By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor
As the name suggests, the Save Scriber Creek Park group has as its goal the preservation of Lynnwood’s Scriber Creek Park.
But the people behind the effort to save the park aren’t really spending their time pushing a specific agenda. They are more interested in educating the public on Sound Transit’s three proposed routes for the Lynnwood light rail link and their potential impact on the community.
The group believes that once the public takes a close look at the three options, people will come to the same conclusion as the group that the C1 alternative, which runs along 52nd Ave. W and ends up at 200th Street SW., is clearly not the best alternative.
A petition by the group that opposes the C1 route for the Sound Transit Link Light Rail Lynnwood Extension already has more than 1,200 signatures and organizers plan to hit the streets to talk to more people.
The C2 route goes along 52nd Avenue W. and then cuts across before Scriber Creek Park and the C3 route closely follows Interstate 5.
Linda Willemarck, Maryellen Walsh and Gleb Shein, are spearheading the Save Scriber Creek Park group and they note that Table 5-4 from the Lynnwood Link Extension/Draft Environmental Impact Statement makes a compelling case against the C1 route.
The C1 alternative is the only one of the three routes that would directly affect Scriber Creek Park. Sound Transit would take out a portion of the park and also would have a support column within the park.
Shein makes it clear that the group is for light rail.
“We’re not against Sound Transit. We welcome Sound Transit. We welcome growth of this region,” Shein said. “It (light rail) is going in. We just want to make sure that this line doesn’t go into our community, that it doesn’t take our public park that keeps our streets quiet.”
The group noted that the table compares a number of factors that would appear to argue against the C1 alternative. C1 is more expensive than the other two alternatives. The number of residences displaced is 77 under C1, 1 for C2 and 0 for C3. Thirty-one businesses would be displaced in C1. Three would be displaced in C2 and one in C3.
In C1, 106 parcels of land would be affected. Twenty-nine parcels of land would be impacted in C2 and 15 would be in C3.
The impact on visual and aesthetic resources is judged to be high for C1 and C2 and medium for C3. The C3 option would require three WSDOT right-of-ways as opposed to one each for C1 and C2. One street would have to be realigned under C3.
“What’s astounding to me is this is their data,” Willemarck said. “In this data, there is absolutely no advantage to using C1 except in C3 they have to redo a street. It’s just a huge difference. This displaces 77 families, 31 businesses. It goes through the park. It’s just a huge difference.”
Willemarck, Walsh and Shein all live and own homes in the Cedar Creek condominium complex that would be destroyed under the C1 alternative. While all three have come to the conclusion that C3 is the best alternative, the group decided to simplify its message by opposing the C1 alternative.
What makes their argument even more compelling, Willemarck said, is that there are viable alternatives to C1.
“There is such a huge difference in how much Lynnwood has to give up in C1,” Willemarck said. “We’re being asked to accept light rail. Seventy-seven homes, 31 businesses and a park. Is that really what we should be doing because light rail can be here and not take those things away. … We have alternatives.”
The cost of the project ranges from $1.2 to $1.7 billion. Sound Transit hopes to begin operating light rail service along the line in 2023.
Scriber Creek Park is the focus of the group for a specific reason.
“We believe that it should not be intruded upon,” Willemarck said.
Sound Transit’s plan is to only go through part of the park, but Willemarck believes the impact would be significant. The analogy she uses is if someone leaves your house but takes your living room.
“We have to take a stand for the park,” Willemarck said.
The group has been encouraged by the response they’ve received from the public.
“We show them the map, show them the statistics,” Willemarck said. “They say ‘why would they do that? Displace all these people and the park and everything when they have other choices.’ We’re trying to encourage them not to do that.”
The public comment period ends Sept. 23.
“We want to make sure Lynnwood stays green and a welcoming place where people can take the light rail and come to Lynnwood and enjoy these parks,” Shein said.
One woman Willemarck talked to say she didn’t want to sign the petition because she was for light rail.
Willemarck replied, “So are we. We just don’t want it in the park.”
The woman signed the petition.
For more information on the Save Scriber Creek Park, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A public meeting on the Lynnwood Lynnwood light rail link will be from 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the Lynnwood Embassy Suites (20610 44th Ave. W.). There also will be a meeting from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22 at the Shoreline Conference Center (18560 1st Ave. NE.)
For more information about the Sound Transit Link Light Rail Lynnwood Extension go to www.soundtransit.org/projects-and-plans
Comments may be emailed to: LynnwoodLinkDEIS@soundtransit.org or by mail at Sound Transit, Draft EIS Comments, c/o Lauren Swift, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104.