Sounder begins service to Mukilteo today

MUKILTEO — People who live in Mukilteo and commuters who pass through town can now take the train to Seattle.

Starting today, Sounder trains running between Everett and Seattle will begin stopping at the new Sound Transit platform in Old Town Mukilteo. It’s the third stop for Sounder service in Snohomish County; the other stops are in Everett and Edmonds.

The first train to stop at the new $10.2 million Mukilteo platform is scheduled to depart at 11:26 a.m. today for the Seattle Mariners game. The return train is scheduled to leave the King Street Station in Seattle 35 minutes after the game’s final pitch.

To celebrate the opening of the Mukilteo platform, all Sounder rides north of Seattle are free today, Sound Transit spokeswoman Linda Robson said. Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine and others plan to speak during a dedication ceremony before the train departs.

“Everybody who comes to Mukilteo is going to be able to get on a Sounder train,” Robson said.

Ridership to and from the Mukilteo platform is expected to reach up to 200 riders per train ride within a year, Robson said. Around 250 people board Sounder trains each day in Everett and Edmonds, she said.

The Mukilteo platform will open with a parking lot big enough for 68 vehicles.

Sound Transit and ­Washington State Ferries officials worked together to coordinate the schedules of ferries and Sounder trains as they arrive in Mukilteo, Robson said.

Construction on the next phase of the train platform could begin within the next year. In the next phase, estimated to cost $9.37 million, a second platform is planned to be built on the south side of the two sets of tracks, linked to the northern platform by a pedestrian bridge. That will allow southbound and northbound Sounder trains to use separate tracks, making it easier for trains to get through the station. Additional parking also is planned for the platform.

The first phase was more expensive because it included design work, environmental studies and parking.

City officials see the Sounder platform that’s opening today as a crucial step toward revitalizing the city’s waterfront, Marine said. The city also is in the midst of renovating Lighthouse Park, and plans are ongoing to relocate the city’s ferry terminal.

“People are starting to see some of the changes they’ve only heard about for many years,” Marine said.

Commuters from Whidbey Island often leave their cars in Mukilteo overnight and on weekends so they can walk onto the ferry to get home. Mukilteo officials hope some commuters will give up driving entirely, now that they can get off of the ferry and board a bus or a train.

“In light of all the gas prices exploding, what it’s going to allow us to do is help get more people out of their cars and take the train,” Mukilteo City Council President Randy Lord said. “As gas prices get higher and higher, it’s going to mean that we’re going to have to find some alternative means for getting about.”

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or spesznecker@heraldnet.com.

Sounder schedule

Commuter trains are scheduled to leave from the new Mukilteo station on weekdays at 6:23 a.m., 6:53 a.m. and 7:23 a.m. Return trains leave Seattle at 4:33 p.m., 5:05 p.m. and 5:35 p.m.

The standard cost to ride a Sounder train from Mukilteo to Seattle is $4 for adults, $3 for children and $2 for seniors and people with disabilities. To ride to Edmonds, tickets are $3.25 for adults, $2.25 for children and $1.50 for seniors and people with disabilities.

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