June 4

Construction, parking on agenda for Northgate Station open house



Sound Transit officials will provide more details about upcoming construction, parking and other topics about Northgate Station at an open house from 6-8 p.m. tonight, June 4, at Olympic View Elementary School, 504 N.E. 95th St. Earlier this spring in March Sound Transit held a similar construction update. Here’s a sneak peek at tonight’s briefing:

Northgate Station Area Update PowerPoint

According to Crosscut, one of the options under consideration is the creation new garage with room for up to 920 spaces. From the article:

The garage is meant as “temporary mitigation” for the parking that will be lost during construction. Opponents, including Maple Leaf Community Council transportation committee chair David Miller, note that the project will only permanently displace 117 parking spots. A 900-car garage, in other words, would represent a net gain of nearly 800 spots, in an area where future developments are supposed to be transit, bike, and pedestrian-oriented.

“We’re opposed to the idea of building more parking at Northgate,” says Miller, who believes a “much better idea” would be to build a pedestrian bridge from North Seattle Community College across I-5 to link college students and commuters to the light-rail station. “If you’re going to spend X number of millions on a garage, you’re better off spending the same amount of money on a pedestrian bridge,” he says.

Do you have an opinion on the proposed garage or other changes? Attend tonight’s meeting or share your concerns/ideas via e-mail: main@soundtransit.org; snail mail at Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104; or call 888-889-6368; TTY Relay 711

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  1. Buses that go to the eastside start at Northgate transit center. Taking a bus from 35th, Lake City way or 15th is not an option. I might as well drive.

    I do hope they add a feeder route from north Wedgwood/south Meadowbrook to Northgate.

  2. @ David. Here is what I don’t get. If the garage is only replacement parking, not additional parking, why would you expect additional traffic in the neighborhood? The concern I would think is cut thru traffic and I honestly think a lot of that is local. I will admit to getting annoyed at the 20 mile per hour school light on Roosevelt and dashing down to 5th. Its a jockeying for position thing; trying to avoid slow or heavy traffic.
    I’m also not a fan of doing away with parking requirements in urban areas. Its a receipe for big trouble.

  3. To this point in time, Metro has said only the express bus to downtown from the transit center along 5th will be cut. The buses on Roosevelt, 15th, and Lake City Way are not currently on the chopping block. We are working with Metro and Sound Transit for an alternative for people who catch the buses along 5th.

    The issue is not whether there should be parking at Northgate. The federal government requires parking be maintained and increased over currently available amounts. The issue is the form. A 900-unit garage-only structure is not what we want at Northgate. We discussed this at length at the January MLCC General Meeting.

    There are spots available at NSCC, linkable by the bridge. The location of the current lots can incorporate parking below mixed use above. There are many better ways to accomplish parking at NG other than this proposal.

    Metro has committed to feeder buses, which will help. There are also LINK stations planned at 135th and 150th to serve those who are currently driving to NG from the north, further reducing the need for parking at Northgate.

    If we build a 900-unit garage, it will be a magnet for car traffic from outside the n’hood. Reducing traffic flow through the n’hood is a primary goal of the MLCC and we see this as part of that effort.

    We have also requested Residential Parking Zones to protect residents and businesses in NE Maple Leaf from overflows both during construction and the period between when NG opens and when the Shoreline and Lynnwood stations open.

    Those east of Roosevelt and especially east of Lake City Way will find buses on 15th and Lake City Way are going to be your best bets instead of worrying about finding parking spots at Northgate. Through bus service to downtown will likely be retained on 15th and will certainly be retained on LCW. If 15th service to downtown isn’t, then it will be a 1-bus feeder to LINK to downtown (not the ideal outcome and we’ll be arguing against eliminating Express service on 15th).

    Cascade Bicycle Club and others have their own messaging that is generally anti-car. The MLCC, obviously, does not join in that message. We do happen to agree $40M for a 900-stall, single purpose garage is a waste of limited funds.

    We’ve let Metro, the City, and Sound Transit know we’re willing to have a conversation.

    As always, our meetings and our emails are open to comments. You can reach me directly at David.Miller@MapleLeafCommunity.org

    We’re elected by our neighbors to represent them. We spent about an hour at the January meeting discussing this and other concepts in our “Northgate Vision” letter:


    We made substantive changes to the letter after receiving feedback from the attendees. If you disagree with what the MLCC is doing, let us know by participating and commenting. You can join the Executive Board as we have several vacancies. We’re volunteers and we do the best we are able to represent the neighborhood based upon the feedback of people who participate in the processes we make available.

    David Miller
    Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board

  4. I agree that there needs to be parking at the Transit Center.

    I wish more people that feel strongly about this would go to the Northgate Station Sound Transit meetings and voice their opinions! I was at the meeting this week and it was filled with Cascade Bike club members (who don’t live in the neighborhood) and they were outspoken and against any parking whatsoever. I also think there should be SDOT representation at the Sound Transit meetings. There were lots of concerns about sidewalks and roads, and no one from SDOT to hear the concerns.

  5. While David Miller is right that long term only 117 stalls will be displaced during construction (which will last 5+ years) 879 stalls will be displaced. 428 from the park and ride and 451 from the mall. They are bound by agreements with the federal government (which issued grants for LR) to “mitigate” or replace these stalls. The primary reason for this garage is to satisfy this requirement. ST has options to scale down parking at a later date via long term leases for parking signed with Simon Properties (the mall) and Thorton Creek. However, without this parking garage there is no way to maintain existing parking. In fact, as Tim pointed out ST is already planning to scale down to 1219 stalls once the station opens even with the new garage. One last comment, Sound Transit also is receiving pressure from King County to build this garage. The reason being that they want to sell the east lot (east of where the buses pick up) to developers to build Tranist Oriented Development. This will make it easier for more people to walk to the station since they live very close to the station.

  6. Yes to parking, otherwise I will not be using the light rail system. I would prefer to be stuck on I5 than to try and catch 2 separate buses and take forever. Install the garage and make this station successful.

  7. Brad and Susan make a lot of sense. We need the Parking structure as we are nowhere near an urban utopia. Reality needs to be respected as does the time and life energy of the users. A pedestrian bridge across I-5 would be great too, but one thing at a time.

    Would hate to see the 41 express route go as it is very useful when I get stuck with jury duty. Otherwise I leave the buses mainly to others who can actually use them. When there is a direct light rail link to Everett and shuttle from there – then I will consider it. Otherwise I will be in my car reducing my commute time and maintaining personal freedom. And yes the 16 takes forever to get to Downtown.

  8. @Tim (again): I do know about the 66 and occasionally take it, but it’s often quicker (albeit not quick) to just take it downtown, than to the Transit Center for a connection.

  9. @Tim: If all I had to do in a day is walk around and take public transportation, I could get anyplace.

    But the reality is, transit has got to make practical sense. Time spent catching feeders and waiting around between stops is a waste of time for many people (those that get paid hourly). I don’t get paid to get to work, I get paid to BE AT WORK.

    Blithely suggestion that we can simply take feeders is overlooking the fact you’re also saying we can waste another 45 minutes or an hour a day schlepping around on a system that ignores reality.

    Furthermore I wish the planners would seriously start considering the fact that the elderly and disabled REALLY DO have a much harder time walking around and having to make multiple connections in the context of these changes. Someone ought to sue the city on this count! The planners don’t even give it lip service. Let them take taxis?

    Transit is supposed to serve the transportation needs of the populace, first and foremost!

  10. We’re going to need parking at the light rail station. We are a long ways away from the transit/pedestrian utopia of not needing a car, and that is particularly true for the disabled, busy families with children, etc.

    The parking garage proposal is primarily to replace the existing stalls that will be lost during the construction process. Structured parking, while expensive, is vastly more efficient than the current vast surface lots.

    We should still push for a pedestrian bridge across I-5, but the parking structure is very much needed.

    Not every Maple Leaf resident is opposed to the Parking Structure.

  11. @Tim, none of the busses you mention is anywhere near me. My best bet to get downtown would be to walk half a mile and catch a #16 or walk nearly a mile to the transit center. Not the end of the earth but worse than hoping on #41 a block and a half from my front door.

  12. From where I live, I would have to take 2 buses to get to Northgate and it would take 30-45 minutes while driving takes 5 to 10 minutes. Which would you choose?

    I have repeatedly asked Metro about a direct bus from the south Meadowbrook/north Wedgwood area to Northgate but nothing is planned at this time. I have also asked about buses that would go from this area to Husky Stadium and buses that would go from Northgate to the Seattle Center by a more direct route than the 16.

  13. The Crosscut article is crap. Look at the slides. The last one shows that we have 1522 stalls today, and with the garage we’ll have 1219 after the station opens. How that is an increase is beyond me.

    I forget his name, but one of Metro’s service planners has said multiple times at the open houses that the portion of the 41 between Downtown and Northgate will be eliminated once the light rail link opens. The portion between Northgate and Lake City will remain.

    Drewskers, Sue, and Susan–you talk as if nothing can change and that walking and driving are the only ways to get to a bus/train to downtown. Did you know that *today* there’s the 66, 67, 68 and 75 which can all bring you to Northgate Transit Center to catch a bus downtown? Are you aware that Metro could add more of these circulator type routes in order to help people get there?

  14. Parking is needed. I can’t get a bus to Northgate from Meadowbrook so when I take a bus from Northgate, I always drive and park. If there is no parking, I won’t be taking the light rail.

  15. I don’t recall specifically about 41.

    I do recall specifically, no more 73 Express or 77 Express.

    Wish I could find the link where this was stated. I thought it was on this blog!

  16. Oh wow, no more 41 then? I didn’t know that part. That should change traffic patterns as we know them. I think traffic engineers over estimate how far folks will be willing to walk. Especially the elderly and disabled.

  17. Let us not overlook that Metro has said the Express downtown bus lines that run through our neighborhood will be DISCONTINUED once the Northgate light rail station is put into operation. That means a lot of people will no longer be able to walk a few blocks, catch a bus, and zip downtown. Many of us will have to find a way to get to the light rail station and from the southern reaches of the neighborhood (at least), DRIVING is going to be the only practical solution. Now I ask you: where ya gonna park?

    I think David Miller and the MLCC are all wet on this one!

  18. Theres a lot of people parking in our neighborhoods that are catching the bus on the surface streets like Roosevelt and 5th ave. Granted they are parking in our neighborhood to take transit because there is no parking at the bus terminal at Northgate. While they are doing this from 6 in the morning to 6 at night it still can cause more congestion in our neighborhood than we need.

    Either make more spots for people to park at the station or make that bridge across to the college. More parking spots would be better. How many people use the rail/station to go to the college?

  19. I just wanted to state my opinions on the new proposed Northgate Station parking complex.

    I strongly support the addition of new parking spaces because of the isolated location of the station itself in my neighborhood. In its current placement, it is not a reasonable place to walk or bus to from very far up Northgate Way, especially with a family. I’m currently only down as far as the QFC on Northgate Way and it takes over 15 minutes to walk to the transit station. On a perfect day I am able to catch a bus there within 10 minutes, but it’s always likely, especially with a family to organize, that a bus can be missed and we can be stuck waiting a good 20-30minutes BEFORE even getting on the light rail. If we have the option of taking a single quick <5min car ride to the transit center we would be *MUCH* more likely to use light rail regularly and I believe this would be the case for a great many other families in the area. If there is a reasonable way to avoid the traffic jam of I5 we are all for it, but not if it means greatly increasing our trip time or standing in the rain waiting for a bus. I have lived in a number of cities with great mass transit and the key to making them work is making them easy to get to. If there was a station just down the street from someone, they would be much more apt to use it… you need to make sure this station feels easily accessible if you want maximum usage.

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