Last Thursday, Sound Transit and the City of Redmond held an open house to share the latest designs for the two stations on the Redmond Link extension, planned to open for service in 2024. Following a Sound Transit Board decision in June to ratify alignment recommendations from the City of Redmond, the agency has moved quickly advancing design on stations in Downtown Redmond and Southeast Redmond.
The Downtown Redmond station is a simple elevated design between Cleveland St and NE 76th St. Elevating the station eliminated conflicts with pedestrians and vehicles crossing the line. The Redmond Central Connector trail is diverted very slightly to the north. There will be space for bus access and layover on both sides of the station area. The station platform is centered above 166th Ave NE, with entrances at either end.
East of downtown Redmond, the alignment quickly comes to grade before passing underneath SR 520 where the off-ramps to Redmond Way will be rebuilt. It then turns sharply to the southwest where a second station will be built in the Marymoor area. That larger station is close to the southern perimeter of SR 520. The city this year adopted a package of zoning amendments intended to remake the Marymoor Subarea as a denser mixed use neighborhood. With downtown increasingly built out, Marymoor is likely to become an important growth area for Redmond.
The Southeast Redmond station itself is at grade. To the east is an 1,100 car garage. It’s a five level structure, with parking on the upper four floors. Because of the tight geometric constraints, the trains will travel through the first floor, which also contains bus bays for connecting service and bus layover space. To avoid conflicts, cars will access the garage via ramps directly to the second and third floors.
Another 300 parking spaces (Sound Transit has committed to 1,400 in all) will be in a surface lot. If a partner is found, that lot could be redeveloped and the developer would accommodate the rail station parking along with their own needs.
The alignment choice (elevated in central downtown, but at-grade elsewhere) has enabled a connection of the East Lake Sammamish Trail with the Redmond Central Connector. Currently these trails, both built on the old BNSF corridor, are separated by the ramps at the end of SR 520, requiring dangerous street crossings. Both of the ramps to/from Redmond Way will be rebuilt and raised to allow trains to pass underneath. This allowed a connection for the trail with short tunnel sections under the ramps at little additional cost.