LYNNWOOD — Preparations for Snohomish County’s first light rail stations are under way.
In January, parking spaces shifted at the Lynnwood Transit Center to make room for construction of the Sound Transit Lynnwood City Center station set to open in 2024. Other parking relocation is expected for up to 14 months.
“In the meantime, people driving up and down I-5 will see all kinds of things happening,” Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher said.
The major work visible, after about 5,300 trees were cleared to make way last year, will be drilled shaft installation for the elevated portions of the rail line.
None of the 1,368 spots were sacrificed. They were moved about a block north between 44th and 46th avenues, south of 200th Street SW.
The number of spaces will remain throughout the year even as their location shifts for light rail work.
That should come as a relief to the commuters who fill the park-and-ride lots every weekday at 20100 48th Ave. W.
“Anybody who goes there at 10 o’clock can tell you there aren’t a lot left,” Gallagher said.
In 2022 before the Lynnwood City Center light rail station begins service, a 1,500-stall parking garage will open.
The Lynnwood Transit Center serves 19 bus routes, the most of any in Snohomish County. None of its routes were affected by the parking lot work.
“Currently the only impacts are on parking location,” Community Transit spokesperson Nashika Stanbro said in an email. “There are infrequent road closures and other construction items that may impact bus service, but Sound Transit does not currently have any in place.”
Between 47,000 and 55,000 passengers are projected to use the Lynnwood station within two years of opening, according to Sound Transit. That ridership would be higher than any of its other stations.
Development is springing up around the future station. The proposed Northline Village would have 1,370 housing units, 4,700 parking spots and 170,000 square feet of retail.
During a groundbreaking ceremony in September, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell said more than 119,000 Snohomish County residents commute to Seattle and beyond daily. According to U.S. Census data, 55% of Snohomish County residents work in a different county.
Light rail is a traffic-free way of getting around the I-5 corridor. The Snohomish County extension won’t be at-grade with road vehicles, Gallagher said. That scenario has led to issues for the line in south Seattle.
Trains are scheduled to arrive every four to six minutes during peak times to move riders from Lynnwood to downtown Seattle in less than half an hour.
There will be four stations from Northgate, including a pair in Shoreline and one in Mountlake Terrace. The ride from Mountlake Terrace to downtown Bellevue is set at 48 minutes.
“Community Transit’s plan is really to terminate service heading south at Lynnwood, then people just hop on light rail,” Gallagher said. “We’re anticipating a lot of folks will also be driving just as far as Lynnwood.”
Sound Transit recommends commuters consider other lots with open spaces at the Edmonds Park & Ride or the temporary lot located at 23120 56th Ave W, Mountlake Terrace.