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In the discussions of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at Shoreline’s future 145th Street Station, Charles Bond at The Urbanist broke the news that Sound Transit, Metro, and WSDOT have agreed to move the station north by roughly 400′, to the vicinity of NE 148th Street. As we discussed last week, the station already has much going against it in terms of access: the walkshed is bifurcated by I-5 and the accompanying interchange, the adjacent Jackson Park golf course is the epitome of transit-hostile land use, and little commercial development currently exists. If all that weren’t enough, a massive parking garage is planned. The station’s saving grace at this point is a progressive Shoreline government that is trying very hard (and may succeed) at making TOD lemonade from the lemon Sound Transit chose when it passed over superior options at 130th and/or 155th. So from this low baseline, will a move to 148th help or hurt? Well, it depends.

First, the positives. A move to the north does make the station a bit more central in any TOD plans, rather than primarily being TOD’s southwestern flank. The non-arterial grid, such as it exists, can be better prioritized for non-motorized access at 148th (especially if it meant a a new pedestrian bridge over I-5). And the three agencies seem to have agreed that the move will make the interchange rebuild easier and eliminate or reduce the complications over changes to a state drainage facility.

But the primary impetus seems to be facilitating bus-rail transfers, and here the benefits are more debatable. On one hand, if agencies are basically giving up on a people-friendly arterial on 145th, then a more separated facility with direct bus transfers may be preferable to in-line stops on NE 145th ST and 5th Ave NE.  The familiar result would be a loop-de-loop transit center similar to Mt Baker or Tukwila International Boulevard, in which all through-routed buses would incur a permanent 2-3 minute time penalty on every run.

According to Metro Deputy General Manager Victor Obeso in a statement to STB, the agency believes that increased bus volumes as outlined in Sound Transit 3 and Metro’s (soon to be adopted) Long Range Plan (LRP) necessitate the move:

To help riders make easier and safer connections, and access a transit network that better integrates buses and rail, Metro worked collaboratively with Sound Transit, WSDOT and Shoreline on the station design to modify the proposed LINK station at 145th which resulted in a slight shift to the north. The new location modifies circulation to provide a safer transfer environment by moving bus loading areas from on-street to inside the facility, so customers will be able to seamlessly make connections. This also separates bus entrances and rider drop-off areas, which reduces walking distances and increases safety.

As Sound Transit moved toward final design of the 145th Street LINK station there was recognition that several things had occurred since the planning phase which needed to be considered. These included Shoreline’s 145th Corridor Study, Metro’s Long Range Plan, Shoreline’s land use around the station and Sound Transit’s ST3 proposal.

The facility will be compatible with the proposed ST3 plan for a SR522 BRT route and has capacity for future additional Metro or ST service.

Let’s look at the planned bus service at the station. First and foremost, Sound Transit 3 includes funding for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on NE 145th St and SR 522 between the station and Woodinville, with 10-minute frequency to UW-Bothell and 20 minute frequency to Woodinville. As a route terminating at 148th Street Station, the slight move to the north represents a negligible travel time difference, as the bus would likely pull into the station anyway for layover.

Metro’s Draft LRP Service Network includes 3 frequent routes to the station (see sketch map below), including:

  • Shoreline CC to UDistrict Station (Basically a combo of today’s 330+65)
  • Mountlake Terrace to Northgate (northern half of 347+ southern half of 346)
  • Jackson Park to Interbay (28X to Ballard plus new connection to Magnolia and Interbay)

The ‘gold’ route from Interbay (colors for illustration only) would terminate at the 148th Street Station, so the northern shift seems less of a concern. For the ‘black’ and ‘pink’ routes below, the likely result is a time-wasting loop of the transit center instead of in-line stops on 5th Ave NE, though those boarding or alighting at the northbound stop would be spared a street crossing.

Ultimately, it appears that ‘transit center’ thinking is prevailing over streamlined service, and whether or not you think that’s a good thing depends on the relative value you place on direct off-street transfers versus a bit of travel time. I tend to prefer faster travel times and in-line stops with ADA accessible pathways to/from the arterials, but less able-bodied folks have every right to feel differently. And if we fail to remake the arterials into human-friendly places anyway, the move may prove a blessing.

Shoreline 145th Street Service in 2040-01-01

116 Replies to ““148th Street Station” and Bus Transfers”

  1. My comment on 522 BRT is this: There are a lot of people who don’t pay any attention at all to these things until they’re already running. And the day the 522 BRT line opens, all these people will be asking, “why doesn’t it just keep going to Aurora? Stopping at I-5 is just stupid.” And this revised station location won’t help get it there.

    1. Agree. But if ST views the BRT as simply getting people to/from Link, then maybe it makes sense to layover the BRT at the station, and Metro simply needs to run other buses that shuttle between the station and greenwood.

      1. Are there not also people between I-5 and Greenwood around 145th? If “getting people to/from Link” is the raison d’être, a line along the entire 145th corridor is key to accomplishing this. “Transit center thinking” and treating Link as far and away the most important element in the transit network is making all other trips that could be enabled by a network intelligently restructured around Link more difficult to make, and not just because Link fails to provide access along its route frequently enough to fully participate in a comprehensive network.

      2. *Getting people from North Lake Washington to/from Link. The station along 145th are more “well since we’re already passing by might as well have stations.”

        If the goal was the extend the 145th station walkshed along 145th, we would have seen a BRT line that either passes through Lake City or extends west of I5. But the project is for Kenmore/Bothell/etc., so the BRT takes a straight shot towards the station. Spending money on bus lanes west of I5 doesn’t help Bothell commuters.

        I’m not defending this thinking, just highlighting the paradigm the project is being built under.

  2. This thing really needs to be on 155th so that there is a way for buses to cross I-5 without the congestion around the interchange.


    Build the station directly above 145th so that it is possible for passengers to go directly between the buses and the station, as done at the Main Street and Terminal Avenue station on SkyTrain.


    Run the routes on 5th and build enough of the station above 5th that it is possible to get from northbound 5th directly up to the platform level.


    Something else. Anything else?
    There has to be something better than repeating the tangle at Mt. Baker.

      1. It’s quite a contrast if you actually try to use something like TriMet’s 9 to Green Line connection at Powell Blvd. Compare Powell Blvd MAX Station to SkyTrain Main Street and Terminal Avenue and the deficiencies of building a station significantly offset from the bus route(s) serving the station become pretty clear.

        Just like this station, Green Line Powell Blvd was built primarily to serve a park and ride lot, despite #9 Powell being a very busy route. The convenience of the park and ride and its users interferes with what could have been a much more useful station for interchange.

        If the station had been built directly above Powell Blvd, or even somewhat further north, a whole set of apartments just north of Powell Blvd would have been far more conveniently connected to MAX, as well as providing better connections to the 9.

        The one bit of convenience that station has that the 145th Link station doesn’t seem to have is the parallel bike path bridge above Powell, so that it is at least possible to cross Powell Blvd without getting killed. With the number of busy roads that are around this 145th station, they are really going to need some better pedestrian overpasses such as a parallel bike path. That bike path really helps access to MAX in a number of places.

      2. Putting the station directly over the road, with exits on both sides, was the design philosophy of the entire Chicago L, the elevated lines in New York City, and many many other places. It’s just The Right Thing To Do.

      3. There is probably some rule against this, but I was going from the walkway along False Creek to Pacific Central station. The light changed just as I got to the intersection at Main, and since I still had a valid transfer on the card I used the SkyTrain station as a pedestrian bridge to get across Main.

        So, if nothing else, building a station that at least has some ability to also serve as a pedestrian bridge over 145th (and 5th and I-5 and its ramps too) might give an incentive for people to buy ORCA cards.

    1. @Glenn — I sometimes wonder if anyone at Sound Transit has ever studied the system in Vancouver, or other successful systems in general. That might be too harsh. Maybe some of the worker bees know all about what works, but the leadership ignores them.

      @ Nathanial — More to my point. This isn’t a radical idea. This isn’t like putting buses in a tunnel (something innovative and something this very county did quite successfully). It is just standard, effective station placement.

      But if your only goal is — to quote Mike Orr — check off various “we did this, it goes there” boxes, then you can just keep passing proposal after proposal.

      1. Yeah, that’s why I think it would be good to have someone from Shoreline or ST actually visit a place not too far away that shows the problems with various freeway alignment stations.

        TriMet has an assortment of configurations, all of which have various issues: Bybee Blvd is great because it also has a golf course, an SFH neighborhood filled with people angry about free street parking, busy streets that aren’t safe yo cross, and other similarities to 145th.

        Lents/Foster demonstrates how badly a freeway tears up a place and how difficult it is to get transit friendliness back.

        Golf ate has no freeway interchange blocking its access, and it is a reasonably busy station for a single bus transfer thanks to easy bus transfers thanks to the lack of interchange ramps. It’s a bit like 130th could be, except 130th has far more potential.

    1. It does seem rather contradictory for the staff to declare that the environmental process precludes adding a station to 130th but moving it to 148th is ok.

    2. Official position from the ST CEO is that will put Federal funds at risk. 130th station will be put in separately to not cost the project Federal dollars.

    3. That official position regarding the Federal funds was easily disproved.

      Its more a case that ST is much more confident in getting their buses using WADOT arterials (532) to a suburban-esque location than using a Seattle arterial and Metro buses. Different element of control; you don’t have pesky Seattle to worry about.

      What gets me is the connection – that the 522 is generally 30 minutes non-peak, ‘only’ gets 5K monthly ridership and a good proportion of that ridership is at peak, and comes from the 145th stop (south of 145th), 137th, 130th, 125th. Remind me why that is BRT worthy?

      1. I think the 522 would get more riders if the frequency was better, especially now that it stops at 85th. What confuses me is that they feel like there’s enough of a transit population up north of 145th to justify all the expense of BRT up there. Am I missing something? I don’t know that area well at all, so I admit I might be lacking in information.

      2. Getting the 522 to 15 minute frequency is really the minimum.

        I’ve ridden the 522 all the way to the Woodinville P&R. Once it gets past Bothell UW, its a coverage route. The one thing might throw off the numbers is that you could count the 312 and 372 ridership in it. However, the 372 has even more Seattle riders it and does not go all the way to Woodinville. 312 is only peak, starts at the Kenmore P&R and it also has more Seattle riders and stops.

        OTOH, the 522 bus lane is already painted and cars seem to respect the lane.

        What gets about both the 148th (might as well be descriptive) LR station and 522 BRT is both projects ‘borrow’ Lake City density for ridership/data purposes but ensure that 90% of the density cannot use it effectively.

      3. ST views it as serving cities, and this line allows ST to check off the boxes for Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, and marginally Shoreline and Seattle. Its primary transit market is Bothell Way, and it’s possible that the only reason it gets on 145th at all is that’s the way to the Link station. People on Bothell Way are mostly going to several parts of Seattle, SeaTac, and Snohomish County. It’s highly unlikely that they’d be going to that part of Aurora or Greenwood. It’s more likely that somebody from Lake City or Jackson Park is going to Aurora or Greenwood, but those are outside the BRT’s service area.

      4. “Once it gets past Bothell UW, its a coverage route”

        I’m concerned about reliability and even headways if half the buses go to Woodinville. It seems better for both reliability and rightsizing to switch buses at UW Bothell.

      5. >> It’s highly unlikely that they [people on Bothell Way] would be going to that part of Aurora or Greenwood.

        Why? It seems like a very logical way to go for a fairly big chunk of the population. There are no cross streets between Ballinger way and 145th. Ballinger Way intersects at 205th. North of there, the streets don’t go through in a straight forward manner. This means that for a lot of trips, going along 145th makes sense. From just about everywhere north of the lake (Kenmore, Bothell, Lake Forest Park) to about 175th to 145th east of I-5, it makes sense to use 145th. This is exactly how one would drive. That is a pretty broad area on both sides. It is the shortest distance, for example, between Shoreline College and UW Bothell. I think it is highly likely that lots of people from the other side of the I-5 divide attend those colleges, let alone just want to go over there.

        If we are building a system for the majority of commuters in small areas, then we are sure spending a bundle on it. I can’t think of anyone that has spent that much money on commuter rail. If we are trying to build a system that fundamentally improves transit — that actually works for trips that are less common — then ignoring these sorts of trips seems foolish.

      6. @baselle — You are giving ST far too much credit. There is no reason to believe that serving 130th with buses would be harder than serving 145th. Quite the contrary. Seattle has proven that they are willing to spend more on bus service than the suburbs.

        No, Mike nailed it. This checks all the boxes. It isn’t until the system is really built that people will notice that it really doesn’t function very well. It is quite likely that many people won’t even realize the problem exists, and just assume that all systems work like this. As much as people in Seattle think they are quite worldly, this is still a very provincial town. We are simply a long way away from other cities, and a lot of people don’t bother visiting the nearest one because it involves a border crossing. This means that we have no idea that some cities build bus systems with grids, and that many make it extremely easy to get from bus to train. They might assume that every big city builds their transit only to serve those that are headed downtown, because everyone else (of course) just drives.

    4. Well, it will now be 18 blocks between stations rather than 15. (U-Dist and Roosevelt are 20 blocks apart).

      1. I really wouldn’t mind if it was 25 (if the station was at 155th). The problem is that this is the worst of both worlds. It neither avoids traffic, nor makes for a straight shot. It is Northgate Transit Center, but without the excuses (it was already there). It is just bad. Not the worst mistake ST had made, just the latest one.

  3. Loop-de-loops into transit centers to save connecting riders 50 feet of walking are just plain bad. They are a slap in the face to anybody who is just trying to travel in a straight line that happens to pass through a transit center in the middle of it. Design decisions like these make for bus routes that are structurally much slow than driving, even if the bus never needs to actually stop to let passengers on and off. The F-line, in particular, is a poster child of a ridiculously circuitous route. I have Uber’d from downtown Renton to TIBS before in about 1/3 of time that it takes the F-line to make that trip, in no small part due to the deviations for Tukwila Sounder Station and Southcenter.

    Even if a stop on 145th is hopeless, I fail to see why buses can’t stop in-lane on 5th. 5th is a much smaller street than 145th, and there is no reason why the design can’t include a simple signalized crosswalk next to the station. 5th Ave. is never going to have nearly as much car traffic on it as 145th.

    And, looking at the picture of the intersection of 5th/145th, the four sides of the intersection has just one crosswalk. Present a traffic engineer with the problem of pedestrians obstructing turning vehicles, and he will no doubt respond with the solution of eliminating the pedestrians.

    1. The F is a pretty extreme comparison, no? Bad route design is but one of a mishmash of factors that conspired to ruin the F well before the first red buses ever started running the route. Seriously, it’s terrible. A candidate for “worst bus route”. (Confidential to ZS: “Most Miserable Bus Routes And How To Fix Them 2016” post?)

      This reminds me much more of the Mt Baker situation, which until recently had this very loop-de-loop problem with the 8 and suffers bus/Link transfer pains. It’s also not what you’d call pedestrian-friendly. However, there’s hope, and quite a lot of it if the Mt Baker Access project ever gets going.

    2. “Loop-de-loops into transit centers to save connecting riders 50 feet of walking are just plain bad.”


      Isn’t there something in the Service Guidelines that heavily discourages stops that add several minutes to a route, especially if those using that stop don’t actually save any time?

      The bureaucrats may think of the time to get to the platform (and still not realize no time was saved), but forget how much time riders going from the platform to the bus stop would save for themselves by walking out to the street.

      Any time I catch the F Line at TIBS, it annoys me that I can’t just walk out to Southcenter Blvd and have the bus pick me up out on the street.

      If 145th is to have TOD, then making these neighbors have to walk all the way to the far end of a parking lot to catch the bus is BAD.

      1. “If 145th is to have TOD, then making these neighbors have to walk all the way to the far end of a parking lot to catch the bus is BAD.”

        They can drive to the P&R. :)

    3. “They are a slap in the face to anybody who is just trying to travel in a straight line that happens to pass through a transit center in the middle of it.”

      There is a counterargument that most riders are going to/from the transit center and only a few are going through, especially if it’s a subway transfer.

      1. I agree. I’d still prefer Glenn’s solution of building the station above 145th, but I don’t see many passengers continuing through at this station. If, say, you’re coming from 522 BRT, there are vastly more destinations available via Link than on the other side of I5.

      2. Except that the loop-de-loop doesn’t really save the transferring riders any time – it only saves them walking.

      3. >> If, say, you’re coming from 522 BRT, there are vastly more destinations available via Link than on the other side of I5.

        Of course there are, but that misses the point. One major side benefit to well a designed subway system is that improves the bus grid. This is a classic example. The north end needs more crossing bus routes. But Metro can’t find the money, since they fear that not enough people will ride it. They are focused on getting everyone downtown. Thus people who want to get from one side to the other (or just about anywhere but downtown) simply drive.

        But build the light rail, add the stops, and things can change. It is quite reasonable to run east-west lines, since large numbers of riders will use it as a means to go downtown. But next thing you know, significant numbers of people who used to drive across town will take the bus. Bitter Lake to UW Bothell. Lake Forest Park to Shoreline College. These may not be the most popular trips, but they are typical, and probably make up the bulk of driving in this area. Ask anyone why they drive to work, and typically the first thing they say is “I don’t work downtown …”.

        Failing to promote and push for a solid transit grid is a lost opportunity. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the end of the world. It is just Link creep (a failure to build what is obviously superior to save a few bucks, even though you have spent billions already). It isn’t the end of the world, but please, can we stop saying things like “Link is expensive because it is higher quality” just because they dug a few tunnels, when they continue to make mistakes like this?

    4. Speaking of the F-line, I’d love to have a thread discussing better routings for it. It’s both obviously terrible and, given the land use, still hard to solve. It would be a good real world example for balancing goals like directness and going to destinations when land use gives you pretty terrible options.

      Then we could bring that knowledge back to things like the pink line on the map here, that represent easier cases of the same challenge.


      (Speaking of the pink line, does anybody know if the pink line goes on Meridian or 99 to the south of the 145th station, and if it goes on 15th or 25th to the north? If Aurora/25th, that’s a darned squiggly and inefficient line. If Meridian/15th, not so bad.)

      1. From Mountlake Terrace it would generally take 15th-175th-5th-Meridian/College-92nd-Northgate

  4. Seattle, lets transform the Jackson Park Golf Course into a new urban neighborhood. Does Seattle need three publicly owned transit adjacent golf courses? Jackson Park would be a great place to subdivide into new blocks centered around a day lighted Thorton Creek.

    And then the City should plan to do the same around the West Seattle and Jefferson Park Gold Courses. Any council members want to champion a study of how much housing could be built on these three publicly owned parcels?

    1. Given the dearth of parks in the NNE, that land would be great for an outdoor pool and a community center. There isn’t any lake access in Lake City (or pretty in the 7 mile stretch from Logboom down to Matthews Beach, other than the fenced-off pocket-beach being disputed at 130th) , and all the kids in the high-density, ultra-low income Little-brook area have nothing to do.

      Rezone to 20 stories from 140th to 145th, and bring in the bulldozers, if you absolutely must drop a stupid station at 145th.

      Of course, the city just invested a few mil in a new club-house, and they think of the golf course as a cash-cow, so no-touchy.

      1. Take a look at the map, it appears as though the clubhouse is on the complete opposite end of the golf course from the station site, so no riding Link to play golf. There is, however, a short dirt path that would connect the club house to the 130th St. Station. Although I have no idea how feasible it would be to actually walk that path with a bunch of golf clubs (it could be doable in a hand cart if the path isn’t too steep).

      2. I haven’t golfed for more than 15 years, but I’ve always been a bit confused as to how a golf course that you have to pay to play on is considered a public park. Why is this considered public space if you have to pay to use it? (Even if money goes to local government use.)

        Rezone the whole area, build 4-7 stories buildings all over that showcase the missing middle (including real rowhouses), but retain a stretch of greenway park from 145th to 130th, culminating in a piazza. Make this an urban Street of Dreams for developers to showcase what good development can look like.

      3. Condemn Lakeside school while you are at it, and turn it into Cabrini Green, but with modern public housing principles.

        That would drag Bill Gates’ attention back to his home town, instead of diddling his billions away on education and health crap he knows little about.

      4. “Given the dearth of parks in the NNE, …”

        Are you saying that without irony?

        The denizens of far northeast Seattle do not have to climb a giant wall to access the abundant parks in eastern Shoreline. They just have to cross 145th.

      5. Being an expert in negotiations, I propose Jackson Pk GC donate the 3 holes closest to the station. This is a win-win-win.
        TOD gets better
        Link gets more riders
        Golfers scores go down by 17%. (now everyone can break 100)

      6. Brent – you’ve clearly never tried to cross 145th on foot. It’s worse than a giant wall. With a wall, if you fall, you only probably break a leg.

        Yes, there is Hamlin Park. 20 blocks north of the city limits. These kids are poor. Most don’t have Mommy to drive them to the park. Mommy is working 3 jobs and taking the bus.

        And we wonder why crime is rising around Lake City. With 10 foot barbed-wire fences between the kids and “their park”.

      7. And while it’s true only around dozen pedestrians and a few bikes have been hit, and there has only been 1 fatality on the stretch, it’s mainly because there is it’s incredibly hostile to cars, with narrow, obstructed sidewalks and a complete lack of destinations. Other than your Hamlin park, which for most kids is far beyond what they would be willing to walk. If they survived the crossing.

        They could maybe survive the trip to the cemetery. To visit the friends who didn’t make the crossing. Maybe that’s what you consider part of the “abundant parks”.

      8. I used to live on 143rd for several years.

        I apparently know of a lot more parks in northeast Seattle and Shoreline than you do.

        I agree, though, that more crosslights would be in order. I bet Seattle has been waiting for Shoreline to take over all of 145th, and Shoreline has been holding out for Seattle to go in on half. Same problem with having a cohesive sidewalk and bike plan.

        At least under the Murray administration, Seattle is doing away with intra-city inter-neighborhood disconnects. Living in South Park now, I remember fondly being able to walk to a lot more parks.

      9. I lived in North City for 5 years and Lake City for 7. So I’ve lived on both sides of 145th, with a kid. So I’m intimately familiar with all the parks. None are nearly as convenient for the huge group of Littlebrook kids as a community center in Jackson Park (our better yet, more central to Littlebrook, but there isn’t any land, except the auto-dealerships on arterials) would be.

        It’s a park in name only. It’s really a single-use, privileged, members-only club owned by the city. And that’s crap.

      10. Is it really members only? It’s one thing to charge admission to pay for the golf course staff and maintenance. It’s another thing for the city to own a private club, especially if you have to be nominated by an existing member to join.

      11. No, it isn’t members only. Anyone who shows up and pays their greens fees can play, city resident or otherwise. I expect that there are clubs (men’s, women’s…) and they may get preferential treatment for reserving tee times, but no one needs to be invited to play the course.

      12. The city also has pools and weight rooms that charge admission.if I recall. The parks are free but labor-intensive services aren’t.

      13. I agree with bilruben. Given the general density and makeup of the area, there is a lack of high quality parks in northeast Seattle. A lot of the parks in Shoreline are surprisingly hard to get to (on foot or bike). If golfers are kicked out of Jackson Park, some of it might be converted to housing, but most of it would simply be a general purpose park, and it would be most welcome.

    2. If wishes were fishes Kirk.

      Remember the shitshow around the Meyer’s parcels? And that was 5 acres of contaminated land with no park potential buying sold for money to help homeless people.

      Developing the golf courses would just be painted as a greedy developer land grab.

      Maybe if Seattle developed the golf courses themselves as 100% affordable housing. That’s what the homeless levy should be going toward.

    3. +1 on the golf course transformations! Let’s think big about this. And how about the terrific idea that’s been floated to anticipate the inevitable sea level rise and inundation of South Park: create dense TOD on our three existing public golf courses, condemn those neighborhoods in the Duwamish valley that will be inundated, and build a new world class public golf course (a la Chambers Bay) along the Duwamish. I’m no urban planner, but my hunch is that the resulting development will more than make up for the lost housing along the Duwamish and help to exceed the city’s housing goals. Who’s with me?!

      1. I’m in just so long as my ultra-mini golf cart is allowed on Link. “Foouuurrre – coming through”

    4. I’d like to see it, but I can’t see the politics working on that. A very large portion of the city is mad about apartment buildings going up already – doing it in a publicly owned green space is a hard sell.

      I’d sell it as affordable housing + public park, helping struggling families and opening greenspace up for everybody. Then build along I-5 and 145th, so the buildings can form a shield from the sounds of the freeway and help build the new urban village in shoreline. Then you make a really nice park out of the remaining space, and fund the whole thing by making the project a mix of affordable and market rate housing.

    5. A city needs recreational opportunities and golf is one of those opportunities and not every golfer can afford to belong to a golf club so these municipal courses are wonderful for those golfers to able to enjoy their sport.

      A city is not only housing but it also parks and recreational facilities. If some you had your way you would not have any of those for the city residents to enjoy.

      1. I know my share of golfers. Surprisingly enough, they don’t fit the typical stereotype. These golfers are working class, or at the very least, had working class roots.

        But that being said, this is just a huge amount of land being set aside for one sport that really isn’t that popular. I like soccer, for example. I used to play it all the time. But ask anyone who plays in a rec league and they will tell you that there is huge shortage of space. Convert half of either of the golf course to soccer fields and you have a huge number of fields. My guess is more people would use those fields than use the golf courses.

        Not that I recommend that. But a nice balance seems in order. These were built when such locations were “out there”. Now, of course, the city has grown around it. There aren’t enough soccer fields, playgrounds, basketball/tennis/handball courts to go around. Shrink the courses, allow for easy walking, add amenities, and more people — a lot more people — would use the land.

    6. The golf course is not going to be converted. It’s considered one of Seattle’s great parks and a sports amenity. Someone said the annexation agreement for the area required it to remain a golf course. What we can do is push for a row of something else at the edges.

      1. Right, a great park that most people (those that have no interest in playing golf) can enjoy. Which makes it different than say, Green Lake, which has basketball courts, playgrounds, soccer fields, ultimate Frisbee fields (or just plain fields) along with walking paths for all to enjoy.

        But you are right — nothing will happen with this as long as there are still a handful of people who like to play a truly bizarre sport (and I say that as a Scotsman).

  5. So basically they want to build a park and ride. The neighbors that didn’t want TOD are sure gonna love all the extra traffic. Maybe they can build it with TWO pointless mezzanines too!! (snark)

      1. True, but the park and ride is growing from 68 to over 500 spaces. That a 5x increase in parking capacity. Frankly, the station is just a commuter station anyway, the realistic options for TOD are very limited, so they might as well just do that I suppose. Mike, do you know if that’s why they picked a freeway alignment (I assume you must work at ST since you are so knowledgeable about the ins and outs of this planning).

      2. I don’t work in the transit industry. I’ve just used it for most of my life, followed its evolution over time, and attended some ST board meetings and open houses. When I was in high school in the early 80s, the route in this area was the 307 which was hourly from downtown on I-5 to Northgate, then Lake City and Bothell. In Northgate it stopped in front of the Bon Marche (Macy’s). The park & rides at Northgate (north of the mall), 130th, and 145th may have been built then or earlier. Northgate Transit Center was built in the mid 90s. At the time it was assumed that future rail would stop at Northgate Transit Center and 145th because of course it would serve the park n rides. That view pretty much stuck, and led to the station locations in ST2.

        People thought differently in the 80s and 90s. Only a few weirdos like myself would take a bus or walk from the surrounding neighborhoods to the train; most people would drive. And the buses were so infrequent (60 minutes; later 30 minutes daytime & 60 evenings/Sundays) that it was difficult to use them even if you wanted to. I’m not sure if they realized that buses and trains have different needs. The P&Rs are at those locations because the buses need the freeway entrance. But trains don’t need the freeway, and people driving to the train are on local streets not I-5 so they don’t need it. But somehow that didn’t translate until the station locations were set in the long-term plan, and became the presumed locations in the ballot measure and EIS.

  6. There is no connection from Smith Cove to Magnolia unless you go up the Magnolia Bridge or thru Interbay and up Dravus

    1. There is an existing social trail that covers a 200′ gap between the end of the road at Elliott Bay Marina and the block of W Galer St. connecting to 32nd Ave. W. The city has funded a grant to study what is needed to create a multi-use path and this connection from the waterfront to Magnolia Village is included in the Bicycle Master Plan. Go to Magnolia Trail for the details.

      The Port of Seattle is even open to creating a multi-use path through Terminal 91 (pretty much under the Magnolia Bridge) so that one doesn’t have to ride north around the terminal to connect to the Elliott Bay Trail.

  7. Clearly, the station is being sited to minimize the transfer penalty between parking one’s car and boarding. It would have been nice to have one end of the station close to 145th, so that 145th BRT could continue westbound without adding a couple minutes to everyone’s trip. I would be satisfied limiting the loop-de-loop to just eastbound. The buses staying on 5th Ave NE should definitely NOT do the loop-de-loop.

    155th was ultimately abandoned as an option when the hostility of the neighborhood towards TOD became evident.

    We’ve hashed the debate over having buses from Kenmore/Bothell go to 130th or 145th ad nauseam. Only trying the options out in real time after both stations are open will end that debate.

  8. The routing diagram doesn’t show the final turns up and down 5th Avenue NE and into and out of the station for every bus route rather than just the black one. Most times a bus turns, it results in rider delays.

  9. Can the station be designed so that routes that terminate will pull off of 145th into a mini Transit Center, but through routes can simply drop people off along 145th or 5th?

    For routes like the 522 BRT, the TC may make sense to give the drivers a layover facility. For through routes, it’s a bit longer walk but that may be a wash with the time benefits for people not getting off the bus & therefore don’t have to sit through the TC pull-out?

    If we concede there are clear engineering/cost reasons to shift the station location, can’t that be mitigated by having a pedestrian bridge across 145th (to serve people accessing the station from the south side of the road) that simply continues elevated all the way to the station?

    So if I get off the bus on 145th east bound, I can take the stairs/elevator immediately at my bus stop and then walk “at grade” all the way to station platform without having to navigate a 2nd stair/elevator.

    1. If there is to be a pedestrian bridge, I would hope it goes to the mezzanine. Otherwise, I don’t see people using it. Another lesson from Mt. Baker… and many other poorly-used pedestrian bridges where pedestrians prefer to just use the crosswalk.

    2. A pedestrian bridge would be awesome, effectively doubling the walkshed. But I don’t give it great odds – look how hard it was to get a pedestrian bridge at Northgate, and that’s with North Seattle Community College on the other side of the bridge. Of course, they have rezoned the other side. We shall see.

      1. $100M of “station access” funds in ST3 might go a long way towards both of these bridges?

  10. Is there a site plan? It’s hard to assess station access without one, and I don’t see one in the hyperlinks.

    A 148th pedestrian crossing would be great. A pedestrian and bus only crossing would probably be better.

    Leaving the platform/station where it is, turning the 145th overpass into a transit and pedestrian only crossing and building new one-way over crossings for traffic north and south of there (making cars jog the few blocks out of direction rather than buses) could be the ultimate pro-transit strategy. That would turn the 145th over-crossing into a transit center. That would also create a giant, squarish, one-way rotary for all the traffic using 145th, 5th and the interchange ramps; I’m not sure how that traffic flow would work, but with synchronized signals it could be fairly smooth. It sounds a bit revolutionary — but I do get tired of seeing the tacit assumption that traffic paths can’t get touched and buses and train stations have to work around that constraint rather than beginning with an assumption that buses and pedestrians should be planned to follow their most natural paths and that traffic should get moved instead.

  11. Seems like a clear win to me.
    I think 99% of the people passing through the transit center will be transferring to/from light rail. This inconveniences a small number of people by adding a couple of minutes to their trip, and gives everyone else a quick transfer.

    Personally, I think it’s crummy to talk a ways to catch a transfer if it’s raining/freezing/windy. It has more to do with Seattle weather than being able bodied. Being able to wait for the bus indoors is a big bonus.

    1. They could build a covered walkway from the station entrance to 5th Ave, and provide shelters on 5th that will probably provide more protection from the elements than the station’s shadow does.

      1. Interesting idea, Glenn. It would certainly work for the black line; the bus runs through the Fifth NE intersection and turns right immediately beyond it. But the pink line couldn’t do it. WSDOT will never add a second light in the middle of the bridge to allow the bus to turn. It would be Fustercluck 101.


        They’d have to cross what is essentially an on-ramp.

  12. When i first saw this article I thought it was talking about 148th in Bellevue and the picture was I-90.

  13. Two of the above frequent routes terminate here, so those aren’t the issue.

    The other two, which are through routes, appear to be north-south along 5th.

    How about a dedicated busway under the tracks from 145th to 155th?

    A bus every what? Three minutes or so? An occasional signal priority turning bus isn’t going to be that big a deal for surrounding traffic.

  14. This move accomplishes two things–1) It avoids a very expensive relocation of the northbound I-5 on ramp, and 2) facilitates much better bus transfer and layover at the station. Layover is very important to providing seamless transfers. Most people will be taking buses to the station, not traveling past it, so I think adding a few minutes to those routes is a good tradeoff.

  15. I lost faith long ago in Sound Transit’s ability to plan for station sites that make sense. Once Link leaves the Seattle city limits in any direction it becomes the same ugly highway oriented mess we’re building all over the country. They ironically cite expense as their number one concern while at the same time spending money wildly on useless crap.

    1. Building on this: I don’t care what the suburbs decide to build for themselves. That’s where subarea equity works in our advantage: the city isn’t subsidizing any of this monstrosity. What irks me is how we’re held hostage to the suburb’s desire to dump money into a bottomless pit while the city should be building more, faster.

      1. Actually, barman, Shoreline — and therefore this station — is in North King, as is Lake Forest Park. I believe that the boundary between North and East King north of the lake is the Lake Forest Park/Kenmore city boundary.

      2. You’re right, I stand corrected. This massive temple of suburban waste will in fact be funded by the city.

      3. Shoreline pays ST taxes too. As for this “temple of suburban waste”, you have to subtract the basic cost of going through Shoreline to Lynnwood.

    2. “They ironically cite expense as their number one concern while at the same time spending money wildly on useless crap.”

      They thought expense was voters’ #1 concern. That was especially true for ST1, which is why Rainier Valley is surface-running. Originally it was going to be surface from Mt Baker to SeaTac, and on Ithe I-5 express lanes from downtown to Northgate. But as each segment went through design, more and more areas asked for it to go to the neighborhood center and be underground or elevated. That led to the current alignment. North of Northgate, one factor was paramount: Lynnwood the endpoijnt, and the hundreds of express buses that could be truncated. By the time ST2 came around people were more willing to pay more for grade separation. The I-5 and Aurora alternatives were not that much different in price, and the travel-time difference was 4 minutes. ST’s estimate was that those four minutes would cause Link to lose more riders than it would gain on the Aurora alignment. The I-5 alignment was only slightly cheaper because the freeway is old and at the end of its life, so great care is needed to avoid disrupting it, because impacting the structure would force ST to rebuilt it at ST’s expense. So the slightly lower expense and slightly faster travel time prevailed. But cost is no longer the main factor in alignment decisions; it’s just one factor.

    1. We aren’t inventing the city now. Shoreline exists, and Lynnwood exists, and Link has to serve them. That means it has to go through this area.

      1. Yeah, and it should have decent stations.

        It should actually be on Aurora where the Interurban was, but that error seems set in stone now.

  16. Considerable parts of a golf course are grass. Grass has maybe 6 inch roots.

    So, build the station across 145th, and shove the park and ride parking under the golf course.

    1. That sounds like the most expensive option possible. If it costs $80k per spot for a regular parking garage, underground parking could easily be 2-3 times that. Do we really want to sink more money into parking?

      1. How much do you think it would be worth it to replace the above ground parking structure with something else? There’s only so much land within the walkshed of a station.

      2. I’m actually surprised that there isn’t a proposal to build a combination transit center and parking garGe as a lid over I-5. Just north of 145th. That would be easier than taking more property as well as better distribute the garage traffic and bus routing options.

      3. It would also help block the freeway noise, which is terrible at many freeway stations.

      4. Structured parking does NOT cost $80,000 per space in the real world. If that’s what ST is budgeting, then somebody needs to take a serious look at their numbers.

        This is a 540-stall transit station structure in San Diego: (it cost about $22,500/stall and opened 2 years ago, for those wondering about parking structure construction costs). San Diego is not dissimilar to Seattle when considering land and construction costs; $25,000+/- is generally what we see as a cost per stall estimate for structured parking. To get that to $80,000 is a leap of epic proportions — especially as that figure per Zach’s excellent article here makes it clear that this figure is in 2014 dollars!

        This really needs to be looked into because it may be symptomatic of a larger problem. Asking for 3x the money you need to do something certainly makes it easy to claim you’re “under budget” when you’re done, but it is a pretty serious waste of taxpayer dollars – and voters may well think that ST is padding all of their numbers to that extent.

  17. I agree, 130th and 155th were a superior combination. What happened, though, was a well-organized, well-orchestrated effort to ensure that 145th was retained, despite that street being a mess traffic-wise for decades, and I wonder what will happen if ST-3 doesn’t pass. Other alternatives were discounted with false arguments that nobody questioned: 175th was said to have “too much traffic,” when actually it’s 2/3rds of 145th and has almost complete sidewalks, far better than 145th, and 155th was said to be “a quiet neighborhood street,” while 185th has the same cross-section and an extensive canopy (of trees). County representatives said that Metro would have difficulty serving 145th by using 145th, but that didn’t dissuade the local politicians, who saw less NIMBY opposition and where (if I recall correctly) three of those pols had or lived on property in the vicinity. Proponents figured that having 145th as a station would ensure that buses would use 145th to get to/from it, a naive view as I said at the time. People use the course of least resistance, and 155th is it, with about 1/3 of the traffic of 145th. Similarly, I’ve been predicting for a long time that the 185th station will be more popular than expected. The map in this article, however, proves that 155th will be used, and it also shows another merit of that street as a location, an almost straight shot to an expanding Shoreline Community College. Fortunately, 130th got in to consideration, but unfortunately it’s not approved yet.

    1. You seem to know a lot about Shoreline streets. However, my interpretation of events is different in several ways. Northgate and 145th were mostly intertia. There was a latecoming organized group for 145th, “522 Transit Now”, but that was really the last reinforcing piece. I think 145th just looked safe to ST and 130th-155th seemed like a step into the unknown, something that might look bad or inadequate later. There used to be a saying, “Nobody gets fired for ordering IBM.” Meaning, it’s best to stick with what’s conventional. There was also Shoreline’s preference for 145th and 185th, and ST listens to city governments more than it listens to anyone else. So those really are the two biggest factors: inertia and Shoreline’s preference. All those things about transit fans liking 155th, tree canopy, 175th traffic were secondary (and I can’t confirm the second two). NIMBY opposition to 155th was probably the third-highest factor. As for “County representatives said that Metro would have difficulty serving 145th by using 145th”, that may be true but I didn’t hear it. But the station isn’t primarily for Metro routes, it’s for the 522.

  18. So even 25 years from now there still won’t be a bus route running straight across 145th Street? Unreal.

    1. There will be a route running across 125th/130th, #1007. Basically a frequent extension of the 75 going to Aurora, then north to Shoreline CC. Arguably that’s more useful for east-west trips because it’s closer to the center of Lake City and Bitter Lake, while 145th is the outskirts of all the surrounding neighborhoods so people aren’t going from 145th/LCW to 145th/Aurora as much; there just aren’t as many people there to make the trips. Of course, that will be useful for Link transfers only when 130th Station opens. That’s an 8-year gap by the official timeline if ST3 passes. We’ve had similar gaps before: 7 years between Westlake and UW, 5 years between UW and U-District. So it’s unpleasant but not extraordinarily worse than those.

  19. Zach, others may have noted this but if you look at the map it’s clear that the northbound on-ramp to I-5 will branch left from Fifth NE just north of the garage. It won’t be like today’s little Park-N-Ride with the lot north of the on-ramp. Passengers for the northbound black and pink lines would have to cross what will essentially be an on-ramp.

    I’d second Mike’s post with the caveat that Seattle City must demand that the 130th Station be built underneath a rebuilt 130th overcrossing and include a center platform with escalators up to both the north and south sides of the new bridge. Thebridge should include bus lanes in both directions. That would redeem the severe bus disabilities in the 148th design.

    However, Shoreline and WSDOT are right to move the station to the north in order to maximize the TOD potential and make the passenger experience better.

    The station had better have that pedestrian crossing, though.

  20. Looking at the map, I see a severe lack of marked crosswalks. No crossing points of 5th next to the station. No crossing points of 145th at 5th, on either side of the street. Only one crossing of 5th at 145th, on the south side of the street. I’m now sure how people who live across the street from the station are supposed to be to the station. Walk north, past the on-ramp, backtrack south? Jaywalk across 145th? Get in their cars to drive literally across the street and park in the garage? This is nuts.

    Even people in the “TOD” north of the station would still need to cross the on-ramp to get to the station. People getting on the freeway tend to be very impatient, and I’m not super-confident in the left-turning drivers bothering to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

    Imagine a southbound large truck passing by, while a northbound driver trying to turn left onto I-5 waits. The instant the truck passes by, the driver slams on the gas and makes his turn, not realizing that there’s people in the crosswalk (because the truck obstructed the view). Yes, it’s the driver’s fault, but that’s little solace to the people in the crosswalk who end up in the hospital or dead.

  21. Lidding I-5 in the south Shoreline area could potentially be done with highway funds.

  22. I actually see I-5 eventually getting lidded the whole length of north Seattle and Shoreline because half the population will be living in multi-family housing within the smogshed of I-5.

    1. People have been living in mutifamily housing between 8th and Roosevelt in the U-District for for fourty-five years and nobody has been willing to lid it or install a sound barrier so far, so why should they do so later?

      1. It won’t happen on it’s own.

        But the road will eventually be rebuilt, and most major highway rebuilds lately seem to include non-trivial amounts of lidding and sound barriers.

  23. lemons: I-5 alignment means stations will be in the freeway envelope and have less TOD potential and fewer pedestrians; NE 145th Street station means station will be in the midst of a full interchange with lots of traffic congestion to slow buses; ST3 BRT via NE 145th Street means Northshore riders will miss Lake City and its connections.
    sugar: short walk distances for bus-rail transfers; Shoreline rezone possibility; Shoreline NE 145th Street possibility.
    the local elected officials and the ST board asked for the lemons. lemons do provide vitamin C.
    my childhood home was close to I-5; I know its sound.

  24. 145th is an important corridor. Stopping buses at the freeway like they are a car getting on or off the freeway doesn’t make any sense. The original design had buses crossing oncoming traffic without signals, now it is just cars going for the northbound on ramp which will have to cross oncoming traffic. My understanding is the station at 148th will be the destination or origin for any bus using the station, there will be no through service. Buses from 145th will have 4 traffic lights (2 each direction) and the dwell time in the station. The dwell time has to include the pause from the end of one run to the scheduled start of the next run. I’m saying this is an 8-10 minute stop not the 2-3 minutes at the southern stations.

    All that TOD you want at the station will cause 10-15 minute intersection delays (15th and 5th) at full build out because there are no businesses in the upzone. The city pays lip service to density having rear garage entrances on 5th, but there are no public roads west of 5th for firetrucks (ladder trucks given the height of the buildings), school buses and delivery trucks if we get any businesses into the station area. The existing Right of Way/setbacks on residential streets mean there won’t be any street parking. If we believe light rail and BRT are commuting only, then the parking reductions Shoreline will give for the buildings near the station will overflow into the neighborhood.

  25. Another comment. I’m guessing the route south to the UDistrict is on 15th (like a Metro 7x) with 10 minute headway and the west route to Ballard will also be a 10 minute headway. The route north to 155th and SCC should also be a 10 minute headway and the link from NSCC to Mountlake Terrace feels like a 20 minute headway. That pushes 8 buses every 10 minutes through the new traffic signal at 148th and 5th.

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