Progress on park-and-ride good news for Mukilteo bus riders

MUKILTEO — A future park-and-ride planned on the west side of Paine Field could fill a major void for southbound commuters.

It now has some financial backing after years of talk.

Early plans call for lot with 200 or more spaces run by Community Transit off Mukilteo Speedway at Bernie Webber Drive.

“It’ll connect predominantly to the UW and (downtown) Seattle CT bus routes,” said state Sen. Marko Liias, who also works as a policy analyst for Mukilteo city government.

Mukilteo, population 20,540, is the largest city served by CT that doesn’t have a park-and-ride. Ferry commuters, shoppers and visitors to Lighthouse Park also have left the city’s picturesque Old Town pinched for parking.

Community Transit oversees nearly four-dozen park-and-rides in its service area, which extends through most populated areas of Snohomish County with the notable exceptions of Everett and stretches of the Highway 9 corridor.

Leaders are hopeful a future Mukilteo lot will take pressure off packed park-and-rides in north Lynnwood and south Everett.

Mukilteo, Snohomish County, the state and Community Transit have been cooperating on the project.

The Legislature secured $1 million for the transit agency to pay for the design work under way now. State lawmakers expect to set aside another $5 million next year for construction, Liias said. Provided that happens, building could be under way within the next two years, said Martin Munguia, a CT spokesman.

The three-plus acres under discussion belongs to Snohomish County, as part of Paine Field. The county would lease it to Community Transit.

The city of Mukilteo has been pushing for a lot there since the 1990s, airport director Dave Waggoner said.

“We’ve never been able to come to a funding mechanism that would have allowed the project to move forward,” Waggoner said. “This is the closest that we’ve come to being able to bring this to fruition.”

The lot would serve routes 417 to downtown Seattle and 880 to the University District. The facility under discussion now could be the first of several phases, said County Councilman Brian Sullivan, a former Mukilteo mayor.

“We’re in it for the long run,” Sullivan said. “We’ll be wanting to build out the capacity.”

There’s room for up to 700 spaces, he said. Future plans might include pay-to-park overnight stalls for Whidbey Island residents.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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