spacings would be reasonable, similar to Rapid Ride.

      2. ST does essentially the same thing with the 550 on Bellevue Way (though there’s local shadow service anyway), so it wouldn’t be completely unprecedented. I hope they consider this.

      3. I fully support that route from 145th and Lake City Way, down to 125th, and then across to Bitterlake.

        The upper SR 522 (i.e. Bothell Way) area is a different sort of turf that would be better served with a different type of route.

        By starting the 125th/130th route in Lake City, it will have much better reliability. And really, most of the riders taking transit will be going to the U or downtown. Interline it with a re-routed 75 that common-sensibly stays on 125th, and there could be a bus every 5 minutes serving 125th between the station and Lake City.

      4. I live in Bothell and used to take the 522 when I worked in Seattle. I actually think it’s more useful if it’s rerouted along 125th than 145th. It’s a bit longer, but not my much, and maintains the connection to Lake City (which is a useful destination pair for enough people to make it worthwhile). What’s more, for the commute I had then (to Lower Queen Anne), it would actually be better to have the route continue to 99.

        You don’t really miss much by going that way. People who are going north aren’t going to get on the 522 anyway, even if it was rerouted on 145th, because you have to travel so far south on Bothell Way just to get there.

      5. @Brent — I agree, that is my only concern. That would be a very long route, and in general, I prefer shorter routes, just to maintain reliability. That is why the RapidRide C and D were split for example. I also agree that there are numerous ways of getting service between Bitter Lake and Lake City. It really is the type of ride that Cascadian mentions that lures me into a long bus route. That, and the fact that it would be shorter than the current 522 (in both time and distance). How unreliable is the 522? Does it experience much bunching? If not, then I don’t see much added for this. In general I don’t mind transfers (I think we should have a lot more of them) but the distances aren’t that far. There won’t be a transit center, so a bus that goes along 125th would simply keep going, at least as far as Meridian/Ingraham High School (the first logical turn around spot). From there Aurora is really close. That light takes a while to turn, but I have no idea if traffic gets so bad that a bus can’t make it in one cycle (which means that reliability isn’t that bad). Then Greenwood is not that far. It’s so close … :)

        Then again, if the 522 turned around at Ingraham High School that would still be great (and as you say, provide the key connection that most everyone wants). Compliment that with a bus line that starts at 145th and Lake City Way and goes along 125th/130th to Greenwood. I could go either way.

        @Cascadian — I agree. 125th is simply the better choice for folks coming along the 522 corridor. If you cut off at 145th, you lose a lot of ridership, a popular destination (Lake City) and gain very little time. Traffic around 145th can be terrible, and is likely to get worse (with more people trying to get to the park and ride). Meanwhile, the city can address (and will want to address) the slow areas between 145th and 125th (as well as other slow areas). 125th is owned by Seattle, while 145th is shared (and thus much tougher to improve). For the folks that want to go on 145th (because they are headed north or just want to go on 145th) I would still have some good bus service. I would extend a bus like the 65/65 or even the 75 to the station at 145th and beyond, to Shoreline Community College. This makes a lot more sense than the current 75 which is an upside down “U’ or cutting a 522 bus over at 145th or having a bus along 125th serve Shoreline Community College (another “U”). Basically, it makes sense for buses to go in the same general direction. A rider who picks up the new 65, for example, in Wedgewood, would head northeast the entire way. First to Lake City, then northeast a bit to 145th, then east, then northeast to the Shoreline College. This would compliment the other bus service quite well. If you are headed to Shoreline College from Bothell, you would have a pretty good two seat ride. If you are at 15th and 145th, you will endure the bus slog to get to Link. If you are a student, hopefully you aren’t riding at rush hour, so traveling on 145th is just fine.

      6. I think the 522 may end up abandoning Lake City. ST added to its long-range plan a regional bus segment on 145th between I-5 and Bothell Way. What future route could possibly be except the 522? It’s too short for its own route. The 512 won’t be anywhere near there because it’ll terminate in Lynnwood. So what other route could ST have in mind?

        Going on 145th would please ST’s multi-city preference would get suburbanites to Link quickest. It can argue that Lake City is “Metro’s issue”, and a beefed-up 372 could handle suburb – Lake City trips. So is that where we’re headed?

      7. Shoreline is planning to buy the rest of 145th, so it will be all theirs. They’re thinking about development on both sides of it.

      8. @Mike,

        Will Shoreline buying 145th get WSDOT out of the picture? IIRC, the portion of 145th between 99 and 522 is technically SR-523.

      9. A major high-frequency route should run between UW Bothell and Shoreline CC, either on Aurora as d.p. suggested (it is MUCH more developed between 130th and 160th than Greenwood) or on Greenwood itself. That should be the “base” service on Lake City/Bothell Way to Link.

        During peak hours it makes sense to run “Blue Streak” type neighborhood collector/expresses and Park’N’Ride expresses to 145th as overlay service. And of course there would need to be some rudimentary all-day service on 145th, but 130th/125th is a far better, potentially much more reliable route.

        And, there should continue to be direct local service between Lake City and Northgate/NSCC.

      10. The state has “given” 167 (Rainier) and 900 (MLK) to Seattle, and it wants to unload Montlake Blvd but Seattle doesn’t want to pay the maintenance costs. So I doubt WSDOT would be any problem giving 145th to Shoreline. But Seattle has the land on the south side, so Shoreline would have to acquire it from them. I’m not exactly sure where all the boundaries are, but Shoreline starts at the north edge of the north sidewalk.

  6. I’ve seen various blogs quote $25 million as the cost to add the station. One of the old ST documents from 2013 (which I am having trouble posting) quotes $30 million to add NE 130th Station as part of the original line, and $10 million to retrofit it into the line (Huh?).

    If it really is in the neighborhood of $25 million to build, who in their right mind is fighting it? … especially when U-Link is trending to end up with a $100 million surplus, and no parking would be needed at this station (especially with a frequent cross-town bus route between Lake City and Bitterlake). Yes, it comes with a perpetual operating cost of adding 30-60 seconds to every train trip, and the cost of the 10-minute headway frequent bus line, but these are the sorts of communities light rail is supposed to serve, even if they are a little beyond the walkshed. Just be sure to add bike parking amenities.

    Part of the problem may be the low-balling figure in that ST document of 400 daily boardings added (assuming 145th St. Station is built). I’m still having trouble envisioning building a station for $25 million, and I’m quite convinced the ridership figure is an order of magnitude too low.

    But really, skipping over large close-in neighborhoods (like Lake City and Bitterlake) to reach less-dense suburban neighborhoods is what drives the cost of light rail into the stratosphere. The same math and logic applies to why we must build 145th St Station, even if the affordable housing it serves is at the periphery of the walkshed.

    1. 30 seconds is not a significant burden, and it would serve multifamily/commercial neighborhoods which is one of Link’s purpose in the first place. The crosstown bus route is worthwhile in its own right anyway, and it’s Metro’s responsibility to address, not an ST cost. ST may reroute the 522 to 130th but that’s really an ancillary decision it has to make anyway, not an added cost.

    2. I agree completely. To answer your question (even though it may have been rhetorical) I think the only folks that are fighting it are folks that are simply ignorant of how a transit system is supposed to work. If you assume that every station has to be next to a very dense neighborhood, or have enormous TOD potential, then 130th is not your station. If you believe that one station for every town is the way to go — with enormous parking lots to serve that town (congratulations Tukwila) then 130th is not your station. But if you actually know about transit systems that are successful (like Vancouver BC) in areas that are similar to ours (like Vancouver BC) than you know how important bus to rail interaction is. This station would be a bargain at ten times the price — the fact that we folks are even debating it just shows the extreme ignorance that exists within the Sound Transit board.

  7. Operationally, I’m concerned that there is going to be an issue at Northgate. The plan is apparently to turn back East Link trains at times other than the peak hour. At peak hour, the proposed train frequencies are so high that it is functionally problematic to turn around trains at Northgate. I foresee that this turn around is going to be a big issue — and will be bigger if for some reason driver break times are added at the end of the line. We already have peak hour short delays at SeaTac with the current 7.5 peak frequencies.

    Not only do I think this will be an operational challenge, but not branching North Link is huge missed opportunity. It amazes me sometimes that North Seattle and Shoreline residents have bought into the ST assumption that there can be only one line with no branches.

    Is there a way that the 130th Street station can be part of the solution? It could be either an end-of-line station from the tail track or perhaps the first station of a Lake City branch or an Aurora branch. Even if the money isn’t there in ST3, designing the track for a branch correctly can really afford ST with many more options down the road.

    1. Why do you think there will be an operational problem with turnbacks? Northgate station will have a pocket track north of the station for those turnbacks. Switch the train into the pocket track, driver switches ends and takes a break (or switches off with another operator who has taken a break). Then when it’s the scheduled time, the train switches onto the SB main and serves the station.

      The only complicating factor is if there is train bunching and the pocket track is occupied when the next turnback train arrives. In this case, the second train can delay at the station until the next NB train arrives. If the other train pulls out of the pocket track, it can delay at the station in order to try to get back on schedule (until the next SB train arrives).

    2. “The plan is apparently to turn back East Link trains at times other than the peak hour.”

      ST changed its mind on that. The earlier planning assumptions had East Link turning back at Northgate (as I commented in that 2013 article), but ST is now convinced, but the recent maps show both lines going to Lynnwood full time. ST decided that demand will require that from the outset.

      1. All the more reason to have a station at 130th. The only way you are going to get decent demand north of Northgate is to have really good bus to rail interaction. None of the stations will have huge walk up ridership, because none of the stations are close to population centers.

      2. Great. Now we are on the hook to buy more train sets and subsidize train operations at less than 4 minute frequencies all the way to Lynnwood.

        I can’t help but wonder if it would be better for the 130th Street station to be the end point for East Link trains – and ultimately set the stage for a second line in North Seattle and/or Shoreline.

      3. The demand estimate is before adding 130th station, not after. In other words, people coming from Lynnwood and Shoreline.

    3. Haven’t we learned by now that the terminal stations of a rail line are going to have really high boardings, unless the stations is totally isolated? This suggestion of turning trains back south of Lynnwood is madness, creating operational algorithm and bunching issues that have no reason to be created.

      1. It’s not madness if the tracks are separated from the mainline. I should have made that a bit clearer in my post. It could either be built as sidings or it an be built as an end-of-line tail track.

        One other advantage: A case could be made for “A” and “B” trains (keeping in mind that there are two lines here) if North Link gets extended to Everett (ST3). We would be approaching 20 stations between Downtown Seattle and Everett, and that’s a lot of dwell time for a long-distance rider. If we designed this flexibility capability into the system at several stations on the Lynnwood Link, it could be very useful if Link reaches Everett.

      2. We have learned no such thing, Brent. Our present terminal stations are in the heart of downtown and at an airport.

        BART’s p&r termini see barely a trickle of all-day ridership, to the tune of single-digit boardings on hilariously long trains running a mere three times an hour.

        You would send every train we’ve got in order to serve Lynnwood with thrice that frequency?

        There’s a reason outer the S-Bahns in many (infinitely more broadly transit-able) German cities run but twice an hour. That’s actually a hell of a lot of service for a long-haul commuter need.

  8. Just to level set everyone, the 3200 boardings that people seem to be reacting to is gross. The actual net gain is about 500. Basically most of the ridership at 130 St comes from cannibalizing ridership from the other stations.

    If you want good effective transit, then you have to be willing to let the transit agencies follow the data. In this case the data says only about 500 net boardings to the system, and 500 is not a big enough number to justify the cost of a new station nor the operational costs of operating it. Never mind that 130 St is a TOD desert.

    We need to follow the data.

    1. How come every time you invoke cherry-picked “data”, it is in service of defending very-worst-practice notions of transit service geometry and system access?

      I genuinely do not understand.

      1. Also, one might ask how many “net” boardings Roosevelt will actually earn, for its $500,000,000 four-story mega-bunker with one entrance permanently pointed at bungalow-land.

        Wouldn’t most of those same “commuters” have continued riding to 45th (at much greater inconvenience)?

    2. Remind me, somebody: What is projected opening date for any station on this stretch of NorthLINK?

      Element constantly missing in many STB comments is the certainty that measures such as people per square mile will change. And unless a catastrophic change in trends happens, for I-5 just above Northgate, only to the positive.

      Not a recommendation here for or against any specific location. Just that if there’s an especially good one, instead of looking at present data to accept or reject, look at future possibilities of making it usable.

      Rather than either criticizing their absence, or assuming they’ll appear by themselves.


      1. The area around 130 & I-5 won’t change much — it has an undevelopable park to the SW and and equally undevelopable golf course to the near NE. The rest of the surrounding area is SFH which would be nearly impossible to convert to 80 ft TOD.

        There really is little to nothing at 130th St to justify a station, and the <500 net boardings certainly don't justify the station.

        Lake City and the surrounding neighborhoods would be much better served if the proposed 130 St Station funding was spent on access improvements to Northgate and 140th St instead.

        Money doesn't grow on trees — spend what little we have where it does the most good.

      2. Lazarus, it is just $25 million, give or take a few million, if you trust ST’s data, to build 130th St. Station. (And no, there is no 140th St Station on the drawing board. Don’t get confused with East Link.)

        Care to argue with that $25 million figure?

    3. Yes, ST occasionally gets a calculation wrong. The idea of this station drawing only 400 daily boardings is a whopper, for anyone who has actually been to this area. (I used to live in Lake City.)

      The 3200 figure is also way low-balled.

      ST needs to not just depend on current bus ridership figures from inadequate, infrequent bus routes. The frequent bus connections will turn lots of car trips into transit trips. It will happen.

    4. It’s not just the number of new riders but the effectiveness and convenience of the network. Even if the other riders are not new, it vastly improves their mobility. The current service around Lake City is substandard. It’s not something we can say “This is good enough”. It’s a stopgap until we can do something better.

      1. Indeed, that cross-town route to Bitterlake may not have its ridership pencil out to justify its operating cost without the station in the middle.

    5. Holy smoke, using that logic we wouldn’t build much of anything. Really, do you think the UW to downtown ridership numbers will all be folks who never heard of the dozen or so buses that can quickly get you to downtown? Besides, that number has to be taken with a grain of salt because no one (not the researchers, certainly) have any idea what Metro or Sound Transit will do to the buses once Link adds a station there. What if Metro and Sound Transit do the following:

      1) Builds BRT for the 522, and has it serve highway 522, as well as Lake City, this station, Aurora and Greenwood. Run this bus every five minutes.
      2) Meanwhile, Metro takes the 72, and reroutes it north along Lake City, but then east, to 145h, then over to Shoreline Community College. Then it increases frequency for this line to every five minutes.

      Do you really think that we won’t get any new riders? Really? Holy Cow, I just sketched two (only two) lines that would blow away the numbers you mentioned. Suddenly 145th is as popular as they said, and 125th is way more popular. Of course it is. How many times and how many ways must we explain this. Bus to rail interaction is critical. Otherwise, we are just spending billions serving only a handful of riders. This is a very small amount of money for outstanding bus service. I really don’t know why you don’t understand this.

      Oh, and that first bus makes a lot of sense if you add a station, and a lot less sense if you don’t. So that means that a bus like that will run, and run often. That means that other ridership, a lot of it not involving Link will occur. For example, someone trying to get from the highway 99 corridor to the highway 522 corridor. That is what “building a network” means. It means lots of fast, frequent buses combined with fast, frequent rail. Of course that increases ridership. But don’t trust my opinion, ask any expert about it (seriously) or ask yourself how Vancouver BC has such phenomenal transit ridership while only having a few miles of rail.

    6. A station at 130th with comprehensive cross-town bus service is far more likely to leave 145th with the “500 net passengers” than the other way around.

      Those assumptions were made, IIRC, with ST’s “brilliant” idea of turning the 522 on 145th intact, instead of the likely outcome of the 522 serving LC and the 125th/130th route should the obvious course of building a station at 130th occur.

      Garbage in, garbage out as they say.

    7. Here in Portland there is the SE 82nd Avenue MAX station. Sure if you look at a map it doesn’t look like much since there is nothing around it of particular density.

      It is an extremely busy station by Portland standards. This is because bus routes 72 and 77 both go past there, and add a fair number of riders.

      This station will have to be something like that.

      By nature, the stations along this section will have to be that way. High density development doesn’t happen along freeways. If the idea was to have high density development along The Spine then The Spine should have been dropped down the hill and built right into Lake City. It wasn’t planned that way, so the only thing you can hope for is really well planned feeder buses.

  9. The link on Urban Center/Village growth in residential units going back 20 years is fascinating to dig into (4th paragraph).
    Some of the 10 year growth numbers reinforce the value of having a station at 130th, in addition to the others planned along I-5. Here’s a few numbers that jumped out at me.
    Lake City/Bitter Lk combined (1708 units), exceeded Columbia City, W.Seattle, N.Gate, Broadway, Pioneer Square or International District alone. That’s amazing.
    Ballard had nearly 3 times the growth of W.Seattle. (that should settle an argument or two).
    Uptown/SLU/Denny Triangle grew by 7631 units, or about 15,000 people, which dwarfed N.Gate or Columbia City, or even Belltown with 3167.
    Planning Link to get 20,000 riders from Lynnwood is fine if they come in droves like that, but figuring out how to use CPS as the wye junction to SLU/Uptown should be as hot an item before that possibility goes away forever. (2nd tunnels and 3rd lines to Lake City aside), Here’s a chance to pack trains into common platforms under 3rd Ave as it was intended to do when designed. Let it rise to full potential. (a bit off topic, but this gets more utility for 130th passengers than waiting for the mythical ST6 Line)

  10. There is vast agreement on the principle that good effective transit system functionality depends on strong bus-rail integration. It seems to me this question might be framed more usefully than, add a station: yes or no? That debate doesn’t really tell us too much, other than everyone agrees adding stations is generally a good thing. A critical framing of the question would be, given everything else this area wants to do, and the resources available to do it, does the area between roughly 85th and 155th need two stations or three?

    There are going to be two stations for sure, at Northgate and 145th. Both of those stations will be well-served by bus connections to and from surrounding areas (assuming ST and KCM figure that out intelligently). A third could add value as described, but it also moves boardings from the other two.

    At the same time, we all know there is far more need for transit investment in the city than resources available to meet it. The politicking has already started around Ballard vs West Seattle vs both, plus several other worthy ideas such as the Madison corridor and Graham St in the south line. All these things come out of the ST3 pot, which will include whatever revenues from the unencombered ST2 taxes are left over.

    In that contex., $25 million for 500 riders takes on a different cast. Hence the question, does that part of the north corridor need three stations, or can it be effectively served with two and the attendent bus network to help people make their trips?

    1. Yes, 130th will draw some boardings from the nearest two stations (which really aren’t near at all if you try to walk between them). But it will also draw trips away from driving, since it is far more convenient than the other two connections that many in Lake City will not use if they have a car parked in the garage.

      $25 million is a fire-sale price compared to the other stations. Let me ask those on the fence: How many marginal boardings would justify the $25 million marginal capital cost?

    2. The question is, what best serves northeast and northwest Seattle? Lake City’s center is at 125th & Lake City Way. Bitter Lake’s center is at 135th & Aurora. Both of these are closer to 130th station. Their multifamily peripheries are within walking distance of 130th station. 145th station is at the far fringe of the nearest urban villages (Lake City, Bitter Lake, 155th/Aurora, Pinehurst). You can’t find a worse place for a station. In every direction you have to walk past blocks of single-family houses to get to the peripheries of the urban villages. I’d say delete 145th station or move it north to 155th, but that’s not going to happen. So the alternative is to either add 130th station or not. The pro arguments far outweigh the anti ones.

      1. 145th serves a different market than 130th. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this uprising to get 130th added.

      2. 145th has no market. That’s the problem. :) The station is there mainly because of the P&R and the theoretical possibility of terminating the 522 there (and bypassing Lake City), and the political advantage of “serving” two cities at once.

      3. 145th is only there because the Shoreline City Council wanted it. Seattle really wanted the 130th station, and will probably still get it even with a 145th street station.

      4. “The pro arguments far outweigh the anti ones.”

        Indeed…there is more agreement on this blog for this station than I’ve seen on pretty much any other topic–with a couple of outliers, even folks who are normally at each other’s throats seem to agree on this one, and for the same reasons. ;-)

        As someone in the design profession, I will tell you this: the moment a 130th station is set in stone and clear plans for frequent cross-town bus service is implemented to get there, you will see developers start to eat up both Bitter Lake and Lake City property. There is a lot of it ripe for development, it is affordable (particularly in terms of Seattle north of the Ship Canal), and there is a pent-up demand for reasonably priced housing relatively close in and accessible. “You mean I can get to/from Capitol Hill and (hopefully) Ballard in less than 20 minutes, all day? Where do I sign?”

      5. “$25 million is a fire-sale price compared to the other stations. Let me ask those on the fence: How many marginal boardings would justify the $25 million marginal capital cost?”

        How much does the new Parking Garage at South Bellevue cost and how many spaces will it have. I’m guessing we’re talking about similar cost to the 130th St. station for about half the daily riders. But when it’s a parking garage, suddenly the standards are lowered and it all pencils out.

    3. My God, talk about penny wise and pound foolish. You write a perfectly good couple paragraphs, then pull numbers out of thin air (500 riders my ass) and then wonder whether it is worth spending 25 million on a station. Have you even bothered to read the rest of the comments? Do you understand math? A billion is a thousand million. Why on earth would we want to spend several billion dollars on a light rail line, then fail to spend 25 million on a station that obviously provides a needed link (no pun intended) to the entire area.

      You know, I bet we could save even more money by not having any stations! Or why even bother having trains. With thinking like that, we won’t need many.

      1. Alas, RossB, ST put out that number (400, not 500) back in 2013. It would be interesting to get their methodology, since the methodology spewed out a number that is painfully obviously garbage.

        Let’s see: $25 million for a station at 130th that would serve thousands of daily riders with a quick bus connection to Lake City and Bitterlake — or — more than that for a parking garage at 145th that will serve a couple hundred drivers who could have jumped on the 522. Guess which one Lazarus prefers?

  11. @lazarus It’s the Lake City commercial development that’s linear along Lake City Way. The residents, while clustered in midrises at the hub, also live in thousands of SF homes closer to I-5 and multifamily housing at Bitterlake. A Light Rail station would encourage more multifamily development along NE 125th-130th.

    1. SFH’s don’t justify a station. Never have, never will. 130th is a TOD desert, and the projected <500 net riders to the system don't justify the investment.

      show me some real potential for ridership increases at 130th and maybe a case could be made, but that potential does not exist. Wishful thinking has no place in transit planning, and this station has little more than wishful thinking to support it.

      1. @Lazarus,

        Where, in all these comments, is anyone claiming that it is the residents in the mostly-SFH walkshed of the proposed 130th St. Station that are justifying the station. Straw argument repeated by you ad nauseam.

        Refer to all the comments about the TOD within the bushed/bikeshed/hikeshed of the station, and answer some of the other comments, instead of your own straw argument.

      2. @lazarus Notice you are not reading the comment again. The point was the amount of potential multifamily development along 125th-130th in the next 10 years before the 130th St. station opens will be increased by the existence of the station and good feeder bus service.

        Also, Lake City is on the brink of major development on the 14 acres owned by the Bill Pierre family, including the strip under the Post Office. The City is working on plans to rebuild the LC Community Center next to the library and the Pierre service center property will become a mixed-use development. They also own the LA Fitness building that will be rebuilt. The new Taco Time on Pierre property is just the beginning. You will see far fewer parking lots and more urban-style multi-story dealerships with parking and service below.

      3. Lake Citynis already served to some extent on the north by the 145th St station and on the south by the Northgate Station. Adding a third station does nothing of significance, as shown by the estimated <500 net new hoardings. 500 is nothing in the greater scheme of things and does not justify 10's of millions of dollars in investment.

        And the change in multi family resident potential at this site is small compared to other locations.

        I think ST will follow the data and not build this station.

      4. The Lake City hub doubled in population in the past 10 years and also went from 25% people of color to 50% people of color in that time. This is a fast-growing pocket of low-income families in North Seattle that especially need access to transit and jobs. In addition, the 14 acres owned by the Bill Pierre family are about to undergo redevelopment. You are vastly underestimating the amount of demand by 2023 when this line opens.

      5. Are they really going to put housing on top of car dealerships like I heard? Or is it just stacked showrooms like I gather Honda in SODO is doing. I’m not sure how many people will want to live above car showrooms.

      6. Mike –

        The Lake City community, The Pierre family and DPD have been engaged in a discussion on this for about two years. Comp Plan changes and an Urban Design Framework are being drafted. You and others here should definitely engage if this is interesting to you. It is an extremely exciting time for Lake City.

        As to will there be car dealerships with housing above: I haven’t heard this at all. What I have heard is a relocation of some dealerships and redevelopment of the property to mixed use with lots of housing.


      7. The redevelopment of the car dealerships is to eliminate the surface-level parking lots on the street front of LCW, and to redevelop these commercial-zoned parcels in an urban style built out to the sidewalk. No one is proposing housing on commercial-zoned parcels.

      8. SaraJane –

        Mixed use in the commercial zone would definitely include housing. We need more places for people to live and we need customers to keep Lake City businesses viable.


      9. The 14 acres of Bill Pierre properties are mostly zoned commercial. The properties closer to NE 125th and LCW are mainly zoned NC for mixed use. There’s plenty of room for both.

      10. Mixed use, of course. I’m just saying that car dealerships may be an unappealing kind of ground-level retail for building residents, and thus car dealerships may do better in separate buildings. Of course, if they put housing and retail in front of the dealership in a separate building, that may work better. It would be a “hide the box” strategy, as some big box stores surroinded by housing have done, including Bellevue’s own Avalon Place (Safeway).

  12. I think we should add a station at 125, 130 and 175 then someone could pass through 14 stations before he/she gets to Westlake. Someone from Mill Creek could bus or drive to a P-n-R in Lynnwood and then sit through 13 stops to get to downtown. I can hardly wait until they complete the spine to Everett. No thanks, I think I’ll drive or take an express bus. I did the yellow line from North Portland and the Mesa line to Phoenix and what a difference it would make removing a few non-sensical stations from these lines for those longer commutes. By adding a few 1000 potential riders how many do you discourage from not riding and taking off the roads.

    1. My wife has a choice of buses to go downtown for work. She can take a really quick express bus that makes only a few stops before heading downtown, or she can take a really slow milk-run that goes hither and fro on its way DT. She usually selects the slow bus because it gives her time to talk to her family in New York and time to mentally prepare for work.

      She would like your idea of lots of Link stops — because, you know, if you actually get to work quickly you won’t be mentally prepared and won’t have time to talk on the phone…But the other commuters on the line? Probably not so much.

      This isn’t a streetcar we are building here. It is light rail built to Central Link standards.

    2. See my comment about designing “A” and “B” trains above. I suspect that such thinking will be unpopular with the regulars.

    3. …and then sit through 13 stops to get to downtown. I can hardly wait until they complete the spine to Everett. No thanks, I think I’ll drive or take an express bus.

      And that is why super-long-distance commuter iterations of designed-for-urban-use trains do not make sense, have never made sense, and will never make sense.

      But way to advocate for fucking over everyone in Lake City in an attempt to change the unchangeable facts of geometry!

  13. 130th is a great option, especially because there is growth opportunity that the City of Seattle can spearhead. They can use the corner of the golf course, the entire strip of land between I-5 and 5th from 130th to 145th, and also probably work a deal with the church there. That intersection could also use some improvement. 130th makes a lot more sense than 145th does. Seattle really wanted the 130th and 155th st stations.

    1. Shoreline was so shortsighted not to see that bus access along 155th would be enormously more efficient than that on 145th. But the neighbors were afraid of it for some reason.

      1. “For some reason”? We know what the reasons are. A station would bring cars and pressure on street parking, it would change a quiet residential neighborhood, and it would bring the upzone monster on its heels. ST did envision 155th as a quieter station remaining mostly single-family, but that doesn’t affect the first two impacts.

        And as a reminder, 155th’s proponents never imagined a good walkshed. What they wanted was a shorter feeder bus to the 155th/Aurora urban village. (The feeder already exists; it’s the 330, but it has a very limited schedule ). It’s also within fringe walking distance, but I walked it once and it was almost 20 minutes if not a bit more. So only hardy walkers would do it; most of its success would depend on the quality of the feeder bus. However, there is a nice little park a 1-minute walk from the station, Twin Ponds Park. Also of interest, 155th ends at 15th NE, so if the feeder is to connect Aurora to Lake City Way it would have to turn south to 145th.

  14. I wonder what ST’s staff thinks about a 130th St station. From looking at a map, it does appear that the transit experience of most of the Bitter Lake, Olympic Hills, and Lake City populations would be only slightly better served by having a station at 130th St. Taking the bus to 145th or Northgate is just not that hard, especially if more buses eventually serve both stations.

    In my opinion the pedestrian connection to the 145th St station should be foremost in the minds of planners. Currently there is a terrible sidewalk on both sides of 145th St, right next to the street with no buffer. NE 145th St is a high volume arterial with traffic routinely reaching 45 mph speeds. Making the situation even more preposterous is the fact that the 1/4 mile of sidewalk on the south side of 145th St east of I-5 is part of the Jackson Park Loop Trail. Everything about that trail is fine until you are dumped onto the sidewalk. It would be easy to carve out about ten yards from Jackson Park to make a real bike/pedestrian trail along 145th St.

    Looking ahead, a station at 130th would make a lot of sense if there was another line running from downtown to Ballard to 130th St to Lake City. The number of connections would soar. Unfortunately the line that seems to be in consideration for ST3 or later goes through Northgate, not 130th.

    1. The comparative deficiencies of busing to Northgate (farther, constricted, lots of traffic and lots of turns) or to 145th (less logical routing, out of direction, noticeably more peak traffic, less pedestrian-amenable transfer point) have been discussed by many area residents and active transit users above. 130th is objectively better.

      Meanwhile, there will be no outrageous ST5 Holman-North Greenwood detour route. That is not happening. If Lake City Way ever gets rail, it will be in the form of some spur. But as Graham and First Hill have proven, ST screw-ups get set in stone for a very long time. They cannot be “long game” justified because they will never be “long game” rectified.

      1. +1

        Not to mention, ST has the spare cash NOW. Why in the world would we put off this awesome station when the cash is in hand to fix it…. its also an amount of cash that is not really useful to solve almost any other North King problems (other than the pedestrian bridge).

        Its a no brain-er. If we don’t get this station than we will will truly have failed to learn from past mistakes.

      2. My 3rd grader rides the bus from school to her accordion lesson up by Bitter Lake (District school bus to downtown MI, ST 550 to Westlake Center, RR E to 130th). Usually my wife (who comes from LQA) or occasionally I (who comes from downtown Redmond) meet her there by car, give her axe to her, sit around for her lesson, and drive her home. When I’m doing the drive, by far the easiest part is the last mile or so to Aurora on 130th. Where the rest of the journey is an uphill fight against traffic, the ride on 130th is a fast straight ride with almost no other traffic. This at 5:30 on a Monday night.

        The point is that I can’t imagine a more reliable corridor for a bus.

    2. >> I wonder what ST’s staff thinks about a 130th St station.

      Yeah, no kidding. If they had any sense they would love it. But I wonder if they have any sense.

      >> From looking at a map, it does appear that the transit experience of most of the Bitter Lake, Olympic Hills, and Lake City populations would be only slightly better served by having a station at 130th St.

      What map is that? Does the map show travel times as well as congestion? No, I didn’t think so. Looking at the map, taking the 44 looks fine. It goes right along a wonderful arterial (Market and 45th). I’m sure that is a really fast trip. Seriously, though, in case you are from out of town, do not go that way unless you have a really big book to read — the bus literally averages in the single digits (around 8 MPH) outside of rush hour (it gets really ugly during rush hour).

      >> Taking the bus to 145th or Northgate is just not that hard

      Ha! Really? Really? Have you ever done it? I used to ride the 41 all the time from downtown to Lake City. The ride from downtown was great (express lanes) to Northgate. Then it took forever for the bus to get from Northgate to Lake City. It really is excruciatingly slow. Lots of lights, lots of traffic (its even more fun around holiday season). Once it hits 125th, it goes plenty fast. Thus the desire to add a stop there.

      As d. p. said, 130th is simply objectively better. Sigh. No offense, but you really do your moniker a disservice. Even if a station at 130th was anything less than stellar — even if 125th/130th was not the better route — even if Lake City had as many people as Pinehurst — the station at 130th would make sense. The distance between 145th and Northgate is huge, forcing buses way out of their way. That is no way to build a good system. Just look at good systems. Please. I keep harping on Vancouver because they just kick our ass in ridership, despite spending no more than us, nor having a lot more rail. They do it with decent stop spacing that encourages bus to rail transfers.

      This isn’t rocket science. A station like this is a bargain, and makes as much sense as having at least four stations downtown. I suppose there were folks, back in the day, that said we should just have one (after all, you could always just take a bus from one to the other on the surface or just walk). Those folks knew nothing about transit, and failing to build this stop would be just about as stupid.

      1. Thanks for pointing out that, because I don’t agree with you 100%, I am a complete moron when it comes to transit. I shall be nominating you for Seattle Times commenter of the year.

        Also it is clear from some comments that Sound Transit is staffed totally by idiots, and what they think about these issues should carry no weight.

        Your data about the 41 is a bit out of date. I ride the 41 fairly often. Metro removed some stops along the Northgate to Lake City section a few years ago. The transit time from LCW and 125th to Northgate transit center is 15 minutes, which is slow but not that slow. How long would a projected ride to a projected 130th St station be–maybe 7 minutes? Then factor in some transfer time, some time waiting for a train, and some time for the train to travel from 130th to Northgate, and I think you might be looking at–15 minutes.

        That’s not even the true comparison, though. The question should be framed like this: what transit mode will a typical commuter choose? Let’s take a Lake City to Downtown commuter. This person has a choice between taking the 522 express bus, which takes about 20 minutes during the morning rush hour, vs taking a bus to 130th St, transferring, waiting, and taking the train. ST says it will take 14 minutes to ride from Northgate to downtown, which seems low but let’s go with it. So the train portion from 130th St will take around 16 minutes alone. Why would anyone choose the bus, transfer, wait, and train ride instead of a single bus that takes less time?

        Or look at the Bitter Lake side. Taking the RapidRide E bus during the morning rush takes around 35 minutes from Aurora and 130th to downtown. This makes the bus, transfer, wait, train option somewhat more competitive, but the hassle factor is still pretty high. I’m not saying no one would do it, but the numbers are not likely to be overwhelming.

        What about the “walkshed” of at 130th St station? The single family homes that make up nearly all the neighborhoods in the vicinity are not densely populated. It doesn’t help that two of the four quadrants immediately around 130th and I-5 are parks. I’m sure some people would walk to a station, but how many? On a rainy morning when you’re running late, you would look at your options. Should you walk through the rain, in the dark, though neighborhoods that still do not even have sidewalks, for 20 minutes, or should you simply take a 5 minute drive to Northgate (or 145th St), park in the free park and ride, and get right onto the train?

        My own experience is instructive. It is a 1.25 mile walk to my bus (the 75), followed by a 0.75 mile walk at the other end. Repeat in reverse order coming home. Occasionally I actually do this–after all I am transitwonk–but it’s a heck of a lot faster and easier to ride my bike to work, or simply to drive. It’s true that Metro would almost certainly put some bus routes through a 130th St station. Most people have to be pretty close to a bus line to use it–a quarter mile, a half mile–so the bus shed is still pretty finite, especially compared to just driving to the park and ride at Northgate.

        Finally some people have said that denser housing near a 130th St station would eventually appear. Possibly. There are some arguments against that happening anytime soon. For one thing, the area is annoyingly close to I-5. For another, this is not the Rainier Valley with a lot of shabby housing just waiting to be knocked over and turned into smart apartments. Most of the houses here are in the $500,000+ range.

        For all that, I am not totally against a 130th St station. It would be marginally convenient for me. It is within my personal walk shed, about 1.25 miles away. But so is 145th St, and for me and no doubt many others, Northgate is quite close by car or bus. I think 130th St will end up as one of those “deferred” stations like Graham St and Boeing access road..

      2. Let’s take a Lake City to Downtown commuter. This person has a choice between taking the 522 express bus, which takes about 20 minutes during the morning rush hour, vs taking a bus to 130th St, transferring, waiting, and taking the train. ST says it will take 14 minutes to ride from Northgate to downtown, which seems low but let’s go with it. So the train portion from 130th St will take around 16 minutes alone. Why would anyone choose the bus, transfer, wait, and train ride instead of a single bus that takes less time?

        The reason why that person will take the train is that the 522 will probably be rerouted to avoid downtown by the time Lynnwood Link opens, possibly when Northgate Link opens. It might got to any of 145th NE, 130th NE, Northgate or Roosevelt to connect to the train. ST could possibly use the service hours freed up to either serve another area or to increase frequency on the 522.

      3. @Charles,

        Agreed. It’s dismaying that ST can find hundreds of millions of dollars in projects in South King and Pierce counties after getting a low-interest loan from USDOT for East King, yet we have to fight to get them to use a surplus in North King for projects actually in North King.

    3. “I wonder what ST’s staff thinks about a 130th St station.”

      ST has already approved 130th Station in principle; it just doesn’t have funding for it in ST2. And it hasn’t been willing to try to find the money from other North King budgets. All the Seattle boardmembers strongly endorsed the station, and it got the most public feedback on any issue in the late EIS rounds except for one “Save Lynnwood open space” issue (against station alternatives that clip a corner of parkland).

      1. True. But the Graham St and Boeing Access Road stations are also “approved in principle” by ST, and they’re not coming anytime soon.

  15. STB – I would love to see a mock up of post north link, metro alignment mock-up…it really would lend itself to a better understanding of this. Perhaps there will be a true rapid-ride across the city at 125th/130th?

    1. I think you would get a lot of different opinions on such a system. But I have one in mind, and I might get around to writing it up.

  16. @RossB

    >>As far as Toronto goes, I am very surprised, although I shouldn’t be. I’ve been to Toronto, and rode the subway and took a bus, but didn’t really pay much attention. I assumed the subway was much bigger, because Toronto is much bigger (and older) but this chart (showing a density map along with the subway lines) shows exactly what you are talking about: It looks surprisingly similar to Vancouver. That is not nearly as extensive as New York or Montreal.<<

    Toronto's subway is the same size as Montreal's metro in terms of both number of lines and total system length:

    Toronto: 4 lines, 68.3km, 69 stations

    Montreal: 4 lines, 69.2km, 68 stations

    Ross, I don't know who told you that Toronto's system is not nearly as extensive as Montreal's, but they were obviously lying to you.

    1. As Toronto has become a much larger and more extensively urbanized city in the last fifty years, its subway offers significantly less proportional coverage of the urbanized area. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what Ross meant here, but it feels quite palpable on the ground.

      (Both systems are fairly young by the standards of older North American cities, btw, though both predate Vancouver Skytrain by a decade or two.)

  17. I was disappointed that those supporting 130th didn’t rise up in time, for that location was superior to 145th, which is going to be in trouble due to, ironically, a lack of planning. That street is still owned by multiple parties and wasn’t wide enough decades ago, still lacking complete sidewalks, and I could go on. Despite seeing where this was headed years ago, action hasn’t started until recently, and it’s been acknowledged – finally – what I’ve said as soon as I saw the concerted effort for that location, some of it evading the facts. Now, vehicular traffic through that street will be stressed more, buses may or may not serve it, at least east/west, and the cost to upgrade the street will cost millions and displace who knows how many. A combination of 130th, 155th, and 185th would have been a superior troika. Unfortunately, that’s a done deal, but hopefully, 130th can be part of the ST 3 proposal, for it deserves to be.

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