A train will run (near) here, in five years’ time (Mountlake Terrace)

The start of construction for Lynnwood Link is only weeks away, just over a decade since the project was approved by voters as part of the Sound Transit 2 package in 2008. The first inter-county Link trains are scheduled to arrive in July 2024, traveling on 8.5 miles of elevated and surface tracks along the side of Interstate 5 between Lynnwood and Northgate.

While a firm groundbreaking date has not been announced yet, Sound Transit has released detailed plans for the scheduled construction activities at and around each of the project’s four planned stations. While the status of Northeast 130th Street Station is still up in the air, the citizens of Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood will have easy access to their stations once opening day arrives, but will have to deal with varying levels of disruption over the next five years.

The first step for any major construction project is, of course, preparing the land – in this case through demolition of existing structures. Since Lynnwood Link is mostly running along Interstate 5 on WSDOT right-of-way, the land takings have been minimal, but still relatively controversial. Along with dozens of homes whose land will be used for the relocated freeway sound wall, construction at Lynnwood Link also necessitated the demolition of a furniture store, a gas station, and the beloved Black Angus steakhouse.

Among the greatest casualties of light rail construction, according to recent media coverage ($), are some 5,300 trees that will be cleared away along the corridor over this summer, the majority of which would be in Mountlake Terrace (2,300). The tree canopy provides a sound buffer for Mountlake Terrace, while also creating a dramatic backdrop for drivers as they drive along the freeway that cut through tens of thousands (if not millions) of older trees when it was opened in 1965. Sound Transit will plant over 20,000 total trees along Lynnwood Link as work progresses, including shorter varieties that would not interfere with rail operations, and plans to maintain them for 13 years.

Next comes the relocation of overhead and underground utilities, which is anticipated to take until late 2020 for some areas, as Snohomish PUD, Seattle City Light, and telecom companies all have to tip-toe around each other’s schedules while moving road closures to the weekend or off-peak hours. A long section of 5th Avenue Northeast between 130th and 145th streets on the west side of the Jackson Park Golf Course will be closed to vehicle traffic later this year to make way for column work, but a pedestrian path will remain open. Other disruptions, namely reduced space at the Northeast 145th and Mountlake Terrace park-and-rides, will be mitigated by the opening of temporary commuter lots by early summer. Mountlake Terrace’s temporary lot will be located at the site of a demolished subdivision and will include several bays for buses while the transit center loop is closed for Link construction.

By November, the two contractors for Lynnwood Link will have begun drilling for future column placement and excavation of the retaining walls and track beds that will carry the at-grade sections of track. Over the winter, work will also begin on the stations at Northeast 185th Street and Mountlake Terrace, while Lynnwood Transit Center starts in late 2020 and Northeast 145th Street rounds out the quartet with an early 2021 start. By the summer of 2022, the columns and girders will have been set in place and topped with rails, reaching the stage that East Link is currently at. Heavy construction will have wrapped up by spring 2023, in time for several months of system testing along the guideway.

Trains are planned to begin regular service in July 2024, but the published schedule also has plenty of float time that could move the date up by several months; Community Transit is also planning a yet-unrevealed restructure that would coincide with the opening of Lynnwood Link and include the debut of a third Swift bus rapid transit line. Lynnwood Link would also connect with the SR 522 “Stride” bus rapid transit line to be built by Sound Transit, and will also be the catalyst for a new bicycle and pedestrian trail that the City of Shoreline plans to build under the elevated guideway.

Sound Transit is hosting an open house tomorrow night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lynnwood Convention Center to talk about upcoming light rail construction that will affect Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace. With the faster pace of construction expected for Lynnwood Link, and its high visibility from Interstate 5, the easiest way to observe and gawk at the future Link guideway and stations will be via the regularly-scheduled double-decker buses on Community Transit and Sound Transit Express routes heading north to Snohomish County. The two stations at Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood should be especially easy to visit for sidewalk superintendents, with regular bus service expected to be maintained in some form for the entire duration of construction.

75 Replies to “Five Years of Lynnwood Link Construction To Begin Soon”

  1. Wasn’t there a second optional station up in Lynnwood? It seems to have fallen off the radar.

    1. 220th SW?

      Might be an ST3 project. Lynnwood Link documents from 2015 include provisions for a future station there.

      1. I can’t see that being a particularly useful station. There’s Premera Blue Cross offices and a couple of apartment complexes, but all built in typical parking-moat suburban style, and the street grid isn’t well connected.

        All of these can be fixed, of course, but it remains to be seen whether Mountlake Terrace will do a good job of redeveloping the area around the first station it gets.

      2. 220th St SW was proposed in ST3, but then deleted, since no one in Mountlake Terrace or Lynnwood was really interested in a station there, and folks farther north preferred faster travel times.

      3. 220th was deferred, not deleted. This means it remains in the plan as a future option but its construction is not scheduled, and it’s not funded in ST2 or 3. ST will build the necessary space around the station box so that a station can be retrofitted later. Other stations that have been deferred at various times include 130th, Graham, Boeing Access Road, and 133rd (between Boeing Access and SeaTac). Graham was eventually deleted and later restored, while Beacon Hill was added before construction (initially there was going to be no station in the Beacon Hill tunnel).

        The various communities successfully convinced the ST board to get 130th, Graham, and BAR scheduled in ST3, saying they are critical and have sufficient underserved transit markets. Demand for 220th was weaker, and Snohomish was trying to squeeze money for its big priorities, Everett and Paine Field, so 220th was deprioritized. Its potential transit market is a couple office parks, which is not very much. Mountlake Terrace could change this by upzoning the area, but it’s having difficulty doing much upzoning anywhere, just a token block on 236th.

        BAR’s transit market can be hard to see because there’s little within walking distance, but its proponents point to an extension of the A for a new 144th urban village, and a bus north to the Museum of Flight and Aviation High School, and bus truncations like the 101 and 150, and a potential Link-Sounder transfer (although the Sounder station was not selected in ST3). Metro is planning to split the 150 and have a half dozen routes go through BAR but they won’t terminate there; most of them will terminate at Rainier Beach, even the A extension. (The 101 is here to stay; Metro is not budging on that.)

      4. Does anyone know what the pricetag , and feature set were for the 220th st Station, had it been included in ST2 or ST3?

  2. While not perfect, the addition of this segment will have a wonderful benefit to riders. I still rue over the elimination of escalators and the horrible access to the Shoreline South station for just about everyone. Still, the additional line will carry a large number of riders and make Shoreline, Lynnwood and other places feel much closer to Seattle.

  3. If I’m not mistaken, property was taken (along with trees) on the east part of 5th, just a bit south of NE 130th (https://goo.gl/maps/E8k5FBuM89eFhfRW7). I also think the pedestrian/bike bridge at 116th, along with the road bridge it connects to (which goes over I-5) will be removed. I have no idea the timetable for that. I also heard that 5th Avenue between NE 130th and 145th will eventually become one way. I don’t know if anyone else heard that.

    1. Looks like you’re referring to 1st Ave NE, which bends around so it can cross perpendicular to I-5. I hope it gets rebuilt, since it looks like a good candidate for a bus pathway to the upcoming Link station at Northgate. And anything that makes it easier for pedestrians to cross the freeway is good to have, especially that close to a Link station.

      1. Yeah, that’s the bridge I’m referring to. The part that crosses the freeway is 1st Avenue, while the pedestrian/bike connection is at 116th (Google maps shows both — https://goo.gl/maps/rTxugMmgi8wLXamd7). I’m pretty sure it will be rebuilt, but the pedestrian/bike connection may be a bit different.

  4. If light rail to the east is called East Link, why isn’t light rail to the north called North Link?

    1. I don’t know if these names matter that much, I think they’re just project names, and not the names of the actual lines/services that will run on them.

    2. Central and East Link are the only non-destination project names that I’ve seen ST use. I would instead ask why East Link wasn’t called Redmond Link or Overlake Link.

      1. Link to “downtown” Redmond is indeed commonly referred to as Redmond Link.

        East Link will open a couple-ish years earlier than Redmond Link. I have no qualms with not referring to East Link by the less-intuitive monicker of “Overlake Link”.

      2. East Link, North Link, Northgate Link, and Lynnwood Link are all planning names, not the production terminology. North Link was renamed to Northgate Link to avoid confusion because there have been four overlapping northern plans over the years: ST1 originally to 45th, University Link to UW, U-District Station which is not a separate phase but can be confused in people’s minds, Northgate Link from UW to Northgate (including U-District), and Lynnwood Link from Northgate to Lynnwood. East Link was originally envisioned to downtown Redmond; it was only truncated to Overlake to fit in the ST2 budget, but it was assumed the short Redmond extension would be built the first thing after, and they’re now being constructed simultaneously because ST3/Redmond overtook ST2/Overlake in the same way ST3/320th overtook ST2/240th (originally 272nd) before construction started. Although I think the two stations north of Overlake will open slightly later?

      3. The Chicago el also has named segments like “the Ravenswood extension”, but these are not used in everyday publicity or by everyday passengers; they just refer to the construction phases. It remains to be seen whether Link’s segment names will be remembered that long. After construction is finished people will probably refer to “East Link”, “North Link”, and “South Link” as the entire segments east, north, and south of downtown, even if that’s different from their original meaning. There has never been an official “South Link”, or if there was it referred to Westlake-SeaTac, but I use “South Link” to refer to everything south of downtown.

        After opening people will use the line colors more. Right now it’s confusing to remember where the red, blue, and green lines begin and end because none of them are in operation yet and there’s only a single line. It’s also confusing because the east line should have been red because it’s more conservative and affluent than Seattle, but instead it was called blue and the other more Seattle line is called red. That’s hard to remember now (I remember it by the moniker that it’s the opposite it should be), but after it opens and people start using it it will be easier to remember, and then it will seem natural to just say “the Blue line” meaning both the east side and the north side.

      4. Actually I think it’s called “the Ravenswood branch”. But it doesn’t refer to a line but to a section of track. The line was called the Ravenswood line earlier, but then the agency switched to naming the lines by their colors and end stations.

      5. Old Chicagoans sometimes still use the old line names pre-color coding. I’ve definitely heard Ravenswood Line. Skokie Swift is still sometimes used to refer to the Yellow Line, and Evanston Express instead of Purple Line Express. I think the CTA internally still uses the branch names (e.g. Congress, Dan Ryan, North Side, etc) to refer to particular sections of track.

        In New York, because of the way their system is set up, it seems fairly uncommon for riders to talk about lines instead of services (my friend, a lifelong New Yorker, had no idea what IRT, BMT, and IND stood for). I think the MTA uses them internally and sometimes you’ll see the line names show up on train rollsigns. The F train’s rollsign will sometimes read “Culver Local,” for instance, referring to the IND Culver Line.

      6. @Pat Following up on your reply above about the CTA, I concur with your overall comments about the nomenclature in usage there. For example, one of our good friends, who is a Chicago transplant but who has lived there for nearly 50 years, uses the “Evanston Express” nomenclature.

        “(my friend, a lifelong New Yorker, had no idea what IRT, BMT, and IND stood for).”

        Really? I find that rather odd. As a “lifelong” New Yorker (at least for the first 30 years of my life before moving west), I was aware of and understood what these acronyms stood for. Perhaps your friend is significantly younger than myself and simply doesn’t know the history of the lines.

      7. Tlsgwm:

        The CTA adopted colors for their line names in 1993, so anyone who reached adulthood prior to that would probably use the old names out of habit.

        Yep, my friend is 25. I found it surprising too, but I don’t think the MTA uses IRT/BMT/IND nomenclature in its public-facing communication, at least not anymore.

      8. Central and East Link are the only non-destination project names that I’ve seen ST use.

        The short Angle Lake extension from the airport was named South Link during design. I’m not sure how much it was used externally though.

      1. Well, technically North Link originally referred to the extension of the line from the U-District to Lynnwood, but your assertion is essentially correct. The whole ship canal crossing and location of the station hadn’t been resolved yet at the time the North Link white papers were drafted. The splitting of the extension into the two component segments, projects N06 (Northgate Link) and N39 (Lynnwood Link), soon followed during the planning leading up to the the first version of ST2, the failed 2007 Roads and Transit ballot measure.

        From a user perspective, the project name become irrelevant once the projects are completed and the lines are opened.

    3. East Link will be called the Blue Line, and Central Link from Northgate to Angle Lake will be called the Red Line? What about when it’s extended further south and north, the entire thing will still be called the Red Line?

      1. Has anybody at ST ever said what the color coding will be at the end of ST3 when the spine is split?

        Does Red Line go to Ballard or to West Seattle or is there a new color coding in the works?

      2. ST2:
        Blue: Lynnwood to Overlake
        Red: Lynnwood to Kent-Des Moines

        ST3:
        Blue: 128th (Everett) to Redmond, in DSTT1
        Red: Everett to West Seattle, in DSTT1
        Green: Ballard to Tacoma, in DSTT2

        I haven’t heard of any changes from this.

        Tacoma Link’s ST2 branding is still up in the air, or at least it was last year. I mentioned that it will be confusing when Central Link and Tacoma Link meet and have the same name for very different levels of service. The Rep said Tacoma Link could keep the same brand or could change completely. I suggested Tacoma Streetcar.

      3. The latest System Expansion has Tacoma Link colored in orange/brown and Kirkland-Issaquah in purple. Of course that doesn’t mean anything.

        As LA studied colors last year, they determined that they are horrible after three or four are used. Distinctions are hard, especially if sun fades the markings or affects colors when sunlit. It’s also hard for color blind people. DC has to use a two letter abbreviation for each color now; some ST prototypes suggest using one letter — although a red R for both RapidRide and Red Line is very confusing!

        I continue to wish that ST would use letters or numbers as primary while use colors for background distinctions.

      4. “I haven’t heard of any changes from this.”

        That’s my understanding as well. Btw, I like how you laid out the lines by ST plan. That’s a great way to keep it all straight in one’s mind.

      5. I wonder if any place ever deviated from numbers or letters to name lines? I guess for a relatively small number you could use simple shapes that everyone knows (the square line, the star line, the heart line) where on a map it would be these shapes inside a colored circle but that could confuse people too especially if they think the “circle” line goes in a loop.

      6. Brian:

        Vancouver and London (that I know of) have “named” lines (see: Expo Line, Canada Line, Jubilee Line, Hammersmith & City) that generally have a specific color on the map but are never referred to by their color.

        Interestingly, London does have a Circle Line, but it’s called that because it’s actually a loop. Similarly, there was a proposal to add a Circle Line to the Chicago ‘L’ which otherwise uses colors to name its line. Predictably, it too formed a loop.

      7. The Red Line will go to West Seattle. The current “Central Link” will become the south end of the Green Line (Ballard-Tacoma).

    4. The general contractor for Northgate Link is called JCM Northlink, but I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or not.

  5. I’m looking forward to the day the north BoltBus line runs between Lynnwood Station and King George Station (Surrey), reducing the total travel time on the bus by close to an hour.

    I expect it will be a Friday.

    1. Perhaps another company could launch it if Greyhound doesn’t. The east coast has several overlapping Chinatown bus companies, while we’ve only ever had one.

      1. There’s a Chinatown bus company on the west coast?

        In any case, we’re probably hampered by the fact that outside of San Francisco, Chinese immigrants on the west coast (at least by my estimation) tend to be from more recent waves of skilled immigration (or from Hong Kong/Taiwan) that tended to avoid urban Chinatowns, instead of the poorer, mostly unskilled Guangdong/Fujian immigrants you’ll find in the legacy Chinatowns back east.

      2. The only other comparable route I’ve heard of was the Green Tortoise, which went from Seattle to San Francisco in the 1980s and 90s and was described as a hippie bus with a carpet instead of seats and it stopped in southern Oregon for some kind of dinner I don’t remember. The Green Tortoise hostel downtown is presumably its descendant.

        In New York around 2003 I encountered the Chinatown buses and rode them to DC and Philadelphia on separate trips. They were low-cost buses which as the name says, went between Chinatowns, which are excellent from a transit-rider’s perspective. Bolt Bus was created sometime around then to compete with them. So I eagerly hoped they would appear on the west coast, but I think only one did, in California, but I think it failed a few years later.

        Several years after that Bolt Bus started in Seattle. It’s still the only one so it has no competition. I hesitated to call it a “Chinatown bus”, but its Seattle stop is in the International District so maybe that was intentional. I don’t know whether its Vancouver and Portland stops are in Chinatowns. But the DC stop for one of the buses was in a single-family neighborhood, so it might not have been in Chinatown either but vaguely near it.

      3. Bolt stops at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver. I assume its Portland stop is near Union Station as well, and that the International District was chosen because of its proximity to King Street.

      4. It’s no coincidence. “Chinatowns”, especially on the west coast, typically grew up adjacent to train stations since many of the early Chinese immigrants were laborers in train construction and the land adjacent the depot was less desirable and cheaper.

  6. Question: The Northgate Link and this portion all have the float time, which is good. I see that the opening can be moved up if everything goes well, my question is how do they budget for early openings? Doesn’t ST have separate capital and operations budgets?

    1. It’s a great question. It’s likely a complex calculation involving staff costs (although those are going to be somewhat incurred during testing no matter how many months it takes) as well as other costs, offset by fare revenues and savings from cancelling ST Express buses.

      It’s adding 7 minutes of service to the current 48 minutes. That’s 15 percent more service, a bit more than a budget contingency but not particularly outrageous when there will be at least 20 percent more riders (and fares). I don’t see it as much of a budget problem.

      In Northgate’s case, its benefit probably won’t be fully realized until the line goes further to Lynnwood. It also will affect Metro budgets (and eventually CT budgets) as well as ORCA allocations between the operators.

      1. Just seven minutes from Northgate to HSS? Wow. It’s nearly five miles and there are two intervening stations. This puppy is going to zip!

      2. Yep. When you can max out a train speed about 55-58 mph, have electric power for quick stops and starts, and only have to stop twice (only at stations) for about 30 seconds, it’s very doable. ST says that it’s 4.3 miles.

  7. Minor correction for the OP: It’s Snohomish County PUD, not Snohomish PUD. (I get a bill from them every month. Lol.)

  8. It looks like the at-grade portions along I-5 do not follow the grade of I-5, but instead that of the intersecting streets (175th, 185th, etc). Are those going to be under- or over-passed? It otherwise seems like asking for both traffic and light rail delays…

    1. There will be no level crossings on Lynnwood Link or Federal Way Link, but it will be on the ground in some parts so at-grade. There are two meanings of “at-grade”; in engineering it means on the ground, but the public tends to equate it with level crossings. That was one thing we watchdogged during the alignment section: on the ground is fine but level crossings are not.

      ST originally envisioned Link with a lot more surface segments (meaning intersections; e.g., from Mt Baker to SeaTac (and presumably Federal Way and Tacoma). That’s what the previous American light rails had done; they were all surface except maybe one underground station to cross a mountain or highway. That would have made the cost much lower. But as each segment went through design one by one, the communities consistently asked for underground or elevated to eliminate level crossings and said they were willing to pay more for it. Rainier Valley lost out because it was first, but as later segments were designed it became clear that this would be the standard. Downtown to 63rd was always going to be underground because of the hills and ship canal.

      So ST2 was fully grade-separated for a while, but then they pulled back a little bit because Bellevue wanted a downtown tunnel and asked ST to economize elsewhere in East King to pay for half of it, so that led to surfacing part of Bel-Red and Overlake. I complained to an ST rep specifically about this in an open house, and he assured me the street crossing in Bel-Red is a low-volume street and wouldn’t be much of an issue. I’m not sure where the Overlake surface track will be. ST3 is fully grade-separated at this point except the ship canal bridge in Ballard.

      1. the street crossing in Bel-Red is a low-volume street and wouldn’t be much of an issue.

        130th is low volume now. There’s nothing there but auto repair shops. That will change radically as the Spring District develops and Bellevue is already starting to turn that into a major thoroughfare. The big issue is NE 20th/Northup where it is just plain stupid that they didn’t cross elevated given they are immediately climbing a mountain after that crossing to go up and over the overpass on 148th. Of course the original “plan” (if you can call it that) was to cross 148th at grade. Dumb & Dumber.

  9. Anyone have any updates or predictions on the status of 130th St. station?

    Seattle Councilmember Debora Juarez deserves a lot of credit for a successful push to get us to this point… and she just got nominated to the ST Board, which seems like a good sign.

    https://www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion/ne-130th-st-infill-station

    I’ll be sad to see 5000+ trees go, though not nearly as sad as I’d be if they were widening I-5 instead of extending Link and (hopefully – any updates on this?) constructing an adjacent bicycle trail through Shoreline.

    1. I think Constantine said that during ST3 planning Juarez called him every day to advocate for 130th Station. That’s the kind of advocacy we need, although once a day sounds like a lot. Once or twice a month would be great too.

      The tree subsidy was a mitigation to Mountlake Terrace over something.

      I hope 130th gets done by the time Lynnwood Link opens. ST has said it’s looking to see if it can but it hasn’t committed to it. Earlier it said that adding 130th would be a substantial change that would invalidate its FTA grant application and it would have to start again in the back of the line. Others pointed to other agencies that had similarly added a station without invalidating their grant, and now ST has backed away from that position, but it still hasn’t committed to an accelerated schedule for the station yet.

      1. “The tree subsidy was a mitigation to Mountlake Terrace over something.”

        That’s not correct at all. The tree mitigation program, initially coming in at some $30M+ before “value engineering” entered the picture following the Aug 2017 project estimate bust, was always part of the plan and the environmental review. It impacts multiple jurisdictions, i.e., Seattle, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and WSDOT. Additionally, there are several statutes and local ordinances at play here dealing with the required minimum replantings. The initial iteration of the plan called for a proposed 66,000 replantings, the vast majority of those in the WSDOT ROW. The latest version of the plan (Feb 2019) calls for a significantly reduced number of replantings, as mentioned in the article.

        The bottom line is that the tree line that serves as a noise and visual buffer for the communities that line I-5 along this corridor will be drastically altered for a long time, if not permanently.

        I wrote about this in a comment on the last “News Round-up” open thread just a few days ago, so see that if you want more details.

      2. Since they can save ten to fifteen million dollars and a year or two of slow running by doing it as a part of Lynnwood Link, not doing it is egregious malpractice.

    2. Um, talking about extra revenue in the booming economy, accelerating 130th to 2024 would be my top priority for the money, before a West Seattle tunnel or a Ballard tunnel or the Intl Dist options. One inexpensive station is low-hanging fruit; let’s just do it first, and then figure out how to spend the rest of the money.

      1. This. Add to the fact that it is daft to go back and add a station after a line is already in operation if it’s already planned – doing so will cause disruptions and delays to trains on and off for years. Lake City and Bitter Lake’s transit situation will improve immensely the day it opens (Lake City is no more than 10 minutes by bus; Bitter Lake is closer – and they are both highly upzone worthy).

        Do it now.

    3. Is it just me, or does it look like Shoreline is the only municipality interested in having a mixed use trail alongside the light rail tracks? Not sure if Seattle is doing anything. In Mountlake Terrace trees will be replaced, which presumably would preclude having a pathway there. And Lynnwood has been upgrading the Interurban Trail which already parallels I-5 for most of that stretch. For me, the critical connection would be between the MLT station (accessible to the pathway alongside Lake Ballinger Park) and Shoreline’s 195th ST terminus. In particular, the whole area around the Ballinger interchange is tricky. It’s not the worst outcome, but still a bit of a shame — there really is an opportunity to get a continuous trail from Lynnwood to Northgate alongside the tracks. I definitely intend to contact MLT people about our side of the County line — even if it’s just shared space with pedestrians through the Gateway complex. Crossing County lines is always tricky for bike infrastructure:(

      1. “does it look like Shoreline is the only municipality interested in having a mixed use trail alongside the light rail tracks?”

        Seattle might have mumbled something about a multimodal trail on 5th down to Northgate. I don’t remember clearly. Shoreline has been active and loud in its plans to upzone the north side of 145th, beautify the streetside, and have a trail under Link through the entire city. Seattle has been completely silent on any plans for the south side of 145th; it seems to treat it as a forgotten fringe area. And we can’t cut into the golf course, right, so what else is there to talk about? But as I said, it may have said something about extending the trail south, but I can’t remember. Just that “5th multimodal” sticks in my head.

      2. At 195th St., there’s a pedestrian bridge over I-5. From there, it’s about half a mile west along a low-traffic residential street before you junction with the Interurban Trail. The Interurban trail does go through to Lynnwood Transit Center (and onward to Everett)

      3. No, it’s more like just over 1 mile between the ped bridge and the Interurban, and you hit the Interurban precisely where it breaks up at the County line and dumps you on to not so quiet 76TH Ave W and the intersection with Highway 104 and a half mile or so before you hit the trail again at Lake Ballinger. Narrow bike lanes that disappear precisely where you need them the most — at the big intersection! No problem for sports cyclists, but probably too mush of a hassle for casual bike riders and still dangerous to do with children. And you’ve still left the Ballinger part of Shoreline completely cut off from any safe and easy bike option. County lines are just tough places for bicycling, I guess.

        Good point about it having more potential user base from Shoreline to Northgate. And I believe there is no more impact to the golf course than Link itself has, since it uses the right of way of Link. Hopefully “5TH Multimodal” isn’t yet another branded implementation of sharrows.

  10. What will happen to the Mountlake Terrace freeway station? Will it go away with the buses? Or will CT still run some peak buses?

    CT has one of the weirdest and most duplicative peak express networks I’ve seen. Like the difference between the 413 and the 415, for example. And how the CT expresses cost more than ST expresses, even ones with the same service as ST (402 for example). I feel like if they still have this network now, they’d be reluctant to give it up when Link opens.

    1. Between Link and 405 BRT, CT will have lots of duplicative service after 2024/5 without restructuring. I think that this is driving the ultimate Swift expansion effort. Of course, there will be lots of surplus buses in their fleet too, so they will probably sell them off.

      The Mountlake Terrace stop is destined to be a relic. Maybe it could be used for Bolt buses, or carpool or employer bus drop-offs but that’s about all I can think of.

      1. Realizing buses were dealt from the bottom of the deck with the taking of the bus tunnel, what’s the time comparison of DT Express bus vs train via the UW/Cap Hill loop? It seems odd to me that this wouldn’t be a synergistic relationship where potential transfers make it an even busier stop.

      2. Bernie, the few buses that use the old “Blue Streak” loop at Cherry are probably faster most days than the train from Lynnwood will be. However, they’re less reliable between Lynnwood and the Reversible Lane entrance.

        And most ST express routes don’t go that way. They get stuck in the Stewart/Olive mess.

      3. The quoted travel time is 28 minutes from Lynnwood to Westlake, which is slightly faster than most off-peak runs on Route 512 (due to the extra stops) and about the same as Route 511/402 during shoulder and mild peak.

        Mountlake Terrace wouldn’t make for a great transfer situation for commuter buses, since there’s no layover space in the middle of the freeway, and the walking distance is a bit long. Not ideal when you have precious minutes to catch a northbound bus; Lynnwood is better designed for this purpose, and I hope that the D bays (which will be closest to Link) are designated for those express take-home buses in the afternoons and evenings.

    2. CT has a good long-range plan, and its local bus network is more rational than it used to be, meaning some routes were straghtened out and they now go between major transit centers.giving them two-way ridership throughout the route. The Swift network is a kind of poor man’s Link: it connects urban villages together and makes the highest-ridership corridors faster and more frequent.

      Right now there are a lot of express buses because CT’s constituents place higher priority on peak expresses to Seattle than Metro’s constituents do, because there are fewer job alternatives in Snohomish County. Snoho has a huge imbalance of jobs to housing, some 70% of Snohomans work in King County, and the number who live in King County and work in Snohomish is also high (probably due to Boeing). Link and Stride will absorb a large chunk of that, more than the existing buses, because the express buses are useless if you work in north Seattle outside the U-District, and a lot of people do because it’s so close. All the CT and ST express buses will be truncated with Lynnwood Link; both agencies have stated that. That will free up a huge ton of hours for frequent feeders and local grid service, and the Swift lines are part of that.

      With Northgate Link, there’s a possibility the 512 will be truncated at Northgate. I don’t think the peak expresses will be, because the streets between the freeway exit and the transit center are already at capacity, and it would require a lot of layover space that would be obsolete in three years.

    3. Will CT still run some peak buses?

      I would be very surprised if CT runs express buses once Link gets to Lynnwood. Metro stopped running buses from SeaTac to downtown even though the time savings would be larger, and the all-day demand higher. A trip from Lynnwood to downtown via Link will take less than 30 minutes. It is hard (if not impossible) to beat that during rush hour, and there simply isn’t enough demand outside of it. I could see something like an express to First Hill or South Lake Union, but I just don’t see the demand. Running buses like that is really expensive. It makes way more sense to shift service elsewhere.

      Of course, there will be lots of surplus buses in their fleet too, so they will probably sell them off.

      No, they will just send them other places or a lot more often. The 405 for example, runs only four times a day, with gaps of 35 minutes. One little delay heading out the door and you might as well take Swift and the E to Seattle (as slow as that is). The bus spends the vast majority of its time getting to or running through downtown. You can buses like that to run every ten minutes during rush hour, and extend it to more places, and still come out ahead. Snohomish County is nowhere near the saturation point for rush hour service (especially since Link goes to more destinations, which will lead to higher ridership).

      What will happen to the Mountlake Terrace freeway station?

      I think it will just sit unused. Some have talked about city to city buses (Greyhound, etc.) using the stop. That sounds reasonable, just because there is such a small time penalty for using the stop. Still, it would be weird if a BOLT bus served both Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace (along with Seattle). That means that you are favoring a stop that has fewer people around it and worse transit connections, just to save a minute or two.

      I could also see it being converted to a car pool spot. Someone from up north could pick up an additional rider or two as they are headed south. I wouldn’t rule out a local bus using it, but it is difficult to imagine. The problem is that it takes a while to get over to the HOV lane. Otherwise it would be quite reasonable for a bus to get on the freeway, use the station, and then get off the freeway at the next exit. But a bus really can’t do that. At best a bus could get on at 220th, and get off at 175th, but that doesn’t sound like it could lead to a great route to me (especially since it crosses jurisdictions).

    4. CT’s commuter network is very much a relic of the 1970s network it inherited from Metro, with occasional shakeups due to budget cuts and service expansions. CT has plenty of route numbers to use, which means that service variations get separate route numbers instead of turnback trips (this was also the case for the Boeing routes until the recent replacement of 277 and 287 with extended 270/271 and 280 trips).

      As for 402 vs ST 511, I usually choose the latter based on its lower cost, but sometimes the former is (a) coming on-time in the tracker, (b) using a nicer bus (with better seat padding), and (c) less full. Those luxuries are sometimes worth the difference in fares (especially now that the longer expresses are now the same price as the other 400s).

      1. It’s not just a relic. When CT was facing cuts in the 2008 recession, it offered two alternatives, one that kept the current express routes, and one that pared them down for more frequent local service. The public feedback was overwhelmingly to keep the express routes. That’s what I meant by “CT’s constituents place higher priority on peak expresses to Seattle than Metro’s constituents do”.Snohomish just does not have as many destinations, and even the enhanced local service would be too infrequent for many people (you need the Swift lines to really get people to switch to transit), a higher percent of people live in houses so it’s harder to get to a bus stop, and they live in Snohomish because they’re more accustomed to driving. All that is why Snohomish prioritizes its express buses more, but when Link and Stride take over that service the reason for them will evaporate.

      2. Perhaps by the time Lynnwood link opens DT Everett will have become a jobs center and the Mountlake Terrace freeway station will serve express bus service headed north?

  11. Anyone else notice that in the video flyover it appears to cut over an empty lot before entering the Lynnwood Park and Ride. It is not empty, it is the Edmonds School District Bus garage and Maintenance Depot and has been for 3 years now. What disruption to kids busing will occur during this construction? Where are they going to put all the school buses during this time?

Comments are closed.