LYNNWOOD — As light rail slowly inches north, Snohomish County is developing plans that will help shape the next phase of Sound Transit’s expansion.
While light rail won’t reach Everett until 2036, county officials are scouting potential sites for the two stations that will be in unincorporated areas.
“The two station areas are going to be integral to accommodate the next round of growth coming to the county,” said David Killingstad, one of the county’s long-range planners. “Not only are we planning where a station might go, but how people might be getting there.”
The $2.8 billion price tag to bring light rail to Everett from Lynnwood, Killingstad said, will make it one of the largest investments in public transportation in the county’s history.
An online survey about possible station locations is available through the end of the month at snocolrc.participate.online.
The county sees this as a golden opportunity that should be leveraged, Killingstad said. This means allowing for higher-density development and building communities around the future stations.
After an online open house this summer, potential locations were chosen. Proximity to the Swift Green Line and Interurban Trail and redevelopment opportunities were among the considerations.
The Swift bus rapid transit lines will be a key to getting people to the stations, said Jay Larson, a long-range county transportation planner.
“The parking supply at these stations is going to be limited,” Larson said. “We’re never going to meet all the demand for people who want to park there.”
For the Mariner Station, the county proposes locating it just west of I-5, near the park and ride. All three proposed locations have potential for transit-oriented development, which aims to maximize housing and office space within walking distance.
One option places it at 128th Street SW and Eighth Ave W. At that site, connecting to the Swift could prove difficult, unless the Green Line stop is moved, according to the county. The Green Line is set to open in early 2019.
An alternative suggestion puts the station closer to the interstate at Fourth Ave West along 128th Street. There it could share a station with the Swift Green Line stop, making for easy transfers.
The third option, at 130th Street SW and just west of Fourth, overlaps with the current Mariner Park and Ride. Access to the Swift line would require a change to the route.
For the station near the Ash Way Park and Ride, potential locations were identified on both sides of I-5 near 164th Street SW.
One proposal positions the station at Ash Way and 164th. There a shared station with the Swift Orange Line would be possible, but access to the Interurban Trail would require crossing over I-5. Due to the proximity of Swamp Creek and the highway, redevelopment opportunities would be limited. Orange Line service is anticipated in 2023.
Placing the station at the current park and ride, another option presented by the county, also restricts building transit-oriented projects. Connections to the Swift Orange line would require diverting the route. Challenges would still exist for connecting with the Interurban.
The last proposed location sits east of I-5, at 164th and 13th Avenue West. Here, redevelopment opportunities are the highest out of the three sites. The Interurban Trail would bisect the station, which also could be shared with the Orange Line. However, the site east of I-5 would require crossing the the interstate twice, which would significantly increase costs.
The website also gives an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed locations. The online survey will be open until Nov. 30.
Killingstad urges residents to pick a favorite site for each station, but also include their reasons. The Sound Transit Board makes the final decisions.
Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @lizzgior.