Unanimous Sound Transit Board vote assures improved access to Northgate light rail station


Sound Transit Board Approves Precedent Setting
Northgate Light Rail Station Access Strategy

Community leads effort to secure funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements
that will help transform the neighborhood

 Contact:          Craig M. Benjamin, Policy and Government Affairs Manager
(206) 713-6204, craig.benjamin@cascadebicycleclub.org

SEATTLE, JUNE 28, 2012 – Today, the Sound Transit Board of Directors unanimously approved a precedent setting access strategy for the future Northgate light rail station that will make it safe and convenient for everyone to access the station, whether they arrive on transit, foot, bike or in a car.

“Over the decade-long planning process for the Northgate neighborhood, and especially over the past few months, the community has made it perfectly clear that they want their neighborhood transformed into a walkable, bikeable, and transit-rich community where everyone has the freedom to choose how to get where they need to go,” said Chuck Ayers, Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club. “It’s exciting to see Sound Transit moving forward with an access strategy that aligns with the community’s vision for the future of the neighborhood.”

The Northgate access strategy approved by the Board commits Sound Transit to:

  • Completing a Northgate access improvement study to identify potential additional pedestrian and bicycle access improvements to enhance access to the current Northgate Transit Center and future Northgate Station inter-modal transit facility as part of the Northgate Link Extension Project.
  • Contributing 25 percent (up to $5 million) of the cost of a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over I-5 to North Seattle Community College and Licton Springs, which the City of Seattle will match with an additional $5 million. The City will also seek other funding partners to secure full funding to complete design and construction of the bridge (total cost approximately $20 million). If a full funding agreement for the implementation of the I-5 pedestrian/bicycle bridge cannot be completed by July 2015, the Sound Transit Board will reallocate any unspent bridge funds to other priority pedestrian/bicycle projects identified through the connectivity and access study processes.
  • Matching up to up to $5 million in City investments in pedestrian/bicycle facilities in and around Northgate Station consistent with the improvements identified and recommended by the connectivity analysis and access study.

On Monday, June 25, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved Resolution 31389 endorsing this access strategy and the City’s intention to fulfill its obligations in this package of investments. Mayor McGinn subsequently signed this Resolution. Sound Transit is also planning to construct a new parking garage that accommodates 450 park and ride stalls, preferably in shared use, costing approximately $12 million.

“Given that according to Sound Transit’s own numbers, in 2030, 92 percent of the 15,000 people accessing the light rail station each weekday will get there on bike, foot or transit, it’s only fair that the access strategy spends more on the 92 percent than the 8 percent who will arrive through other means,” said John Mauro, Director of Policy, Planning and Government Affairs for Cascade Bicycle Club. “We’re hopeful that Sound Transit will develop similar access strategies for future light rail stations that also make it safe and convenient for thousands of potential light rail riders to walk and bike to access the stations.”

“We’d like to thank Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin and Mayor Mike McGinn for their hard work on developing this strategy and standing up for a better future for Northgate,” said Craig M. Benjamin, Policy and Government Affairs Manager with Cascade Bicycle Club. “The staff from Sound Transit and the City of Seattle who worked out all of the details of this complex issue also deserve a lot of credit and recognition for making this fair deal possible.”