Looking north from NE 130th Street at the future station (SounderBruce)

Voters approved an ST3 plan that included a NE 130th Street “infill” station opening in 2031. Of course, the segment it is “infilling” has barely started construction and won’t open until 2024. In principle, completing all the work in one go would simplify the project and give riders 7 more years of high-quality service. On the other hand, this would mean spending money earlier when the general trend is to move it back.

Tomorrow afternoon, the System Expansion Committee will hear a presentation about the possibilities for opening 130th in 2024. This report is the result of a mandate to study the idea in 2018. The Snohomish delegation, in particular, will need convincing that yet another Seattle station is worth the additional cost and schedule risk for a project that has already seen overruns on both.

We’ll see tomorrow what the options are for a project estimated at $67m in 2016. Whatever the sentiments of the Snohomish delegation, they should seek to build at least enough to prevent a construction service interruption. Severely curtailing service in 2030 will hurt Snohomish County riders far more than a small risk of delay in 2024 and a bad headline or two. And if the additional risk of full construction is small, doing so would be best for everyone.

82 Replies to “NE 130th Station discussion tomorrow”

  1. I think I remember seeing that they plan to site the station to the north of 130th.

    Does this mean that they are going to force buses to make a turn from 130th onto 5th in order to drop off at the station?

    If they don’t force the turn, and instead all buses will drop off on 130th I’m very curious to hear how they plan on facilitating pedestrian access from the south side of 130th.

    And have they ruled out a station over 130th that would allow all East-west buses to drop off under the station on 130th for maximum rider convenience?

    1. The ST webpage doesn’t say anything about design specifics. Ideally, the station would be built on top of 130th St. with entrances on either side. But, if that doesn’t happen, the right solution is to add crosswalks where necessary and have buses stay in a straight line. Also, the existing 130th St. bridge over I-5 looks like it has room for a pedestrian underpass, so that could be an option too.

      1. If prior station design is any indication, ST won’t do anything about bus connections and SDOT will come up with some half solution involving a 10-minute walking transfer.

      2. The guideway will cross over NE 130th Street. I don’t think there would be much of a point in building a pedestrian underpass, since that would require two extra changes in grade while the crosswalk could easily be improved (thanks to the lack of a north freeway ramp).

  2. In theory, Sound Transit should save money in the long run by just doing all the construction in one go. The problem is, whether doing so would cause Sound Transit to hit its statutory debt limit in the short term, thereby putting other projects at risk.

    1. This is Seattle money, though, right? If so, then wouldn’t it only put Seattle projects at risk? If so, what projects would be at risk?

      1. Subarea equity is a long term concept. But, the statutory debt limit is short term and shared across the entire agency. It is conceivable (though unlikely) that they’re already at the limit and, therefore, have to defer, even if it ends up costing more in the long run.

        I’m still hoping that this is not the case. We should absolutely build the station now and avoid disrupting service later, if at all possible.

      2. ST has the debt scheduled out. It will peak close to the ceiling sometime in the late 2020s or 2030s when ST is simultaneously constructing DSTT2, Everett Link, and Tacoma Dome Link. If it reaches the ceiling ST will have to postpone some things.

    2. I bet the people dealing with 12 minute headways and a forced transfer for the next 10 weeks wish that ST had scrounged through their couch cushions for spare change to build those East Link switches when they had the tunnel closed for two years. Albeit, Sound Transit might have to search a few couches to build a station.

      It’s the typical penny wise, pound foolishness that we force upon our public agencies.

      1. That is good in theory. But the tunnel closed in 2005 and reopened in 2007. St2 was passed in 2008. The timing was very unfortunate. If it had passed in 2007 that may have been possible.

      2. ST2 did not provision for couches…those were provided by the agencies, who were not able to add enough couch-scrounging hours to provide sufficient ROI. We’ll have to wait until funds become available for acquisition of new couches starting in 2028, and even then it depends on passage of ST4 whether they’ll be of any use.

      3. That is good in theory. But the tunnel closed in 2005 and reopened in 2007. St2 was passed in 2008. The timing was very unfortunate. If it had passed in 2007 that may have been possible.

        Understood, but the I-90 floating bridge was built to accommodate light rail. Whether that was 10 or 100 years after the fact, they should have acknowledged that and funded and built the switches with ST1. What they did was shortsighted and preventable.

        Not building the 130th Station with Lynnwood Link is even more shortsighted because the 130th Station is approved and (eventually) funded. I’m sure ST is doing what they can to find the funding to build it with Lynnwood Link and I can only hope our State and/or National governments step in to avoid another preventable fiasco in the future.

  3. It’s the track (Is the track segment suitable for stopping? Is a new crossover needed?), electrical and train signal impacts that are the most critical. These could disrupt service if they are installed after 2024. I wouldn’t even mind a phantom station train stop for a few years (although I will rarely use the line this far north so it doesn’t affect me). I’d hate to see tracks get closed and moved after service opens.

    1. You are making the case for a “phantom station” as it was called above, and it is exactly as you say: essential if later service interruptions are to be avoided.

      And there’s no “temporary center platform” available. Completion of any deferred work on signals or track, and probably the installation of the 130th platforms themselves would at a minimum require one track at a time be taken entirely out of service between the scissors north of Northgate and the next cross-overs to the north of 130th. That would absolutely hammer Snohomish County service.

      1. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Snohomish County board members were the ones most opposed? Their constituents stand to be the most impacted by delaying 130th St Station.

        If the old canard that it can’t open at the same time because of legal reasons comes up, open it the day after the other stations.

      2. The issue was whether adding the station would invalidate the federal grant application and require applying again in a later fiscal year. The fact that ST has dropped this argument indicates it’s no longer a roadblock. it was always about when it would be constructed, not whether it opens on one day or another.

  4. I strongly encourage everyone to put aside the short term financing challenges for a moment and consider the twin crises of housing costs and the climate crisis. Our region needs this station as a node to build more affordable sustainable housing as soon as possible. There was a very promising meeting a few months ago as the city gets station area planning under way and I would encourage folks to come out to support rapid implementation of the 130th Street station and just as importantly, get involved with the city to help build a bold station area plan that can help create housing for folks getting pushed out of our more centrally located station areas. Shoreline has already laid out an ambitious growth plan around 145th and 185th Stations and there is no reason we can’t do the same or better for 130th.


    There is no reason why Seattle can’t also rezone, not to mention build affordable housing and begin the process of trimming down the 27 hole golf course at Jackson Park and letting the ‘public’ back into this public park.

    1. What is the climate crisis angle? Is ST considering spilling out for carbon-negative concrete any time soon?

  5. I never understood why many STB’ers want 130th. It’s so close to 145th and simply another stop for people coming from the north. Why exactly is an infill at 130th a good idea?

    (for the record, I’m also opposed to a possible infill at 220th St in MLT)

    1. Lake City is the second-largest urban village in north Seattle not on ST2 Link and needs access to rapid transit. Its center is 125th Street and Lake City Way, and 145th Station is out-of-direction to the rest of the city. The 522 is going away and 522 Stride will not go south of 145th. People need options for housing in urban villages with good access to Link, and we can’t afford to throw away the opportunity for Lake City to be part of the solution. I lived and worked in Ballard for four years, and it was a half-hour overhead each direction to get to it from the regional transit access points (U-District and Westlake) and the rest of the city. We’re addressing this with Ballard Link but Lake City has no such plans. (There are concepts for a Lake City-Bothell line but that won’t be until another generation if ever.) Ideally the station would be within walking distance of the neighborhood center, but a short bus feeder to 130th Station is second best.

      On the other side of the station is Bitter Lake at 130th & Aurora. It has several large apartment buildings including senior apartments a bit north of 130th, and the lots at 130th are decaying big-box plazas that could be redeveloped.

      The third reason is a future housing cluster around the station itself. There are already apartments just east of it, and the city is already planning to upzone the area.

      220th Station in Mountlake Terrace has little going for it. Its purpose is to access the jobs in the surrounding office parks. There are few jobs there overall and it’s pretty low density, even if it is higher than the surrounding area. So unless the area upzones dramatically it’s better to focus on bringing jobs to downtown Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood.

      1. I’m all for infill but I don’t buy this rationale. “Good access to Link” means walking distance to a station. Lake City’s density centers around Lake City Way, not 125th St, so the 522 will still be Lake City’s primary route to downtown unless there’s successful on-demand service to Link. Remains to be seen whether restructuring successfully transfers ridership from 5x/E service in Bitter Lake. Redevelopment around the station itself will face pretty stiff NIMBYism. An Aurora alignment would have been so much more meaningful.

      2. The 522 is going away. If’s funded by East King and East King isn’t interested in Lake City; they’re only interested in getting to downtown. It’s only serving Lake City now because it’s on the way. 522 Stride will turn on 145th to Shoreline South Station.

      3. 130th doesn’t connect to Lake City Way. As such, the stop doesn’t really serve the Lake City community.

      4. “130th” is shortcut for the 130th/125th arterial that goes right to the center of Lake City at 125th & Lake City Way. The 75 could easily be rerouted to go west on 125th/130th to Greenwood Ave, or turn north on Aurora to Shoreline Community College.

      5. @ AJOY you are incorrect when you say say 130th doesn’t connect to Lake City Way.

        125th comes up the hill and then curves to the north. The map will tell you that little stretch of curve between 125th and 130th is the northernmost extension of Roosevelt, but the arterial from 130th and I-5 to 125th to lake city way is all one uninterrupted street.

        Your premise is incorrect, and for easy access from 125th and lake city way there will be no better location to access link than a station at 130th.

      6. Presumably the Lake City urban village will still have the 41, which doesn’t have to go in to downtown any more and can run even more frequently between Lake City and Northgate. And also gets you a one seat ride to the Northgate area, which will continue to grow. Not entirely convinced saving a few minutes on the bus is worth having the additional station, esp. if the station is not actually optimized for bus transfers. Nevertheless, the combination of increased density in the immediate area and good bike/bus connections to the heart of Bitter Lake would make the station worth it!

        I tend to agree that 130th >> 220th for infill stations. Even though I would technically be a 5 minute closer walk to a 220th SW station than Lynnwood Link. Not walking distance from much, not along the Interurban trail or even bike lanes, and not much space for a large park and ride garage. 220th SW might make a good bus corridor, similar to how Community Transit #871 currently runs (Highway 99 to 220th than south on 56th AVE W to MLT transit center) but have it be an all day route instead of limited to very early peak hours. Combined with other routes, you’d have very good frequency between 56th AVE W and the MLT station.

      7. Northgate takes significant time to get to via either the 41 or 74 path, and buses get caught in Northgate Way congestion. The most sensible fallback if 130th isn’t built is a feeder to Roosevelt Station. Neither Metro nor ST have committed to this, in spite of many pleas by transit fans. There will certainly be routes on the 41 and 75 paths for those going to Northgate. Metro plans to keep a truncated 41.

      8. I think saying the 130th stop serves Lake City is a stretch, it’s not particularly close. The 130th station is 2.5 miles from the heart of Lake City (we’ll say Lake City Way and 130th).

        By that logic, the Capitol Hill station serves the Central District, which is 1.3 miles away from 23rd and Union. I don’t think anyone here believes that.

      9. 125th becomes 130th west of I-5. A stop west of I-5 definitely doesn’t serve Lake City. That distance isn’t commonly/easily walkable and the terrain difficult for bicycles.

      10. Not entirely convinced saving a few minutes on the bus is worth having the additional station

        Every station north of Roosevelt is about saving a few minutes on the bus. The vast majority of riders at Northgate and every station north of it will arrive by bus. The park and ride lots are relatively small, and every stop is too close to the freeway to provide for the kind of ridership that a station like Capitol Hill will provide.

        But the station at 130th is more than saving thousands of people a day “a few minutes on the bus”. It is about improving the transit network by killing two birds with one stone. You can actually provide *both* a grid *and* a connection to Link at the same time. This is in great contrast to Northgate Station, which requires a huge detour. Here are a couple examples of trips that would be helped by a bus across the 125th/130th corridor:

        https://goo.gl/maps/iKz3PTusXaa3z4HL8 — An hour long trip involving an 11 minute walk and three buses. This is from Phinney Ridge to Lake City — two of the most urban parts of the city.

        https://goo.gl/maps/qkmnGvV6THxKwnWj7 — About a 50 minute trip for what would be a 10 minute drive (as you can see if you select the little car). Again, one popular neighborhood to another.

        I could go on. These are not obscure trips. This is when buses are at their most frequent. Yet the buses simply don’t work.

        This hurts everyone. Those who happen to live in one part of town, and work in the other are forced to get a car, or endure a nasty commute. Just the other day, I ran across a woman who lives in Lake City, and works as a bartender out on a Aurora. Her commute — because she can’t afford a car — is something like this: https://goo.gl/maps/j2Qb62smQrAWvMtFA. With enough tips you can bet she is going to buy a car.

        This also increase traffic.

        It also makes it very expensive for Metro to provide the kind of frequency that leads to good ridership. The 125th/130th corridor is very fast — serving it is fairly cheap. But Metro is forced to runs lots and lots of buses to Northgate. Way more than they would if they simply wanted good service. This is expensive, and doesn’t benefit anyone.

        Finally, it hurts transit ridership. It reduces ridership on the train, because borderline trips just aren’t worth it. It reduces trips on the bus for the same reason. This means Metro simply runs fewer buses. So someone in Sunset Hill, for example, might wonder why they still don’t have all day service, and one reason is that Sound Transit forgot to add a station.

        It also means that Sound Transit runs the trains less often. That is why I think it would be nuts if Snohomish County opposed this. Northgate to Lynnwood will struggle to get a lot of riders — it isn’t like UW to downtown. Reducing ridership by eliminating a station is simply being penny wise and pound foolish. It hurts everyone.

      11. Look at the fricking map, Mao. See that big wide diagonal street from 130th and Fifth NE down to 125th and Roosevelt Way? It is also called “Roosevelt Way” and is a five lane arterial which serves as the major east-west route between Lake City and Bitter Lake. The bus is going to follow that street. It is actually possible for a bus on 130th on the west side of the freeway to become a bus on 125th on the east side of the freeway by following this street.

        See Dick drive. Drive, Dick, drive. Give Spot a ride on your Big Red Bus, Dick.

        Spot is happy now. See Spot wag his tail.

      12. So now we’re building internal combustion focused light rail? If it can only be reachable by car or bus, it is a pretty subpar transit option. Not everyone drives. There are nonvehicular modes of transport. They should be considered.

        This is not the 1950s.

      13. I think “A Joy” is just trolling. All of the statements are demonstrably false — all you need to do is look at a map:

        “130th doesn’t connect to Lake City Way.” — Wrong: https://goo.gl/maps/rKX1EBHDHXUQRsrJ6

        “125th becomes 130th west of I-5.” — No, 125th becomes 130th EAST of I-5 (it actually becomes Roosevelt Way, which then continues to 130th).

        “A stop west of I-5 definitely doesn’t serve Lake City.” — Again, the station would be east of I-5, not that it makes any difference.

      14. I think saying the 130th stop serves Lake City is a stretch, it’s not particularly close.

        No one is saying that Lake City residents will walk to the station. They are saying they will ride a bus. It is no different than Mercer Island. The same is true for most Lynnwood Link stations. 145th is designed as a bus intercept. 185th ridership will be strong only because it will be the Swift terminus. Lynnwood Station’s main value is that it has an HOV ramp right into the station. Mountlake Terrace is a transit center. There will be some riders who walk to the station (just as there will be 130th) but the bus ridership will dominate. Just about every station is close to the freeway, limiting how many people can walk to a station.

        It would also greatly improve the bus network in the region (as I wrote in my other comment).

        We aren’t talking about a huge amount of money. This isn’t a new line — it is simply an above ground stop. The number of riders will be high compared to most of Lynnwood Link, just because of the high bus ridership in Lake City. On the 522 for example, ridership is dominated by trips within Lake City (and the 522 is by no means the most popular bus running through Lake City).

      15. Roosevelt and 125th are not 130th. Your own map supports my position.

        It is the same corridor! This is what happens if you don’t make any turns on 130th, heading east: https://goo.gl/maps/HkdF4SYc8A76pG3y6. You end up in Lake City. Just read the Google instructions: *Continue* onto Roosevelt Avenue. *Continue* onto 125th. Do you really think it would be better to have the station at 125th? Seriously? From Lake City, it is harder to get to 125th (https://goo.gl/maps/pKB9P9zeFx3QuXCC7) than to get to 130th (https://goo.gl/maps/pbb9SFfQUKbU48Wq7). That is because there are no turns to get to 130th, while getting to 125th requires a turn.

        You are weirdly fixated on the fact that the road arbitrarily changes names. It doesn’t matter — it is the same street. Meridian turns into 76th. Aurora turns into Pacific Highway. Lake City Way becomes Bothell Way, but it is all the same street.

      16. Ross, Mercer Island is not an analogue here. Mercer Island already has a developed center around the future station. It’s also a suburb: people drive to the 80th Ave bus stop, and they will drive to the Link station.

        Lake City and Bitter Lake are urban villages. Aurora and Lake City Way are busy mixed-use arterials that are, and should continue to be, well served by transit. Today’s 130th/125th is just a residential cut-through, and between the parks and the freeway, the station site doesn’t offer the development potential necessary for supporting 130th as an urban station.

      17. I’m weirdly fixated? Pot, kettle.

        I’ll try this a different way. A Link station near 130th and/or I-5 is roughly 1.5 miles away from Lake City Way. There’s also steep terrain changes between the two. That makes trips from Lake City to this Link station unworkable for non-motorized modes of transit. It only works for cars, busses, and bikes. The quality of the road/arterial connection is irrelevant. We are supposed to be building transit modes for all types of transit. If you can’t walk, bike, or scooter to it, it is not serviceable. We are supposed to be moving past the era of the internal combustion vehicle.

        Until there is a light rail stop within walking or biking distance of Lake City, there is no light rail stop serving the needs of Lake City. Columbia City, Othello, Beacon Hill, Sodo, Stadium District, Capitol Hill, UW, all of these and likely more all have stops that do or will be walkable. Lake City doesn’t with 130th.

        That’s the bottom line. 130th does not serve Lake City, no matter how you cut it.

      18. Ross, Mercer Island is not an analogue here. Mercer Island already has a developed center around the future station.

        You mean this: https://goo.gl/maps/ud9sS8sAMG1MFrHQ6? Yeah, kudos for adding a handful of apartments (seriously). That is nice. But you are delusional if you think that is a substantial amount of people. The entire island has 26,000 people. That is up from 23,000 in 2010. Even if every new resident happens to live within walking distance, that is only 3,000 people. A mere pittance when it comes to mass transit. It is obvious that there aren’t that many people who will walk to the station, because like so many stations, it is next to the freeway. Just draw a little five to ten minute walk around the station and see what you include. Lots and lots of pavement. (And some nice greenery to boot).

        Mercer Island ridership will be driven by I-90 ridership. It isn’t that Issaquah, Eastgate or Sammamish are more densely populated (far from it). It is just that it includes a lot more land. Go ahead, look at the ridership numbers for Mercer Island transit. Now dig into the numbers for Issaquah. There are only four buses that connect Mercer Island to the mainland — the 204 and 216 (Metro) as well as the 550 and 554 (Sound Transit). Sound Transit has easily accessible numbers for Mercer Island. At its peak it there were 1,100 (quite respectable, really). The 204 and 216 together carried the same amount. That means that if every single rider using the 204 and 206 boarded at Mercer Island, you are looking at 2,200 riders.

        Sorry, but that is weak. That is “why did we even bother with a station” numbers. But that ignores the value of the station as a bus intercept. The 554 may have only 100 or so riders from Mercer Island, but she has 900 riders from Eastgate, and 600 riders from Issaquah Transit Center — on just that bus. While we are at it, add in another 200 from Sunset Way and Rainier Boulevard, and 300 from the two Highlands stops — again, from just that bus. Meanwhile, Metro (as always) carries the bulk of the riders. In this case, bit by bit. The 214 carries 1,200. 216 and 217 carry 1,100 while the 218 carries 1,300 and the 219 carries 200. Add it all up and Mercer Island’s walk-up ridership is tiny compared to the number of people who will get off a bus, and then take the train from Eastgate, Issaquah, Sammamish and even the rest of the island.

        It’s also a suburb: people drive to the 80th Ave bus stop, and they will drive to the Link station.

        Right. And, as we all know, ridership from suburban park and ride stations is tiny compared to urban ridership. An area like Lake City — with far more population density than any neighborhood in Mercer Island — is going to have a lot more transit riders. Once you are talking about “driving to the station” you are talking about a relative handful of people.

        Lake City and Bitter Lake are urban villages. Aurora and Lake City Way are busy mixed-use arterials that are, and should continue to be, well served by transit.

        Agreed, go on.

        Today’s 130th/125th is just a residential cut-through, and between the parks and the freeway, the station site doesn’t offer the development potential necessary for supporting 130th as an urban station.

        First of all, the 125th/130th corridor is not a “residential cut through”. There is density along the way. The same sort of density that gets your heart all atwitter in Mercer Island exists in Pinehurst (https://goo.gl/maps/8SKRYKX2qsWkCvi47). But that misses the point. Even with respectable walk-up numbers (likely higher than every station north of the there) it will have very good ridership because it is a very good connection to Lake City and Bitter Lake. It also adds tremendous value, because it changes the nature of the transit network in the area. Metro won’t have to choose between sending the bus to the nearest Link station or providing a grid that would save thousands of riders a good half hour on a typical trip. They can have both! All the while, Metro actually saves money, by not sending bus after bus twisting and turning its way to the far edge of Northgate.

        To be clear, of course you will have both. There will be buses to Northgate. There will be buses to 130th. There will be buses to Roosevelt, and the back side of the UW. That is what a transit network looks like! That is what gets you really high transit ridership. A place like Lake City, which already has several truncated buses running every ten minutes can certainly afford a ten minute bus to Bitter Lake *and* a ten minute bus to Northgate. It is not a zero sum game — it is the opposite. Better, faster transit means more riders everywhere. Once you get to the point where you can get anywhere using transit you think twice about buying a car, and even if you own one, you let it sit in the garage. It becomes a virtuous circle. More riders mean more service and more service mean more riders. To make it work effectively, you need a stop at 125th/130th — a major crossroads.

    2. There is a huge missing planning process called station access plans. The City of Shoreline pursued this pretty well (and other cities like Bellevue Spring District and Lynwood have generally approached the concept), but the City of Seattle seems to not have embraced the concept of connections and denser land use in one plan. The City seems to compartmentalize station area land use and station access planning — especially if horizontal conveyances would expand a station’s utility.

      That said, 130th is well-positioned for very short distance connectivity to Lake City, Northwest Hospital and some of the Aurora strip. Mike is right that there are good possibilities with this station.

      The conundrum is that the projections for station use had to assume current land use plans and didn’t have high-frequency connections to the east and west.

      1. Station access indeed! Still haven’t got over the fact that the U District station won’t have an entrance on the north side of NE 45 ST. If one of the main points of the 130th ST station is bus transfers, it had better be set up for this. Ideally, the station would be above the street with entrances and bus bays on both sides adjacent to the entrances. Definitely not a Husky Stadium or Mount Baker type situation.

        Hmmm….has the planning of this station progressed to the point that it can open with the rest of Lynnwood Link?

      2. That’s what tomorrow’s update is about. Presumably the staff will say there is a way and will have some concepts for the station location.

      3. Brandon, Why above the street? Link is planned to descend to ground level next to the freeway just south of the 120th bridge, but then rise to an elevated structure just south of 130th, probably because of the 130th northbound off-ramp. So I guess that makes it necessary. But it would be much more convenient if the station were underneath 130th rather than way up in the air like Northgate. I surely hope they don’t have a mezzanine if it’s elevated.

        Essentially cloning the Mount Baker error by putting the station to the north of 130th doesn’t seem like the brightest idea unless a wind-sheltered elevated pedestrian way crosses 130th.

    3. First off – 145th is going to be in 148th, with a cul de sac that buses, the park and ride and pedestrians are going to navigate. So yes, if Metro extends the 65 to 145th and I-5, a quick ride from LCW is going to turn into a quick ride and a 10 minute wait for the bus to get to the station. I notice that there isn’t anything comparable to the 65 in NW Seattle serving Bitter Lake.

      Secondly, while 130th will not serve Lake City or Bitter Lake directly, paired with a bus route it will serve the 130th/125th arterial quickly. This arterial is District 5’s main street and frankly, is the best east-west arterial in District 5.

      Thirdly – the 522 BRT is not going to serve the Seattle LCW at all. There is also not going to be a 41 after North Link.

    4. Metro’s 2025 plan features the following Frequent routes:
      #1019: Route 65 extended to 145th, 5th (145th Station), 155th (the 155th & Aurora village), Shoreline CC.
      #1996: Route 75 rerouted on the 41 path (125th and 5th).
      #1997: A new route on 125th/130th to Shoreline CC.
      #1010: A new route on the 75 path from Lake City to Northgate, N 85th Street, 15th Ave NW. (The “Fred Meyer to Fred Meyer route”.)

      So from 125th & Lake City Way you can get to 145th Station, Northgate Station, 130th Station, and Bitter Lake.

      The question is what level of service is appropriate for the Lake City urban village. It’s the fourth-largest village in north Seattle after the U-District, Northgate, and Ballard-Fremont. It’s bigger than anything in southeast Seattle and can potentially be as big as the West Seattle Junction. Is it OK for it to have buses to 145th and Northgate Stations or should it have a closer station? I think it should have a closer station, because of the village’s size and growth potential. The larger the village, the closer the public expects a station, and the more the village can contribute to the region if it has a closer station.

    5. The 130th/125th cross-street serves two urban villages. The BRT terminal at 147th serves none. There are simply far more people in the travel-shed of 130th than there are in 147ths.

      1. The BRT station does serve a smallish urban cluster at 145th and 15th NE, but it’s small and totally auto-oriented. That may of course change.

  6. It would never happen, but would it be theoretically possible (and/or legal) for a ballot measure in 2020 that authorizes extra spending/provides funding for/adjusts the debt limit the sole purpose of building this station? What if this theoretical measures was only on Seattle ballots?

    1. Seattle can vote to buy extra services from ST and contribute to accelerating construction. Under McGinn Seattle paid to accelerate the Ballard-downtown Link study and get an additional study of a Westlake streetcar. If would be easiest to accelerate something already in ST3 rather than something brand new that you’d have to convince the board of. ST2 included preliminary studies of six future corridors including Ballard-downtown, so that’s what was accelerated. ST3 includes similar studies for ST4, although I don’t remember offhand which corridors they are.

    2. A November 2020 measure would have to be decided by spring in order to give time to write the measure and get it registered. That means we’d have to be preparing it right now, and should have started a few months ago. Part of that includes negotiating with the ST board so that they’re prepared to accept it. We can’t unilaterally impose something on the board. If for instance we offered $200 million to accelerate DSTT2, we’d first ask for an estimate of how many months it would advance and how easily the other projects could adjust around it. Some things can be accelerated with more money, others can’t (e.g., you can’t start B until A is finished). We’d have to find all that out. The estimate of the result is what you’d put in the ballot measure as the deliverable.

  7. Thanks for the alert. Opening the station with Lynnwood Link in 2024 is obviously best. it would be less costly and less disruptive. NE 130th Street construction would use North King subarea funds and not Snohomish County funds. Is ST close to the debt ceiling today? The station would help provide better access to Link for Bitterlake and Lake City, two existing centers. Seattle and Metro could work together to provide transit access. I hope the ST station design provides pedestrians grade separated crossing of the busy arterial. That was not done well at Mt. Baker or SeaTac.

  8. Good luck to all. I do think it’s important to build for expansion, and make it easy to add on to the spine spurs as needed. But since it is a cost of time & money for me to attend Sound Transit Board Meetings and this is not my fight, I won’t be there.

  9. I hate the idea of a 130th station. The whole urbanist rationale for this station is to create a new higher density urban village there, but I don’t think we should be putting density at freeway interchanges. If you map out places pedestrians want to be, freeway interchanges are the black holes. We should be creating great communities, not slapping a lot of micros around a freeway interchange and pretending it’s walkable or equitable. That, and it’s less than a mile spacing of course up to the next freeway interchange station.

    1. Quasimodal, that is not is not correct. The “rationale” for 130th is that it serves the huge Urban Village in Lake City better than any other possible station location and the pretty substantial urban village between 125th and Aurora and 130th and Greenwood.

      1. OK, fine – but know that there is a large constituency who see this station as a springboard to up zone the area around the station, and I’d suggest that’s a primary motivator. Take a look at what’s motivating the excitement here – it’s not Lake City bus connections, which could come in at Northgate or Roosevelt (knowing that ST plans to run their buses to 145, a future traffic nightmare, so other Lake City buses might want to fill in the service gap south of there). Do we need rail stations at 3/4 mile spacing just to bring in Lake City buses? Again, I just don’t think that’s what all the excitement is about.

      2. Take a look at what’s motivating the excitement here – it’s not Lake City bus connections

        Yes it is! I’ve attended dozens of meetings on the subject, and everyone focuses on that. Not just Lake City, I might add, but Bitter Lake as well. It is no different than the 145th station. No one even cares what is next to the station, or what gets built in the future. It is all about the bus connection. Holy cow, we are going to spend over $300 million on a BRT line for SR 522 and 145th — do you think that is all so that you can get from Kenmore to Lake Forest Park? Of course not — it is so that you can get from from the bus to the train.

        Very few people are interested in a new “urban village” in Pinehurst. The main reason people are pursuing it is to please those who ignore the value of bus intercepts or a bus network in general. But the people who are excited about — whether they will personally benefit or not — are those focused on the bus connection.

        There is a good reason for that. Just look at what it takes to get from one side to the other: https://goo.gl/maps/WvBVHdiV2G1FgUL47. This is when buses are running at their most frequent. Even with a nice tight connection it takes 40 minutes for what would be a 10 minute drive. Biking is considerably faster (23 minutes), even with a steep, brutal hill along the way (https://goo.gl/maps/eLBzkVVMcUv6QR356). It is a terrible bus connection, and yet it is what exists in the area, because Metro has focused on getting riders downtown (via the 41) instead of building a good network in the area. Keep in mind, it takes 25 minutes, on an infrequent bus, just to get from Bitter Lake to Northgate (https://goo.gl/maps/MpnpDRTXSZ3yHV216). The station would dramatically improve mobility for Bitter Lake — trips downtown might be a bit faster, but trips to the UW and Capitol Hill would be dramatically faster — shaving close to a half hour off of the trip (https://goo.gl/maps/jyYebCQrbvAkprEt7).

        Let’s just back up here and ask why we are even bothering to build these multi-billion dollar transit projects: To save people time. That’s it. Well, in this case, you save lots of people a lot of time. Yes, they sometimes start and end their trip with a bus ride. That is the nature of good transit the world over. Cities that have good bus integration (cities like Vancouver, for example) operate with that in mind, which is why they have very high bus ridership AND train ridership.

    2. The rationale is to move the largest number of people in Seattle most conveniently on their typical trips without a car. Urban villages are where the most people are. Their most likely destination is other urban villages, because that’s where the most other people and widest variety of businesses are. Lake City is an urban village. We should serve both existing and future villages. Existing villages are more certain because the population is already there, they’re already zoned for growth, and they have proven they can attract people from outside. Lake City is the fourth-largest urban village in north Seattle, so it should have the fourth-most convenient Link station. The issue is, what’s a reasonable distance to a station for a village that size, given the constraint that the track is along I-5. Is it reasonable to take a bus to Northgate and transfer to get to downtown or West Seattle or Ballard? The answer depends on the size of the village. The larger it is, the shorter the distance should be. (This is population-weighted density.) To me Lake City is large enough that it should have a station at 130th. Any future village — whether at 130th & I-5 or anywhere else — would have to be near the size of Lake City to get that level of consideration. In the current political climate it’s hard to imagine planting a new village that size anywhere in north Seattle. .So we either serve Lake City as well as we can or we write off that number of people, because there’s no other alternative.

      1. By this logic any neighborhood that has a bus that can travel a few miles to Link is “served”.

        Also, this “Any future village — whether at 130th & I-5 or anywhere else — would have to be near the size of Lake City to get that level of consideration”

        Well, 130th and I-5 isn’t the size of Lake City, and it is getting a stop. So it has already been considered. 130th is a transfer station, but it doesn’t directly serve much. Let’s not pretend it is some kind of urban village station.

      2. By this logic any neighborhood that has a bus that can travel a few miles to Link is “served”.

        Quit worrying about semantics. The point is, a station at 130th greatly improves transit options in Lake City. It means that riders can get to Link much faster. It means that they can get to the rest of the city much faster. Actually serving them — sending a light rail line right to it — would be great, but it isn’t on the table. We aren’t talking about that because it is extremely expensive. All we are talking about is an above ground station — something that is really cheap. I’ve read estimates of $80 million — the 522 BRT costs $387 million, and that doesn’t even include the station itself! Given ridership on the existing buses, there is no reason to believe that 145th would have more riders than 130th, let alone be a better value.

      3. I meant serving in a broad sense. You’re right that it’s so far away it will deter a significant number of people from using Link or living in or shopping in Lake City. That’s the same problem as Ballard 14th Station and Rainier Beach MLK station, with the added problem of a hill. The issue is, how do we make the best of a bad situation? If I’m in Lake City that would be important to me so that I could at least get around a little faster. The larger the village, the more important this is.

        “Take a look at what’s motivating the excitement here – it’s not Lake City bus connections,”

        No, it’s Lake City. That’s what caused 500 people to send feedback in the Lynnwood Link EIS begging for this station — the second-highest of any feedback topic. (The first was Lynnwood Station’s location.) It’s what motivated, I think it was Teresa Mosqueda, to hound ST every day for a year as a city councilmember to get this station into ST3. The proposed cluster at 130th & I-5 is just opportunistic to justify the station more and to make the most of the station area. I don’t expect it to be any larger than the 145th cluster. That cluster alone is not enough to justify the station — it’s the larger Lake City beyond it that justifes the station.

        Look, the problem is 145th Station, not 130th. Two of the Lynnwood Link alternatives were to move 145th Station to 130th or to split it into two stations at 130th and 155th. 522 Stride and the 522 could have easily gone to either 130th Station or Roosevelt Station. ST chose 145th Station because of status-quo inertia: it’s where an existing P&R and state highway are, the land is already publicly owned, it “serves” two cities, and it was an easier sell to Northshore who were worried about travel time to downtown. All that flies in the face with the fact that the population is in Lake City, not at 145th & I-5. RossB has pointed out that Lake City and 85th generate more than half of the 522’s ridership.

        What Link should have done was go northeast to Lake City and northwest to Lynnwood, or use the Aurora corridor. ST chose a worse option than either of those: I-5 and a 145th Station.

        I’ll try to explain the population-weighted density angle again. The larger the village, the more clout they should have in getting a station close to them. I explained why above: that’s where the most people are and the most destinations are. Lake City is the fourth-largest village in north Seattle so it should have some clout. The proposed 140th & I-5 and 130th & I-5 are so small they shouldn’t have clout: they’re just on the way. They will never get a Fred Meyer or office buildings or a shopping center, just maybe four or five apartment buildings. They’re the ones that should have bus feeders to Link, while Lake City should have a station within walking distance. If it can’t have that, then it should at least have a station 3/4 mile away. The station spacing between Northgate and Lynnwood doesn’t matter; what matters is that all large urban villages have a station. Seattle is not linear like Vancouver’s West End or San Francisco’s middle that have continuous mixed-use along all the grid arterials: it has islands of density surrounded by a sea of low-density residential-only land, so transit needs to go to the islands even if it has to zigzag to do it.

      4. Now that would have been something!

        I can imagine the stops after Northgate Being something like 125th and lake city way; 145th and 15th; and 155th and 5th.

        Expensive yes. Worth it? My guess is probably. Was it ever even considered? I doubt it.

      5. The Lynnwood Link Alternatives Analysis looked at Aurora, I-5, 15th Ave NE, and Lake City Way. The latter two were dismissed as lower ridership. The argument was you’d lose more riders from Snohomish County than you’d gain in Lake City or Jackson Park because of the longer travel time, and Lynnwood was must-serve and the primary criterion north of Northgate. It never advanced far enough to specify how it would get from Lake City Way to Lynnwood.

      6. I have to think that a 5-10 minute detour wouldn’t have been that big a deal to people coming from Lynnwood (and if SnoCo can push for a Paine Field detour they would have had to accept a Seattle ‘detour’), and CT would still have truncated all buses at Lynnwood so that ridership would have been there regardless.

        So yeah, Seattle gets screwed once again because of a suburban agenda that didn’t allow for a real study of proper options. Just lovely.

      7. The difference between the I-5 and Aurora alignments was 4 minutes, and ST said the same thing: it would lose more Snohomish riders than it would gain Aurora riders, and that was the end of the alternative. (It also said I-5 was cheaper, although that didn’t turn out to be the case because the freeway is fifty years old and fragile.) Of course, Seattle could have upzoned Aurora dramatically, but it didn’t do it in time for ST’s decision.

        The Aurora alignment wouldn’t have made a difference in terms of CT truncating buses. It was more about people choosing to take transit.

        This was before ST3 was accelerated and the Paine Field option proposed. ST3 was expected in the 2020s or later. But McGinn really wanted the Ballard-downtown line and paid for ST to accelerate the study. That got the other subareas to say, “Hey, we want to accelerate our plans too.” That’s what led to ST3 in 2016. The Paine field detour emerged sometime around 2014-2016. It’s not directly comparable to the Lake City detour because it’s north of Lynnwood rather than south of it. Even the dunderheads could see that Snohomish’s population is centered around Lynnwood. The Everett extension benefits only Everett itself, not all of Snohomish County. Paine Field is the county’s largest jobs center and is planned for significant growth. Everett’s travel time was sidelined for those jobs. And so that people from Marysville would park at Everett Station and take Link to Paine Field to reduce driving between them, which the politicians imagine is realistic.

      8. It’s too bad that the prior work went in assuming that we would have one set of tracks north of Northgate even though there are two train lines running at first 8 minutes each and now proposed as 6 minutes each. That puts one train in each direction every 3 minutes at peak times (5 minutes most of the day). The unofficial major objective has been to “build the spine as cheaply and as far north as possible” instead of “build a rail operation that maximizes productivity”.

        ST3 further validated this objective by planning one line stopping at Mariner rather than branch it into two.

        Sadly, there has not been a good analysis and discussion of how to get the highest productivity and coverage with two branches — one for each line. I don’t foresee this Kind of logical rail planning happening any time soon.

        That pretty much leaves the only option as building connections to the existing system. What kinds of connections? BRT or RapidRide is one way. Driverless two-stop cable-pulled shuttles on a single-track aerial structure (with two tracks at the station ends) is another. A streetcar not stuck in traffic is another. Probably, rubber-tired low-speed mini driverless pods will soon be mature enough to be another.

        The missing process for both Aurora and Lake City is a community discussion for what transit facilities (if any) are both best and most productive now that the ST2 corridor was chosen and ST3 was adopted.

      9. Where would it have cut over to Aurora? To me it isn’t obvious how to get over there.

        I think in general the big flaw was in deciding that the train had to go past the city limits, to the north. I think 145th and Lake City Way would probably have been the best terminus. You would serve Northgate along the way, as well as several stops between there. I would have a stop at Northgate Way and Roosevelt, 125th and Lake City Way, as well as 135th and Lake City Way. Each stop would have a lot of TOD (much of which has already occurred) and you would create an excellent bus system for northeast Seattle. The bus network would be a lot straighter and more efficient. Northgate Station wouldn’t have the same sort of buses serving it. Buses like the 40 and 67 would serve Northgate Way and Roosevelt Way instead.

        You would still need a way to serve the northern suburbs though. I would build HOV ramps to Northgate (that is where the Northgate Station would shine). Then all you have to do is change the HOV-2 to HOV-3 and you are pretty much done. The train would run a lot more frequently, with every stop north of the ship canal generating a lot of riders (in a relatively short distance). The bus to train transfer (that the vast majority of Snohomish County riders will make) would involve more time on the bus, but be just about as fast, if not faster. Snohomish County (and Shoreline) would spend a bit more money on the buses, since they would travel longer on the freeway, but a lot less on the train (as in, nothing). Bothell, Kenmore and Lake Forest Park would save hundreds of millions of dollars on the BRT project, as they would likely just leave 145th Avenue alone. Yet they would get downtown at about the same time, even with the extra stops on Link. Seattle would shoulder most of the transit burden, and be happy to, with several top notch stations.

        Northwest Seattle would still be out of luck (as they are now) but I would also have the Ballard to UW subway, which would connect to every north-south bus west of I-5. A lot of people west of I-5 would still take the bus downtown, but that is bound to happen anyway.

        That is what is weird about the system we are devising, and very few people are talking about it. In my if-we-had-to-do-it-all-over-again plans, I send the train veering northeast, yet it doesn’t seem to effect northwest Seattle at all. That is because northwest Seattle gets so little out of the current plans.
        Only one new station — in Ballard (or perhaps somewhere nearby). Metro doesn’t even plan on running a bus along 145th, and it may be a while before 130th gets build. That means the potential of several years with a huge gap in straightforward access from the west. 45th is fine (but slow). 185th is fine. But in between there, basically nothing. No service to 145th, while 130th lies in wait. Northgate is very tedious to serve from the west, and so is 65th. To be clear, the stations themselves (Northgate and 65th) are OK overall, but terrible from a western access perspective.

        That is what is crazy (and important) about 130th. Even from the Northgate Way, it is just as fast to access a station at 130th (https://goo.gl/maps/Za3w7xVzwuh78qw79)than it is at Northgate (https://goo.gl/maps/htVh34wkLQ6YVKhb6). 130th is very important to northwest Seattle, even though much of the focus is on Lake City. Riders from the northwest will still take the E and the 5 to get downtown (usually), but 130th would transform the way they get to the U-District.

      10. Al doesn’t want 3 minute headways on Lynnwood Link, and Ross wouldn’t even build Lynnwood Link? Are you that pessimistic on everything outside of Seattle? No faith in the Swift network? No faith in Shoreline upzoning its station areas more aggressively than most of Seattle? No faith in Lynnwood attempting to be the next Bellevue?

        We are going to need the 3 minute headways all the way to Lynnwood to serve the peak ridership. Serving Lake City would be nice, but moving 95% of the transit riders between Snohomish and Seattle will keep Link plenty busy.

        North of Lynnwood there’s some interesting options to branch the 2 lines to serve more locations. Personally, I like an ST4 line that heads north of Mariner along I5 to serve Everett Mall, as suburban malls make great infill. But wanting to split half of the Link trains to serve Lake City makes no sense, unless you think Lake City can provide equal ridership as all of Snohomish.

        Y’all are having a good debate about stop spacing and station access, but simply not building Link into Snohomish is crazy talk.

      11. Hey! I never said that Lake City alone should be served! I only said that branches weren’t analyzed. I’m fine with separate Paine Field and Everett branches. I would have been fine with a 522 branch (rather than BRT). I would have been fine with a branch that cut off anywhere between Roosevelt and Lynnwood that stopped on or along Aurora. There are many places to have a branch.

        If a branch went into or close to Snohomish County, it would have drawn riders from the I-5 Snohomish line so the four minute peak wouldn’t have been required. With more stations, it’s also more places where the direct Link connection could anchor more TOD to help our regional housing shortage.

      12. The estimated ridership north of Lynwood is pretty bad relative to south of there. Branches would help deal with this asymmetrical ridership as apparently there is nowhere near the service need on the planned line all the way north.

      13. “Where would it have cut over to Aurora?”

        If I recall it would have remained underground at Northgate and surfaced somewhere around 125th & Aurora.

        I don’t understand these branch concepts. One would be Lynnwood/Everett Link and the other Bothell? Or one would be Everett Link and the other Everett Mall Link? Or one would be Everett Link and the other Paine Field Link?

        Lynnwood Link initially assumed the East Link line would go to Lynnwood peak only and Northgate at other times, but ST later concluded that wasn’t enough capacity so it extended all East Link trains to Lynnwood. So if you had branches both of them would have to do that, and I don’t think you could have one of them detouring slower than the other (via Lake City) because through riders would all crowd on the other branch. Also, a separate track north of Northgate was way beyond East Link’s budget; it was predicated on sharing the track.

        130th Station was originally an extra station in the Aurora alternative. When that alternative was elimiated people started thinking, “If you can have that station in Aurora alternative then you can have it in the I-5 alternative”, and then people started realizing it could bring Lake City into Link at least through a feeder. Previously it was assumed Lake City would be left out and those people would have to go to 145th or Northgate , but then people realized 130th would allow a short shuttle and also bring Bitter Lake in on the other side. That led to a clamor for a 130th & I-5 station, or to split 145th Station to 130th and 155th. The possibility of upzoning 130th & I-5 then came up as an additional benefit.

      14. Branching would be similar to Portland’s Blue & Red lines – a single line through the higher ridership segments, and two lines further out. Basically, once ST staff identifies at which station East Link trains are not needed to provide capacity (currently, Mariner station), that is an opportunity to branch off of the current Paine Field/Everett pathway and serve a different pathway.

        Any branching would occur post-ST3. Some of this thread is lamenting a branch to Lake City, which is more of a conversation about what could have been rather than what can we do going forward.

        IIRC, the current operating plan is West Seattle to Everett and East Link to Mariner. So I’d propose no change to West Seattle to Everett, but build an extension north (north east?) of Mariner for East Link trains to continue onwards for a handful of stations.

  10. Most likely outcome : enough of 135th is accelerated to avoid service disruptions on Lynnwood Link, but not enough to open alongside Lynnwood.

    My wager : 130th opens roughly a year behind Lynnwood.

  11. note we are trying to find the lemonade recipe after ST and the small cities asked for lemons (e.g., I-5 alignment, the NE 145th Street station in a full interchange that will always be full of traffic). ST3 BRT is choosing to miss Lake City while they try to run frequent bus service in the congestion of NE 145th Street. after the I-5 alignment was chosen, the optimal station pairing would have been NE 130th and 155th streets, but that did not survive the politics. improved access for Bitter Lake and Lake City is important enough to accept the extra Link dwell time in the context of the lemons. Juarez got it done.

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