On Thursday, the Sound Transit Capital Committee passed its recommended names for Lynnwood Link’s four stations, until now known as NE 145th, NE 185th, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood. The recommendation will be up for final board approval later this month, giving the public a chance to comment one last time on the names.
The proposed names are as follows:
|Temporary Name||Public Suggestion||Recommended Name|
|NE 145th||Jackson Park||Shoreline South/145th|
|NE 185th||Shoreline||Shoreline North/185th|
|Mountlake Terrace Transit Center||Mountlake Terrace||Mountlake Terrace|
|Lynnwood Transit Center||Lynnwood Transit Center||Lynnwood City Center|
Seasoned readers and transit riders may not need to second glance at these name to know they aren’t as good as they could be. Based on Sound Transit’s own guidelines for station names, these suggestions don’t quite stack up: only one of them can be considered brief; two of them share similar names; and three of them reflect almost nothing of their immediate, current surroundings.
During the Capital Committee meeting (beginning at 34 minutes in this video), boardmember Rob Johnson brought up the existing confusion between University Street and University of Washington, and how the Shoreline pair here could cause similar frustration in the future. The presenting staffers explained that city officials from Shoreline had asked for the city’s name to be included in both station names, in a move that will undoubtedly turn first-time visitors red-faced when they discover they’ve walked out of the wrong Shoreline Station.
Now, while Lynnwood Link will be snaking along Interstate 5 through mostly indistinguishable suburban land, there are still decent landmarks and neighborhood names that can be used for these stations.
- NE 145th Street (Shoreline South) is technically in Shoreline, but is only two blocks from the northern city limits of Seattle. It is also at the northwest corner of the Jackson Park Golf Course, a recognizable landmark; other nearby green spaces include Twin Ponds Park, Paramount Park, and Paramount School Park (the latter two would also make for a fine name). While Jackson Park may or may not be named for Andrew Jackson, the Seattle City Council could lend a hand and re-designate the park for another Jackson.
- NE 185th Street (Shoreline North) is closer to the “heart” of Shoreline, albeit several blocks from both the Aurora corridor and the North City corridor on 15th Avenue, and would be more deserving of the city’s name than NE 145th/NE 147th. Alternatively, it could take its name form nearby neighborhoods, like Meridian Park or North City.
- Mountlake Terrace is the only station name that really makes sense, and is a total no-brainer. No change needed!
- Lynnwood City Center (Lynnwood Transit Center) is likely coming at the behest of the city’s grand vision for a walkable, dense downtown that currently consists of strip malls, a convention center, and two new apartment buildings. While Lynnwood will have two other stations by 2036 (Alderwood and Ash Way), they are distinct placenames in their own right and wouldn’t be confused with Lynnwood. There’s a weak case to change this name back to Lynnwood Transit Center, or to simply Lynnwood, but it would be fine if left untouched.
The Sound Transit Board will finalize these names during their meeting on July 27. Public comments to the board submitted before that meeting could help avoid years of rider confusion and poor signage. According to the staff report in the proposed motion, “a one or two month delay would not create a significant impact to the schedule”, so there really is nothing to lose in going back for a second, thorough look at station names. Only you can prevent name sprawl, duplicate names, and unfortunate names.