Possible good news for North Seattle: the Sound Transit board’s capital committee will vote Thursday on a resolution to move forward with preliminary engineering for 130th St station, meaning it could open years earlier than originally planned.
We started writing about 130th back in 2013, touting its potential for east-west connectivity and transit-oriented development. 130th also has only a partial I-5 interchange, making it friendlier to non-motorized and bus access from the Lake City and Bitter Lake neighborhoods. However, the ST studies and the political machinations between Seattle, Shoreline, and Snohomish cities conspired to give us stations at Northgate and 145th, with a 2-mile gap in between.
As ST3 got closer, more advocates began asking for the station to be added to the plans. When the draft ST3 plan was released in April of 2016, the 130th station was listed as “provisional.” Then, after a public process that included some vigorous advocacy from folks including Seattle City Councilmember Debra Juarez, who represents North Seattle’s District 5, the station was added in but deferred to 2031.
The 2031 date didn’t really make anyone happy. Adding the station after Lynnwood Link was up and running would have been expensive and disruptive. But it was seen as too risky, both in terms of Lynnwood’s timeline and federal funding, to add the station concurrently with the rest of the Lynnwood extension. With Lynnwood Link pushed out to 2024, staff appear more confident that they can squeeze it in.
It’s not time to pop the Champagne corks up in Pinehurst just yet. The resolution calls the preliminary engineering proposal a “due diligence effort” to “help determine the viability of accelerating final design and construction of the station to be sufficiently complete by 2024 concurrent with [Lynnwood Link] to avoid or minimize service disruptions.” But this is still optimistic news for a project that has had its share of setbacks.