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Aerial view of Lynnwood Station, looking southeast (Sound Transit)

Sound Transit has unveiled the first designs for its stations on the Lynnwood Link Extension, a 8.5-mile light rail project that will continue the current line north past Northgate to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood. While there were several open houses this week where comments were taken, the public can also use an online open house to look at the stations and submit comments until November 30.

The extension has four stations planned to open in 2023, and two provisional stations that will have accommodations to be built at a later date as infill stations. One of the provisional stations, at NE 130th Street, was included in ST3 and could open in 2031 (or earlier), while the other at 220th Street SW in Mountlake Terrace has not been approved.

In addition to feedback on the station designs, the public is also encouraged to submit station names using the online form or written comment.

Lynnwood Station

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Area plan for Lynnwood Station (Sound Transit)

The “flagship” of this extension, at the current Lynnwood Transit Center, is expected to serve nearly 18,000 riders by 2035. It will act as a funnel for most of the bus service in Snohomish County, with few buses expected to keep traveling south on Interstate 5 towards Seattle, even at rush hour. Community Transit, who had no presence at the open house, plans to run a Swift bus rapid transit line from Edmonds to the transit center in time for light rail to open, providing a powerful feeder to Link.

The station itself will be elevated approximately 48 feet above ground level on the southeast side of the current transit center. The platform features “full weather protection” in the form a continuous roof and covered connections to the mezzanine level. The mezzanine has three exits: one to the adjacent parking garage; another to a “station plaza” that is an open space cut in half by a parking ramp; and an entrance on the west side of 46th Avenue (the I-5 access ramp) that leads to the existing bus bays, which will be retained and expanded with additional layover space. The main pedestrian access to the station will be from a “gateway intersection” to the northeast at 44th Avenue and 200th Street, towards where Lynnwood’s planned city center will be located.

Parking will be quite plentiful at the station, both during and after construction. I was told at an open house that Sound Transit intends to maintain parking through construction, though details have not been decided on yet. In addition to more than 1,500 stalls for cars, Sound Transit plans to add a substantial amount of bicycle parking in lockers and cages.

Construction at Lynnwood Transit Center will require the acquisition and demolition of several nearby buildings, including a large furniture store. The station won’t use the entire parcel that these buildings sit on, leaving space for future transit-oriented development. Sound Transit is expecting to see retail flock to these developments, and has not made accommodations for ground-level retail at the station or in the garage, similar to the unleased space at Angle Lake Station (where the city of SeaTac’s ordinance required it).

Mountlake Terrace Station

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Aerial view of Mountlake Terrace Station (Sound Transit)

The only other station north of the county line, in Mountlake Terrace, will re-use the existing parking garage and surface parking lot at the current Mountlake Terrace Transit Center. The station will move bus stops out of the current bus loop and onto nearby streets, encouraging better through-trips, while also providing plenty of layover space along the perimeter. The current median freeway station, opened in 2011, will see very little traffic after 2023, with its Seattle- and Lynnwood-bound buses replaced by light rail.

Like Lynnwood, the city of Mountlake Terrace is bracing for transit-oriented development and has a catchy name for its project. The “Gateway” will develop a large site along Interstate 5 to the south of the station, and will be helped by a station entrance on the south side of 236th Street SW, as well as a new road that will link up with the new parking garage access road at the station.

NE 185th Street Station

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Aerial view of NE 185th Street Station (Sound Transit)

The northernmost of the two Shoreline stations, NE 185th Street will probably have better development prospects thanks to its location at a non-interchange. Uniquely, it will feature a retained cut trench where the platform will sit, as the tracks pass under the nearby NE 185th Street overpass; passengers waiting on the platform should be well protected from the wind, unlike at the other, elevated stations, which lack wind screens similar to those in use at SeaTac/Airport Station. Immediately outside both entrances to the station will be a bus loop with several bus bays, where Community Transit plans to extend the existing Swift Blue Line from Aurora Village and where Metro plans to run frequent service to Shoreline Community College, Richmond Beach and Kenmore. The station’s garage is located on the west side of Interstate 5, and an improved overpass is planned to help funnel commuters back into their cars.

The proposed "enhanced" overpass at NE 185th Street (City of Shoreline)
The proposed “enhanced” overpass at NE 185th Street (City of Shoreline)

NE 145th Street Station

Site plan for NE 145th Street Station (Sound Transit)
Site plan for NE 145th Street Station (Sound Transit)

NE 145th Street Station, arguably the most controversial on the project, will be a lynchpin to the transit network of the entire north end of King County. The station, which was quietly shifted three blocks north to NE 148th Street last year, will feature a large bus loop and large parking garage, with all the associated ramps and access roads needed to support the two. With the now-approved SR 522 BRT line planned to terminate at the station, along with several frequent routes planned by Metro in their long-range plan, there is pressure mounting to fix N(E) 145th Street for transit as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The city of Shoreline plans to upzone the area for denser housing, but the majority of riders will likely be transfers from buses that will take a long and slow loop through the maze-like transit center.

Overall Verdict

While the Lynnwood Link alignment could have been on a much better corridor, and while the stations themselves could’ve been moved to better cross-streets (like 155th), I think that Sound Transit did a fine job with the cards they were dealt. The stations take into account many common complaints that transit riders had after the first generation of Link stations were built, including center platforms and pairs of up and down escalators. The bus-rail transfers at these stations will be painless and pleasant compared to Mount Baker Station or UW Station, though at the cost of through-riders and developable space. Great job, Sound Transit staffers and architects, and I hope to see even better concepts at the 60 percent design meeting in a few months’ time.

109 Replies to “Lynnwood Link Station Design Reaches 30 Percent”

  1. They spent much time and money building the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station. It seems it would be in the riders and taxpayers best interest to figure out how to make it useful for north end connection from bus to rail. Although I am not sure yey how to do it

    1. I expect that they’ll find that Lynnwood TC will be unable to handle the full load of transferring CT buses thrown at it. I-5 is going to be facing another 15% demand by 2023, so more people are going to want to ride transit to escape from the pressure. If a decently close turnback opportunity can be found south of Mountlake Terrace some buses could transfer there until Link pushes north from Lynnwood.

      Of course the real question is “Will CT be able to fund the level of service necessary to fill those trains?”

      1. Yes, Community Transti Prop 1 happened. Barely, but she did.

        The fight, the struggle is now on to make sure the bus routes feed the rail spine. Next year… Community Transit & Everett Transit start strategic planning. Be there. Speak up or forever lose your voice.

      2. There are hundreds of buses coming from Snohomish County to downtown. That’s a huge massive ton of hours for feeders. And utilizing Mountlake Terrace Station makes sense anyway.

      3. But then, where would the buses go after Montlake Terrace? You can’t get off at SR 104 from there, so the buses would need to cut right out of the HOV lanes and get off at 175th or Metro North Base. Now, North Base would be a decent layover point… but it’d be a long deadhead, especially in rush hour.

      4. I’m assuming the buses wouldn’t be on the freeway. They would come from the west and east, serving everything south of 200th. That would free up some space at Lynnwood TC. There wouldn’t be buses coming from Everett and Mukilteo to Mountlake Terrace Station.

    2. Joint use: Greyhound. BoltBus. Uber. Lyft. ReachNow. Private carpool pick-up/drop-off. Vanpool pick-up/drop-off. Perhaps some buses will still do the SLU express.

      1. I like the Greyhound/BoltBus idea. You essentially serve the entire north end without folks having to backtrack, or having the bus spend a lot of time getting on and off the freeway. For a trip to the UW, for example, this would be an ideal stop.

        Express buses also make sense. The problem in general though is that Everett demand is largely of the traditional commute variety. So while an express from Everett to downtown Seattle would be a lot faster in the middle of the day, there just isn’t the demand to justify it. During rush hour, it gets bogged down. Express service that goes to other parts of town makes sense. As you suggest, South Lake Union is one option, although I see it as having the same problem as the downtown service (slow during rush hour — not that popular outside of it). Mountlake Terrace isn’t much farther than Lynnwood, but it only makes sense to run those buses as part of a longer run that leaves the freeway soon after that station. One possibility would be an express from Everett to UW Bothell. It would serve South Everett station, then Mountlake Terrace, then Ballinger Way to Bothell Way. But then again, that might not work because getting off the freeway right after the stop is difficult. In general, I see this only working out well for city to city bus service, which will largely be private once Link gets to Lynnwood.

      2. The whole notion of Boltbus ought to get a redesign. It would be so cool to have the terminus of the Vancouver Boltbus near Lynnwood Parking Garage Station starting in 2023, to maximize its transit-feed-shed, and have the south Boltbus to Portland serve Federal Way Parking Garage Station starting in 2024. I’d also love to have the south terminus in Vancouver at one of the south SkyTrain stations, rather than have to wade through traffic for another hour looping around the city.

        Greyhound is another matter, given the milk-runny service that it tends to be, with egregious dwell time that makes it nearly unusable for long-distance trips.

        Either would need to load and unload much faster than they do now. Boltbus takes up what should be a bus lane on 5th in the International District in the very near future for way too long.

      3. A freeway drop-off would be a great use for that soon-to-be underused freeway stop. Drivers will try to do it at freeway off-ramps if they don’t have it someplace on the highway. San Francisco has a morning problem at Balboe Park today because people do this, despite drop-off points off of the road at Daly City, Colma and Glen Park. It would solve an otherwise huge safety problem.

      4. One aspect the engineers really screwed up about Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station is that it has a much worse noise level than most other freeway stations. Enough that after my one and only time using it, my ears were in pain from just over minutes of waiting for the bus. I personally plan on never using that stop again, at least not without hearing protection. The parking garage itself is actually even worse, as the concrete platforms act like a big sound chamber that amplifies the noise of the roaring traffic.

        Hopefully, the Link Station will be at least a little bit better sound-wise, by being on the opposite side of the parking garage, rather than in the median of the freeway.

      5. The only issue with that is space. Right now there’s enough room for two articulated coaches in each zone. There are times during the rush hour that coaches will get backed up. Although I believe it is a great idea, I don’t think it will be able to handle the volume of private cars or motor coaches picking and dropping people off… especially when people tend to idle when they load and unload their belongings.

      6. Why would people get on I-5 to drop people off at a Link station? You enter and exit the freeway on the sides and the platforms are in the middle, so you’d have to already be driving several miles on the freeway to make the maneuver work. The stations are spaced closely enough that there’s probably another station that’s more convenient unless this one happens to be on your way somewhere else, which couldn’t possibly cover that many people.

      7. Makes sense if the driver is already driving on I5. Eastgate freeway stop gets drop-offs with drivers who are already on I90 heading to their job. Doesn’t work well for pick-up, though.

      8. @Al — Why would people get on I-5 to drop people off at a Link station?

        If the driver and passenger are going two different places. For example, let’s say you are driving from Everett to Ballard, but your friend is headed downtown. You just drop her off at the station, and get right back on the freeway.

        That being said, this is an edge case. There has to be a third person in the car — otherwise when the friend is dropped off, the driver is in the HOV lane illegally.

        So this only makes sense for buses, and very few of those. I’ve been trying to think of bus combinations that could complement the station, and I’m having a really tough time coming up with ideas There just aren’t enough potential through riders. For example, how about a Mill Creek to Shoreline CC bus? You might as well split that up, because there are very few people that would take advantage of the one seat ride. About the only thing that would make sense is express buses into Seattle. For that to work it would have to:

        1) Be worth the extra service hours. The 512 gets decent all day ridership for an express, so I don’t see this as a problem. The bigger issue is whether it makes sense to just use the service hours somewhere else and truncate at Lynnwood.

        2) Worth the speed savings. An express from Everett to downtown would be considerably faster than transferring to the train. You could make this the only stop south of Ash Way, which would speed things up. In the middle of the day you would probably save ten minutes or so.

        3) Better than looping through Lynnwood. I see no point in doing both (which is what the 512 does right now). So doing this would only make sense if you wanted to save a couple minutes by avoiding Lynnwood. This is another trade-off. Lynnwood has more buses, and is a more popular destination. So again it isn’t clear whether it is worth it.

        I just don’t see it. None of these are crazy trade-offs, but added together it just doesn’t seem worth it. Lynnwood is the most popular stop for the 512 (more popular than Everett Station) so I don’t see an express that skips it making much sense.

        About the only possibility I see is maybe running a late night bus to complement the train. That is an edge case, and one that really isn’t worth worrying about too much. I agree with AJ, it is a sunk cost, time to move on. That being said, I think it was worth it. It saved a lot of people a lot of time — my guess is it was very cost effective in that regard.

      9. Even if the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station lives on as nothing but an empty thing you look at as you drive by it will have been worth building. Before it opened there was a whole separate set of peak-only expresses serving the very south end of Snohomish County and the Mountlake Terrace P&R; after it opened these were converted into feeders, which freed up enough service hours to run the Lynnwood-Seattle express (then the 511) every 15 minutes all day. I used this route very often around when this service change occurred, and the change saved me 15 minutes on days that I just missed a 50-50 transfer at Lynnwood. The Mountlake Terrace freeway station was my favorite bus stop that I never used! More importantly, my impression has been that off-peak usage of the express buses generally has grown due to higher frequencies.

        Of course, the later consolidation of Lynnwood and Everett express service (the 512 restructure) helped, both in extending 15-minute service north of Ash Way and in using off-peak hours more efficiently (the hours were mostly invested in more peak runs for the overcrowded 511). But the freeway station was a big part of the reason we’ve had a frequent northern “spine” route today, a Link preview building a transit constituency for a little over a decade before trains to Lynnwood.

    3. Whats with the bus loop throughs?

      It appears the design goals for the bus loops were to slow the bus down as much as possible, and to confuse people by having N/S or E/W versions of a route stop in the same spot.

      If you go the work of moving a station three blocks north, it ought to be possible to expand the street so buses can stop in their line of travel.
      And we already know elevated stations can bridge a street.

      1. psf sounds like they are talking about 145th. Street bulbs for bus stops on 5th and 145th are certainly doable. The rail corridor crosses 145th at nearly the intersection and heads out to the freeway to head north. There is a line of sight issue for operators approaching the station, the rule came into existence after the early design, but ST has a history of not fixing problems current or future. Keeping the decision to not have a station over 145th means the station is at the back of the facility and WaDOT rules keep it out of a convenient distance to the south stop on 145th. Falsely tieing the garage to the station also kept it out of WaDOT ownership. Moving the garage to 15th could free up the station back to 145th if ST fixes the rail corridor and WaDOT says yes to a variance. The station moved north when Metro figured out the Northshore ST3 buses wouldn’t fit in the EIS era station design. I question if the new station has the capacity for Metro’s long range plan especially with a traffic signal on 5th with 6 lanes of traffic and a crosswalk. Even if the new station can handle the predicted load there is a limit to routes that doesn’t exist out on the streets.

    4. “They spent much time and money building the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station.”

      Community Transit should have thought about that before they built a freeway station that would only have a limited use life. Also, the garage was one factor that pushed Link to the I-5 alignment, so that part of the investment was reused.

      1. Sound Transit funded the freeway station. CT funded the garage.

        It’s likely as mentioned above that there won’t be enough layover space at Lynnwood so some buses (perhaps those coming from far north Snohomish County…Stanwood, Marysville, etc) will continue to Mountlake Terrace and drop people there to transfer to Link. They could turn around/layover at North Base or another location.

  2. What are people thinking for names for the Shoreline stations. I was stumped of come up with anything that wasn’t just the street name.

    1. We surely should not help newcomers with wayfinding by taking advantage of ordinally-numbered cross arterials.

      1. Yeah. Just name them after the numerical streets. Numbers are short, easy to understand (in any language) and look great on a map. It is easy to see whether you missed your stop, or whether you are headed the wrong direction. When in doubt, use numbers. The exceptions on this stretch are Northgate, Lynnwood and Mountlake. All of those are well known and actually complement the names quite well:

        Northgate, 130th, 145th, 185th, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood

        The only name I’m not thrilled with is Mountlake Terrace, only because it is so long. You could call it 236th, but it is probably better to stick with Mountlake Terrace, since it is fairly well known.

      2. Completely different line in a completely different part of the city. NYC has about a dozen stations with the same name (some in the same borough, some in different boroughs).

      3. Ross – actually, it’s the same line – the same train that heads west through Bel Red will turn north and head past Pinehurst to Lynnwood.

        I think the simplest way would be to name the Bel Red station after the street on the other side: 132nd Ave Station.

      4. @RossB I disagree, I’ve found similar names confusing as a tourist in other countries and our Red line is confusing enough with so many University stations.

        Besides, won’t the Blue line go to both 130th stations? Let’s pick real place names that people can identify.

      5. 130th is just a planning name until a final name is decided. I think East Link has permanent names already. Isn’t 130th called Bel-Red Station? In any case, it took me a couple years to even realize there were two 130th stations because I only ever looked at one segment at a time. But planning segments is different from looking at a network map and trying to find your station. When people downtown ask me how to get to Bellevue, I have to ask them Bellevue Avenue or Bellevue City? Two stations with the same name is bad design, plain and simple. New York and Chicago are hundred-year-old systems; they made some mistakes back then. You can always put the street name or intersection in smaller letters beneath the station name.

    2. 185th could be Downtown Shoreline, since its near city hall.

      Jackson Park makes sense for 145th since its the biggest feature in the area and the buses already use it as a landmark stop.

    3. I don’t like “downtown” in a name. “Downtown Bellevue” and “downtown Mountain View” should be just :Bellevue” and “Mountain View”. If you want to go to downtown Belleuve, you go to “Bellevue” station of course. And it’s not downtown Shoreline; it’s more a secondary community center. City Hall is a mile away at 175th & Aurora, and the library is all alone ten blocks south of the station. As much as Shoreline has a downtown it’s along Aurora, and it has nicely zoned urban villages around its RapidRide stations, but that’s irrelevant to he Link station. What the Link station area has is a former school with a bunch of little city and private offices like Magnuson Park. If Metro and Swift saturate 185th and then south to the library, that will kind of tie them together like the gap between UW Station and 45th, although City Hall will still be ten blocks away.

      I can’t think of any better station names than “Lynnwood” and “Mountlake Terrace”. 185th can be “Shoreline” since it’s closest to where most people live and most businesses are. 145th is really on the periphery of Shoreline, and that’s the hardest to name. I’d like to call 130th and 145th “Jackson Park South” and “Jackson Park North” like Central Park. But you could call 145th “Jackson Park” (although I’m not fond of the name Jackson), and 130th could be “Pinehurst” (if it’s not too far from Pinehurst). Or it could be “Lake City”, although it’s a bit far from Lake City, and theoreticallly there will be another line with a Lake City station in the future. In England the sign would say something like “Pinehurst Station (for Lake City and Bitter Lake)”.

      1. 130th isn’t near Pinehurst, its in Pinehurst. I-5 is the dividing line. To me Pinehurst Station is the most obvious name.

        As an alternative to Jackson Park, 145th could be named Ridgecrest after the neighborhood it is in.

    4. The Shoreline station names should match whatever their TOD districts are called. Otherwise, there will be pressure to change it once the TOD is built. Let’s just do it right the first time!

      1. We want nice-sounding, nice-looking, recognizable names. It’s too important to just let the Shoreline City Council choose the names.

    1. Mediocre for buses terminating at the station, because it’s two blocks away from 145th and requires a turn and two stoplights. As for through routes on 145th, there aren’t any. Metro’s LRP has Frequent routes on 145th both west and east of the station, but they all either terminate at the station or turn north on 5th. Remember that the center of Lake City is at 125th, and the centers on Aurora are at 130th and 155th. So 145th is the periphery of all of them, and there won’t be a lot of people going from 145th & LCW to 145th & Aurora who would be hard-pressed landing slightly further north or south. Assuming Metro gets rid of the two-zone nonsense at 145th. It doesn’t harm people who live right at the 145th stops but it harms those who live a stop north or south of it.

      1. Stoplights at 145th, the highway on ramp (south edge of the station) and 148th main entrance to the station. 2 under control of Shoreline, 1 under multiple control, will they stay synched?

    1. Retail at park and rides is a huge loser. The businesses have custom twice a day, from commuters scurrying to work or home. Bad, bad, bad, bad locations.

      1. Ash Way has a nice Viennese cafe, although it’s not in the P&R but across the street.

        I expect many espresso huts get customers mostly peak hours, so it’s not like these would be the only ones.

    2. That would really only work after the TOD was built, just north of the station. And it would have to be one heck of a place to go to counteract the P&R aspect.

  3. I’m pretty sure the 220th station would be on the West side of I-5, making it in Edmonds, not Mountlake Terrace.

      1. Understood. It seems so weird for MLT city hall to be on the west side of I-5 when most of the rest of MLT is on the east side.

  4. Oh, please, not another loop-de-loop bus drop-off. Those are a nightmare for through-riders and don’t end up saving time for riders being picked up. They might save a few seconds for those being dropped off. Have we learned nothing from how failing to have street stops at TIBS and locating Tukwila Sounder Station too far from the nearest arterial have ruined the F Line?

    If I’m going to wait for a bus to pick me up, I want to do so out on the street, where the bus doesn’t have to pull off the street, and where I can get something to eat or drink and stay dry while waiting for the bus to be coming within a couple minutes. Having the bus do a loop-de-loop to reach me means I will have to wait longer, my trip will be longer once I board, and the bus might come less frequently due to the cost and service hours needed to serve that stop.

    The station isn’t just a point on the map. It is over 400 feet long. It should have a south entrance and a north entrance, I hope. The south entrance ought to connect out to a bus stop on 145th street. If there is no plan for a bus that will serve both the west and east side of 145th, there should be, and the station access should be designed for the possibility, rather than forever ruining the possibility.

    Given that the north side of the station is likely to be a wall, why not shift the station so the north entrance serves the parking garage and a bus stop for buses staying on 5th, the south entrance serves 145th, and the station straddles the freeway ramp? If necessary, build a pedestrian ramp directly between the south entrance and the eastbound bus stop on 145th.

    Then turn on all that space wasted on the bus loop into TOD, the only housing within the walkshed of any of the Lynnwood Link stations. Yes, there is housing next to some, but mostly walled off to protect them from the bus riders.

    I hope 30% design means there is still time to save this station and save the bus routes it is ruining.

    1. How about doing something like what Perth has added as a transit center over a freeway at Murdoch or Bull Creek (Manduah Line)? They built a new transit center as a lid parallel to the overcrossing, with bus-only signal phases and turnnpockets.

    2. This loop de loop is particularly horrible as it is after the bottleneck of car traffic at the very front. Its as if you took the TIBS parking lot and mashed it up with TIBS bus stops. The bottleneck will get it coming and going.

      As a possible user, I’d say put a stop at 148th and 5th along with a crosswalk leading to clear sidewalk along the station footprint’s northern edge.

  5. The new, never-before-presented 145th design has a serious problem with the all-in-one, in-and-out driveway. There isn’t enough room between the signal and where the auto parking and auto drop-off and bus traffic split. The drop-off point is way too inconvenient to use; people will hop out of cars on 148th or 5th and signs won’t help.

    One option would be to enlarge the garage footprint so that it could provide weather protection for buses and drop-offs only on the ground level (maybe with retail) (parking starts on the second floor). Maybe the garage could even be lowered by a floor and still have the same number of spaces.

    Another option would be to put the bus transit center over I-5 as a lid and have a pedestrian, bicycle and maybe bus connection to the west side of the freeway.

    The station needs more alternatives before going further.

  6. Brent, no reason we can’t build some food and coffee into a station. Still waiting for Federal Way Transit Center to get an espresso machine, like the old one had. One major advantage of these places: best security measure is a bright-lighted place full of people. So that’s something that needs to be brought into the plan immediately.

    Also curious as to other people’s experience with Greyhound and Bolt. My last ride with Greyhound was plain ugly in all senses, starting with the attitude of its drivers, followed by a filthy bus. Last I looked, their information handouts say it’s forbidden to take pictures either on their buses, or anywhere on company property.

    One essay I read recently summed it up. Bus travel used to mean freedom. All through middle and high school, back in the Jack Kerouac days (ok, very early ’60’s, World War II merchant marine veteran who was also a poet who tooled one way across the country in 1951 Hudsons and the other way on Greyhound. Same as me.)

    Now Greyhound is like being in jail. Not fair, though. California Department of Corrections wouldn’t have tolerated either of my drivers for a single shift. Still miss Greyhound of ages past. Anybody with recent experience as to what kind of service they’d give LINK passengers?

    Mark

    1. The new Greyhound station is nice and clean at least; it’s more like the newer stations in other cities. There’s a new generation of buses with a spiffier logo and more metallic look, and 21st-century features like WiFi and electric outlets. I didn’t use those features so I can’t say whether they worked. The old buses were like walking upstairs into a suitcase: really cramped steep entrances. I think the new buses are low-floor but I can’t remember for sure; if they do have steps they’re not as steep and the entrance aisles are wider. Other passengers have the same range of behavior as before: sometimes it’s all benign, sometimes you get somebody in front of you talking impatiently into a cellphone the whole trip and there are odd smells. The desk staff seemed cheered by the new station, and I’ve never had a driver with a bad attitude. The Spokane station has gotten run down and the escalator is broken.

      I’ve never ridden Bolt so I can’t comment on that, but people I know who’ve taken it like it.

      1. I’ve been on Boltbus. One of the problems with the Vancouver run is that it is long enough that the driver takes a lunch break in Bellingham. Get the line short enough, and lunch break could occur in between runs. The bathroom break can be done at the border crossing, since it takes that long anyway.

        I’m sure a lot of northenders would appreciate getting to take the train up to Lynnwood instead of having to backtrack to the International District.

        As we know, Boltbus doesn’t need a station. It just needs a boarding zone and a maintenance garage. It can head back to the maintenance garage at the end of the day.

  7. The Lynnwood station ought to extend the rain cover from the southwest entrance all the way to the bus loop. If the garage is going to connect directly to the station, the least they can do is protect bus riders a little more from the rain…

    1. A consultant at one of the meetings told me that the length of awnings was a formula based on the number of forecasted riders (users) – down to the exact foot! I don’t know if this is true – but if it is, we have a serious logic problem at ST.

  8. Devil’s advocate – maybe the 145th St loop is a feature, not a bug. Yes, it sucks for passengers who’d want to keep travelling, but it’s better for train riders and it does give an opportunity for bus drivers to get required breaks. It would also help consolidate buses close to the station entrance. 1 of the major complaints about UW station is that the buses stop in different places, none of which are very close to the station, and some buses that go to the same destination are in different places (like the 65 vs 75/372).. Even the “official” stop, the 65/78 on northbound Montlake isn’t super close to the station. At least this way at 145th there’d be consolidated and direct access to passengers transferring from bus to train.

    1. Once the 130th Station opens, the loop-de-loop-ness of the 145th St. stop won’t matter so much. Hopefully, we can get get Sound Transit to see the common sense of building the station at the same time as the rest of the line, rather than disrupting existing service in ten years to add it afterward.

      1. One thirtieth needs a walkway under 130th Street so that buses can stop on both sides of the street to serve passengers who have not had the excruciating experience of having to wait for a Wait light while their bus closes the door and moves up to the stop line.

        The design at the Rainier/23rd Station is a good example, though it’s elevated rather than excavated.

      2. @Richard — It’s simple. Have the station straddle the street, like the design for Mountlake Terrace. Two entrances, one on the north side of the street, one on the south.

    2. UW Station isn’t intended to be a major transfer station; it’s just pressed into the role until North Link opens. The only transfers that are really bad are the 75 and 372 and the westbound 65/67. Metro wants to reroute those on north Stevens Way to U-District Station but it requires UW to consent to a new road on 43rd between 15th and 17th. So maybe it will happen and maybe it won’t. And many people north of 55th will be going to Roosevelt or Northgate Station instead.

      1. I would agree somewhat with that – except that the 520 connectivity and CD connectivity needs make the UW Station permanently important for transfers.

      2. Mike,

        UW station is the only transfer point for redmond & kirkland bound buses, forever.
        It needs a functional loop around the Montlake triangle in the worst way.

      3. There is a functional loop around the Triangle. There are right turn “cutoffs” at all three corners.

    3. Layover space and restrooms don’t require a loop-de-loop bus stop.

      No, it is not better for riders transferring from train to bus. The bus trip will take longer by forcing riders to wait by the station instead of on the street. The bus may come less frequently because of the service hours wasted in the loop. (Or it may take away from bus hours on other routes.)

      As a reasonably frequent rider of the F Line, I would much prefer to wait at a bus stop on Southcenter Blvd, near business establishments, and where my bus trip will take one minute less. I’d also prefer to depart the bus on Southcenter Blvd, as I can walk to the station faster than the bus takes to get there.

      1. Yeah, I agree. I will say, though, that a lot depends on the frequency of the trains. It isn’t clear to me what the long term schedule will be for the trains, but consider two different scenarios:

        1) Buses and trains run frequently, perpendicular to each other. This is the model used in lots of urban transit systems, like Toronto and Vancouver, BC. It works really well, because the transfer is very quick, and the buses don’t waste service hours (or rider time) making silly loops or detours.

        2) The train runs every twenty minutes or so, while the bus runs every fifteen minutes. This is also common in a lot of suburban systems. In this case, layover space is critical. You want that bus to arrive five minutes or so before the train is supposed to leave (to allow for traffic problems) and then wait until everyone has left the train before leaving again. This is why the layover space at Lynnwood (which also has a cul de sac transit center complete with extra layover space) doesn’t bother me. My guess is at 8:00 PM, for example, that train will come by every 20 minutes. It would be nice for the folks to know that the bus that will drive them to their home is waiting for them.

        I would say that Lynnwood is suburban, and can’t really expect all day, bus and rail traffic. That might change, of course, but I doubt it. The freeway kills any sort of wide spread grid, and most of the apartments are to the northwest. You could have put the station at 196th and 44th, but even then it is a stretch to think that this would have huge numbers of people riding buses from every direction all day because there simply aren’t that many people in the area. Lynnwood is trying to add density right by the station (good for them) but that is a lot different than a wide spread, urban area that spreads in every direction.

        145th is a bit different. The weird part about 145th is that it sits in a hole. Unlike Lynnwood, the area around the station is way less densely populated than the areas a couple miles away. This will likely continue to be the case, if not accelerate. The north part of Lake City has more density than any place in Snohomish County, and is growing. Bitter Lake will also likely grow. Despite the density, this sits at the edge of the city — it lacks the urban activity of places to the south. But geography works in its favor, as buses (and people) are pushed along the north edge of Lake Washington. A cross town bus (connecting to Aurora) of course, is very valuable, especially as the area grows.

        This is why so many people find this station so objectionable. You are designing a suburban style station for a stop that is borderline urban. You pretty much guarantee suburban style ridership. If you live in Roosevelt and want to meet your friend after work in Kenmore (in one of the three fine brewpubs) then the time spent circling around the parking lot just isn’t worth it. If you live in Bitter Lake, it is even worse. Ridership suffers, and next thing you know, it becomes even harder to justify running the buses and trains frequently enough to throw away the schedule. The transfers are painful, and you wish you and your friend lived closer to town.

        Of course all of this could get a lot better with NE 130th, but who knows if that will happen (or when).

  9. Can we get Rick Steves to critique these stations? He lives close to these and has excellent transit station assessment skills.

  10. Here’s my design philosophy: Make these stations like franchises. Standardize the design. Plop the stations down. Do it quickly. Get ‘er done.

    Enough process. Just build.

    If I had my way, we’d have the stations like Tukwila Station – close to the light rail for the buses. Good viewing areas to take pictures of the trains coming & going.

    1. I have to agree with you, especially with 145th. I was genuinely thinking these stations would be along the lines of Othello Station. In & out, a bit of shelter.

      Right now these look large enough that they should have a restaurant in ’em.

    2. Dumbing down station design to cookie-cutter templates would do wonders for efficiency, but at the cost of a lot of long-term usability and aesthetics. I’d rather have stations with individual personalities (see the bus tunnel) that are suited for their respective environments.

      Tukwila Station is not my kind of station, despite the nice views. The mono-entrance, side-platformed deal doesn’t cut it anymore and I’m thankful that Sound Transit has learned their lesson. They even omitted some mezzanines from elevated stations!

      1. Well sure give the stations some personality, but anything to speed up the process would be appreciated. I get the 0.5% requirement for art purchases. I don’t get why eight years of planning: https://flic.kr/p/ANwrrw

        I do think that the only things worth liking about Tukwila Station are that it’s elevated, the views and the buses just roll in right under the station. Oh and it’s a Link station served directly by King County Metro 124 which also serves the Museum of Flight. But otherwise…

      2. The planning is only for the next 2 years, and includes a lot of time thinking about mitigation during and after construction. The process could not be made any faster, and could be made slower by hurdles in property acquisition.

  11. I had a friend who loves London suggest to me that entire Link lines be given names rather than mere colors (red or blue or green) – like the Evergreen Line or the Cascadia Line or the Eagle Line. Of course, each line would still have a color. He said it would help people remember what train to catch better. Thoughts?

    1. Sounds more complicated to me. Better to keep it as simple as possible: each line with its own color both in name and on the map. We’ll never have enough lines to run out of colors.

  12. I know that 220th did not make it onto the list of approved projects for ST3.

    Anyone have any ideas on how to make it happen before ST4?

  13. Is Jackson Park named for Andrew Jackson? If so, let’s take this Native American murderer’s name off of the park and out of the running for a station name.

    Obama Hope Station?

    1. The park seems to have been named for Andrew Jackson.

      If the park (and neighborhood and station) had to be renamed, I’d opt for Thornton Creek (or some variant) or renaming it “Henry M. Jackson Park” and avoiding the expense of replacing the signs.

    2. I agree that this is one of the most vicious leaders we have ever had as far as Native Americans are concerned. He did initiate the Trail of Tears. This should maybe be a discussion for another time. We should not akways rename our streets and parks and schools after better people, only because we have done wrong and should leave some history to discuss them. How we used to name and respect leaders should be looked at as we evolve into a better nation Our predjudice and crimes should not be forgoten. We need to have a modern discussion so we can grow together. Renaming and ignoring the past may feel better today but I believe it is short sided. Any way. Like I said. Maybe not for this discussion. Thank you for that comment, Al S. …..James

    3. The Jackson Park we have in Portland (which probably comes from the same time frame) is officially Sam Jackson Park.

      Then again we also have Mount Scott, named after someone whose primary effort was trying to abolish public education and preventing women from voting. In an era filled with scoundrels it’s rather difficult to find anyone worth naming anything after.

    4. While we’re at it why don’t we tear down all the statues of Christopher Columbus? And rename the city of Columbus, OH, the District of Columbia, Columbia, MO, Columbia County, WA the Columbia river… am I missing any?

      King Louie wasn’t such a great guy either. Maybe we should rename Louisville, Kentucky and the state of Louisiana. Even George Washington was a slave owner – lots of history we should be erasing there too.

      1. Yeah, why not? It’s not as if the people these things were named after *actually had anything to do with the locations*. I mean, it’s different if something is named Jacksonville because it was founded by Jackson, but when it’s just slapping his name on something which has nothing to do with him, it has no real historic value.

        Thunder Bay, Ontario picked itself a new name some time back, abandoning “Port William”.

  14. These stations have far too much wasted space.

    Space within walking distance of a light rail station is a precious commodity. If the bus loop is necessary, it should be under the parking structure.

    Have one stop each direction for the buses, and get them as close as possible to the station platform. If the buses are laying over then send them to a loop under the parking structure where they are able to lay over.

    There shouldn’t be a place with a massive half mile long set of platforms for people to spend hours wandering between bus transfers. One of those (Everett Station) is more than enough.

    TriMet’s Clackamas Mall parking structure has about twice the bus layover spaces as 145th Station will in a smaller footprint as they are parallel access spots under the parking structure, with only an inbound and outbound bus stop.

    1. Interesting idea. I don’t know if ST has ever considered putting bus loops inside a parking garage structure…

      I’d be in favor of more TOD if we could manage the traffic in and out of the structure… in additon, the direct garage to station connection would be more attractive if bus users could use it too…

      1. By laying over in a dedicated layover space, the buses are able to be more tightly packed during layover than they would at the platform.

        How difficult would it be to have a bus only ramp off the freeway entrance? That would at least eliminate half the loop for northbound through buses.

  15. It is tough to see the details in the pictures that Sound Transit provided. I don’t understand why they don’t have nicer looking PDF’s. They have jpeg images (which are fine) but they are low resolution and fuzzy. But from what I can tell, here is my assessment:

    Lynnwood — It looks like it will be a straight shot for a bus coming from I-5 to the bus center. Right now it has to make a stop at a four way intersection before turning left. There is plenty of pedestrian traffic right now, as folks in their car make their way to the buses. I see a lot less of that, because people going from the main parking lot to the train, or from the bus to the train avoid walking in front of the bus. This is a minor thing, but it will save a time for everyone who rides the bus from the north, so I think it is a very good value.

    I’m not thrilled with transit center stations, but I can understand why this has one. A lot of buses will simply turn around, as this is the terminus (for many years) and is a great one (because of the I-5 ramp). It would be nice to have the stop closer to 44th and 200th. That way the buses that travel on those streets could just keep going. As it is, though, that is still possible, if you want to make folks walk a ways on the “pedestrian promenade”. Personally I would slide the platform to the northeast, so that it was much closer to 44th and 200th. Then I would slide the bus loop east, to above what is now the East Station Plaza. I think that would be a lot better, but this really isn’t that bad. The distance from the bus oval to the station is pretty short at least.

    Mountlake Terrace — Oddly enough, this has the best bus to rail connection of the bunch. The station will straddle 136th, which means that a bus that travels along that street can simply stop and keep going. There is no need to loop around into the station. However, buses that do terminate there can do precisely that. I think this is odd, because 136th will probably never have high frequency service. It is as if we finally bought good tires, but put them on one of the slowest cars in our fleet. Perhaps the best part of this station is that it sets a great example. Now when people talk about NE 130th, we can say “build it like Mountlake Terrace (straddling the street) but without the big parking garage”. This really is a model for every station north of Northgate.

    185th — Like most of these stations, this one forces buses into a loop next to the station. But it is at least a nearby loop, right off the main street. Since some of the buses will probably do what they do now — head up 5th and then take a left onto 185th — the loop really doesn’t cost much. This area (like all of Shoreline) is very low density, so this looks to be a fairly good value — not great, but not extravagant either. Since 185th is getting rebuilt, it would be nice to see HOV lanes there, but I’m not sure if it is worth it.

    145th — The big fail, as has been mentioned many times on this blog. The main purpose of this station is to provide a good bus to rail connection, and this is a failure in that regard. Bus riders will have to sit and wait while the bus goes through a couple lights to get to the big turn around oval. Riders who are trying to just get across town will have to wait through those lights twice. Service will be degraded as drivers spend time making a turn into the giant cul-de-sac.

    Such a design makes no sense for this station. This isn’t the terminus or even a distant suburban station. This is at the edge of the urban core. Density is quite high to the east (north Lake City) and the west (Bitter Lake). (You can see the unmarked city line just by looking at the density maps). It is still close enough to the city (only ten minutes to the UW) to make spontaneous trips likely. 145th is a major urban crossroads — one likely to grow a lot in the future. Bitter Lake is every bit as urban as Kenmore — far more urban, actually — they deserve better. ST seemed to ignore all that, and built something more appropriate for Shoreline.

    That was a big mistake. Let’s hope they don’t make the same mistake with NE 130th.

  16. I attended the Lynnwood Station meeting and was impressed with most of what I saw and learned.

    One big change they need, however, is direct elevators from the surface to the platform levels. Current plans require riders to transfer at the mezzanine level — two elevators up, then two elevators to get down on your return trip. Huge bummer for people who really need to use elevators, those riding wheelchairs for example.

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