Sound Transit’s plan for a light rail transit facility in the Northgate neighborhood of Seattle was approved by the city on Tuesday, according to city records.
The proposed development is for Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority’s proposed construction and operation of a north extension to its Central Link light rail project. The goal is to provide urban transportation improvements in the Central Puget Sound Metropolitan region. North Link is a 4.3-mile light rail extension that would run primarily in twin-bored tunnels from the University of Washington to Northgate, with stations at the University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate, according to a city report.
What does close to a million more people mean? Well, it means putting on top of the region’s population that we already have, another population of both Seattle and Tacoma combined together
The elevated station will be located on the east side of First Avenue NE, spanning NE 103rd Street on Sites A and B. The station platform level is off of First Avenue NE, with the Northgate Mall to the north and the Northgate Transit Center to the south.
Site A for the new elevated transit facility consists of one parcel located at the northeast corner of First Avenue NE and NE Northgate Way, says the city report. It is near the Northgate Shopping Mall and is currently being used as a parking lot. Site B consists of two parcels located on the east side of First Avenue NE, between NE 100th Street and NE 103rd Street. This second site is near the Northgate Transit Center, a current bus station, and consists of a park-and-ride lot and a bus transit passenger load and unload area. Site C consists of one parcel, also on the east side of First Avenue NE and south of NE 100th Street. This last site is currently a one-story 9,938-square-foot building that was previously used for retail and service space.
According to the report, two station entrances have been proposed. The north station entry will be located on Site A, north of NE 103rd Street, and the south station entry will be located on Site B, south of NE 103rd Street. Escalators, elevators and stairs will be provided at each station entrance. Exterior lighting and landscaping also will be provided at station entrances and elsewhere on the sites, says the report. Artwork at the station will improve the appearance and safety of the facility, give vibrancy to its public spaces and make patrons feel welcome.
As part of the proposed development on Site A, a parking garage will be constructed and located immediately east of the proposed north station entry. The report states that access to the garage would be from NE 103rd Street and First Avenue NE, as well as access from the Northgate Mall parking lot. The garage will be a joint use facility for transit and Northgate Mall patrons, with one level of surface level parking and four levels of below-grade parking. The surface level will provide 144 parking stalls and will be reserved for Northgate Mall patrons. The four levels of below-grade parking will contain approximately 465 stalls and will be reserved for Sound Transit commuters, says the city report.
According to Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogroff, the U.S Census predicts close to another one million people relocating to the Puget Sound region within the next 30 years, which he believes is driving the need for improved access to public transportation. “What does close to a million more people mean? Well, it means putting on top of the region’s population that we already have, another population of both Seattle and Tacoma combined together,” said Rogroff at NAIOP’s June breakfast meeting. “So when you think about the mobility challenges in terms of not just moving people but also moving freight and being economically competitive, and how we will accommodate all of that, that’s really where Sound Transit 3 has come in.”