Sound Transit should run its planned Lynnwood Link light rail extension first along the east side of I-5, crossing over the freeway just north of the Mountlake Terrace flyer bus station, then along the west side of the freeway to Lynnwood; that’s the stand stated in a letter sent last week to the transit agency from Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith and representing the viewpoint of his fellow city council members.
The letter reiterates the stand concerning light rail line alignment taken by Mountlake Terrace city officials ever since voters approved a plan to extend Sound Transit light rail service north from Seattle to Lynnwood in 2008.
Sound Transit released their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the proposed 8.5-mile light rail line earlier this summer; the document outlines 72 alignment combinations with six potential stations between Northgate and Lynnwood. The transit agency is accepting comments on the proposed route and station options through Sept. 23.
In the letter, Mountlake Terrace city officials ask that Sound Transit select the plan that would run light rail through Mountlake Terrace along the east edge of I-5 from the King-Snohomish County line to the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center at 236th Street SW, with a station located at the center. “This station location would provide the greatest opportunity for transit-oriented development and would support our community’s Town Center vision,” the letter states.
The letter goes on to push for the light rail alternative that runs the line over the top of I-5 to the west side of the freeway, with a possible station located at 220th Street Southwest.
City officials specifically state in the letter their hope that an alternative that would run the light rail line primarily up the center median of I-5 would not be selected for final adoption, arguing that it “would have at least 1,000 less riders daily than any of the other three alternatives for the B section of Lynnwood Link. This is the least supportive of transit-oriented development and downtown revitalization.”
City officials have long viewed the coming of Sound Transit light rail through Mountlake Terrace as a key element to bringing additional development to the city’ Town Center District and 12 acres of undeveloped land between 236th and 244th Streets just east of I-5. Sound Transit is estimating the Lynnwood Link will carry 60,000-70,000 riders each weekday; city officials hope those numbers will translate to new housing and commercial development in Mountlake Terrace along 56th Avenue West, 236th Street SW, and the new Gateway Boulevard to be built through property where Evergreen Elementary School use to sit.
Sound Transit plans on completing the final Environmental Impact Statement on the Lynnwood Link sometime in 2014, with final decisions on rail alignment and station placement to be made in early 2015.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Lynnwood Link can be viewed online atwww.soundtransit.org/Projects-and-Plans/Lynnwood-Link-Extension; copies of the document can be found at the Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and Edmonds Sno-Isle branch libraries. Comments on the DEIS can be sent to Sound Transit through Sept. 23 atLynnwoodLinkDEIS@soundtransit.org.
– By Doug Petrowski/MLT News editor