With Lynnwood Link light rail construction on the not-so-distant horizon, Sound Transit representatives held an open house last week for citizens to learn what to expect in the coming months for the Lynnwood station.
The April 24 open house, held at the Lynnwood Convention Center, gave citizens the opportunity to learn the latest information about the 8.5-mile, four-station extension project that will connect Northgate to Lynnwood City Center. Trains are scheduled to begin running in 2024
The open house featured visual aides including displays, maps and posters, a project overview, and detailed information about Sound Transit’s efforts to partner with the city.
“We reached 100 percent design on our guideway structures,” said Sound Transit Deputy Project Director Fred Wilhelm, referring to the track and associated structures. “In May, we should be looking at 100 percent design for Lynnwood City Center station as well as the garage.”
The Lynnwood City Council at its April 8 business meeting approved the development agreement between the city and Sound Transit. The Sound Transit Board of Directors approved the agreement as well, clearing the way for the agency to begin submitting permit requests to the city so the project’s early utility work, demolition, clearing and grading can begin
“We anticipate getting those permits issued fairly soon,” Wilhelm said. “Then we’ll submit building permits for our stations as well as the garage.”
With an estimated 68,000 daily riders expected to use Lynnwood light rail, parking will be increased with the installation of a multi-level parking garage. A total of 1,891 parking spaces will be available, with 1,665 parking spaces inside the garage and an addition 226 for surface parking. However, while the garage and guideways are installed, temporary off-site parking will be required during some of the construction, said Sound Transit Deputy Projects Director Randy Harlow.
Temporary parking for the transit center will undergo four phases, with Phase 1 having little to no effect on transit center parking. Phase 2 will include construction of the guideways through the transit center and disruptions to regular parking will begin to take place, Harlow said.
“As we move through these phases there are varying levels of parking that we will be displacing,” he said.
Off-site parking for transit center users will not be implemented until Phase 3, which is scheduled for 2021 when construction of the parking garage begins. Sound Transit representative Letty Powell said the agency is looking to acquire property for the off-site parking portion of the project, which is scheduled to occur in late 2022 and early 2023. Sound Transit is currently looking for suitable locations for temporary parking, including the mixed-use parking lot near the intersection of 200th Street Southwest and 44th Avenue West, Powell said.
“The intent is to get adjacent solutions,” she said. “Once we get the garage built, that will be available for parking.”
With the completion of the parking garage, Phase 4 will allow transit users to park in the newly-constructed garage. Renovations will be made to accommodate surface parking as well as landscaping, Harlow said.
The Lynnwood station will feature artwork by Seattle-based artist Claudia Fitch including a neon and painted steel sculpture of a hummingbird at the north entrance of the station. The station will also feature light-box installations along the pedestrian promenade and a color scheme inspired by the city’s logo. Wilhelm said the Lynnwood station will inspire a “unique feel to this particular station, making it right for Lynnwood.”
Before light rail can come to Lynnwood, trees and vegetation along I-5 will have to be cleared to make way for the installation of the guideways. More than 5,300 trees are expected to be cleared with more than 20,000 new trees native to the area planted in their place. Replanting will start as soon as the underground foundations, guideways and electrical equipment are installed, Harlow said.
“We are keeping as many trees as we can while maintaining our guideway alignment,” he said.
On May 2, Sound Transit will begin to clear trees and vegetation near Northeast 145th Street and I-5. There will be southbound lane closures on 5th Avenue Northeast with flaggers alternating traffic in both north- and southbound directions. The right shoulder will be closed on the I-5 northbound off-ramp to Northeast 145th Street. Traffic revisions are expected to remain in effect for two weeks. Tree and vegetation removal hours are scheduled from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for the first day and will change to 9 a.m.-3 p.m. when construction progresses south away from Northeast 145th Street.
Sound Transit is committed to being a good neighbor by providing a smooth transition process for the public as light rail comes to Lynnwood, Harlow said.
To ensure the public has 24-hour access to readily available information and communication during the construction process, Sound Transit Community Outreach Specialist Kurt Workman will be the community point of contact. Workman can be contacted at 206-370-5664 or by email at [email protected].
In addition to the project website, there is also an online open house that offers opportunity for input, additional details about upcoming and future construction work, and information on the project team. Citizens can also subscribe to email construction alerts here.
–Story and photos by Cody Sexton