These two bridges connecting Stride stations to local neighborhoods may be cut from the project

Just a week after concluding realignment on a largely positive note, Sound Transit today is again tempted to water down station access for relatively little cost savings. At today’s System Expansion Committee meeting, they revealed that they are considering two changes to Stride stations (one at Tukwila Intl. Blvd. Station, and one at the Brickyard Station) that would permanently cut off local neighborhoods from their stations. If these changes were to be made, local residents would need to need to detour far out of the way toward the nearest street crossing of the freeway, and then come all the way back to the station on the other side. Especially after (rightly) deprioritizing parking in ST3, we need to put a strong emphasis on improving non-motorized station access, and it’s disturbing to see Sound Transit considering such a big step in the wrong direction.

Alternate walking routes to each station are long and harsh, and include two level changes in Tukwila (right)

Alternate routes for these stations are harsh, much worse than the escalators that were cut in Lynnwood Link. Both involve crossing large freeways along themselves busy streets. and in the case of TIBS, this would involve a jog down a staircase and up an escalator (can’t take the stairs? Then you’re going all the way to Southcenter Blvd). Any hard-fought access improvements that Sound Transit has added to these stations in the last few years would be effectively wiped out and actually made worse for local residents, as the placement of these stations closer to the freeway would actually make the station farther from affected riders, rather than closer like it would if these bridges were preserved. The message this sends to these neighborhoods is clear: these stations are not for you, and that cannot be allowed to happen. As we saw in realignment, Sound Transit is financially capable of completing all projects (even the heavily-delayed parking projects) by delaying project delivery. So if Sound Transit could pay for the up to $20 million in savings (just 2% of the total cost of these projects) by delaying the project by weeks or months, then I would urge Sound Transit to do so, because months of delay is worth it to avoid generations of passengers missing out on good transit access.

73 Replies to “Sound Transit is considering sacrificing station access to reduce Stride costs”

  1. Both of these moves are penny-wise-pound-foolish. Besides the points listed in this article, pedestrian overpasses establish safe ways to cross the freeway on foot or on a bike, even for people who are not riding the transit. In the case of Brickyard, there is literally a regional trail on both sides of the freeway. The Sound Transit bridge not only connects them together, but also connects the section of trail east of the freeway with existing parking west of the freeway.

    To not build it, just to open the station a few weeks or months sooner is just stupid.

    1. Both of these moves are penny-wise-pound-foolish.

      Agreed. I can only think they are fishing for local, state or federal funding to construct these. I can’t see ST not constructing these access points, especially in a way that precludes constructing them after the fact when money is found.

      1. Even if they don’t preclude constructing them afterward, it always costs more in the long run to bring the construction crews out a second time than to just do it once and be done with it.

        And, in practice, doing it later often doesn’t make it to the top of the priority list because people are used to the “just drive around” status quo. ST cheaped out on Mountlake Terrace station, which still has no connection to the west, with no plans to create it, ever.

    2. Yeah, I agree.

      Brickyard is more expensive, but you get a lot more out of it. There is plenty of housing — including some apartments — right across the way. Not only is the time savings huge, it just isn’t that far of a walk. As you mentioned, it also gives you a major improvement in the bike network.

      With Tukwila you get less — for now. The bridge seems to end at the edge of a huge parking lot. As you get farther away, there is some housing, but it would still be a big walk to the bus or train. The bridge makes it better, but I don’t think that many people would make that walk. On the other hand, things change. I could easily see new apartments being built there if they added a bridge. It wouldn’t be a great place for an apartment (next to a freeway) but given our general housing shortage, any increase in housing would be welcome. It is likely given the location they would be low income housing, which means the proximity to transit would be a bonus. New apartments would also give them an opportunity to improve the walk. Instead of walking through rows of cars in an ugly (and at times blazing hot) parking lot, riders from farther away could walk along a tree lined path. This would all be part of the new development, and wouldn’t cost that much.

      1. Ross, I generally agree that by a freeway is not a good place for housing. But, here the freeway is in a descending trench, so the noise and pollution won’t be nearly as bad as they might.

  2. I hope they don’t remove the southern access to TIB Station. The city and a local developer want to rezone the area south.

    This is a slide deck from a council meeting that discusses it. Hoping the link works. I’ve never posted one on this site before.
    http://records.tukwilawa.gov/weblink/1/edoc/338020/Reg%202021-03-15%20Item%203%20-%20Presentation%20-%20Transit%20Oriented%20Development%20Opportunities%20from%20Sterling%20Realty%20Organization.pdf

    Here’s the meeting itself (skip to 16:33):
    https://tukwila.vod.castus.tv/vod/?video=0b8ec876-527f-4edf-b255-cce3739bf584

    1. Interesting (the link works great). This is the type of thing I suggested could happen in my comment above. I had no idea it was this far along. Seems silly to kill it off before it gets a chance to advance.

    2. Well this clarifies the situation in Tukwila: ST wants Sterling to pay for half of the pedestrian bridge.

      1. Ha! Maybe so. Hopefully Tukwilla city staff or mayor just need to make a few phone calls to make this suggestion go away, as I imagine the city is keen on the development and will strongly prefer for a 3rd party (ST) to fund the bridge so Sterling can focus on delivering other public benefits the city presumably has queued up.

    3. Thanks for sharing! (the link took a few tries before it worked). That’s super ambitious and great to see. A perfect example of how converting a location from “adequate” to “excellent” transit access can unlock a lot of value.

    4. With all the planning going on, it’s amazing to me that Sound Transit doesn’t seem to be aware of what Tukwila is planning to do otherwise they wouldn’t have even suggested such change.

  3. The key follow-up question to me is whether the connections can be reserved for future installation. ST seems to permanently omit features rather than merely defer them (unless it’s for parking). In the referenced Lynnwood decision, the entire platform width was reduced, making it almost impossible to install escalators.

    And pay attention to the timing. 40 percent of System Access grants were given out by ST in 2019 to places which applied for them. These connections weren’t awarded funding because no one thought that the connections would be cut so no grant was submitted.

    These are two systemic ST design practices (ignore future connections in design, eliminate access components after deadlines to get grants to save them) that needs to be changed.

    1. Yeah, at worse ST should allocate some money from the station access fund to complete these bridges, rather than not build them. Would be petty accounting but the final product would be the same.

    2. Al, it looks as if the answer is “No”. If you look at the documents in the link, it appears that ST’s design for the bridge is about eight feet or lower than the developer’s, and presumably, Tukwila’s.

      ST’s south side connection bridge does not lass over the eastbound on-ramp. It lands adjacent to the on-ramp roadway and continues up it as a sidewalk to Highway 99, where it depends on two undignalized cross-walks across the two entrances to the on-ramp.

      The developer’s proposal would heighten the entire crossing in order to span the on-ramp in order to connect directly into the development.

      So, if ST builds just the northern 2/3 of the bridge to its original design, even if it leaves a support platform protruding from the south pier any bridge would be starting those eight feet low. Would ST’s pier be built strong enough to support the longer span? That is especially critical since it would have to be angled upward toward the south in order to clear the on-ramp, producing a weight-transfer vector toward this pier.

      ST is basically screwing Tukwila, the developer and (unwittingly) itself.

      1. “ ST is basically screwing Tukwila, the developer and (unwittingly) itself.”

        I get how limiting station catchment areas and designing on ways to prevent TODs is bad for a transit operation — as do most posters on STB. However, I still think many of the Board members look at ST stations mainly as architecture projects rather than places that riders will use every weekday for 30-40 years. Otherwise, they would be more outspoken about last-minute budget cutting that results in making access and circulation harder for future riders on a daily basis.

        Perhaps when the many mistakes that ST is making with new stations will create an attitude adjustment in 2026 or later as hundreds of thousands of new rail riders suffer these cost-cutting decisions. Until I see leaders decide that riders deserve better, the systemic station design game will continue as is.

        These systemic changes appear to be needed:

        – A committee of riders, drivers and security staff reviewing/ approving station designs

        – Adopted minimum design objectives and desired outcomes for each individual station access and circulation (as opposed to just “put a station here with xxx parking”)

        – Better contingencies to provide access and circulation features

        My concern is that this is a systemic approach that pervades ST culture. Honestly, I think many involved think that they are personally doing a great job or that their hands are tied. Getting a paradigm shift is institutionally very challenging — but that’s what I think will be needed or we will see these problems all over the place!

      2. I get how limiting station catchment areas and designing on ways to prevent TODs is bad for a transit operation — as do most posters on STB. However, I still think many of the Board members look at ST stations mainly as architecture projects rather than places that riders will use every weekday for 30-40 years.

        Yeah, sure, but my guess is they still care about the budget. This is where the “unwittingly” part comes in. You may not care about saving riders time, or even ridership in general, but the entire idea behind this change is to save money. Yet it is pretty easy to come up with a scenario where this costs them a bundle. The average fare per boarding is a bit over $2. Double that for a round trip. It is pretty easy to imagine that development generating at least 250 *new* riders. These are people who would otherwise drive. That works out to $1,000 a day, or 5 grand a week. In a couple years (100 weeks), that is half a million. In twenty years you have paid off your initial cost. In thirty years you’ve paid off the interest, maintenance, and are making money.

        It is likely the subsidized cost per rider of the bridge is zero, and that it would actually make the agency money. To not build the bridge is financially irresponsible. To do so while trying to save money is stupid.

      3. Ross you make a great financial point — I doubt many board members care much about minor changes in operating revenue. It’s the ribbon cutting photo with a “opening under budget” speech that their psyche mainly wants out of this.

      4. A citizens’ oversight panel doesn’t necessarily consist of riders. It’s people who are impacted by the project. These might be non-riders who don’t want commuters overrunning their street parking, or want open space next to the station. ST tries to get a variety of ethnic and occupation and ability views, and both people who are knowledgeable about transit and those who aren’t. So STB-like people may get one or two positions but then the quota of transit amateurs is filled.

      5. So STB definitely needs a riders’ board in addition to its existing board. Riders’ perspectives are getting lost because ST considers them all one stakeholder, alongside the governments and large businesses and neighbors and equity-emphasis groups. So concerns like walking to the station from across the freeway get lost. ST probably looks at it as, most riders will come from the P&R and bus transfers and the developments across the street, and only a smallish number would come from across the bridge anyway.

      6. STB ST needs a riders’ board. I wish these weren’t spelled almost identically. It’s hard to avoid making a mistake.

      7. I’m struck by how the Oversight Committee presentations are almost always staff reports presenting what’s already been decided. How is that oversight? It appears that ST does not want input from the committee.

        Reading the bios doesn’t indicate who if any on this committee actually is a daily rider. It’s so irrelevant that it’s not in the bios!

        It looks to me that it’s viewed by Board and staff as a mere “check box” effort. Why else would there be so many vacant seats on it?

  4. Penny-wise but oh so pound foolish! That’s especially true at TIBS where there is a neighborhood of mostly run-down rental housing which could be upzoned bigly at the end of the bridge to be eliminated. I’m not familiar with the neighborhood east of Brickyard, having been banned from the East Side for “class warfare”.

    I’m confident though that it meets the approval of the MOTUs’ Mouthpiece. There is no capacity for The Holy SOV on that bridge. It should be “multi-modal”.

    1. That’s especially true at TIBS where there is a neighborhood of mostly run-down rental housing

      It is mostly just a big parking lot. There is no housing north of 160th and west of the squiggly part of 158th (https://goo.gl/maps/8MXr7wjPxGhzG6qr8). There is a car dealership, a pet boarding building and airport parking. This is where the TOD potential is (as referenced in Johnny’s comment).

      It is only when you get further east (https://goo.gl/maps/J1jenSBzMN2JEQ8i6) or south of there (https://goo.gl/maps/vZ2NGfTG8YbWAqtQ8) that you run into housing. This would likely stay, as it is relatively high density (for the area) and further away.

      1. I disagree – I think that neighborhood has great potential. The TOD that Johnny’s share will rebuild the street grid, and beyond that mega-development there is an traditional street grid. Plenty of good spots of dense midrise and then dense lowrise housing further out. The neighborhood’s bones aren’t that different than the parts of northern Seattle that lack sidewalks.

        Not only will the ped bridge significantly expand the walkshed southeast, the TOD (as proposed) will make the walk much more pleasant with a rebuilt street grid and good sidewalks, which will also help boost pedestrian access as the quality of the pedestrian experience can be just an important as the distance. I don’t blame someone living there now choosing to drive rather than walk along 99 to access Link.

      2. You disagree with what? I simply pointed out the current geography, which is very clear when you look at a map. This is the area where there would be TOD: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1wU2nDjbFSfLrQrsUOWe8hrjJ8XJ-RzS8&usp=sharing. This area does not have “mostly run-down rental housing”. It has parking lots, and a tiny handful of buildings. That is why it is ripe for development. It is also the only place that is within reasonable walking distance to the station, even after they add the bridge.

        Just outside that area you have apartments, in a city that has very few. This is what I mean when I write that it has relatively high density. It would be nuts to tear down a perfectly good apartment simply to increase density a tiny amount in a fundamentally low cost area.

        Beyond that, you are a very long walk from the station. At that point it becomes typical Tukwila, which is to say, mostly houses on big lots. Yes, there is a grid, but the same can be said for the area north of the station. This is Tukwila. It is a relatively old city that made the transit from farmland to residential a long time ago, well before the cul-de-sac fad took hold. As a result, there are big lots with really big streets, but plenty of smaller dead end streets. Not that it matters. Just because it has the same fundamental street grid as Northgate does not mean it will suddenly sprout similar development. It is unrealistic to except anything dramatic outside the shaded area of the map, given that the area north of the station (where people walk a similar distance, without having to go over the freeway) looks pretty much identical to the way it did a dozen years ago, when the station (and the line) was finished. The proposed development itself seems like a stretch until you realize the developer is mainly talking about motels, which makes sense, given the distance to the airport, the station and the huge SeaTac car rental facility. Which is not to say that a few apartment buildings won’t be added as well (there is an enormous amount of space — enough for motels, apartments and plenty of green space). But to expect much outside of that area is to ignore the geography — both local and regional.

      3. OK, you’re right about the Tukwila part of the neighborhood. But south of 160th is SeaTac, a much more pro-development town. Would people walk from there? I guess we’d have to find out.

      4. I didn’t know that 160th was part of the border between SeaTac and Tukwila. Interesting. Thanks for that.

        I don’t think it makes any difference, though. The development style of both cities is almost identical, which is why you can’t tell that the border is there. The apartments that I referenced outside the TOD area (the shaded region) were mostly in Tukwila, although there are plenty in SeaTac. You only need to explore the area close to the airport to realize that neither city is that interested in this type of growth. There are single family homes that are relatively close to the SeaTac station (https://goo.gl/maps/9SDcrsfo1egZBnRSA). This is the actual, freakin’ airport — the biggest destination within miles. If you happened to work at the airport, or fly endlessly, this is where you would want to live. It is also a reasonable place to live if you want to commute into Seattle, give the express nature of the light rail system from there. Yet with all of that, it is still nothing but houses. This is fundamentally way more valuable than the land across an ugly freeway from a transit stop. Yet it remains just houses. SeaTac may be more pro-development, but for them to leave an area like that untouched suggests they are the thinner kid at fat camp.

        As for the distance, it is clearly too far. Sure, some people would walk it, but most wouldn’t. They could change the zoning, and probably see some development, but you could say the same thing about much of the area. The result would be cheap apartments with outside parking, where just about everyone drives.

      5. “This is fundamentally way more valuable than the land across an ugly freeway from a transit stop. ” Um, no – that massive parking lot is way more valuable – it’s already large, level, and graded, and is likely zoned for much more intensive use than the SF neighborhoods. Large contiguous parcels like that are very valuable.

        Sorry I misread your initial comment – I thought you were dismissing the development opportunity, but re-reading I realize that you were mostly making a point about where the housing was & was not. But aren’t those “big lots” the ideal environment for missing middle infill?

        Tom’s point was about zoning. The reason those Seatac lots are single family home is zoning, same reason there are single family homes a stone throw from most Link stations in Seattle. SeaTac is pro-development but its growth area is very tight against 99 (https://www.psrc.org/sites/default/files/rgc-profile-seatac.pdf), with the rest of the city firmly capped at single family.

  5. I thought the realignment netted ST an additional $35 BILLION through 2044, despite a claimed $6.5 billion deficit.

    DSTT2 is in Tier 2. There is a rail stub from WS to Sodo in the realignment plan. Large park and rides were delayed, but not eliminated, on the basis ST just needs some breathing room on its debt ceiling, but has the money to complete ST 2 and 3 including expensive projects like Issaquah to S. Kirkland and DSTT2.

    Some on this blog have argued ST has no funding issues, and in fact can continue ST taxes forever, which is why the total cost is now $131 billion. So why is ST nickel and diming projects and delaying or eliminating access to stations? ST is not acting like it is flush with cash, despite an additional $35 billion from the realignment.

    Am I missing something?

    1. Daniel, it’s pretty standard for ST to wildly commit many billions — and then cut station access as the last final design step before starting construction to save a million (and not actually build the design that the public poured over for months). And it’s usually done too late for anyone to look for alternative funding.

      That’s systemic resulting in disconnected station access from Mt Baker to Federal Way (forced 320th crosswalks) to Shoreline South to even how U-District doesn’t have an exit north of 45th or UW doesn’t have an exit in front of the hospital.

      It’s just one more reason why final design decisions should have to be reviewed and approved by a committee of actual transit riders. Many of the leaders seem to be pretty clueless of how 50 years of bad access is evolving just to save a little money. ST doesn’t define minimum access requirements and dictates those to the designers upfront, giving them power to cut things whenever they want by using the cost overruns excuse at the end of the final design step. Then at the ribbon cutting, all the speeches will brag about coming in under budget!

      After seeing this practice repeated over and over again, I only see this changing if systemic change occurs. Those advocating for any ST3 project should be proactive to change this process now or it’s happening again — in every subarea.

      1. I agree Al. ST should have a much stricter process to change projects that were part of voter approved levies, beyond just the Board deciding on realignment, and ST deciding ad hoc changes to station design.

        The problem is ST almost always — if not always — underestimates project costs in its levies in order to sell them. So to meet budget estimates, or come close, material changes to the project have to be made, and ST knew that before the levies.

        It is just classic bait and switch.

        What ST has always been opaque about is what is the actual pot of money for all the projects, and what is the real cost of those projects. What is really needed is a top to bottom realignment. It drives me crazy to see ST including a stub from WS to Sodo, or DSTT2, in the realignment, and then eliminating station access without any real public input while some on this blog tell me there is more money than needed. Obviously not.

        I agree a committee of actual transit users should be part of the process to amend any projects included in levies. Except the first question those riders would ask is WHY? Why is ST cutting station access? They would ask ST why did it just increase the total cost to $131 billion through 2044 but then make cuts that make accessing stations less convenient.

        Of course, that is exactly the question ST does not want to answer, but accidently did when it released its first budget deficit calculation of $12.5 billion, which I am guessing is low. Based on the original cost estimates DSTT2 and WSBLE, and Issaquah to S. Kirkland, and ST 1 and 2, my guess is ST estimated most projects at about 50% to 60% of actual cost.

        Did ST call me up and tell me that personally? No. But then ST also didn’t tell me why it is cutting station access if it just reaped an additional $35 billion through 2044, and I know ST will never create a committee of actual riders to ask these questions.

      2. So, Daniel, you objected to my statement that you support the ST3 Spine plan (Everett to Tacoma Dome and IDS to Redmond Downtown. I guess I misinterpreted your statement “finish the Spine”, so what limits would you impose?

        How far north would you support going? How far south? Do you think extending into downtown Redmond is a good idea?

        You throw a lot of stones but don’t seem to have any substantive plan except “ST is idiots”. Many people here agree with that assessment, but the rest of us are trying to get them to improve their plan. I do not see that from you; you just nay-say, presumably to “own the Libs”.

    2. “So why is ST nickel and diming projects and delaying or eliminating access to stations?”

      Maybe ST doesn’t have as much money as you think it does.

      1. “So why is ST nickel and diming projects and delaying or eliminating access to stations?”

        “Maybe ST doesn’t have as much money as you think it does.”

        My question was rhetorical Mike. Yes, ST does not have as much money as it admits, because project costs are still significantly underestimated, ridership and farebox recovery was wildly inflated pre-pandemic, and WFH will likely reallocate general fund tax revenues among the subareas, especially to East King Co. which least needs the additional ST revenue, and has the fewer places to spend it wisely.

        My point is you don’t nickel and dime station access and other projects if you have the money to build a $4+ billion DSTT2.

  6. Alex and the commenters are correct: ST again seems penny wise and pound foolish. Access is very important. ST has a good access policy, they often ignore it. Access very difficult in freeway envelope; that is where I-405 BRT lives. Unfortunately, that is where ST has also place Link in many places. It is difficult to get pedestrians (that is who rides transit) to/from the center or the opposite side of wide freeways. My adage: freeways are to pedestrians as dams are to fish.

  7. Maybe if ST didn’t have to give away surplus land, but could sell it to the highest bidder, they wouldn’t have to cancel pedestrian bridges.

    1. One, that’s not enough money to fill the gap. Two, it doesn’t come until construction is finished, but the money is needed to pay said construction. Three, how else are we going to have affordable housing near stations?

      1. That’s fine. Support them giving away surplus land. Just don’t complain when ST has to cut costs.

      2. The affordable housing subsidy in the ST3 plan is definitely bigger than the station access fund, probably 3x larger.

        And there are dozens of ways to provide affordable housing aside from cannibalizing scarce transit dollars. BART is able to provide affordable TOD while not consuming transit resources because the state granted it control over zones. It would also be more transparent to fund affordable housing directly. Even indirect funding through inclusionary zoning would be better than our current policy.

      3. Does “control over zones” mean BART can dictate station-area zoning? In any case, those are hypotheticals, since the legislature is unlikely to grant those authorities.

  8. Tukwila residents south of 518 are already chauffeured to TIBS by Via. So, a new pedestrian bridge is unnecessary.

    1. I disagree in that regard, having a pedestrian bridge from the neighborhood to the TIBS and Stride makes a lot of sense in the longer term as it makes walkability and access to transit better as places are up zoned and we see more TOD built.

    2. Walking a short distance is faster than waiting for someone to pick you up. It also doesn’t contribute to traffic congestion.

      The bridge also allows people to bike to the station from further away.

      1. If they were to take away Via from the neighborhood, and if they were to turn the giant parking lots into housing, then a pedestrian bridge might make sense, but right now it doesn’t. With no change, the ped bridge would be an unused symbolic project, like Bellevue’s 108th ave bike lanes.

      2. As pointed out in the comments upthread, there’s already a developer trying to rezone and develop the lots immediately south of the highway, and they have the city on board, so the bridge is very much useful infrastructure.

  9. These two pedestrian bridges did a great job of creating lemonade out of freeway station lemons. I hope they remain fully built out alongside the other Stride investments.

    1. I wouldn’t call the Stride Tukwila station a lemon, even if it only had a pedestrian bridge to TIBS. That’s the main connection, and why ST is considering abandoning the bridge the other direction. It is really the potential for TOD at the south end of the bridge that makes the full bridge essential (destroying Sam’s argument). If the SeaTac Rental facility was there (instead of to the west of SR 99) then I would have to agree with Sam (or at the very least, give him credit for a decent argument).

      With the Brickyard Station, I agree with you. It is only when you have a bridge connecting the neighborhoods on opposite sides of 405 that you come close to realizing the potential of that station.

      1. Fair – the TIBS station will still be very useful with just half a bridge. But the TIBS Link station is itself a lemon of a location, and a full pedestrian bridge (with or without the Stride station) would be a solid step in improving the station walkshed, particularly if paired with a rebuilt street grid as proposed in the Sterling TOD.

      2. You could turn TIBS into lemonade if you would build a gondola to the Sounder station with a stop at Southcenter. Might be easier than adding a Sounder station at Boeing Access Rd.

  10. Via may go away as a poor service investment. Should the fixed route network be improved. Would the pedestrian connection make it more likely that the parking was converted to housing?

    1. It will be converted to housing in any case. The region’s population is increasing and people will inevitably look further out to areas they wouldn’t have considered before. The lot kitty-corner from the station is being redeveloped now if I remember. (The last time I saw it was a month or two ago when I was going to the SeaTac Botanical Carden. A good place, unfortunately a mile away from transit. The nearest routes are the 128 and 124. I took the 124 and missed the optimal stop, so I went to TIB and transferred back on the 128. On the way back I took the 128 north to West Seattle.)

    2. Would the pedestrian connection make it more likely that the parking was converted to housing?

      Which parking lots are you talking about? The one across from TIBS? Definitely. But as I noted above, it will probably be mostly motels. The developer wants to build really tall, which doesn’t make much sense in the area, unless you are building a motel. A motel makes a lot of sense, given the proximity to the rental car facility, the airport, Link, and yes, Stride. Fly in to SeaTac, take the shuttle to your room. Take the train or the bus to your meeting. Fly out. If you need a car for a day, just rent one across the street. As I wrote above, the lot is huge, so there is plenty of potential for housing mixed in, which is always good from a political standpoint.

      With Brickyard it is a different story. There is no parking on that side. I see no fundamental change if they add the bridge. I suppose Kirkland might decide to rezone that area as part of some city-wide change, but my guess is they wouldn’t.

      1. Ross, I doubt they’re going to build 275 foot high “motels”. The illustrations show more of an “office park” look, with residences included.

        There may be a hotel given the closeness to the car-rental center but it really looks like Tukwila’s version of The Spring District.

        Of course that may just be marketing to get the public on board. Nightly-stay accommodations are big “tax-cows” for cities.

      2. Ross, I doubt they’re going to build 275 foot high “motels”. The illustrations show more of an “office park” look, with residences included.

        The illustration clearly shows a building with the word “Hotel” on it. The tallest building in SeaTac right now is a hotel. Of the top twenty buildings by height in SeaTac, only two are offices, and two are apartments. The vast majority are hotels. My guess is the same thing would be true of this development. As I wrote, this would likely have a mix, with some office and residential as well. But the main development — the type of development that would by the tallest — is hotels. Just look at where it is. https://www.emporis.com/statistics/tallest-buildings/city/102284/seatac-wa-usa

      3. I’m sorry, Ross, but I looked again at the visualizations and the maps but do not see a building with “Hotel” on it. Which page of the document is it on?

        Also, I was wrong to write 275 feet”. It’s actually 400. And looking at the site map, I find it hard to believe that a hotel would be sited in the northernmost parcel, the one next to the freeway with the 400′ description. There is no wayWSDOT will allow a stoplight at the northernmost new intersection. It’s too close to the eastbound on-ramp. Any hotel[s] would be along 160th I’d bet.

      4. Tom, the artist’s neighborhood rendering has a hotel sign on top of one of the buildings on the left (it’s the 6th page though it says “page 5).

      5. Martin, you are clearly living in the Best of All Possible Worlds. Someone suggested maybe ST is trying to make the developer pay, maybe for the entire bridge since they want it higher (17-20 feet, not eight). Sounds right.

        And thanks for the Hotel Acacia tip. I had to blow up the photo to see it. Those other buildings look like offices to me, though.

      6. And looking at the site map, I find it hard to believe that a hotel would be sited in the northernmost parcel, the one next to the freeway with the 400′ description. There is no way WSDOT will allow a stoplight at the northernmost new intersection. It’s too close to the eastbound on-ramp. Any hotel[s] would be along 160th I’d bet.

        I don’t think it makes any difference. They can add that traffic light, or not. They could make it similar to the way you access the parking garage (no traffic light, and one direction only). For that matter, they could do away with the connection between SR 99 and 158th (the new street) making that new street a dead end. This would mean all access is via 160th. None of that makes any difference to the project. The developer just came up with a plan that gives the easiest access to the area — I’m sure they are flexible.

        None of that alters the basic economic reality of the area: the tall buildings that are most likely to be built are hotels. Again, look at what people have built in the past. There is only one office complex over four stories in the area (it just happens to have two buildings). Likewise, there is only one tall apartment complex (again, with two buildings). Everything else is motels (not counting the parking garage and the prison). This is SeaTac, not downtown Bellevue. I’m not saying they aren’t going to build offices, but the market is for hotels, and tall hotels there would make a lot of sense. There is nothing special about that area from an office standpoint. But from a hotel standpoint it has a lot going for it — very close to the rental cars, very close to express service to downtown Seattle and downtown Bellevue, and of course, very close to the biggest airport in the state. A tall hotel gets you above the surrounding hills, which means views of Rainier, the Olympics and the Seattle skyline, making it especially attractive to visitors.

        In contrast, it is not especially attractive as office space. It is far away from other offices. It is one thing to commute in from your hotel, it is another thing to ask someone to spend well over half an half just to get to a meeting. For commuters, it is inconvenient for most of the region (unlike downtown Bellevue or Seattle). Again, I wouldn’t rule it out — there are plenty of meetings and conferences that take place close to the airport — but the real value here is in hotels. There is value in housing, but it is highly unlikely that they will build any apartments above six stories (when they have to switch from wood to metal) as the value of an apartment there is just too low. People will pay top dollar for a penthouse in Seattle or Bellevue — they won’t for one in Tukwila. I expect a few tall hotels, maybe a tall office or two, and a bunch of six story apartment buildings (along with plenty of open space, and land for roads, as the design suggests).

      7. There’s an apartment tower just to the east in Southcenter, Airmark Apartments. The TIBS location should get better rents at is has been access to jobs in Seattle & Bellevue and would have excellent views 360 (Airmark mostly has east and south views). Seems like if the Airmark project could pencil out several years ago, a simillar apartment tower would pencil out today.

        There will definitely be a hotel or two in the mix, but I don’t see any reason why the developer wouldn’t throw in a few hundred market-rate apartments. For a big mixed development like this, a mix of short term and long term rental stock is preferred.

  11. Lol. So now ST is digging under the couch cushions, eh?

    Let’s just call this idea what it is. DUMB. Just plain dumb.

    Hey, I know where the agency can find some more spare change. Remember that $850k spent on the U-Link opening day celebration? Well, those funds invested in a basic S&P 500 index fund over the last five years would be worth close to $1.85M today. So maybe ST planned ahead and stashed away some similar opening day funds for Northgate Link and could take a look under that cushion.

    All snark aside, the agency could use some of the $50M anticipated surplus from the Northgate Link extension project (which is really from reserve contingency transferred from the U-Link) to fund these important station access projects, though that may require some temporary subarea borrowing. We’ve seen that before of course, so it’s really not a big deal. Perhaps the different transit mode would be seen as more of the obstacle to overcome here.

    Where did this idea originate anyway? From some type of STride program “value-engineering” workshop?

  12. I am deeply disappointed at this can someone please give me an email to send to make a comment to Sound Transit? Brickyard needs the bridge. I live in that area and I also could enjoy that trail more if there was a bridge across I-405 there.

    1. You can just write a sentence or two in your own words. That’s what I plan to do. If the wording is not identical it sounds like a number of constituents than a special-interest group, and that might give it more clout. Organizing a petition usually happens on only a few rare most-urgent issues. Nothing stops you from organizing a petition though, and I would sign it.

      1. I was just asking for an email address. I emailed the ST Board and the BRT email address. I wrote a paragraph.

      2. How about a bridge as the piece of art? Suggestions?

        Here is one: they Get a retired Boeing jet and lay it across the road to complete the bridge section at TIBS. It could be entitled “Missed the runway!”

      3. Al, I like the creative upcycling! What a great way to greet cars below to the approaching airport! You can also use the wings as shelter roofs.

      4. If Chicago can commission cow statues as art, ST could work with Boeing to commission airplanes repurposed as bridges. It would be so much more significant locally in a myriad of ways since local workers assembled and painted the original planes.

  13. If we’re still doing the 1% for art for these projects, can I suggest delaying the art, not the transit infrastructure? Found your money. Done.

  14. I’m in Lynnwood, and if this is the case, I will not be using this system at all. Capitalism strikes again.

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