The Lynnwood Transit Center under construction last week. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Lynnwood Transit Center under construction last week. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

5 transportation projects to help get business moving again

Some of these are works in progress. Others are already boosting commerce during the pandemic.

Whether you walk, ride, drive or float, construction continues on a range of local and regional transportation projects throughout Snohomish County, despite COVID-19. Already, businesses are noticing the effect of some projects, and improvements still in the works are anticipated to aid commerce even more.

Everett officials cut the ribbon on the new Grand Avenue Park Bridge in a virtual ceremony. The pedestrian walkway connects the city’s Northwest neighborhood to the waterfront and the Port of Everett.

The streets of several Snohomish County cities are finding new use as pedestrian thoroughfares and outdoor markets.

Everett is trying out a new “Streatery” program that lets restaurants and businesses use the city’s outdoor parking spots for drinking and dining. To the south, Edmonds and Bothell temporarily closed some downtown streets to traffic.

The Mukilteo Ferry Terminal won’t open as planned this fall. But officials insist the wait is almost over.

Ride: Sound Transit light rail

The Northgate light rail station at 1st Avenue NE and NE 103rd Street in Seattle is to open next year.

Next stop, Lynnwood.

Construction launched a year ago on the Lynnwood Link extension, which will bring Sound Transit rail service to Snohomish County. Infrastructure to support the estimated $2.9 billion extension has sprung up along a 8½-mile stretch from Northgate to Lynnwood.

Columns to support the elevated track are in place along I-5, and a chunk of the Lynnwood Transit Center has been transformed into a construction zone for a new station.

When the rail link opens in 2024, trains will carry riders from Lynnwood to downtown Seattle in less than 30 minutes.

Between Northgate and Lynnwood, the route will include three stops: Shoreline at NE 145th Street, Shoreline at NE 185th Street, and Mountlake Terrace.

The extension is expected to be one of the line’s busiest routes, carrying up to 55,000 riders each day by 2026 or so.

Drive, then ride: Mukilteo Ferry Terminal

The new Mukilteo ferry terminal was slated to open this fall, but a COVID-19 work stoppage delayed the date. December or January is the new target.

Work on the $187 million project got under way in 2017 after years of design and environmental reviews. The site once housed a U.S. Air Force fuel depot.

The new terminal sits along the waterfront, a third of a mile east from the existing terminal, which was built in 1957. The Mukilteo-Clinton run is one of the busiest ferry routes in the state, carrying more than 4 million passengers a year across Possession Sound to Whidbey Island and back.

The project was designed to resemble a Native American longhouse and includes a new toll plaza, holding lanes, fishing pier and overhead pedestrian walkway, among other features.

Once the new station opens, the existing terminal will be torn down.


Walkers, joggers and bicyclists added the Grand Avenue Park Bridge in Everett to their route last month.

The pedestrian bridge passed a final safety inspection last week and is now open to the public.

While some minor work needs to be performed over the coming weeks, the bridge is open.

“We’ve been waiting forever for this,” said Megan Adams, who lives less than two blocks away.

The $20 million project got a virtual grand opening on YouTube. A more formal celebration will take place at a later date when it’s safe to gather, city officials said.

Walk, dine, stretch

Dining out really does mean dining out these days.

Edmonds, Bothell and Everett, to name a few local cities, have temporarily closed some streets to vehicles this summer.

With foot traffic up along some stretches, it’s been a boon to restaurants and retailers hoping to boost sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, while helping customers maintain social distance.

Edmonds was one of the first cities in Snohomish County to close some streets in its commercial district to cars and trucks.

For now it’s just a weekend thing. Main Street between Third and Sixth avenues is closed to vehicle traffic on Saturday and Sunday.

“We’d been talking during the shutdown about how we were going to reopen (businesses) and kick-start the recovery,” said Patrick Doherty, Edmond’s Economic Development and Community Services. “We thought, ‘Once we’re in Phase 2, what could we do to encourage people to come downtown and feel safer about it?’”

The city’s Walkable Main Street initiative is helping businesses boost sales.

Shubert Ho, co-owner of Salt & Iron and The Mar-Ket, said the move is a plus for customers who might otherwise stay home. “It’s a great way for us to continue to operate in a pandemic economy safely,” Ho said.

Bothell opted to close some streets 24/7 to support businesses.

Main Street and 101st Avenue NE, in the King County section, has been closed to vehicles. The streets are scheduled to reopen to vehicle traffic on Sept. 8.

City officials in Everett shut down some residential streets as part of its “Healthy Streets” initiative.

The city expanded the concept last month and began allowing restaurants and other merchants — provided they have a free permit — to expand their outdoor seating into city-owned parking stalls.

The “Streatery” program, in effect through the end of October, includes free temporary fencing, courtesy of the city.

On Rucker Avenue in downtown Everett, Maki Perry, owner of Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi, plans to use the extra space to offer outdoor tai chi classes.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Perry said. “I’m not a restaurant, but could I teach tai chi outside.”

Bus Rapid Transit

Planning for I-405 Bus Rapid Transit, which will add new rapid transit lines through King and Snohomish counties, is under way.

Both projects are part of the Sound Transit 3 tax plan voters approved in 2016.

The agency and state Department of Transportation propose two lines: a 37-mile line along I-405 from Lynnwood to Burien with 11 stations, and a line that runs along Highway 522 from Bothell to the light rail stations in Shoreline. The start of service for both is expected to coincide with the opening of the Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood light rail stations in 2024.

Sound Transit estimates it will take riders 45 minutes to travel from Lynnwood to Bellevue and 48 minutes between Bellevue and Burien.

Off the list?

Late last month, the Washington State Department of Transportation told the city of Marysville and Snohomish County that work on the southbound ramp from Highway 529 to I-5 in Marysville could be postponed, even as the rest of the project is built.

Northwest Region Administrator Mike Cotten said the reason is the price tag, which is now $7.2 million more than project’s original $89.4 million budget.

The project had one northbound and one southbound ramp linking the freeway and highway on Ebey Island, then the state combined it with another project to build a northbound high occupancy vehicle lane between Everett and Marysville to save money and reduce traffic.

The new plan — building part now and part later — isn’t sitting well with local officials. They expect the piecemeal approach will cost taxpayers more and frustrate drivers.

“It strikes me as penny wise and pound foolish,” Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers has said.

The Highway 529 and I-5 interchange was in the Connecting Washington transportation funding package passed by the Legislature in 2015. Work is planned to begin next year and conclude by late 2023.

Janice Podsada;; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
Former Boeing test pilot pleads not guilty in 737 Max case

He’s the first person to be charged with a crime in connection with the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes.

Top (L-R): Kim Daughtry, Steve Ewing. Bottom (L-R): Gary Petershagen, Marcus Tageant.
Developers court Lake Stevens council incumbents with over $20K

Over half of the campaign dollars for four candidates came from people tied to real estate or property development.

People hold signs in protest of the vaccine mandate after Boeing announced it would terminate workers who do not comply on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Some Boeing workers protest in Everett over vaccine mandate

The Boeing Company announced earlier this week that its workers must be vaccinated by Dec. 8.

FILE - In this March 14, 2019 file photo, Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south-east of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. Relatives of some of the passengers who died in the crash will mark the two-year anniversary of the disaster on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, by seeking a reversal of government orders that let Boeing 737 Max jets fly again.  (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, File)
Boeing pilot involved in Max testing is indicted in Texas

He’s accused of giving the FAA false information about systems that played a role in two deadly crashes.

Traffic drives in view of a massive Boeing Co. production plant, where images of jets decorate the hangar doors, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing says workers must get the COVID vaccine by Dec. 8

“Compliance with these requirements is a condition of employment,” says an internal company presentation.

The Boeing 737 Max 10 airplane landing at Boeing Field in Seattle on June 18. (Chona Kasinger / Bloomberg)
Boeing ramps up 737 Max but 787 deliveries are still blocked

Boeing last month maintained its steady trickle of sales as it navigates the aviation downturn.

A handful of Northwest Union Carpenter members picket in front of the new Marysville civic center construction site on the sixth day of a region wide union carpenter strike on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Carpenters strike ends with new contract and a $10 raise

Roughly 500 union members were working on projects in Snohomish County. It was among the largest strikes in 18 years.

FILE - In this March 20, 2020, file photo, the Amazon campus outside the company headquarters in Seattle sits nearly deserted on an otherwise sunny and warm afternoon. Amazon said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely, as long as they can commute to the office when necessary. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Amazon to allow employees to work remotely indefinitely

Although most cannot work remotely because their duties include grabbing orders and delivering them.

With new owners demanding the Grand Apartments' longtime residents leave, Stephen Teixeira, 52, documents issues at the Rockefeller Avenue building, on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Life at the Grand Apartments in Everett is now a ‘nightmare’

Longtime residents say the new owner, an investment company, is trying to bully them out of the building.

Bob Martin, 80, owner of the The Stag Barber and Styling in Snohomish. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
$90,000 fine doesn’t stop defiant Snohomish barber

Bob Martin appealed a state penalty for ignoring coronavirus rules and lost. It has not cut into his business.

A handful of Northwest Union Carpenter members picket in front of the new Marysville civic center construction site on the sixth day of a region wide union carpenter strike on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Carpenters union strikes a deal, and members are set to vote

Workers are back on the job with a tentative agreement that includes a 15.43% raise over three years.

Ryan Welch, a produce clerk, restocks grapes at the Sno-Isle Food Co-op on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s Sno-Isle Food Co-op approaches its 25th anniversary

The enterprise hopes to add more square footage and more classroom space to the store on Grand Avenue.