by LUKE PUTVIN
On April 25, Sound Transit hosted its second open house regarding the Link Light Rail Extension. John Gallagher, Public Information Officer with Sound Transit, said the next open-house should occur after a major construction milestone later this year.
The purpose of the open house was less about new information concerning the extension and more about reaffirming Sound Transit commitments to the public. The open house saw a turnout of about 150 people and approximately two dozen staff were present to answer questions. A short presentation by Sound Transit consultant Dennis Sandstrom and Sound Transit Deputy Project Directors Randy Harlow and Fred Wilhelm outlined the project’s status.
Emphasis was around design aesthetics of the station, surrounding landscape improvements, parking and noise wall demolition along I-5 which will be replaced with temporary noise barriers then with permanent barriers prior to light rail operations.
Some attendees shared why they think light rail is need in Lynnwood and wished it could have been built sooner.
Pat, a resident of Bothell who works in Lynnwood, said that he is glad it’s coming and that this is long overdue. “We’re behind the times,” he said.
Lora, who lives in Edmonds, mentioned that because population growth has increased traffic, light rail construction is needed.
A common concern of attendees was parking. Sound Transit is building a new garage at the Lynnwood Transit Center which will add about 500 new parking spots. However, those we questioned do not think this will be enough.
“Lynnwood is already a destination,” Lora said. “People come here for shopping and other activities, so the light rail station will only increase the number of people coming into our city.”
The response to this concern was similar from both Gallagher of Sound Transit and Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith.
“The goal is to try to get people to take transit to transit,” Gallagher said.
“The Lynnwood City Center plan is multimodal,” said Smith. “The focus here is to try to get less people to drive to the transit center and more people to walk, bike or take Community Transit.”
In fact, Community Transit buses will be changing routes to reflect this model. With the building of the light rail station in the area, Community Transit will cut bus lines going north and south since light rail will fulfill that need. Instead, routes east and west will expand to increase accessibility to bus lines for residents. Also, bus frequency will increase from its current 30 minutes to 15-20 minutes. These changes will make it easier to utilize light rail.
Christopher Silveira from Community Transit also pointed out the additions and changes to the Swift Lines. The Blue Line is extending to reduce the need of commuters to stop and transfer in Lynnwood. The Orange Line, which is planned to be completed in 2024, will connect Mill Creek and Edmonds Community College to the Lynnwood Transit Station. The Red Line, planned for 2027, would extend service to Marysville and Smokey Point.
The Lynnwood Transit Station is projected to open in 2024. Until then, residents should look for more community outreach events and ground breaking ceremonies. For the latest information, sign up for station-area email updates at soundtransit.org/subscribe or contact Kurt Workman, Sound Transit Community Outreach Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.