Preliminary design of NE 130th station (image: Sound Transit)

Sound Transit’s System Expansion Committee unanimously approved a motion on Thursday to advance work on a Link station at NE 130th. If adopted by the full Board later this month, as seems likely, Sound Transit will proceed with design work and the first of the construction required to avoid serious disruptions to riders if the station were built entirely after Lynnwood Link has opened.

The motion defers to next year a second decision: whether to continue toward an early partial build or early full build. The early partial build would construct enough of the station to avoid an extended window of single-tracking trains through the construction zone after 2024, but would open the station for service much later. The early full build would complete the station so it could open in 2025 soon after the rest of the line.

As we reported last month, the station construction can be thought of as three “packages”. Absent any Board action, the ST3 schedule is to proceed with the Lynnwood Link guideway and add the station platform on a separate foundation later. The first package for an integrated design builds the structural elements for both the station and guideway on a single foundation. Because Lynnwood Link construction is already advancing, this decision was urgent. The committee recommended proceeding with the integrated support structures, keeping open options for an early station opening.

The motion defers the less urgent decision on construction packages two and three until after the completion of design in the second quarter of 2021. With a finalized design and firmer financial analysis, the Board will be better placed to decide whether to build package 2 alone (the platform and canopy), or also package 3 (the plaza and finishes to the station). Package 2 alone is enough to avoid most impacts to riders on trains passing through the area, but package 3 is also needed if the station is to open by 2025.

The adopted motion (which differs from an earlier document online) reads:

Advance progressively: Advance the schedule for completing final design and complete construction of the first construction package for an integrated station (station foundation and structural support). In Q2 2021 after final design is complete, staff would return with all financial, operational and construction information necessary so the Board can determine whether to authorize the second or both the second and third construction packages.

Opening the station earlier reduces the capital cost, mostly by simplifying the structure and construction mobilization. However, suburban board members have been concerned about debt implications, and the consequent impacts to other projects down the queue. At the January meeting, staff presented the provocative estimate of $51 million in added debt service cost, more than offsetting the $30 million capital cost reduction of an early opening.

As explained in last month’s piece, the accounting expense is the wrong metric to focus on. What really matters for other projects is whether construction at NE 130th would push Sound Transit’s borrowing close to the statutory cap. (Their debt may not exceed 1.5% of the assessed value of property within the RTA). Last month, this blog wrote it was “unlikely the ST3 schedule of late 2020s construction has any advantage in avoiding the debt cap vs a less expensive construction in the early 2020s. Either schedule places the outlays before the most critical window for the debt cap, and the early opening schedule reduces the total capital outlays.”

Slide from Thursday’s meeting highlighting the tiny impact to Sound Transit debt of an early full build (image: screenshot from Sound Transit livestream)

Yesterday, we learned that the effect of an early opening on the level of debt would be only $6 million at the critical pinch point in 2032. That’s a mere 0.2% of the expected spare debt capacity then. The suburban alarm about debt expenses has been unnecessary, and could have been avoided if the de minimis debt capacity implications had been clearly disclosed earlier.

74 Replies to “NE 130th station advances”

    1. I don’t understand why those who already do their share reducing carbon foot prints are to be punished. If any, they should be rewarded. Tax the Uber/Lyft business.

  1. I did not realize that the increase in debt at the pinch point was so tiny. It looks like the only places where the difference is even visually noticeable is in the mid-late 2020s, when there is very low risk of hitting the debt cap. Does this mean that there is no good reason for not just doing the full early build?

    Opening the station early (assuming they don’t let other projects slip like Lynnwood Link as a whole has been doing) would let ST talk about projects being better (Stride) and ahead of schedule (130th) than even the ballot language, which would be good PR for a 2028 ST4 vote.

    1. What possible Sub-Area Equity compliant list of projects could be included in an “ST4” election? Seriously. The Snohomish County can spend the next twenty years building string-of-pearls urban villages along Lynnwood and Everett Link and not run out of opportunities. Where else in Snohomish County would you put a Link line? Or even ST BRT. An extension of an Aurora line along SR99? It might have made sense fifteen years ago when stretches of at-grade running could have been included, but it’s all built out now. There’s nowhere to thread the tracks.

      Ditto Pierce, which is crying out for release from the taxing district as it is now.

      Yes, a South King line to Burien makes sense if there are enough stations along Ambaum and Delridge built to make it worthwhile, but given the “metro-length” station separations the ST comes up with, that’s unlikely.

      The only place that might support an ST4 is North King, and the Leg isn’t going to get tarred with more Sound Transit controversies any time soon. The City of Seattle should either curtain toll the U-District and downtown Seattle or impose a stiff head tax on jobs in those districts to raise funds to pay for construction of the Metro 8, Metro 44 and Aurora lines itself.

      That’s the only way they’ll happen.

      1. Yep. There ain’t gonna be no ST4. Seattle might add something; even the East Side might add something; but there ain’t gonna be no ST4.

      2. ST hasn’t even started talking about ST4. Half of what was expected to be in ST4 was advanced to ST3 to get cities to support ST3. Now it has a generation’s worth of projects before it can rationally consider what to do after that. It makes no sense to plan 2040s and 2050s projects now. Pierce is in tax revolt and threatening to secede from ST, and Snohomish isn’t so sure either. ST3 is drawing from all the ST1/ST2/ST3 tax sources; you think we can add an additional on on top of that? We need to take a deep breath, be glad of how much we’re getting, and let some of it get built before plowing into more.

      3. Well, there’s not going to be an ST4 that looks like ST3, with large rail projects in all counties plus a bunch of BRT and Sounder. But there certainly could be a smaller ST4, which I certainly imagine. Here’s what a potential smaller ST4 could look like for Snohomish Co:
        – Link extension to Everett Community College
        – 196th Street Stride from Edmonds to Lynnwood, Alderwood Mall
        – SR 525 Stride from Mukulteo to Lynnwood City Center
        – That’s all I can think of for Snoho. It’s tricky because it’s a relatively small size of land area that is actually in the ST district.
        N. King:
        – Pick something from the grab bag of Seattle projects
        – Extend West Seattle Link toward Burien
        E. King:
        – Extend Link from S. Kirkland to Totem Lake
        – Extend all trips of 522 Stride to Woodinville
        – New, more frequent slate of ST Express (or even formal Stride line) across SR 520 Bridge
        S. King
        – That Link extension to Burien
        – SR 161 (Enchanted Parkway) Stride from Federal Way to Puyallup
        – SR 516/509 BRT from Kent to Burien
        Pierce:
        – The rest of FW-Puyallup (South Hill) Stride
        – Link extension to Tacoma Mall
        – Maybe SR 167/410 Stride from Tacoma to Bonney Lake?

        And that’s probably even on the large side. I guess my point is, if ST3 is a large-scale attempt to reorient regional transportation around transit, then there’s always going to be more to build. I think the probability of Pierce County exiting the system wholesale is near nil, and if it holds out for another decade, then the Link line to Tacoma will represent an enormous sunk cost to Pierce County that they won’t be able to just abandon.

        As for Seattle projects, I believe that the way forward on these is not ST4, but may be timed with ST4 for planning purposes. It’s got to be city-level levies approved by voters which raises money for these rail projects, and then passes these funds on to Sound Transit to do the construction (ST is good at building rail, and the city can’t even build a BRT line).

      4. I can see a small touch-up ST4, but again it’s too early to spin our wheels on. The “unfinished” parts of the Spine are Everett Community College and Tacoma Dome, but those are the two subareas least likely to vote for ST4. The revolt has already reached the Pierce County executive and ST boardmember, and Snohomish is on the borderline.

        Swift Orange is coming in 2024, and would be the same as your 196th Stride except the termini are further east. It will run from Edmonds Community College to Lynnwood, Alterwood Mall, and Mill Creek.

      5. Good point about the BRT lines. Yeah Snoho then really has little space to grow. A minimal viable product of ECC, Tacoma Mall, Burien, and Downtown Kirkland seems like a realistic ST4.

        I do think threats to exit the ST district are more smoke than fire, though it’s a big problem if there are “brexit-party-like” members on the ST board that should be rectified.

        But with Tacoma in particular, there is strong support for transit and has a somewhat urban downtown core. There are also many Seattleites moving to Tacoma from being priced out, and haven been budget conscious and likely used to Seattle transit, many of them will rely on very frequent ST Express (5 minutes at peak) and Sounder service to Seattle, with an eye toward Link in 2030. Snohomish County has 4 years to go before the thought of leaving their Link line to rot is utterly unthinkable. So while having renegade board members is a problem for obvious reasons, it takes more than one or two vote to pull this off.

      6. I predict that a major part of ST4 will be to fix operational problems like overcrowding on trains or in stations or massive train delays from service disruptions, or come up with more money to finish an under budgeted ST3 or add enhancements like a tunnel. The only way I think this won’t happen is if the vote happens before the 2023-2025 rider surge.

        Attracting votes from wishful commuters on buses or in cars is very different than attracting frustrated train riders.

      7. I would love to see ST accelerate all the planned Swift lines, and extend the Green to UW Bothell. That would be an excellent way to bring regional transit to the most people, and it wouldn’t hit capacity ceilings like the higher-volume corridors were getting. Pierce County must have similar corridors where routes like these would work. At minimum it would solve the “It takes too long to get from Spanaway or Bonney Lake to Tacoma Dome or Lakewood” issue.

      8. Realistically, I would expect King County and Snohomish County to reach an agreement to extend the Green Line on their own long before ST4 (which is unlikely before 2050, at the earliest).

    2. Does this mean that there is no good reason for not just doing the full early build?

      I think that is the right conclusion. The argument against the early full build was all about the debt impacts – the suburbs worried about 130th getting ahead of their projects. And staff didn’t share the $6 million number until Board members pressed them to go and get that number.

      $6 million is trivial in a $2-3 billion annual budget and a tens of billions debt capacity. Even in the worst case, it could never be an important cause of delay to any other project so there’s no longer any argument for delaying 130th.

      1. I think it was posturing by the suburban board members to start framing the arguments for the billions of cost risk in West Seattle and Ballard extensions. While the amounts are immaterial, they are making a point to their fellow politicians they are going to be keen to hold on the line on cost increases or accelerations that might but their projects are risk. I think it was productive for the board to have some real conflict on a relatively low risk decision to prepare the board, staff, and external stakeholders for much bigger & more difficult conversations to come.

      2. Agree. I’d go one step further. Not only are they using 130th to send a message, it has to some degree been a hostage to pressure Seattle to manage costs on the big projects. With a deferred decision, they get to continue holding Seattle’s feet to the fire through the West Seattle Ballard EIS.

  2. The board also hasn’t considered the increased revenue that comes from opening early. The ridership estimates are ridiculously low, and ignore the many riders who would otherwise not take Link. There are lots of trips that will occur by car or purely by bus without a station at 130th. For example, Bitter Lake or Lake City to the UW, Bitter Lake to downtown or the Roosevelt neighborhood. That is quite a few trips — in the thousands.

    The average fare per boarding for Sound Transit is about $2. Let’s say you get 2,000 new Link riders each weekday because of the station. That works out to 4,000 fares a day, or $8,000 a day. That works out to a little over $2.0 million each year (not counting weekend riders). With a bit more on the weekends, if it opens 7 years early, that is over $15 million in additional revenue.

    Even with very few additional riders, the revenue gains are substantial.

    1. Without 130th, riders would board at 145th (the 2 stations actually have overlapping walksheds) or Northgate, both of which are very close by and already serve as transit hubs – so I doubt there’s a big increase in ridership. To get a bigger bump the City’s comp plan for the area around the 130th should be amended for dramatically increased densities and TOD.

      1. The current plan calls for folks from bitter lake to have to ride the 345 and all its detours to Northgate to access Link. This is not acceptable – the bus to the train, alone, would take nearly as long as just riding the E line all the way to downtown.

        A more direct bus to Northgate would help, but there is no substitute for 130th St. Station.

      2. Sorry, but you are wrong. Apparently you didn’t read my post. Here, I’ll break the trips I mentioned, in painstaking detail:

        Bitter Lake to the UW: By Bitter Lake I mean some place around 130th. Theoretically, Metro could run a bus headed north on Greenwood or Aurora, which then turns to go to 145th. I wouldn’t bet on it. Metro has no plans on running a bus along 145th — you won’t find it in their long range plans. Even if they did run the bus (for a few years), I wouldn’t expect it to attract many riders (people don’t like taking buses the wrong direction, even if it saves them a bit of time). Right now, someone trying to get from Bitter Lake to the UW just takes the 5 or the E, then the 44. They won’t take the 345 to Northgate, because it is too infrequent and indirect. Even with Northgate Link, where Northgate becomes the terminus for Link, they are suggesting 20 minute frequency at best. It will be faster to just keep doing what folks are doing now (take two buses).

        Lake City to the UW: There are three buses that run from Lake City to the UW: the 372, 65 and 75. The routes will change, but that basic pattern won’t. The buses aren’t extremely fast, but neither is getting to Northgate. It takes a while, and folks won’t choose a two seat ride unless it is significantly faster (and a two seat ride involving a trip to Northgate won’t be). Riders will continue to take one of those buses (whichever comes first).

        Bitter Lake to downtown: The 345 is too indirect and too infrequent for that connection. It makes more sense to just get on the 5 or E (both are which are fairly fast and frequent).

        Bitter Lake to Roosevelt: Again, the weakness is the 345. Riders are better off taking the fast and frequent E or 5, followed by the frequent 45.

        Details matter. The Mount Baker Station suffers from ridiculously low ridership, even though it sits very close to the convergence of two of our most popular buses (the 48 and 7). But because it requires an annoying walk (detailed quite well here: https://seattletransitblog.com/2012/04/18/the-awfulness-of-mt-baker-station/) very few people make that transfer. The same is true with the Northgate Station, except that it is the extra time spent on the bus (in some ways more annoying than walking an extra couple of blocks). Unless there is obviously no alternative, riders aren’t going to connect to Link if it involves spending a lot of time staring out the window as the bus twists and turns through traffic that will obviously increase (with no hope of bus lanes). If you live along 5th, then of course you take a bus to Link, followed by the train. If you live in Lake City and are headed downtown, you do the same (transferring either at Northgate or Roosevelt). But for the every trip I mentioned, you have better alternatives — none of which involve the train– until the 130th street station is added.

        Of course Seattle will upzone the area around 130th. That’s a given. But bus-to-train ridership will greatly outnumber walk-up ridership there, as it will at 145th, Mercer Island, 185th, Lynnwood, and plenty of other stations. That is what happens when you put a station next to a freakin’ freeway, instead of in the middle of real community. Ridership will be driven by bus connections, not walk-up riders. But if your bus connection is poor (like at Northgate, for communities on either side) then people largely ignore it.

      3. “Without 130th, riders would board at 145th (the 2 stations actually have overlapping walksheds) or Northgate, both of which are very close by”

        That’s three fallacies in half a sentence.

        1) Some riders would take a bus to Northgate. Others would say that’s unreasonable and would drive or not make the trip. Lake City is an urban center in all but name, and Bitter Lake has several large apartment buildings including senior housing. These are the kind of areas we should prioritize with good transit to the other urban villages. Some people will take a bus to Northgate out of necessity, but we should aim higher, and not make an entire urban center trudge to Northgate the way Kent East Hill trudges to Kent Station.

        2) 130th and 145th have overlapping walksheds between them, at 137th & 5th. That’s not where the people are.

        3) Riders in Bitter Lake would take the E, and either go downtown or transfer to the 45, 44, 8, or 2 (the planned successor to the 11 and 48). They would effectively have no good access to Link, and would have to take the slower E, wait for a transfer, and take a still not-very-fast east-west bus. That’s precisely the reason Seattle’s ridership isn’t as high as San Francisco or Vancouver or New York per capita — we make do with second-rate transit service and pretend it’s comprehensive.

      4. Even with a 130th St. Station, I think you still want a bus down 145th. Otherwise, Shoreline is left cut off from Link. The parking garage at 145th St. Station should not be considered a substitute for basic bus service.

      5. Riders in Bitter Lake would … effectively have no good access to Link, and would have to take the slower E, wait for a transfer, and take a still not-very-fast east-west bus …

        Exactly.

        The station at 130th will be a huge benefit to riders in Lake City (and there are a lot of transit riders in Lake City). But the benefit is bigger for Bitter Lake, because the alternatives are so poor. It takes over 20 minutes (in the middle of the day) to get from 130th and Aurora to Northgate Transit Center on the 345. The bus runs every half hour (in part because it takes over 20 minutes to make that trip). There is no fast alternative to get to Northgate TC that doesn’t involve losing half your riders. Unless Link becomes a transporter, and magically gets you to downtown in seconds, folks will just take the E.

        In contrast, it would be extremely fast to get to a station at 130th. It would connect east and west, adding riders who don’t even take Link. That will, in turn, mean that it can have frequency that riders of the 345 could only dream of (10 minutes, 8 minutes, maybe even 6). That is what happens when you run a bus along a fast corridor that connects to other fast transit lines (the 5, the E, Link, etc.).

        Jeesh, I get tired of arguing this. I get it. This isn’t obvious. It isn’t like a station at First Hill, or downtown Bellevue. But open your mind. Think in terms of the transit network, not just particular stops. Look at the census data to figure out where people are. Look at the existing transit maps, to see where the weaknesses are. Now imagine a transit system with — or without — a station at 130th. Suddenly something that didn’t seem obvious initially becomes a clear no-brainer. A station at 130th is a bargain for what it provides — a huge time savings for many, many riders. Isn’t that why we are building Link in the first place?

      6. @ asdf2. yes. bring back the 305! which back in the day went all the way from Greenwood (Shoreline cc?), along 145th, 5th, Northgate, 5th, Roosevelt, and downtown.

      7. And those on the 305 were so unlucky it didn’t take the freeway south of Northgate like the 307. I would have been annoyed if my shuttle were timed with the 305 rather than the 307.

      8. Ross, Mike, asdf2 – as someone who spent many years in that area (NE Seattle), I’d just like to state that your comments on this station have always been cogent and these are no exception. Thanks.

        – People in Bitter Lake have poor alternatives to NE 130th.
        – People in Lake City will not backtrack to 148th, thence to Link, unless they are already in a far northern area of Lake City (and even then I don’t believe there is a bus planned that goes N from LC thence west on 145th).
        – Northgate is the worst possible alternative station for both Bitter Lake and Lake City riders. The station is located in such a spot that it requires traversing the entirety of the urban village – that is rapidly densifying and will continue to do so – just to get to it. Traffic in that area is already a zoo.
        – Using a limited-stop 522-type route from Lake City to Roosevelt isn’t a bad idea except for the area around NE 85th and 15th NE. Unfortunately that area will make such a route lose its time advantage over going to 130th directly and transferring there (it would still likely be faster than trying to get to 148th and certainly faster than going to Northgate station).

        Bitter Lake and Lake City are not only areas with some population density already (particularly Lake City), they are areas with a great deal of additional potential to densify. They are neighborhoods that will not have views blocked by new construction, require parks to be torn out, or have high-value SFHs – i.e. upzoning is less likely to activate NIMBYism than elsewhere. Now throw in a high frequency bus between the two and the fact that both neighborhoods are less than 10 minutes bus time – between 5-7 minutes’ drive – from 130th station and you will get new transit users that otherwise just won’t try to get to 148th or Northgate and transfer there.

    2. Would those be new transit riders? There will be some induced demand, but if it’s mostly drawing away riders from KCM, I don’t think the Board should consider that a benefit. Also, transfers earn ST much less than $2/rider, as the revenue would be shared as per the ORCA framework. The marginal revenue from a new transfer from KCM would be an interesting metric.

      And for your math, you’d need to time discount future revenue, which makes that $15M much smaller since it comes mostly in the future.

      If you want to talk about the station driving revenue for ST, the real money is probably in a new urban village upzoned around the station … I’d wager ST would probably earn more money in sales tax from a little construction burst around 135th than they get in incremental fare revenue, plus walk-up riders should be more likely to be new riders, whereas the bus transfers – the bulk of the riders as you have frequently argued – are presumably not new to the system.

      Would be interesting to see the analysis, but either way it’s not material to the decision.

      1. jas: routes 302 and 305 were deleted in June 1997. they should not be missed. they did connect Shoreline and Colman Dock via Northgate and the Roosevelt couplet; they used the I-5 reversible lanes or Eastlake Avenue East. Route 66X replaced them south of Northgate, although it did not use I-5. in turn, Route 66 was deleted in March 2016. Routes 302 and 315 were Shoreline shuttles oriented to the NTC. they were replaced in 2003.

      2. Obviously, a route 305 that continues on downtown after I-5/145th makes no sense in a post-link world. But, a shuttle version of the route that connects to Link does. It costs a fraction to operate, compared to the full route. And, without it, there’s just no good options. Riding the E downtown is tolerable. But, having to slog it all the way to the U-district on two slow buses, with a transfer, is excessive, when an express train running every 3 minutes goes most of the way, if you could just get to it.

      3. Would those be new transit riders? There will be some induced demand, but if it’s mostly drawing away riders from KCM, I don’t think the Board should consider that a benefit.

        They should if they are worried about the cost of the project, especially if they are from Snohomish or Pierce County. The responsibility of the Sound Transit board is to Sound Transit, not other agencies. So even King County representatives should consider the additional revenue. Doing so would be nothing new. The 522 BRT will poach riders from the 372 and 312. UW Link mainly just shifted people from the 7X series buses to the train.

        Besides, as mentioned, a station at NE 130th enables a better network. There will be lots of new riders who never bother with the train. So while the riders I mentioned (Bitter Lake to downtown/UW, etc.) will merely switch, other riders will go from driving to taking Metro. Bitter Lake to Lake City, as well as combinations along those corridors (Lake City to Licton Springs, Bitter Lake to Nathan Hale, Lake City to 95th and Greenwood, etc.) become reasonable on a bus.

        That is essentially what has happened with our system so far. Ridership from the UW to downtown is not that much higher than when buses did all the work, but ridership from northeast Seattle (e. g. Lake City) to UW is much higher. There is a better overall network, as we don’t have to send quite so many buses downtown (which is expensive, and wasteful). The same is true with 130th. You do get a bit more riders taking the train when they used to just take the bus. But you get a lot more riders just taking the bus, because the bus network is much, much better. Overall, though — and this is very important — riders save a lot of time. So even if transit ridership overall is stagnant, those that do take transit aren’t wasting their time sitting on a bus that is stuck in traffic, trying to make yet another turn.

        And for your math, you’d need to time discount future revenue, which makes that $15M much smaller since it comes mostly in the future.

        The $15 million comes from opening early. If they open later, that money disappears. Some of it goes to Metro, a lot of it goes to gas and maintaining the cars necessary to drive those trips.

      4. “it’s mostly drawing away riders from KCM, I don’t think the Board should consider that a benefit.”

        That’s why we’re building light rail! To make the average transit experience better and more in-line with the industrialized world. Link replaces the 71/72/73X, 41, 512, 550, 554, 194, 577, 594, and brings a level of transit never previously available in Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill, Roosevelt, etc. It’s like the “old Ballard” vs “new Ballard” issue. You can go chasing potential riders on 15th, which may or may not pan out, or you can go to where the proven riders and pedestrians and tourists are between 17th and 24th. The latter is more effective and guaranteed to work.

      5. Sorry – I meant financial benefit, addressing Ross’ comment on increased revenue. Yes, if people switch from KCM to Link because that serves their trip better, then that is clearly a benefit.

      6. Fair enough, by my point is that it *is* a financial benefit to *Sound Transit* if people switch from Metro to Link. The same is true if people switch from Community Transit to Link. Sound Transit makes more money, even if the other agencies don’t.

  3. Why not sell some fare-backed bonds in addition to the sales tax backed bonds? The board never considers fare backed bonds, and those are use everywhere else.

  4. Seems like placing a station in a poor location, but citing social justice reasons for its need, is an effective way of silencing critics.

      1. HAHA, nice!

        Oh, and 130th, of course. This comment section jumps all over poor station placement. (14th and Market? Which I actually think is ok). But with 130th, you are all oddly quiet. And I’m trying to figure out why you’re afraid to criticize this poor station location. And what I came up with is, when others said this station is about equity and social justice, it put you in checkmate.

      2. @Sam (AKA T1)

        145th NE and Northgate are both east-west streets. Your suggestion doesn’t make any sense. Let’s have a station at University Way and Aurora while we are at it.

      3. I’m saying don’t have a station between Northgate station and 145th station. It’s moot now anyway. But, who knows, maybe in 100 years, the 130th station location will have grown into being a smart decision.

  5. Lot of concern about 30 seconds of delay and a few million dollars from the folks up north. These are the same people that insisted on ten extra minutes and a billion more dollars for the Pain field deviation.

  6. Can this be a center station to avoid all the issues created by broken elevators and side stations? Seems like center stations should be the default going forward.

    1. Yeah you’re right in concept. I can see how it would be more expensive to spread the tracks though. Unfortunately, ST proposes only the barebones vertical conveyances — and will keep doing this until there is a rider outcry. As I’ve said before, ST needs to design “possible future vertical conveyances” into station floor plans.

      1. “ST proposes only the barebones vertical conveyances — and will keep doing this until there is a rider outcry.”

        That’s because we keep packing so much into ST measures and then complain the taxes are too high. If you want first-rate stations, it costs money. But ST is trying to compensate for cost overruns on Lynnwood Link by pruning down the stations. Those cost overruns are in turn because real estate prices keep escalating, and they keep escalating because Seattle doesn’t take the housing shortage very seriously and keeps proposing token responses rather than a real solution.

      2. I’d opine that we are packing too many miles of track into ST measures. It’s a political solution created for non-transit riders.

        Meanwhile, ST doesn’t seem to budget to improve existing stations to accommodate the increased usage at those stations that the extensions create. If ridership is supposed to triple in the next five years with all of the new projects, won’t the Downtown stations at least double in usage?

    2. Does anybody have solid information as to why we’re having so much trouble with elevators and escalators? How old is this technology- a hundred years?

      Reading world news this last while about citizen response to under-performing government, wonder how far we are from mass refusal to pay for any ride we have to walk up multiple staircases to get to. Especially at the Airport where multiple suitcases are involved.

      Might be a good idea to see what’s involved in converting an elevator to “manual.” For the frequently-broken elevator across the road from Sea-Tac Airport Station, have said before we need to rent and install a temporary construction elevator. Operator and all.

      Mark Dublin

      1. UW Station is because ST cheaped out with low-grade escalators rather than heavy-duty escalators. The DSTT stations are because the agencies don’t spend as much on maintenance as department stores do. Metro had to wait months for federal grants to cover the cost of fixing the escalators and elevators at Westlake and University Street. Why is this not included in base transit funding? If we have a downtown tunnel at all, it should work well.

  7. Are we going to discuss station naming? With Bel-Red/130th Station opening in 2023, we probably need a station name without a number! Let’s hope ST hasn’t secretly picked a station name/ code already!

    1. Alternatives? Pinehurst seems best. Haller Lake is also good, except we already have an Angle Lake. Northacres is too similar to Northgate. Other names?

      I hope we don’t end up with a rushed University Street Station renaming fiasco.

      1. Pinehurst seems the best. Lake City would almost do, except it’s a mile away and may have its own station someday (on the Lake City-Bothell line).

        Haller Lake is fine as a name. “Lake” is a generic word, and people will normally look to see which lake rather than assuming there’s only one. Part of the attraction of Pugetopolis is its number of lakes. The problem with Haller Lake Station is that Haller Lake is too small and single-family; hardly anyone has ever heard of it. Pinehurst has some recognition as “the area between Northgate and Shoreline”, plus it has some apartments and is growing.

    2. We don’t do the naming confusion any good by calling it the NE 130th Station on the blog. Since the other one is 130th Avenue NE.

      I’d vote for calling it the Pinehurst Station now! It gives it some identity and seems to be the most local. It’s unique and distinctive too.

      STB could hold its own naming suggestion contest. It would almost assuredly work better than the recent ST contest went. No matter what, the longer we wait, the more entrenched “130th” becomes.

  8. Is it true that this station is solely the result of political horse-trading? No station on 130th, no ST3 support from a council member?

    1. No, and who cares.

      Seriously Sam, do you really not understand why the station makes sense by now? Should we break out the puppets? OK, fine. Neither Bitter Lake, nor Lake City — both communities with higher population density than anywhere in Snohomish County — will have light rail stations. This is unfortunate, but there is nothing we can do. We can’t send the train to Lake City, or up Aurora. It won’t happen.

      But what we can do is make the *bus* connection from those communities much better. The Northgate bus connection is terrible, from either side. The only quick way to get to the Northgate Station is via the freeway, which is handy for the brief period when it is the terminus, and irrelevant soon after. 145th is relatively easy to get to, but involves backtracking if you are at 130th (where lots of people live). In short, a station at 130th saves an enormous amount of time for riders, just as a station at Mercer Island is a huge saving over sending every bus to downtown Bellevue (even though downtown Bellevue is obviously a much bigger destination).

      1. 130th doesn’t connect with Lake City Way though. 145th is a better station for Lake City use, Just as many people around 145th as live around 125th, and 145th does connect with LCW. 145th is therefore the logical connection between Link and Lake City.

        I lived in Lake City during ST3 being voted on. Only a handful of my neighbors liked the thought of a 130th stop, and that handful planned on driving from home to the station, not taking a bus.

      2. @ A Joy

        Bullshit. There are thousands of people closer to 125th than 145th. There is an existing terminus at 130th, where the 41 lays over. People won’t be too happy to ride a bus north — in the wrong direction — to then go to a station at 148th. According to Google, in the middle of the day it takes 12 minutes to get from 125th and Lake City Way to 145th and 19th (on the 65). 19th! You are still a long ways away from the station. By the time a bus hits 15th, a rider taking a trip to 130th has already gotten off the bus, and is standing there, about to get on the train.

        It sounds like you need to get smarter friends.

      3. Ross, ST didn’t want a 130th station. They didn’t change their mind because a dream told them to, or they had a change of heart. A politician said boo. ST blinked. Game over.

      4. 145th has more dense apartment complexes near it than 125th does. There are a few just northeast of 145th and LCW, and over half a dozen just southwest of 145th and LCW. From 130th to 145th on that southwest side it is all relatively dense residential behind the LCW strip.

        NE 130th Street has a gap between its section west of 15th (where IIRC the Link Station is being built) and the section that intersects LCW. The stretch the 41 has a layover near turns into NE 130th Place before turning north and ending at NE 135th Street just east of 15th. That’s a small road that could never take the traffic of a Link Station.

        Assuming busses divert to 125th, since 130th doesn’t go through, you’re putting these busses through some awful traffic. 125th at LCW and 125th at 15th are both heavily impacted by rush hour traffic. 125th at Roosevelt will likely become as bad with planned transit changes. Meanwhile, only 145th at LCW is as bad an intersection. All things being equal, 125th would be faster. But all things are not equal.

        People won’t be happy with a short ride north? That’s the problem with a grid system. How many Eastside busses are going to have short rides out of the way to get to the ride they want? Seatac will be losing a one seat ride to Renton with planned Rapidride changes, forcing a ride in the wrong direction north to TIBS. That’s a standard operating procedure with transit now. Turning one seat rides into two or three seat rides happens practically everywhere else. Why should Lake City be any different?

      5. A politician advocated heavily for 130th Station. They didn’t advocate to reject ST3 if it didn’t have it. That’s all in your mind. It’s not horse-trading when a politician advocates for something ST should have included in the first place because of the size and number of urban villages in the vicinity. Horse-trading is when politicians trade unnecessary perks.

      6. Yes, Debora Juarez fought hard for the 130th Link stop and won both it and her election. I voted for her. I and many others did so despite, not because of, this single minded crusade of hers. She was simply the better of two flawed candidates.

        This wasn’t horse trading, no. Perks in districts weren’t being traded. But 130th was never “something ST should have included in the first place…”. It has been a bad idea since day 1, and continues to be a bad idea to this day.

      7. Ross, ST didn’t want a 130th station. They didn’t change their mind because a dream told them to, or they had a change of heart. A politician said boo. ST blinked. Game over.

        Dude, your statement ignores the fact that Sound Transit is made up of politicians. Basically you are saying that the politicians didn’t want it, but then some politicians wanted it, so then the politicians approved it.

        ST is not made up transit experts, sitting around a board figuring out how best to knit together the region. If it was, we wouldn’t have a train from Issaquah to South Kirkland. But we would have a station at 130th. Once they decided to add a station at 145th, adding a station at 130th becomes obvious to anyone who knows anything about transit. Every transit expert in the world would put a station there.

  9. You’d think with the decline in the popularity of golfing, and with a light rail station at the northwest and southwest corners of the golf course, (best stop spacing ever ironically), that perhaps the city could convert the front nine to housing and a park, and still have plenty of room for a nine-hole course and the par 3 course.

    and to increase the ridership of golfers they probably should consider putting in a (very high) gondola from 130th station to the clubhouse. . But seriously it is ironic that because of the positioning of the stations that no golfer will ever consider taking the train in order to get in a round.

    1. There has been a lot of talk about that, but unfortunately, by city law you can’t convert a park (of any sort) into housing. Of course that law could be amended, but that could be difficult. I think it is far more likely that much of the golf course be converted to a park, and that we’ll just have housing surrounding it. It is highly likely that the area around the station will be upzoned, but ridership will be driven by feeder buses. That is pretty much the case for all of the stations in Lynnwood Link. 145th will have a little bit of development, but it will mostly have riders transferring from the 522 Stride bus. Likewise, 185th will be the southern terminus for the main Swift Line, and get riders from Richmond Beach. Lynnwood will have plenty of development, but as the terminus for every bus to the north, east and west, most of the riders will get there by bus. Mountlake Terrace is the only station that might have more walk-up riders than bus transfer rider, but that is mainly because it is relatively weak from a bus interaction standpoint and relatively strong in terms of density.

      1. I get that Seattle can’t just build housing on a golf course, but it could do a much nicer job integrating it with the surrounding community, particularly on 5th Avenue NE and NE 145th. This is one reason why 145th station and a 130th station seem so far apart when in fact they are very close to each other. They are separated by a pedestrian-menacing frontage road and a cramped walking path.

        There is a very narrow walking path on the West side of Jackson Park walled off by a chainlink fence that ‘protects’ the golf course from neighborhood walkers and homeless people and all people from stray golf balls.

        On the north side of the golf course it similar, the sidewalk on both sides of 145th look like band-aid after thoughts. If they could at least turn a buffer of 50 to 100 feet on the east and north sides into a park, and improve biking/ walking access to the 145th station.

  10. Mike, thanks for answers on elevators and escalators. So here’s another question you may be able to answer:

    Leaving aside the question of whether we’ll ever get an actual Federal Government back again, any ideas as to why, over all the years when we had an Administration, the Americans With Disabilities Act has so long been left to gather rust?

    Fare-based revenue would seem to me to have basic problem with cost to the system of money-handling being in the way of the trains and the buses. But if revenue anywhere near justified, I’d gladly enlist my ORCA card in the battle.

    Hard to argue against proposition that a system that can’t run an elevator can’t run a train either.

    Mark Dublin

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