College Station under construction in early January
College Station under construction in early January

On Wednesday morning, a small ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the intersection of Highway 99 and 204th Street SW in Lynnwood to open the newest—and final—Swift bus rapid transit station, located two blocks downhill from Edmonds Community College. Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath was joined by Edmonds Community College President Dr. Jean Hernandez and Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith at the ceremony at 11 a.m., with regular service beginning shortly thereafter. The station is unique in not having a matching northbound stop, the closest being 200th Street SW only four blocks north; the nearest southbound station is eight blocks to the north at 196th Street.

The community college, which also houses classrooms for Central Washington University, is already served by a small transit center with three routes: 115 and 116 (which form a frequent link to Lynnwood Transit Center), and 120. Community Transit estimates that about 1,500 weekday boardings occur at stops around the college, with the three routes at the transit enter accounting for 900. The two nearest Swift stations to the college, Crossroads at 196th Street and Heron at 200th Street, see 600 boardings each weekday. The college also offers a commuter “EdPass” that is tied into the ORCA system, and encourages its 11,600 students and 1,600 employees to commute via transit.

The station was part of five stations that were deferred when the line opened in 2009; the other four, located in Everett, were opened in January 2011. The 204th Street station was forced to wait for the City of Lynnwood to complete an extension of the street uphill to Edmonds Community College and the construction of a traffic signal at Highway 99. The city project was completed in August of last year and Swift station construction began in the following two months.

Community Transit is also moving along with its planned second Swift line, which has gained operational funding through a 0.3% sales tax increase passed via a ballot measure last November and is awaiting federal funding for capital construction. The line would run from the Boeing Everett plant through Mill Creek to Canyon Park via Airport Road, 128th Street SW, and the Bothell-Everett Highway, some segments of which already have business-access transit (BAT) lanes. The new line would cross the existing Swift line at Airport Road and Highway 99 in southwest Everett, creating an in-system transfer.

29 Replies to “Community Transit Opens Its Final Swift Station, at Edmonds Community College”

  1. This will be a welcome change for Edmonds Community College, which is already a few minutes’ walk from this station, so having to go further to 196th was excessive. Another interesting fact is that the 115 and 116 to Lynnwood run on 200th, so they can be used as a 99-to-Lynnwood transfer.

    The Swift alignment is also a model for RapidRide F at Tukwila Intl Blvd Station. Swift goes right past on the main road rather than ducking into the transit center and back out. That makes it, er, swift.

    1. Of course, the biggest weakness of Swift still remains, which is that it doesn’t connect to any regional express route in Lynnwood. Unless one is willing to backtrack all the way to Everett, most Swift stations are a 3 or 4 seat ride away from most of the Seattle (local bus->512->115/116->Swift).

      For now, I am willing to forgive this, since the highway 99 corridor makes it pretty much unavoidable. (They definitely made the right call to not do a time-sucking deviation into Lynnwood TC).

      Longer-term, Community Transit should seriously consider extending Swift an additional mile and a half to connect to the 185th St. Link Station. Even if the mile and a half is outside of Snohomish County, it would connect the entire corridor to Link, making the rest of the line significantly easier to use. If necessary, King County could consider chipping in for this extension, as people accessing Link from the Aurora Village area would use it too. But this would require different jurisdictions to worth together (e.g. have transit not just suddenly end just because of where the county line is).

      1. How about instead building the deferred 220th St SW Link station, terminating Swift there, and extending the E-Line to 220th? Seems more elegant to me than extending Swift on top of the E-Line for 20 blocks, and you may even get CT to pay Metro for the additional service hours and both agencies could break even.

      2. I agree. Worth noting is that Swift is swift, but not that frequent. It runs every 12 minutes during the day (which is pretty good, but not great). In comparison, the 41 runs every 5 minutes at rush hour. My point being that 12 minutes is pretty good, but not great if you want to make a transfer. It is a lot different than every 5 minutes (like the 41). I might take the 347, for example, and transfer at Northgate to go downtown, rather than take the 73 directly to downtown. All I really need to do is time the 347 (since it isn’t that frequent). But if the 41 ran every 12 minutes, I’m just going to take the 73.

        It is especially tough if the other bus is not going as frequently. You need at least one bus to be coming frequently. I’m not sure if that is the case with bus service to Lynnwood TC, but it might be. But as you said, getting there is very difficult. Getting to Mountlake TC after Aurora Village might work. That involves some back tracking (heading north after after heading south) but it doesn’t look terrible. The bigger issue is traffic — can you get from Aurora Village to Mountlake Terrace TC (and back) in a timely manner.

        Longer-term, Community Transit should seriously consider extending Swift an additional mile and a half to connect to the 185th St. Link Station. This would require different jurisdictions to worth together.

        This is exactly the problem that ST was meant to solve. It would make sense for Sound Transit to spend money on extending Swift to 185th. While they are at it, they could increase frequency at rush hour. If I lived anywhere in the area, I would much rather have that, than extend Link to Everett.

      3. The 185th extension was thrown around in some documents a while back, so I think it has a good chance of happening.

        The 220th idea is great, though I am worried about I-5 on/off traffic possibly affecting service. And if it’s being extended to 220th anyway, moving the terminus to Mountlake Terrace TC (serving the city center along the way) might make it even better.

      4. “Swift goes right past on the main road rather than ducking into the transit center and back out. ”

        “(They definitely made the right call to not do a time-sucking deviation into Lynnwood TC).”

        I meant the Edmonds CC transit center. Lynwood TC is way to far to be a detour; it would be a different route then, and would probably go straight north rather than backtracking.

        “Swift is swift, but not that frequent.”

        It was more frequent when it started. It was cut back in the recession, and its frequency has never been fully restored.

        Still transferring from a 12-minute route to a 15-minute route to get from 99 to Lynnwood is pretty good for Snohomish County. It’s the same as my B+550 trips.

        I like the idea of Swift coming to 185th and I don’t think the overlap with the E is a problem. Overlapping means that people can transfer from the E to Swift and vice-versa at the same stop, without crossing the street or detouring into a station. 185th also makes it easy to transfer from Link to Swift, which is impossible with the 512 now. And as Shoreline’s urban villages grow, Snohomishites will increasingly want to go to them.

        As to what the E should do, I’m not sure. It partly depends on how important serving Aurora Village is. Since it goes there now, it’s hard to cut off, and it is in King County. One option would be to simply extend the A to 185th Station. That would be a slight U shape but it would serve a shopping center. Another option is to terminate at Mountake Terrace Station. But that’s further away and has highway traffic and there’s no “there” there. A third option is to turn east at 185th and bypass Aurora Village. That would not only cut off the shopping center but require people to cross the street to transfer between the E and Swift. A fourth option is Zach’s for them to meet at 220th. I have little hope for the 220th station area: it will probably remain a couple of office parks. And 220th-244th does not yet have enough development to equal Shoreline in destinations.

      5. @Zach Shaner

        I don’t know that it would really be that helpful to drag the SR99 bus routes over to I-5. They’re separate corridors and not all folks on these busses are necessarily going downtown.

        What if someone is trying to ride from Shoreline to Edmonds Community College? Should we require them to detour first to a link station before they can switch back to swift? The existing arrangement is far superior for someone who has a destination along the SR 99 corridor.

        I think this might be better solved by having one or more frequent East-West routes that connect from 99 to nearby link stations. That way one might switch much earlier to link and require fewer detours for everyone.

      6. @Charles B

        Yet another reason why a 130th/125th arterial route, centering at 130th Station, would knit Snohomish up better with north King.

      7. >> I like the idea of Swift coming to 185th and I don’t think the overlap with the E is a problem.

        I agree. I think 185th has several advantages, some of which you mentioned. First, it avoids traffic. It is one of the few I-5 stops that isn’t close to an interchange. Second, it keeps the same stops. So if you used to take Swift to Aurora Village, you still can. Third, it keeps going in the same direction. Backtracking doesn’t matter much if it an express, but people still don’t like it. In this case you could pick up additional riders and go in the direction people are headed.

        I also don’t think overlap is big deal. If both buses ran every couple minutes, I would feel otherwise, but 12 minutes (at best) is not exactly “who cares about a transfer” territory. So overlap allows for not only more frequency for the area being overlapped, but more people getting one seat rides.

      8. Good call on 185th, asdf2. CT is actually looking at extending Swift to 185th St Station. I talked with a planner last year at one of their outreaches.

        Yes, Swift does not connect to any major regional transit centers (aside from it’s terminus’). But to do so would mean having split BRT lines. For example one running from LTC to Everett via 99, and the other from LTC to Aurora Village via 99. Then a 3rd BRT line would need to be created to along 99 to accommodate riders who don’t need to travel to the LTC.

      9. “I think this might be better solved by having one or more frequent East-West routes that connect from 99 to nearby link stations.”

        That’s Swift IV (Edmonds – Mill Creek via 196th). See CT website, “Projects”, “Long-Range Plan”, “Long-Range Transit Plan”, page 16. I wonder if it should be moved to 200th.

    2. The Swift alignment is also a model for RapidRide F at Tukwila Intl Blvd Station. Swift goes right past on the main road rather than ducking into the transit center and back out. That makes it, er, swift.

      Tukwila International?

      What about that preposterous detour to Tukwila Sounder / Amtrak?

  2. Can I talk about the post title? English is my sixth language, so forgive me if I’m mistaken, but should there be a comma between the words station and at? It doesn’t seem like there should be. Also, I agree that the word at shouldn’t be capitalized, but shouldn’t the word its also not be capitalized? Lastly, the station’s not opening at the Edmonds CC. Near it, yes, but not at it.

    Thank you, and free Ethan Couch!

    1. If you remove the comma you would be saying “CT is opening the last station which it will be opening at Edmonds CC”, implying that it already has [at least] one.

      Putting in the comma reduces the “at Edmonds Community College” to a parenthetical expression. IOW, the primary information being communicated is that this station is to be the last Swift station, not that it is to be “at Edmonds Community College”. It just happens to be there.

      Now, either meaning is plausible, so Bruce probably needs to tell us which he meant.

      So far as the capitalization, I’d agree that “At” should probably have been capitalized, simply because it’s normal to do so in a “headline”

      1. I’d agree that “At” should probably have been capitalized, simply because it’s normal to do so in a “headline”

        What I learned in school is that coordinating conjunctions and short prepositions shouldn’t be capitalized, even in headlines, unless they’re the first or last word. So, you’d capitalize, “At Edmonds CC, Last Swift Station Opens,” but “at” wouldn’t be capitalized with Bruce’s wording.

      2. Well, if “its” and “final” had not been capitalized, I’d agree with you. But as the only un-capitalized word it looks like a mistake.

      3. Or actually clean it up and dust both the comma and “its final.” The fact that it is the final station (of the initial line, which should also be clarified earlier) is sufficiently conveyed in the lede’s first sentence.

        Nice post otherwise though.

  3. Different stop locations by direction… doesn’t that seem a little like the symbolic coverage of one-way splits? <snark&rt;Also 99 is so wide it’s almost a built-in one-way split.</snark&rt;

    I guess the SB 196th and NB 200th stops are actually on the same N-S superblock, so that if you get off at 196th SB you’re actually fewer crosswalks from the 200th NB stop than you’d be from a 196th NB stop (assuming it was far-side), though it’s a long walk (almost a quarter-mile). The same is true of the 174th/176th stops and the Pecks/Madison stops (which are over a quarter-mile apart)… but not 40th/41st or Colby/Whetmore (because Whetmore is near-side).

  4. >>The station is unique in not having a matching northbound stop

    Why would you build a SB stop with no NB stop. How are people supposed to get home.

    1. The northbound stop is at 200th, so it’s in between the 204th and 196th soutbound stations. It’s screwy but that’s how they decided to serve both 196th which is a highway and 200th where the college is, without having two full pairs of stations right next to each other. Also, as Al Diamond said, they’re two adjacent superblocks.

    2. I was wondering about this, too… (Well, people can always walk to the next NB stop, but that’s a few blocks away and more inconvenient)

  5. Thinking long-term, how would the proposed Swift III (Edmonds-Lynnwood-Mill Creek) interact with Swift I and its staggered stop spacing?

    Assuming Swift III follows the current 116 routing it could have a station at 200th & Hwy 99 (for transfers to northbound Swift I), a station at Edmonds CC Transit Center, and a station at 68th & 204th (for transfers to southbound Swift I).

    But with that, the latter two stations are fairly close to each other, which goes against Swift’s larger stop spacing guideline. CT could have Swift III skip the transit center altogether, since every bus that currently stops there (115, 116, 120) also stops elsewhere along the likely Swift III route (including Lynnwood Transit Center).

    The disadvantage is that bus riders at Edmonds CC who currently use the transit center will all have to walk further to a Swift III station, solely because of the staggered stop spacing of Swift I. If Swift I had stations in both directions at 200th instead, Swift III can have a station at the CC instead of further away at 68th & 204th.

    1. Swift now has two stops close together for 196th and 200th, so it can do the same thing for Swift-to-Swift transfers.

  6. This second Swift line proposal demonstrates why Metro and CT desperately need some agreement about service in Bothell, Kenmore & Lake Forest Park. Ending the line at Canyon Park is ludicrous when it should go to downtown Bothell, but that’s of course in a different county. Metro and CT should mutually agree that CT runs to the shores of Lake Washington (except for 522) in the area and Metro can pay them for it.

  7. @asdf2: Talks have been going on for at least a year or two re: connecting with Link at 185th. The agencies decided that Swift would go to the Link station and not Rapid Ride E (as Reyes Ojeda noted). The #120 was extended from Lynnwood Transit Center to Edmonds Community College along 200th – joining the 115 and 116 – so there are many opportunities to connect between there and Swift. @ZachShaner: the 185th station is to be up and running in 7 years; the 220th station is, at best, a Sound Transit board decision, voter approval, and decades away. @Ross B: I’ve heard that Swift is to return to 10 minutes again within the next couple of years. @Al Dimond and @CC: the split station locations are a pet peeve of mine, but unfortunately the property owners in the applicable locations didn’t cooperate. @Nathaniel W: that is a leading contender for Swift III. @Donde Groovily It’s a money issue, but I’ve been told that the desire is to go to downtown Bothell, as their #105 does. Heck, even if it made it to UW Bothell, that would connect to a plethora of Metro routes (as well as ST, but ST’s go to Canyon Park as well). Meanwhile, Metro could stand to run a line from Woodinville via 522 east, 9 north, and 228th to Canyon Park to connect to the Swift service.

    1. Metro has already said it won’t change the E? As far as I know it hasn’t committed to anything yet for North/Lynnwood Link restructure.

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