Shoppers cross Alderwood Mall Parkway after leaving the mall and walking through its parking lot on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Shoppers cross Alderwood Mall Parkway after leaving the mall and walking through its parking lot on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Alderwood mall lot, already a squeeze, may soon see more foot traffic

Alderwood mall is a popular destination in Snohomish County. But getting into the mall isn’t as easy as it sounds.

LYNNWOOD — On a busy weekend day, the Alderwood mall parking lot can feel a bit like a game of Frogger, or maybe Temple Run.

Cars backing out, impatient drivers flying into openings. Pedestrians crossing mall roads erratically. There is little order in that chaos.

In the past three years, no crashes between people and cars have been reported in the parking lot — at least none serious enough to be on file with the Lynnwood Police Department. But that feels like luck.

The intersection of 184th Street SW and 32nd Avenue W was the site of seven reportable car vs. car crashes over the past two years, according to city data.

I usually park and go in through Nordstrom, where there is a crosswalk. It is one of eight crosswalks connecting the parking lot to the northern and western sides of the mall.

The Nordstrom crosswalk connects to a handful of disabled parking spaces and represents one of the few ways the interior of the parking lot is connected via protected walkway to the mall. However, in the Macy’s parking lot at the south end of the mall, two long grassy medians divide the lot.

The volume of traffic at the mall and the thousands of cars jammed into tight parking spaces outside inevitably leads to close calls for pedestrians.

Trying to get into the mall often means walking on a curb or over small trees, plants and grass. Parking is at a premium, so it’s common to see people jockeying for spaces.

The issue is compounded during the holiday season, when mall traffic peaks.

Lynnwood police conduct emphasis patrols during Christmastime, Sgt. Chris Breault wrote in an email.

“The biggest challenge is, that’s a high traffic area in and around Alderwood Mall in a tight space,” Breault wrote. “There are two state routes merging into the same general area and major throughway to get to North Lynnwood. Costco is also in that section which is a big attraction. Lots of moving pieces.”

Sidewalks are inconsistent on mall property. For example, the intersection that connects 184th Street SW to the mall parking lot has a sidewalk on just one side of the road.

Community Transit’s Orange Line will also soon connect to mall. That line launches March 30.

The closest Orange Line stop to the mall will be at 33rd Avenue W at 188th Street SW. The northbound Orange Station at the intersection directly connects to a parking lot. The southbound station is across from the Bank of America branch.

Pedestrian access to the stations is a little convoluted due to Alderwood’s sidewalk situation. To safely enter the mall from the northbound station, a person will have to walk north on 33rd Avenue W to the 610 bus stop. From there, a sidewalk leads to a crosswalk outside JCPenney.

From the southbound Orange Line station, access to the mall requires a walk east across 33rd Avenue W to the mall.

The Zip Alderwood Shuttle also does door-to-door stops at the mall.

Alderwood has 6,300 parking spaces surrounding the mall. That includes two covered parking garages that have access to the mall via skywalks. The parking garages fill quickly, especially during peak hours.

Alderwood is owned by Brookfield Properties, a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian company with around $725 billion in assets.

Brookfield Properties did not return a request for comment after being sent a list of questions asking if the mall kept pedestrian injury data, if the company felt there were adequate safety measures in place in the parking lot and if there were plans to add more features for pedestrians after Orange Line service begins.

Alderwood is the largest shopping mall in Snohomish County. To get ready for the eventual Everett light rail, Sound Transit is considering three different stops near Alderwood.

One would be south of the mall, a second option would put it just north of 188th Street SW and a third option would have the station north of the mall.

“We are early in the planning phase and are studying existing conditions and potential effects the project may have on the pedestrian experience,” Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher wrote in an email. “We will be talking to the public more about station access projects next year and will be able to go into detail on design after the EIS is complete in 2027.”

Lynnwood, of course, will have light rail service by the end of the year. This could add an influx of pedestrians to the mix, as the train will connect with the Orange Line.

The three-year period between 2020 and 2022 saw 428 pedestrians and bicyclists killed by cars statewide. Those numbers have, in part, helped spur a number of red light cameras and other safety features on public roads in Snohomish County.

As the area grows and people look for alternatives to cars, that risk could increase.

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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