Mountlake Terrace TC entrance sign
Will Mountlake Terrace still be named as such after 2023?

Even though federal funding for Lynnwood Link is up in the air, Sound Transit is continuing to work on final design of Lynnwood Link and its four stations in Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood.

Sound Transit has posted this survey asking the public to help name the stations at NE 145th, NE 185th, Mountlake Terrace TC and Lynnwood TC. The options were selected from over 650 suggestions placed during last November’s design open houses, but there is also a write-in option for other suggestions.

Sound Transit’s criteria for station names was laid out in 2012 and includes the following guidelines:

  • Reflect the nature of the environment: neighborhoods, street names, landmarks and geographic locations.
  • Be brief, easy to read and easy to remember.
  • Avoid commercial references because they may change and prove confusing to the public.
  • Avoid similar names or words in existing facility names.
  • Limited to 30 characters (spaces count).
  • Comply with federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines and requirements.

The survey closes on April 5, and a final decision from the Sound Transit Board (who are the final authority in naming stations) is expected in spring or summer of this year.

80 Replies to “Help Name Lynnwood Link’s Stations”

  1. “Avoid similar names or words in existing facility names.”
    Is that why they have University Street, University of Washington and University District?

    1. The choosing of those names probably pre-dated the guideline. If anything, the guideline may have been created partly in response to the confusion caused by University St. vs. University of Washington.

    2. To be fair, the last one is actually going to be called U District Station, which will be located close to University Way AKA the “Ave” (out of towners, wrap your brain around that!). But yeah, University Street station needs to be renamed.

      1. Benaroya. Husky Stadium. The Ave. Problem solved.

        God forbid that an ST4 extends Tacoma Link to University Place :)

      2. Or if you don’t want “Symphony,” just name it “Seneca Street”! It even alliterates!

      3. I don’t think “The Ave” is a very good name, I think U-District (or, gasp, NE 45th street!) will work. Maybe University street could be renamed to something like “Midtown”? Though that’s the presumed name of the future Madison street station (which could just be called, get this, “Madison Street Station”)

        And University of Washington Station needs to be renamed Husky Station.

      4. I agree Alex. They are just getting too cute with these names. Husky Stadium makes a lot of sense — it is obviously where the station is. Meanwhile, naming streets after numbers makes it easy to understand. 45th, 65th, Northgate, 130th, 145th, 185th for example, are really easy to follow. You don’t have to remember if Pinehurst is before Northgate or after Ridgecrest. Of course there are places (like Husky Stadium or Northgate) where numbers don’t make sense and it would be confusing to continue to use numbers for Snohomish County (since the numbers are going the opposite direction) but for those particular stations, numbers make it much easier to understand.

      5. Symphony Station! And it doesn’t have to be just about the Seattle Symphony, but symphonies and the arts in general, and the calm soothing effect the image of classical symphonies will have on harried downtown passengers, and the prestige Seattle will have in naming a downtown station something like that. Like in St Petersburg where some stations are named after 19th-century authors.

      6. ST’s original name for the 43rd station was Brooklyn Station. One neighborhood activist pushed hard for University District Station, and when ST polled the public 3/4 of them agreed, so ST went with an abbreviated U-District Station.

        ST has also said it would ask the county to consider renaming University Street Station. I don’t know whether that has gotten anywhere.

        Not Seneca Station, crusty Roman philosophers sounds boring, and why that one in particular? Should I have more respect for Seneca?

      7. Of course, “Westlake” is just as bad. It’s Named after a mall that sits on the former ROW of Westlake Avenue, which is named for its position west of Lake Union, but the station is more south of Lake Union than west. Meanwhile there is a Westlake neighborhood (actually west of Lake Union!) but because the tunnel station and its vicinity are very prominent parts of Seattle and the Westlake neighborhood isn’t, it’s taking over as what people mean when they say Westlake.

      8. Yes, Westlake is boring. It’s sad that our central station has such a generic name. To make sense of the name, the mall was named after the avenue, which “goes to” the west side of the lake, not that it’s the west side of the lake at that point. Oh well, Renaming Westlake Station would be a lot harder than renaming University Street Station. University Street has had a small momentum for renaming ever since it opened, and now ST is prodding King County to at least think about doing something about it.

      9. Because there’s a Seneca St in downtown Seattle? No idea where the name comes from, but…

  2. Jackson Park, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood. I like distinct place names that are the simplest possible and exclude directionals.

    1. Same here.

      North Shoreline seems to imply there is a South Shoreline or “regular” Shoreline stop. Not a fan.

      Even though Mountlake Terrace is a big longer than I’d like, it is only 4 syllables and that is the actual name of the area.

    2. My main objection to only 1 station called “Shoreline” is that 2 of the stations are in Shoreline. If 185th Station is called Shoreline, there needs to be a way to make sure people don’t confuse it with 145th St.

      1. The 145th station is just barely over the border from Seattle (which runs along 145th St). Jackson Park seems pretty logical rather than calling it South Shoreline. Makes sense to name it based on a landmark that can be attributed to people on both sides of the line (Yes I know Jackson Park is on the Seattle Side, but I bet people on the north side still consider themselves near to Jackson Park.)

    3. I went with;

      145th
      185th
      Mountlake Terrace
      Lynnwood

      Put these on place cards, hand them to someone who isn’t from the area (or someone who rarely goes up north) and then see if they can remember the order. Better yet, give them the labels and a map, and see if they match them up. If nothing else, they get the first two right. I would have also gone with:

      Husky Stadium
      45th
      65th
      Northgate
      130th

      Now imagine you are headed north from the U-District, to visit a friend up at 185th. It is pretty obvious that you got on the right train (the numbers are getting bigger). Even without looking at a list of stations, once you get to 145th, you know you are getting close.

      I can’t help but think that the reason we are naming things this way is because we are treating this as a city to city rail line, instead of a subway. Of course you can find names for the various neighborhoods (some of which are very obscure) but a subway is about the streets. New York and Chicago name just about all their stations based on the streets, not on neighborhoods.

      1. Paris, Prague, London, and Washington, DC, are name stations after nearby Places, landmarks or communities, so this format is not something new that ST has invented.

        I think it’s reasonable to do both Place and street names in certain cases, especially since the street names are pretty short (in terms or characters at least).

        Some people are better at remembering and understanding street names while other relate better to landmarks. Maybe they should do both, It would be longer but still shorter than “University of Washington” or International District/Chinatown” or “Tukwila/International Blvd”

        130th St-Haller Lake (deferred)
        145th St-Jackson Park
        185th St-Shoreline
        236th St-Mountlake Terrace
        220th St (deferred)
        Lynnwood
        Alderwood (ST3)
        Ash Way TC (ST3)
        Mariner (ST3)

      2. I’m not sure that things are that simple for the London Underground, there are a surprising number of street named stations (Brompton Road, Edgware Road, Finchley Road, Great Portland Street, …) There seems to be a bit of a trend there that in inner London stations are named for streets, intersections or nearby places/landmarks and suburban stations being named for villages or towns swallowed up by the metropolis, perhaps with a directional or other disambiguator, but it’s far from a rule. In the case of London, I suspect that a lot of the variety is historical, and comes from who built the lines and what was fashionable when the station was first named.

        The general pattern though makes sense, because it correlates reasonably well with station spacing. As stations get further and further apart it makes more and more sense to name them for areas rather than point locations.

      3. That gets into stop spacing. The London Underground has stations every few blocks, so if you name the stations after neighborhoods you can end up with more than one station in a neighborhood, like the mess with High Street Kensington, South Kensington, West Kensington, and Kensington (Olympia). But streets are narrow when you cross them, so better if you have multiple stations in a neighborhood.

        London just does not have street numbers or a grid, like many parts of Europe or California. In Roman times the tiny cities had grids, but in medieval times the fashion was random streets going every which way and names with no overall pattern. To the extent that London has grids, they’re micro-grids absorbed as the city grew in Victorian times. London has some overlapping street names but they’re unique with the generic suffix: there’s only one X Street, X Road, etc. But the name X Street doesn’t tell you anything about where it is, for that you have to look at a map index or consult a cabbie who has to memorize all of them.

      4. Yes, although stop spacing on the Underground is generally (with some notable exceptions) pretty wide for an urban transit system. And the stop spacing gets wider as you move out of town. This is partly reflective of the access penalty of a deep level tube. Historically, there were trams filling in the gaps, now buses. The true sign of London public transportation cognoscenti is their choices between bus and tube use.

    4. 130th = Jackson Park South
      145th = Jackson Park North
      185th = Shoreline . (Not North Shoreline because it’s closest to the center of the community)
      236th = Mountlake Terrace (Ballenger sounds too obscure, and isn’t Mountake Terrace a major landmark for people)
      186th = Lynnwood (Not Lynnwood Transit Center, too boring and long. “Lynnwood” station means the one for the center of Lynnwood, which it is.)

      I’m not fond of the name Jackson because of Andrew, but Jackson Park South and Jackson Park North have a nice ring to them like Central Park West. Ridgecrest has a nice ring to it, although it’s also obscure, and isn’t Ridgecrest further north? I might just vote for Ridgecrest because Jackson Park North is unlikely.

      1. I say we just leave theme as what you have on the left side of the equation, Mike.

        130th;145th;185th;236th; & 186th.

        And no map.

        After all, vacationers need that sense of adventure, and a way to learn how not to get lost in the gray mist of the PNW.

      2. Because cities are where people are going to, and neighborhoods are one thing that gives Seattle a vibrant cultural life and make people want to live there. People want to know, “How do I get to downtown Lynnwood?” or Bellevue or Mountlake Terrace. They may not know that 196th Street is downtown Lynnwood, and that there’s little at 220th Street (which has a deferred station). And if they make a mistake and accidentally end up in downtown Lynnwood or Bellevue or the center of the U-District, well, that’s where all the transfers are so they can take a bus from there, or call somebody and ask them to pick them up, and the person will know where they are, and there are places they can walk to while they wait.

        For people looking for addresses, put the street number in smaller letters below the station name.

      3. That’s right, I was trying to remember what name was better than Jackson Park, and it was Pinehurst. Haller Lake would be a nice-sounding name too. Although Haller Lake is a tiny residential-only neighborhood, it would be like Beaux Arts Station or Yarrow Point Station.

      4. FYI, Pinehurst was originally part of Haller Lake. I-5 created a barrier which cut off Pinehurst as a separate entity.

      5. Thinking about it more, we missed an opportunity in South Bellevue. Beaux Arts Station or Enatai Station would have been nice. There’s also Mercer Slough Station, although that sounds swampy and a lot like Mercer Island.

      6. Mercer Slough is swampy, and would be confusing to people who wanted to get to Mercer Street,

  3. Rainier Stadium University
    Stadium University Rainier
    University Rainier Stadium
    Scriber Creek

      1. Are you sure that’s an ADA requirement? Both International District/Chinatown and Tukwila International Boulevard exceed it.

      2. It’s at least an ideal. When ST mentioned the name requirements earlier it said the reason for the limit was for disabled people. And the rule may have been established after the ST1 stations were decided, or even because of TIB Station and International District/Chinatown Station.

  4. Re: Funding…

    Lynnwood Link and Federal Way Link will happen. Tacoma and Everett can’t happen without them.

    The question is what other projects will lose to fill the funding gap. If that happens there wilp be a pretty big fight I imagine…

    1. Is Jackson Park too similar to Judkins Park? To a tourist getting verbal directions, these sound quite alike.

      1. Jackson vs Judkins isn’t that big of a deal.

        Not as bad as calling it University.

        Numbers are worse. There are multiple 145th Streets in the region.

        Shoreline South might be even better if it was in the choices.

      2. I think once we have 60+ stations, there will inevitably be some that sound similar. Jackson & Judkins seem distinct enough to me.

        I could get how someone who know literally nothing about the area get confused, but I think generally people can handle 145th in Shoreline vs 125th in Bellevue as being in totally different parts of the region – any basic network map will make that immediately apparent.

      3. @AJ — Exactly, which is why when in doubt, using numbers is way better. I get Jackson Park and Jefferson Park confused all the time (and I live close to Jackson Park). Both of those are golf courses. I never confuse either with Judkins Park, and when traveling on I-5, I never confuse 145th with anything else.

        There are exceptions where numbers can be more confusing. Snohomish County is a great example, as the numbers would be going in the wrong order, and fairly close to each other (you don’t want 185th, 236th, 220th, for example). There are also stations that sit in the center of their city, such as Lynnwood or Mercer Islan. But in general, I think we use neighborhood names way too much, and street names way too little. North of Capitol Hill, I think it should be:

        Husky Stadium
        45th
        65th
        Northgate
        130th
        145th
        185th
        Mountlake Terrace
        Lynnwood
        Alderwood

        Most of that line is obvious (numbers are getting bigger, you must be moving away from downtown). Numbers — especially “round” numbers (i. e. divisible by 5) are easy to remember. It is easy to figure out where to go, and where it relates to the rest of the city (e. g. if you are headed to 140th, you get off at 145th and head towards the previous station). It is easy to figure out if you took the wrong train (the numbers should be getting bigger if you are headed north). Of course I made some exceptions here:

        Northgate is an exception because the major street (Northgate Way) is also the name of the neighborhood. The street it is on is actually minor street (103rd?) so there is no point in naming it that. 236th could work for Mountlake Terrace, but 236th is a weird major street (because it isn’t divisible by 5) and thus harder to remember. Since this the only station in the city of Mountlake Terrace, I figure it is good enough. Lynnwood station lies in the heart of Lynnwood, and Alderwood is the street name as well as the mall name.

      4. @RossB

        If we’d have numbers for Seattle but not Snohomish county, why do them at all?

        Snohomish County’s numbers are exactly why I don’t want numbered stations where we can avoid them.

        Most of these areas already have unique placenames that are readily usable. It’ll be much easier to explain a place name than a numbered station that repeats.

        If you tell someone to meet you at 130th Station, even if you tell them the line or what side of town, two 130ths will get confused.

      5. Jackson and Judkins are not very similar. Expecting unique first letters and no common middle letters is too unreasonable. It’s more of an issue in countries with non-Latin alphabets, like Cyrillic or Japanese, which many visitors don’t know. So in Russia some visitors memorize the first and last letters of their station (although that’s not foolproof because many stations have the same grammatical endings). Or they look for an unusual symbol like a hyphen or number (Kitay-Gorod, Station 1905 Year). In Japan the stations have the English name under the Japanese character. But everybody in the world knows the Latin alphabet even if their language uses something else, so it’s a much smaller issue here. As long as the combination of the first letter and the last couple letters are unique, and/or the letters in the middle have a somewhat different shape, and/or the length of the words are different, people will be able to find the right station.

        The problem of University District vs University Street is partly solved because “University of Washington” clearly has the word Washington in it and a graduation-cap icon, and the “U” in “U-District” isn’t immediately recognizable as “University” by an outsider. So as long as they see University of Washington on the map they won’t think University Street is it; they’ll think it’s some other university or just a street. Where’s the university in University Place in Tacoma?

      6. And, University Street Station will be near Madison RapidRide, which goes to Seattle University. So that’s something. Not what the city intended a century ago, but…

    2. “Lynnwood Link and Federal Way Link will happen. Tacoma and Everett can’t happen without them. The question is what other projects will lose to fill the funding gap. If that happens there wilp be a pretty big fight I imagine…”

      That’s where subarea equity comes in. Everett will just be truncated, and they’re still getting Lynnwood in their subarea. There might be enough money to extend it to 164th or 128th, which would still serve a large portion of the ridership, and for the buses it’s a shorter trip and less congestion than going down to Lynnwood.

      Tacoma is in a more difficult situation because Federal Way is in a different subarea. If you defer Tacoma, then Pierce would have nothing left for its taxes than the Sounder improvements and Tacoma Link. But those are still substantial. But Pierce has also saved up a large down payment for the Tacoma Dome extension; it has been saving ever since ST1, so it may have most of the money already. It probably does because Tacoma Dome is scheduled for 2030, just six years after Federal Way. It couldn’t do that if it were all ST3 money.

  5. Though it doesn’t apply in this specific case, I don’t like how names of companies are lot allowed at all. In the case of “Microsoft Station” being named “Redmond Technology Center Station,” that just makes things more confusing for riders, and the station cannot be allowed to be named for the thing that justifies it. Let’s imagine other stations that couldn’t be named for “the thing” that it serves (which in these cases, will be mostly city names):

    Northgate Station = North Shopping Center Station
    UW Station = Primary Education Center of the Current State Station
    SeaTac Airport Station = Commercial Air Travel Facility Station
    Paine Field Station = Non-Commercial Air Travel Facility Station
    Mountlake Terrace Station = Great Big Park-And-Ride Next to the Freeway Station
    Tacoma Dome Station = Next to the Huge Dome, You Can’t Miss it Station

    I would think that “Microsoft” is among the more secure potential company names anyway. Unless they go out of business completely or move completely like Weyerhauser, I don’t see a problem with it. Unless the concern is that they would be providing Microsoft with free advertising? I mean, big deal, they are only providing them with light rail service to Seattle. Or getting permission to use the Microsoft name from Microsoft? I don’t think Microsoft would have a problem with that, and in the off chance they do, they could revert to Redmond Technology Center as a backup.

    1. I think Microsoft is the exception that proves the rule – it’s a huge company that defines that neighborhood, and the station is intended to serve the Microsoft campus, and the 15 minute walkshed really doesn’t leave the campus, right?

      In contrast, a SLU station wouldn’t be called “Amazon” station because there are plenty of other non-Amazon destination that station would serve.

      Only objection I can see is if the city of Redmond is intentionally trying to diversify beyond Microsoft – not to block Microsoft, but simply to say to other tech companies, “hey, we’d love to have your corporate campuses, too!”

    2. Yeah, I agree with both of you. Plus if you really don’t want to call it “Microsoft” then call it something better than “Redmond Technology Center”. Aaach, that’s terrible. Just call it NE 40th (there is no NE 40th on that line, or even in our system).

      1. Simply naming it “Redmond Tech Center” saves 3 syllables, 6 characters, and is more aligned to what people actually say.

        NYC has a “Jay Street-MetroTech” station so there is precedent for “tech” :)

    3. Northgate is the residential neighborhood north of Northgate Way. The mall was named after it. The mall is now owned by Simon Malls; they just kept the name Northgate because it’s so well known and there would have been a public uproar if they dropped it. So the issue is not calling it Simon Station or Simon Mall Station.

      :Likewise with Southcenter. The mall may have been originally named Southcenter and that created the nieghborhood, but the mall is now owned by Westfield Malls. When Westfield builds its own malls or imposes its own name on them it calls them Westfield Shoppingtown. But there would have been a public uproar if they dropped the name Southcenter, so they call it Westfield Southcenter. And a transit station could safely be named Southcenter, but not Westfield.

      Microsoft is a bit odd because the transit agencies aren’t entirely consistent. BAR Station is Boeing Access Road, Metro has Boeing stops, and there’s a “Boeing CAG” station on the F (for the isolated Boeing Commercial offices in south Renton). So I think ST just proposed Redmond Technology Center and Everett Industrial Center and the companies didn’t object. It also states a goal of having a larger multi-company district, and it future-proofs it if Microsoft leaves.

      Microsoft is actually heavily invested in the station that doesn’t have its name. MS will pay for the pedestrian bridge across the freeway and the half of the station area that is its own.

    4. Also, if Microsoft goes away, you just rename the station. You want a name that is long term & stable, but it doesn’t need to be literally permanent.

      1. It costs money to change signs and maps and the onboard messages. A for-profit entity like the stadium operators and office buildings can justify it with the huge endorsement fee and the cost of doing business, but ST would have to take it out of its voter-approved transit taxes, leaving less money for other transit programs, all for the whims of a company that decides to move and isn’t paying a sponsorship fortune.

  6. If at least one of the stations was named after our current President, maybe he will provide federal funds for construction. So Trump Lynwood Station, Trump Mountlake Terrace Station, etc. Yes, I’m funnin’.

    1. As someone who lives near Trump Lynnwood Station I would hate to have somebody wake up on a weekend morning and decide to ride to the end of the line in search of some quaint little place in walking distance to have breakfast or lunch. I don’t think it exists. I find the area around 44th to be suburban blight waiting for redevelopment that despite rezoning might take decades to arrive. For that reason tongue-in-cheek I think it should be called Shelbyville for the first few years.

    2. Maybe Sound Transit should use the 1% allocated for art to make the entire track and future stations gold

      Or they could reduce the art allocation to .1% (or eliminate it as a blanket percentage allocation of total cost) and recover about half a billion (in a mix of years of expenditure) dollars. I’d prefer a line that goes to S. 320th street that looks a little bland than a gold-plated line that stops at S. 272nd street. But I digress.

    3. How much would licensing the Trump name cost, as compared to another Link project.

      And why is the Trump name so prestigious anyhow? Before he ran for president, why did people pay top dollar to stay in a Trump hotel, and why did buildings want the name? I certainly never considered it a priority to stay there or to want the name on my building.

      1. Overseas, the aspiring rich saw the name as a way to wrap themselves in the image of wealth and power.

        Now the name is synonymous with racism so the brand worth is falling fast.

  7. One very alternative approach would be to create landmarks and name the stations after those landmarks. City boundaries may change. Neighborhoods may change. Even streets and parks can be renamed. However, a landmark at a station can clearly identify the location for both train riders and nearby people for a long time.

    New totem poles, clock towers, arches, oversized statues, pyramids, signature buildings and gardens, and other features can create identities for the future. Why choose only station names that reflect the past? Why choose only station names that are not visually descriptive so the only way to identify it is by the lettering on the signs?

  8. There is a lot of overthinking happening here. The new stations should probably be called NE 145th St, NE 185th St, Mountlake Terrace TC and Lynnwood TC. It is not that confusing to have different stations with similar names. That said, naming the University District station NE 45th St or University District/NE 45th St would address the concerns expressed here about clarity. I think it’s also important to remember that neighborhood definitions are more likely to evolve over time than street names.

    I’d prefer to see the light rail system expansion be handled as more of a functional public infrastructure project and less of a creative art project. It would be nice to be able to move more freely by public transit in this city.

  9. I’m a fan of perpetuating or resurrecting old rail station names( like Wilburton on Eastlink). I wrote in two of the old inter urban stations: Lake Ballinger for Mountlake Terrace, and Cedar Valley for Lynwood TC.

  10. While there’s something attractive about just using numbers and watching the numbers get bigger as you get further and further from the city, I’m not convinced that street numbers for station names scales well to a system where there are two north-south lines north of the Ship Canal. Although I suppose New York manages okay with a few duplicate station names in Northern Manhattan.

    As others have pointed out, it also breaks down once you cross the Snohomish County Line.

    1. Chicago uses cross streets. There are many duplicate station names! Does anyone familiar with Chicago have issues with this?

      1. There are something like five or six stations named “Western,” with two of those being on the same line (Blue Line), but in my experience it’s not that confusing as long as you know what line you’re supposed to be on. For the two Blue Line stations named “Western,” as long as you know which branch of the Blue Line you’re on – O’Hare (north of the Loop) or Forest Park (south of the Loop) – it’s fine. It helps that the branches are pretty distinct – one is subway/elevated, and one runs in a freeway median.

    2. Luckily for you, the Snohomish County street grid counts from a zero point in Everett. So the numbers would get smaller as you go further north (196th in Lynnwood, 112th in South Everett, etc.).

  11. Ridgecrest or Jackson Park for 145th
    Echo Lake or Meridian Park for 185
    Mountlake Terrace TC
    Lynnwood TC

    Simple and easy to remember

    1. Ridgecrest, Echo Lake, and Meridian Park may be easy for those who live in the immediate area but not for anybody else. Especially 185th needs a name more widely recognized because people will be going “to Shoreline” and wondering which station is central Shoreline.

  12. I’d like to at this time bring up how much I hate the world ‘Transportation Center’. It’s a goddamn station. Or a loop. Or, hell, an exchange. or depot, or terminal, or any of the dozen words for passenger transportation access points that are shorter and less sterilized than ‘transportation center’

    1. Isn’t it “Transit Center”? I don’t really mind this term – TCs are generally hubs where different types of transit (ie. car, bus and train) or different transit systems (ie. Sound Transit and Community Transit) can come together. A station, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily a connection point to other lines or types of transit. I could see other words, like “depot” or “exchange”, being used instead of “center”, though.

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