Sound Transit officials update Edmonds City Council on light rail construction, Sounder train parking

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Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, right, speaks to the Edmonds City Council while North Corridor Director Kamuron Gurol looks on.

From the latest on the Link Light rail extension from Northgate to Lynnwood, to parking at the Edmonds Sounder train station, the Edmonds City Council Jan. 15 got an update from Sound Transit on a range of projects.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff began the presentation by pointing to the Puget Sound region’s extraordinary growth and accompanying traffic congestion, adding it’s projected that the region’s population with double in the next 30 years.

Sound Transit did receive a $1.17 billion grant funding agreement from the federal government in December 2018 toward the $2.77 billion project, and area residents should expect to see construction work begin in earnest in this spring, Rogoff said. That work will be accompanied by the removal of approximately 4,000 trees along the entire 8.5-mile alignment, but Sound Transit will be replanting nearly 20,000 trees to replace those removed, Rogoff noted.

(Learn more about the anticipated construction work and tree removal and replacement in a related MLTnews story here.)

After Lynnwood Link is completed in summer 2024, Sound Transit will begin work on a 16.3-mile extension to Everett. The agency’s current light rail expansion, coupled with new Bus Rapid Transit systems serving commuters north, east and south of Lake Washington, is the largest transit expansion program in the U.S., Rogoff said.

Sound Transit considers Community Transit — which serves Snohomish County — as a partner in this effort, Rogoff said. Once the Lynnwood Link extension is finished, Community Transit will no longer run commuter buses into Seattle; instead the agency will be “feeding people into the Lynnwood Transit Center, to get a much faster ride on light rail down into Seattle,” Rogoff said.

This will allow the agencies to address what Rogoff called “a vexing problem” in all three counties (Snohomish, King and Pierce) that Sound Transit serves, which is providing sufficient east-west transportation, rather than simply a focus on north-sound movement.

Rogoff then turned the microphone over to Sound Transit’s North Corridor Development Director Kamuron Gurol, who updated the council regarding a plan to spend $40 million on Edmonds and Mukilteo Sounder commuter train station improvements, set for competition by 2024.

The idea is to further develop ridership for the Sounder train northline that serves both Edmonds and Mukilteo, and project goals are currently being developed. The vision is primarily to provide more parking and accessibility — including pedestrian and bike access — at both stations.

Sound Transit is also discussing with the Port of Edmonds whether it would be possible to collaborate with the port on parking that could also be used by Sounder train commuters.

When it came time for questions from councilmembers, a major theme was the availability of parking — both for Edmonds Sounder train commuters and for light rail commuters once the Lynnwood Link extension is completed in 2024.

Rogoff said that Sound Transit is expecting continued short- and long-term pressure on capacity at the Edmonds Sounder Train station. Ridership on the Sounder line has increased 36 percent since 2014 — from 1,265 daily weekday riders in 2014 to 1,729 in 2017 — and there is room for more growth, he said.

As for light rail, Gurol reiterated Rogoff’s earlier statement that Sound Transit will be coordinating with Community Transit to ensure frequent bus service is available west and east so that Edmonds commuters can easily access the Mountlake Terrace light rail station.

Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas asked about the capacity at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center parking garage — which is full most early weekday mornings — and whether Sound Transit planned to provide more parking to accommodate increased ridership due to light rail.

Rogoff replied that for starters, Sound Transit will be opening all four Lynnwood Link light rail stations at the same time in 2024 — at 145th and 185th in Shoreline, in Mountlake Terrace and in Lynnwood — so the expected surge of riders will be spread out across all four.

More parking will be provided at the Lynnwood station but there was no budget for additional parking in Mountlake Terrace, he added. (Learn more about Mountlake Terrace parking in our related MLTnews story.)

Councilmember Diane Buckshnis asked if Sound Transit was considering adding a parking structure at the Edmonds Sounder Station as part of the $40 million for the Edmonds/Mukilteo project.

Gurol replied that structured parking was very expensive and that $40 million wouldn’t go very far in providing that.

“If you want people to start riding you have to have parking for it,” Buckshnis replied.

Rogoff shared that Sound Transit eventually will be transitioning to paid parking. That is already happening in other lots, where HOV parking is available at a very low rate — $5 a month. Starting with Northgate, Sound Transit will be introducing paid parking for single occupancy vehicles at market rates for some of the spaces.

“We are currently working out both the timeline for rolling this out in a number of parking facilities as well as the rates that will be charged, and will be coming back to you to inform you as to what that will mean for parking in Edmonds,” he said.

— By Teresa Wippel

17 Replies to “Sound Transit officials update Edmonds City Council on light rail construction, Sounder train parking”

  1. Amazing $40 million is not enough to build a parking garage down by our train station?, Mr Rogoff must think our connector for $26 million is a bargain. They could purchase part of the massive parking lot directly to the east behind the train station and build a parking garage on the conndition visitors to Salish crossing will have access. Looks like the Port of Edmonds is on the verge of getting manipulated into spending our money to help build parking facility? When in fact Sound Transit has plenty of funds. My guess is Mukilteo will get the lion share of that $40 million. We could use Port of Edmonds money to help restore the Marsh and build our own salmon farm and be proactive and lead by example Edmonds, not get bluffed into subsidizing billion dollar regional projects.

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    1. Salish Crossing is for sale for $8. some Million. Could buy the whole thing and tear it down and make a parking lot.
      Sound Transit currently pays $ 2 Million every five years for a limited number of parking stalls at Salish Crossing.
      The whole development paid for by Sound Transit in 20 years, pretty good deal.

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      1. Mr. Malgarin, Could you cite where you are getting your numbers for the listing price of Salish Crossing? It would be helpful to know where you are getting the numbers for ST payments for parking at Salish Crossing as well.

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  2. They continue to build with ZERO parking options. End game is they want parking permit funds on top of your Orca card monthly pass!! Sumner Sounder Station hasn’t had enough parking since built. You have people driving up and parking at Bonney Lake PnR, which inly has shuttle service. Who is in charge of planning…… kindergartners??? LoL.

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  3. Heres a good one.
    When Sound Transit started, they came up with a brilliant idea that all of their trains should run on a voltage which nothing was made in.
    Thus, it would have required specially wound electric motors, every thing would have had to have been custom manufactured for every item. This argument went on with the engineers for over a year before the engineers convinced Sound Transit that they could not afford to do this, and why would you rather than purchase everything off the shelf. It would have required special winding shops for the motors. Thus lots of employees to be hired, more and more., perpetual taxation.
    These are the type of minds, who are leading this. People who no nothing about what they are doing.
    In Bangkok, they built trains systems of this length in just a few years.
    Funny how it took so long in Seattle, and developers already bought up all the properties to build their villages, and pay no taxes under MFTE around all the stations. Funny how that all works…

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  4. Let us not forget, all of the congestion could have been wiped out, but again, Politicians wanted to build a Convention Center over I-5.
    All they needed to do was double stack I-5 to allow express traffic to pass thru without chocking down to two lanes. Why do something logical.
    Politicians screwed up Seattle, and the Northwest.
    And they are expanding the Convention Center yet again.
    Congestion equals taxation, and all politicians including Dave Earling, never meet a tax they didn’t love.
    Even illegal Ed!, squeeze a buck from everyone they can.

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    1. What is your source to say MFTE is available around transit stations? It is not available around the Edmonds station.

      The development of a Downtown Business Improvement District (Now known as ED) was a direct result of the Edmonds Strategic Action Plan. When more than 2500 people participated in the development of the Strategic Action Plan for Edmonds starting in 2011 80 plus items made the list of things the people wanted to accomplish in Edmonds. “ED” was on the list. The first report was April 2013 and updated in April 2015. Since that time many of the items folks listed have been completed and are now a part of the fabric of our community. While ED may be opposed by some business owners it is hard to understand how it would be considered “illegal”.

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      1. Darrol, you asked a question about my source for the parking payments from Sound Transit, and the sale price for Salish. Although it appears you deleted it.
        It is public information, the sale price was stated by the owners, and the parking payments were also printed in the Beacon.
        All public information, printed for everyone to read in the Beacon.

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        1. Brent, My comments have not been deleted, see above Jan 24, 4:54 pm. I ask you about your source for the listing price. You now say, “It is public information, the sale price was stated by the owners”. You will see below that MEN has posted the link to the story stating the listing price is $18.8m. I still do not know where you got the “$8.some Million”. Numbers are important when folks sort out issues. In this case the “some” part of your statement is $10.8m. That is a pretty large difference.
          The parking payment issue is still unclear, does anyone know the Beacon article references for the value you of these payment?

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  5. What about a parking garage south of the train station with street access from the east and west sides of the tracks?

    It could be called, “The Connector”!

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  6. The port is studying a garage on the west side of the tracks and across from Arnies. Unless it gets some form of subsidy for revenues it is unlikely it could make money on its own.

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  7. Darrol,
    Yes, I was incorrect on both figures. It is listed at $ 18.8 Million, my mistake, a great return on
    $ 6M. And a fine looking development.

    For your second point, if you did some research you would find that it is not $2M for parking it is
    $ 2.331M for parking.

    KOMO reported last Thursday that Sound Transit is planning to lease an additional 103 parking spaces at Edmonds Station under a 5-year agreement with Salish Crossing, owners of the adjacent Edmonds Antique Mall. This will increase P&R capacity by 66% (from 156 to 259 spaces). The spaces will be free for riders.

    Much critical attention, both here on STB and elsewhere, has been paid to Sounder North since the Citizens’ Oversight Panel publicly questioned its continued viability. In this critical context it will be interesting to see the effects of the new parking both on ridership and public sentiment. Adding free parking is almost always a net political win for agencies, but in this case the price is very high. Sound Transit has agreed to pay $150 per space per month for 5 years, for a total contract cost of approximately $927,000. Assuming 100% utilization, 250 workdays per year, and 15 special event service days, the new parking will amount to an additional subsidy of $6.79 per car per day. This will be in addition to the $32/boarding costs Adding roughly 10% to ridership will certainly decrease the $32 cost per boarding figure, but probably not enough to outweigh the cost of the added parking. In any case, Sounder North costs will remain sky-high.

    Simple math $ 150 per stall x 259 stalls x 60 months = $ 2,331,000.00
    You are right Darrol, numbers are important.
    Just like the $ 600,000 take from business owners by the illegal business improvement district Ed!

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  8. Brent, Thanks for checking the numbers. The overview is ridership is heavily subsidized. I recall the public paid $250m for 20 yeas of using the track. Using ridership data shows the subsidy per ride to be quite large. You suggest that is around $32/ ride, some data I recall showed it to be over $40/ride. Some other numbers I saw about parking suggested the subsidy to pay for the existing parking exceeds the revenue for the trip.

    As we look forward to the idea of a parking garage serving this area we will see the numbers for each stall to be in the range of $40,000. That would actually be less that what Westgate is paying for the 39 underground stalls they are adding to the project. The quoted a cost of $49,000 per stall is more because those stalls are underground.
    A 100 stall facility would cost around $4m and with financing over 20 years and some allotment to maintenance the revenue requirement per day would exceed $10. Pretty hard to assume folks would be willing to use every stall every day and generate that kind of revenue. When the port completes their study it will be interesting to see what subsidies would be needed to pay for the parking structure. Time will give us more data to help understand these costs and revenues.

    Brent, thanks for checking the numbers.

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  9. Darrol,
    I’m not suggesting $32/ride, those are numbers from KOMO news. Unless it is Fake News, I will take the news agency statement at it’s face that they checked with Sound Transit.

    I do find it interesting that the Westgate development, as you stated, has 39 underground parking slips? Is this in total?
    That would be only 39 parking spaces for 91 or 92 units? Is that correct? Public parking in the surface lot can not be counted as parking for the apartment/living units as those are needed public parking for the restaurants, or retail stores, which go into the Westgate development. If you have access to this info, as you sit on the Economic Development Commission (I think- could be wrong), it would be good to know exactly how many units are specifically earmarked for residential/rental housing parking.

    You did mention before that there will be $ 100,000.00 in public art. I remember the Darth Vader building in Seattle, on the regrade, had to provide public art under Seattle or RCW’s. It purchased an Alexander Calder mobile, very large. Then about five years later it was removed, and not replaced. But it satisfied the requirement.

    Building a multi-story parking facility in a known liquefaction zone, would probably be cost prohibitive.

    Thanks for your reply Darrol.

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    1. Brent, Not arguing only trying to add what I think to good estimates. The subsidy I calculated a couple of years ago was based on the amount paid to BNSF for 20 years of use of the tracks and operational costs. These were offset by the projected revenue based on ridership. At that time the subsidy per ride was greater than $43. So 32 buy KOMO and 43 by me. Both are huge subsidies given the per ride cost of $5 or less. I do not have a current estimate for the total number of parking space above and below ground but the original story showed 106. The presentation made to the EDC said the number will be greater than that but not yet finalized because of what the PUD may require for electrical delivery. One of the key point to consider is they plan to own and manage the building into the future. So how they allocate parking spaces to their residents and business owners will be up to them. The city approved the original plan and were told their will be more parking than originally required by the city.

      The retail space is stated to be 3100 sq feet. Whom ever they rent to for that space will make their decision base on parking for clients and customers. That will be the free market. Residential folks will have to decide is this a good place to live, if they have a car they will have to make that decision based on the price for a stall or the availability of free parking. My bet is it will work out fine and better then some of our areas down town. We have almost 500 people DT buying parking permits for $25 a year. Folks are complaining about those 500 permits nor are they complaining about the nearly 500 employee permits at $50 a year competing with the rest of us for DT parking. If parking becomes an issue it will be their loss of customers and tenants.
      I think I said before that Art will be near $100k, and I recall from the presentation that the estimated cost will be about $91k. Sorry if I implied it would be $100k.
      Any new structure in Edmonds, home, building, or parking garage will have to meet codes, soil testing and all that. Anything the Port may do would have to take the standards into account. Look at what was required for the Waterfront Center. The potential remove and replace of the Boys and Girls Club will also have to meet codes with a water table that is very high. It will be up to the Port and its taxpayers to assess any plans as to the costs and benefits. What I find interesting in the article is $40m will not go a long ways for parking. Mike commented on that right off. Yes it may cost more for a garage in a liquefaction zone but if we can find a way to build the Waterfront Center in the same area we ought to be able to build a garage. It is not the ground that is shaky it may be the presentation to council it may be some of the statements made that are shaky.
      Brent, thanks for help sort our the data, if we all work toward getting the best information possible maybe things will be done right. We can gather the facts first, analysis what we know and then put our opinions in play using real information not just guesses. Thanks Brent.

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