On Monday, October 7, the City Council unanimously adopted my resolution calling on Sound Transit to include a station at 130th Street and I-5 in the Preferred Alternative for Lynnwood Link, the light rail line that will run from Northgate to Lynnwood. Lynnwood Link is funded, but is still in the final planning stages. The Council also called for a surface alignment running in the I-5 right-of-way between Northgate and 145th street.
It is very important that Sound Transit, as a regional organization, move forward with connecting key regional centers. However, it is also important that those lines serve key neighborhoods within Seattle and other cities. That is what the 130th Street station discussion is about. Without this station, there would be no stop between Northgate and 145th, a stretch of almost four miles, and residents of North Seattle would have to access either the congested Northgate area or the difficult to access 145th Street station to get to light rail.
The 130th Street station would be a neighborhood station that would serve not only the immediate vicinity, but the rapidly growing urban villages of Lake City and Bitter Lake, which would have easy access to this station on the 130th/125th Street arterial. In addition to serving the existing and projected growth in these areas, there are some options for transit oriented development near the proposed station. Within Lake City, there is also the likelihood of significant housing growth at the former Pierre Brothers auto dealership properties, where a new master plan for conversion to mixed use development is in process.
Access to the 130th Street station would give priority to pedestrian, bicycle, and transit connections. When paired with the planned station at 145th, this station provides the highest ridership for this segment, partly because it allows potential riders to avoid the difficulties of accessing Northgate or 145th. Metro Transit has supported the 130th Street station, which would require new transit connections to effectively serve Lake City and Bitter Lake.
The 130thStreet station fits well with the proposed surface alignment, which cost less than the alternative elevated alignment, has reduced noise and visual impacts, and requires less acquisition of residential properties. It would likely be necessary to acquire an additional property to maintain access to the Latvian Church, an important community institution.
Developing light rail along this corridor would also create additional benefits for the transportation system. It would include replacing the 117th Street bridge across the freeway, which would improve east-west pedestrian and bicycle connections. The 130th Street freeway off-ramp would also be reconfigured, which would improve a high accident location.