Page Two articles are from our reader community.

The deferred Boeing Access Road Station got a new sign of life when Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton told the Kent Reporter:

Haggerton wants the Sound Transit to “undefer” its plans for a light-rail station in Tukwila at the Boeing Access Road. He argues the station is needed to serve the Museum of Flight, Boeing Field and Boeing facilities, Aviation High School and potential new job-generating developments in north Tukwila.

The Reporter’s Dean Radford goes on to discuss other transit projects and transit-oriented development in Tukwila. Now that BAR Station is getting some official support, let’s review the other issues surrounding the station.

First, what would it take to build it? The ST Board would have to approve it and find a funding source. The article mentions ST3. The initial ST3 studies for South King contemplated extending Link to Federal Way and a separate Burien-Renton line. South King can’t afford both of those, and it’s interesting that Haggerton didn’t even mention the Burien-Renton line. He may have found the study’s projections to be expensive and underperforming. A BAR station would be much less expensive, and could possibly be squeezed into ST3, especially if Tukwila helped to fund it.

Second, a sketch of potential bus routes. Radford says Haggerton is lobbying to extend RapidRide A to BAR Station. That would serve Tukwila Village, a transit-oriented neigborhood proposed for South 144th Street. If the A is extended, it would make sense to truncate the 124 at the same station. The 124 goes north to downtown Seattle, serving the Museum of Flight, Boeing jobs, and Aviation High School. Three more of Haggerton’s priorities are checked off.

But what about Southcenter? The 150 goes from Kent to Southcenter to downtown passing very near BAR Station. Metro has so far been unwilling to truncate it at Rainier Beach Station. Would Tukwila support truncating it at BAR Station? Southcenter-Westlake travel time on the 150 is 38 minutes at 5pm, 31 minutes at 9pm. Transferring to Link would take around 45 minutes (10 minutes bus, 30 minutes train, 5 minutes transfer). Aleksandra Culver has outlined how Metro could improve South King County’s network by extending the 164 and 180 to Rainier Beach Station to replace the 150.  This could be modified to BAR Station, and would give 10-minute combined frequency between Kent Station and BAR. Note that the 150’s advantage is wiped out if you transfer to another bus downtown, because Link can take you closer to many other destinations and avoids the downtown traffic.

Looking east, the 101 could also terminate at BAR Station. Its travel time to downtown is 45 minutes at 5pm, 35 minutes at 9pm. Link would be around 55 minutes (20 minutes bus, 30 minutes train, 5 minutes transfer). Again Aleks has outlined how two local routes to Rainier Beach Station could replace the 101 with combined 10-minute service. However, only one of the routes goes near BAR Station, so it would require additional service hours to achieve 10-minute frequency.

Third, the BNSF track. Link crosses Sounder at BAR, so previous clamors for a station have emphasized the possibility of a Link-Sounder transfer. But Tukwila Station is so close, and Tukwila has put money into that station, so I don’t think a BAR Sounder station is feasible. Plus, who would transfer there? If you’re on Sounder going to downtown or beyond, it’s faster to remain on Sounder to downtown. If you’re going to the airport, you can take an east-west bus. Only if you’re going to Rainier Valley would transferring be useful, and not many people go from Sounder’s area to Rainier Valley.

Fourth, the station area. It’s a highway/railroad interchange with nothing in walking distance, and no place to build anything. It’s a 7-minute walk from the BNSF crossing to East Marginal Way. But if we forego a Link-Sounder transfer, then we could move the station to East Marginal Way. That would at least give it a walkshed. It would make it harder for the 101 to reach it though, and increase backtracking on Renton-Seattle trips.

Finally, the station name. “Boeing Access Road Station” is a bad name. One, Boeing is a corporation. Two, “access road” is car-centric. If we didn’t have freeways we wouldn’t need access roads. Moscow has a metro station “Shosse Entuziastov” (Highway of the Enthusiasts), but in that case it’s a real highway that goes somewhere. Boeing Access Road is just a connector stub between three highways. So is there something else we can call the station?

These are the issues I see if the station is revived. If I’ve left anything out, please note it in the comments.

17 Replies to “Boeing Access Road Station”

    1. I don’t think that’s a great name. How many tourists would end up getting off there when there were expecting to depart at SEATAC Airport? Maybe Boeing Field Station would be better.

  1. Good stuff. I’m a big fan of the King County Metro 124 route too!

  2. Isn’t this where an NBA/NHL arena might be built too? If that happens, it definitely needs a stop.

  3. I think your contention that not many people go from Rainier Valley to Tukwila is suspect because there isn’t great transit between those areas and I would submit causing people to drive who might choose differently. There is a natural affinity between the Rainier Valley and Renton/Tukwila. We should make it easier for people in Seattle to reach jobs and shopping that are available in Renton and Tukwila.

    I would still argue for a multimodal transfer including Sounder at BAR station because I want to see ALL DAY both directions service on Sounder. I would bet if frequently (20 minute) Sounder service between Seattle and Kent were available, people would transfer to it from buses AND Link.

    Getting a large numbers of buses out of traffic and eliminating them from travelling into downtown Seattle should be a priority goal. Aligning buses with trains further out is the way to do that.

    1. When Sounder actually does run all day every 20 minutes, at that point, a Link station where it crosses the Sounder tracks makes sense. Until then (e.g. for the rest of our lifetimes, at least), such a station would have no trains to connect to (except for 5 or so trips per day), so delaying everyone’s trips all day long to serve that stop would be pointless. There is also nothing within walking distance of Boeing Access Road either.

      As to speculation about a possible truncation of the 101 or 150, Ranier Beach Station is already pretty easily accessible from I-5 south. Even if the bus would have to go down MLK for a mile or so, it’s a mile without stoplights that would be pretty fast. And, while the walkshed of Ranier Beach Station is not great, it is still orders of magnitude better than Boeing Access Road.

      My personal opinion is that the 101 should be truncated to Ranier Beach and made more frequent (or, perhaps, continuing down MLK to Mt. Baker, replacing the 8 through at stretch), while the 150 should be left as is, at least until Sound Transit is able to fund an all-day express bus between Kent and downtown Seattle.

      1. Technically true, but at two of them are red for MLK traffic so infrequently, they may as well not exist.

    2. The issue is not travel time, it’s the cost of the Sounder station, its closeness to Tukwila Sounder Station, and how it prevents the Link station from moving west toward East Marginal Way. To justify a Sounder station there you’d need not just a trickle of people going from Rainier Valley to Kent/Auburn. but a large number of people. A large number of people traveling when Sounder does.

    3. Another factor. If the 164/180 are reconfigured from BAR Station to Auburn, that would give a frequent 2-seat ride between Rainier Valley and Kent and Auburn. That would lessen the need for a Sounder transfer. The frequency, span, and closeness to destinations may make up for Sounder’s speed there. And of course, Link+574 will get them to Tacoma.

    4. “ALL DAY both directions service on Sounder” would shatter Sound Transit’s budget, assuming of course that Warren would even read the memo.

      They want to do what with my railroad?”

      1. Some of us are hoping Sounder South will eventually become half-hourly. Or at least like Caltrain, which runs more or less hourly midday, weekends, and evenings, and will supposedly become more frequent when it’s electrified during the high-speed rail project. Of course Sound Transit can’t afford this now, but a future partnership between the ST and the state and cities could do it. WSDOT has been mulling over dedicated passenger tracks from Seattle to Portland for the Cascades, the Coast Starlight, Sounder, and future high-speed rail. This would help BNSF too by freeing up freight capacity and avoiding scheduling faster passenger trains between slower freight trails. It would take a lot of money and will, and the current legislature is not interested in pursuing it, but things could change, and the best way to take advantage of changes and make them happen is to have a plan ready. Even piecemeal improvements help, as in the Point Defiance Bypass.

    1. And it should not be on BAR, but rather above East Marginal between 112th and 115th to allow actually to serve Riverton, with a walk of course. That way it becomes a little more than just a bus intercept.

      But, there’s the possibility of adding a bus-only on-ramp at SR599 and creating a loop for bus intercept from I-5, I-405 and SR 99.

      Buses northbound on the freeways take SR599 and exit at Pacific Highway South, turn right at 112th and then right at East Marginal to the bus intercept. They then continue straight to the new bus-only ramp just south of the freeway and return to their origin. It’s quick, it’s elegant, and it doesn’t cost much to make a really good bus intercept.

      And IF the powers that be realize that someday, when South King County has filled up, this can be a “last station before the express section” for the newly dead, but probably resurrected someday, Airport Way bypass.

      1. Anandakos,

        How about at 133rd? The station could serve the office park as well as provide a nice bus intercept and P&R.

    2. Oh, as for the intercept from Renton, it’s entirely possible to get from 900 to this station location quickly and efficiently by using 129th Street/124th and 42nd Place South. Wham, straight into the station with only two stoplights and almost no traffic.

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