While several of the developments will continue into 2020, the new year will bring a host of major stories to keep an eye on. Former Street Smarts columnist Lizz Giordano highlighted light rail development, the fallout of I-976, highway work in Lake Stevens, rezoning in Everett and possible paid parking in a couple of cities. Here are four more issues to track.
Will Everett cede transit?
Everett leaders know they’re facing a dire financial future for city-operated transit. A possible lifeline may be merging Everett Transit, a department of the city government, with Community Transit, a Snohomish County-wide transit agency. Before any decision toward that can be made, the city wants to examine the financial implications and consider that, if it were to seek a merger, it would lose direct control over how transit exists and operates within Everett.
Paine Field growing pains
Passenger service took off at Paine Field in March and quickly became a popular new launchpad on the West Coast. Some are clamoring for expanded flights out of KPAE and others are irate over noise. But Street Smarts is relegated to the terrestrial, so the development of nearby hotels and demand for transit and long-term parking options may prompt new services to get passengers to and fro.
Light rail planning
Even as government officials figure out what I-976 may cost them, light rail’s northern creep should continue. Early in the planning process, Everett leaders and Sound Transit will look at the line alignment. The Everett Link Extension, as it’s called by Sound Transit, calls for six stops in Snohomish County north from Lynnwood City Center. Voter approval of ST3 secured funding for the extension set to open in 2036, and Snohomish County leaders defended the inclusion of a spur to Paine Field and Boeing. But city and transit leaders are worried that lost funding, if I-976 survives legal challenge, could delay the Everett extension.
New Mukilteo Ferry Terminal opens
After a lot of planning and work, the relocated, brand-new Mukilteo Ferry Terminal is set to open in late October 2020. The $187 million project suffered setbacks, but construction has been ongoing the past year and structures are taking shape. Moved away from the popular Lighthouse Park and restaurants, the new terminal’s holding lanes will hold a boat-and-a-half of traffic. That should free up vehicle congestion that currently queues along the Mukilteo Speedway clear to Olympic View Middle School (1.5 miles away) for one of the state’s busiest ferry routes and its 4 million riders.
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