While light rail construction in Lynnwood is temporarily halted, the next extension to Everett will continue early planning and design as originally scheduled. Snohomish County has opened a new survey into their subarea planning for stations at Mariner (128th Street) and Ash Way (164th Street), located in the unincorporated area between Everett and Lynnwood.
According to The Everett Herald, the county has been moving ahead with planning at a pace faster than expected by even Sound Transit. Construction funding for the Everett Link project, and its planned completion date of 2036, are both uncertain at this point due to the effects of the pandemic and stay-at-home order on sales tax revenue. If a cut to the project does arrive, planning will be allowed to continue using whatever funding can be pieced together, in a manner similar to Federal Way Link during the recession, with hopes of restoring funding in some form.
The county council chose their preferred station locations in February, based on options we last saw in July. The “130th Street” option was chosen for Mariner, which would have a north-south station and a potential east-west bridge over Interstate 5 for transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The general concept moves light rail-to-bus transfers away from 128th Street and allows for a decent amount of surrounding transit-oriented development.
The bold “East of I-5” option for Ash Way Station was chosen by the council, which avoid using the current park-and-ride. By siting the platform across the freeway, the station would be easier to access from several apartment and townhouse complexes near Martha Lake, at the cost of apartments on Ash Way proper. An extended bridge over I-5 would help mitigate the longer walk/roll from the west side, as well as provide better bus connections for Mill Creek and the east side of the 164th Street corridor.
The survey is generally targeted at Snohomish County residents and closes on May 8 at midnight. The county aims to have a subarea plan developed within the next three years, which would give plenty of time to consider and debate building heights and land use around the stations.