Council approves interim parking to replace spots displaced by light rail-related construction

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With the goal of accommodating parking disruptions due to light rail construction starting early next year, the Mountlake Terrace City Council Monday night unanimously approved a development code amendment to allow interim temporary parking facilities in the city’s Town Center.

The Aug. 6 business meeting vote came after a scheduled public hearing, although no one signed up to testify.

The amendment will permit interim temporary parking in the vicinity of the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to replace existing commuter parking displaced during the construction of the Lynnwood Link Extension Light Rail guideway, and the light rail station over 236th Street Southwest.

To prepare for light rail work, Sound Transit will begin underground utility and clearing and grading in early 2019. During this time, the transit agency will use surface parking at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center as a staging area, displacing 230 commuter parking spaces there for an estimated six years.

Sound Transit has said that the Transit Center garage will remain open for commuters during the entire light rail station construction period, with the exception of some closures on the weekend. The Mountlake Terrace station is expected to open in 2024.

Eventually, Sound Transit will build a temporary parking lot next to the current transit center, on 59th Place West, which will replace all of the surface parking stalls that will be unavailable during light rail construction. Sound Transit is working to purchase the properties on the 59th Avenue Place cul-de-sac so that lot can be built.

The code amendment approved Monday night will allow the agency to site — at its expense — a temporary parking lot close to the transit center, with shuttle buses providing regular service to and from that lot.

A likely location for the interim temporary parking facility — which under the code amendment will be in use for 12 months with a possible six-month extension — will be the former Roger’s Marketplace site on 56th Avenue West. The grocery store building will have to be razed to accommodate the 230 displaced parking spaces, said Community and Economic Development Director Christy Osborn.

The city is putting requirements in place to ensure that Sound Transit provides frequent shuttle service during peak times to reduce the impact on transit center commuters, Osborn said.