This summary of Snohomish County’s ST3 feedback is the fourth in a series of ST3 feedback summaries. See our previous coverage of Pierce County, South King County, and Seattle. Future installments will be East King/North King (minus Seattle), and Stakeholder Organizations.
Mayor Jennifer Gregerson’s letter states that her city’s highest priority is finishing ST2’s Mukilteo Station Multimodal Access project, which has been delayed and is due to be completed in 2019). Beyond their Sounder Station, her letter supports 3 additional projects.
First, the letter supports Link to Everett via Paine Field and/or SR 99 – however with a caveat of firm opposition to commercial flights at Paine Field – and firmly opposes a pure I-5 alignment as a “short-sighted and poor choice”.
Second, Mukilteo supports I-405 BRT to connect South Snohomish County to East King County, which is a white-hot political topic at the moment given the introduction of Express Toll Lanes between Lynnwood and Bellevue.
Lastly, the city strongly supports SWIFT II, which requires project N-8 to improve 128th St SW over I-5.
Everett, Snohomish, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, Snohomish County, and Community Transit’s letters after the jump.
Everett wrote a very detailed 6 page letter, with 17 bullet points describing their preferred alignment for Link from Lynnwood to Everett. In short, the letter demands the following:
Serving Paine Field. Though it would slow trips into King County, cost nearly double, and attract few net riders, Everett goes all in on Paine Field:
Any alignment that fails to serve the SW Everett Manufacturing and Industrial Center (MIC) is a failure in that it is inconsistent with the Vision 2040 Regional Growth Strategy and reinforces the status quo land use and commute patterns.
Intra-Everett Connectivity. The letter also opposes a pure I-5 alignment that “will serve those who park their cars in Everett and commute to jobs in Seattle”, and that doesn’t “support growth or density goals in Everett.” The letter then dangles a carrot to the ST Board – which has had a notoriously hard time siting Operations and Maintenance Facilities (OMF) for Link trains:
[The Paine Field option] traverses industrial land…where appropriately zoned land exists to site an operations and maintenance base.
No trains on SR 99. In the latest of example of “keep those disruptive trains away from us, and please build them yesterday”, Everett opposes Link on SR 99 on the grounds that it would hurt local businesses, instead preferring that Link cross SR 99 twice with intermodal stations connecting to Swift:
In our recent Evergreen Way Corridor Revitalization Plan process, the City and stakeholders determined that locating a light rail alignment in this corridor will have disruptive impacts to the business interests in this corridor…Opportunities for transit-oriented development in the Evergreen Way corridor north of SR 526 are fairly limited by well-established neighborhood land use patterns. This corridor is already served by frequent Swift Bus Rapid Transit and Everett Transit local bus service. Our preferred alignment will have a station located at two intersections with Evergreen Way (at Airport Rd, and at SR 526) where access between…modes can be provided.
Fewer stations. The letter makes the case for reducing costs to help pay for Paine Field by removing a Downtown Everett station near Rucker and Pacific, instead using I-5 and then Broadway to approach a single stop at Everett Station:
In our recent conversations with Sound Transit staff and consultants, it is clear that the top priority for refining the alternatives is to reduce capital and operational costs. We believe [our preferred alignment] reduces costs…by eliminating two stations…These included a station on Evergreen Way in each option, and a station on Pacific Avenue…We suggest that the northbound approach to Everett Station be in the Broadway corridor.
A package large enough for North Everett. Stephanson closes the letter that any package be scaled to include the Downtown Everett to North Everett extension, for a total Lynnwood-North Everett cost of roughly $6B:
We recommend a finance package that is large enough to complete the system and robust enough [to include] the extension [to North Everett].
Though outside of Sound Transit’s taxing district, Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak wrote to the Board in support of Everett’s preferences for Link to North Everett via Paine Field.
Mayor Nicola Smith’s short 1-page letter packs a punch, making four main points.
Complete the spine. The letter argues for prioritization of the Tacoma-Everett spine when “available funding [results] in trimming a number of potential projects.”
Serve Paine Field.
Lynnwood has a strong preference for route N2A that will run from the Lynnwood Transit Center through the Lynnwood City Center and Regional Growth Center to Everett via Paine Field. While acknowledging this alignment is longer, the benefit of direct access to one of the largest concentrations of employment and planned airline service at Paine Field far outweigh the additional cost.
No stations at 130th or 220th. Immediately after asking for a longer alignment between Lynnwood and Everett, the letter asks for fewer stations south of Lynnwood in order to speed trips to Seattle.
We question the cost/benefits of adding stations at 130th and 220th in Lynnwood Link as part of ST3. Potential ridership increases are insignificant, and each stop will add travel time to Lynnwood, and ultimately to Everett. Potential demand could be handled by rerouting bus hours that will be freed up when Lynnwood Link opens.
We encourage Sound Transit to find ways to expedite the delivery of projects. It will have taken 15 years from voter approval to complete the Lynnwood Link extension in 2023. ST3 should proceed on a faster track.
Mayor Jerry Smith’s letter supports Link to Everett via Paine Field (sensing a theme here?), and voices strong support for the only two projects within Mountlake Terrace, namely a second parking garage at Mountlake Terrace station and the deferred infill station at 220th St SW (which would serve 3,800 jobs, primarily Premera employees). Unfortunately, between the two, the letter says that the second parking garage is preferred.
Edmonds submitted two letters to
Sound Transit. Mayor Dave Earling’s letter supports Link to Everett via Paine Field and the deferred Edmonds Permanent Station project. He also supports the second Mountlake Terrace parking garage, though he hedges that better east-west bus connections serving the station could be a better choice. He also asks that the Lynnwood Link alignment be built in a way to facilitate the 220th St SW station, even if the project isn’t included in ST3.
The second letter (a joint letter from Mayor Earling an Council President Kristiana Johnson) says only one thing, in case there were any ambiguity, that “the overwhelming consensus has coalesced behind a preferred alignment to Everett via the Paine Field industrial area.”
New Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers’ letter is relatively short at two pages, but it is attached to 38 pages of entertaining revisions in which Somers resubmits Sound Transit’s project evaluation templates with redlined Track Changes. Beyond expected priority support for Link to Everett via Paine Field, the letter mostly urges support for Sound Transit to make $88m in capital contributions to the 164th St SW and 128th St SW widening projects. These projects would add transit, walking, and bicycling capacity to existing I-5 overpasses, but by also preserving general purpose capacity, some have charged that Snohomish County is asking Sound Transit to pay inappropriately for road widening. Somers’ letter makes a spirited defense of the projects on station access grounds.
Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath’s letter begins by noting that CT’s Long Range Plan is entirely predicated on the assumption of a completed spine to Everett, with a comprehensive network of feeder service and 3 SWIFT lines. The letter echoes Somers in asking for ST’s $88m capital contribution the the 128th St SW and 164th St SW overpass projects, noting that CT plans SWIFT lines over both roadways.
The letter also requests that Sound Transit include bus/rail integration in its proposed System Access program:
While transit is mentioned in the project description, the emphasis appears to be primarily on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Given that most riders will access LRT via bus, [this project] should include transit priority treatments on roadway approaches to congested stations that facilitate effective integration of bus and rail. [emphasis mine].