The forthcoming Lynnwood City Center light rail station
An aerial view of the forthcoming Lynnwood City Center light rail station, which will be the new northern terminus of the region's high capacity transit spine (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Long-await­ed light rail ser­vice to Shore­line, Mount­lake Ter­race, and Lyn­nwood will begin short­ly before Labor Day this year, Sound Tran­sit announced today.

“The 8.5‑mile seg­ment will add four new sta­tions: Shore­line South/148th St., Shore­line North/185th St., Mount­lake Ter­race, and Lyn­nwood City Cen­ter,” agency staff not­ed in a news release. “Dur­ing peak hours, trains will run approx­i­mate­ly every eight minutes.”

“Com­mu­ni­ty Tran­sit and King Coun­ty Metro have agreed to revise the date for bus ser­vice upgrades and improve­ments orig­i­nal­ly planned to take effect August 31st, the news release went on to say. “Bus changes will instead take place Sep­tem­ber 14th, allow­ing a smooth launch of extend­ed 1 Line ser­vice before bus rout­ing changes occur.”

“Open­ing the 1 Line to Lyn­nwood is a major mile­stone in the growth of light rail,” said King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive and Sound Tran­sit Board Chair Dow Con­stan­tine. (Con­stan­tine also chaired the board when the last sys­tem expan­sion pro­pos­al was on the bal­lot in 2016.)

“For the first time, the light rail sys­tem is join­ing two coun­ties, bring­ing vot­ers’ vision for our region’s inte­grat­ed tran­sit sys­tem one step clos­er to real­i­ty. Thanks to the col­lab­o­ra­tion between our region’s tran­sit agen­cies, we are ready for the start of ser­vice, with increased capac­i­ty for Link rid­ers and a smooth ser­vice tran­si­tion for oth­er riders.”

“The open­ing of light rail to Lyn­nwood will be trans­for­ma­tion­al for Sno­homish Coun­ty,” said Sound Tran­sit Board Vice Chair and Sno­homish Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dave Somers.

“Light rail is essen­tial for sup­port­ing our pro­ject­ed growth in the years to come, allow­ing res­i­dents to trav­el reli­ably, safe­ly, and effi­cient­ly to down­town Seat­tle, Sea-Tac Air­port, and beyond with­out hav­ing to con­tend with high­way traf­fic. This is a game-chang­er. I’m look­ing for­ward to the next phase in Link’s growth in Sno­homish Coun­ty, as we work toward extend­ing ser­vice to Everett.”

(The ST3 Everett exten­sion is not cur­rent­ly antic­i­pat­ed to open to the pub­lic until the end of the 2030s, unfor­tu­nate­ly… more than fif­teen years from now. The Sound Tran­sit Board still has­n’t cho­sen a final align­ment for the Lyn­nwood to Everett segments.)

“The Link light rail extend­ing into Lyn­nwood her­alds the start of a new era for our city and the rest of Sno­homish Coun­ty,” said Sound Tran­sit Board­mem­ber and Lyn­nwood May­or Chris­tine Frizzell. “Light rail is num­ber one in our list of strate­gic pri­or­i­ties as we ful­fill our Com­mu­ni­ty Vision for a sus­tain­able and vibrant com­mu­ni­ty. We are eager for the day at long last when we can be part of help­ing peo­ple get from where they are to where they want to be through­out the Puget Sound region!”

 “The Biden-Har­ris Admin­is­tra­tion is com­mit­ted to expand­ing tran­sit across the coun­try, includ­ing the Puget Sound Region,” said FTA Region­al Admin­is­tra­tor Susan Fletcher.

“By open­ing Lyn­nwood Link, Sound Tran­sit takes anoth­er step to ensur­ing that peo­ple through­out Sno­homish Coun­ty and our entire region have access to fast, reli­able trans­porta­tion that avoids high­way con­ges­tion while get­ting them where they need to go safe­ly and effi­cient­ly. FTA is proud to have been a part­ner with Sound Tran­sit in this crit­i­cal project.”

Coin­ci­den­tal­ly, the Fed­er­al Tran­sit Admin­is­tra­tion announced today that it is pro­vid­ing $20.5 bil­lion in fed­er­al fund­ing to sup­port tran­sit sys­tems and boost com­mu­ni­ties. Puget Sound is one of the metro regions that will be get­ting a slice of that mon­ey. The com­mu­ni­ties receiv­ing the most fund­ing, based on pop­u­la­tion and ser­vice data, include:

  • New York-Jer­sey City-Newark, NY-NJ: $2.8 billion
  • Chica­go, IL-IN: $765.1 million
  • Wash­ing­ton-Arling­ton, DC-VA-MD: $665 million
  • Los Ange­les-Long Beach-Ana­heim, CA: $603.4 million
  • Boston, MA-NH: $454.9 million
  • Philadel­phia, PA-NJ-DE-MD: $448 million
  • San Fran­cis­co-Oak­land, CA: $432.4 million
  • Mia­mi-Ft Laud­erdale, FL: $272.4 million
  • Seat­tle-Taco­ma, WA: $267 million
  • Bal­ti­more, MD: $202.8 million

The FTA’s news release does­n’t spec­i­fy which agen­cies will get that mon­ey, but pre­sum­ably Metro and Sound Tran­sit will be among the recipients.

 “Today’s announce­ment is the cul­mi­na­tion of years of com­mit­ment and hard work on the part of Sound Transit’s project team, our con­trac­tors, and the con­struc­tion work­ers,” said Sound Tran­sit CEO Goran Spar­rman, who recent­ly took over from Julie Timm. “They deserve our thanks for main­tain­ing their focus on this project despite the COVID pan­dem­ic and the months-long con­crete strike.”

“I also want to thank our part­ners at King Coun­ty and Com­mu­ni­ty Tran­sit for their ongo­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion in ensur­ing that we will have addi­tion­al train capac­i­ty and tran­sit options for rid­ers when the Lyn­nwood exten­sion opens.”

“Light rail ser­vice reach­ing Lyn­nwood and Mount­lake Ter­race trans­lates direct­ly to more bus ser­vice and bet­ter con­nec­tions for peo­ple all over Sno­homish Coun­ty,” said Com­mu­ni­ty Tran­sit CEO Ric Ilgen­fritz, a Sound Tran­sit alum.

“Start­ing Sep­tem­ber 14th, we will shift Com­mu­ni­ty Tran­sit resources off I‑5 and rede­ploy more ser­vice local­ly, includ­ing great con­nec­tions to light rail at Lyn­nwood, Mount­lake Ter­race, and Shore­line. Sno­homish Coun­ty res­i­dents can look for­ward to dra­mat­ic improve­ments to both local and region­al trav­el options.”

“We’re excit­ed to trans­form and improve bus ser­vice con­nec­tions for rid­ers as they trav­el between com­mu­ni­ties, the new light rail sta­tions and the new RapidRide G Line,” said King Coun­ty Metro Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Michelle Alli­son. “As the 1 Line expands north­ward, we’re ensur­ing a smooth and suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion for tens of thou­sands of dai­ly rid­ers as they explore the upgrad­ed tran­sit network.”

The Lyn­nwood Link exten­sion con­sists pri­mar­i­ly of aer­i­al seg­ments, mean­ing ele­vat­ed tracks. It stretch­es from North­gate (the cur­rent north­ern ter­mi­nus of the 1 Line) up to Lyn­nwood City Cen­ter, near Inter­state 5’s 196th Avenue exit (Exit 181B).

Here’s a map:

Map of the Lynnwood Link extension
Map of the Lyn­nwood Link exten­sion (Cour­tesy of Sound Transit)

The fol­low­ing sta­tions are part of the exten­sion (descrip­tions cour­tesy of Sound Transit):

  • Shore­line South/148th Sta­tion. Locat­ed just north­east of I‑5 at the NE 145th Street exit, the ele­vat­ed Shore­line South/148th Sta­tion includes a park­ing garage with approx­i­mate­ly 500 new spaces as part of the project.
  • Shore­line North/185th Sta­tion. Locat­ed on the east side of I‑5, Shore­line North/185th Sta­tion serves Shore­line Sta­di­um, the Shore­line Con­fer­ence Cen­ter and the sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods. Improved pedes­tri­an path­ways con­nect the sta­tion to the west side of I‑5. A park­ing garage with approx­i­mate­ly 500 new spaces is part of the project.
  • Mount­lake Ter­race Sta­tion. Locat­ed east of I‑5 at the Mount­lake Ter­race Tran­sit Cen­ter just north of 236th Street South­west, west of Vet­er­ans Memo­r­i­al Park, the ele­vat­ed Mount­lake Ter­race Sta­tion strad­dles 236th Street South­west and is a short walk from the Mount­lake Ter­race Library, new City Hall, and the future Gate­way tran­sit-ori­ent­ed devel­op­ment neigh­bor­hood. There are 890 exist­ing park­ing spaces at the station.
  • Lyn­nwood City Cen­ter. Locat­ed at the Lyn­nwood Tran­sit Cen­ter, this ele­vat­ed sta­tion serves one of the busiest tran­sit cen­ters in the region, with exten­sive con­nec­tions to local and region­al ser­vice. A new garage con­tain­ing 1,670 park­ing stalls in a five-sto­ry struc­ture opened last year.

August 30th, 2024 is a Fri­day — the Fri­day of Labor Day Week­end 2024.

When the 1 Line (Cen­tral Link) ini­tial­ly opened in 2009, Sound Tran­sit offered a week­end of free rides. It is unlike­ly to do so for the Lyn­nwood Link exten­sion since these new sta­tions are being added to a high­ly used exist­ing sys­tem. How­ev­er, there will be cel­e­bra­to­ry activ­i­ties on August 30th and pos­si­bly con­tin­u­ing through the rest of the weekend.

This is the sec­ond light rail open­ing Sound Tran­sit has planned for this year. The first will be the East Link / Line 2 exten­sion, which is set to inau­gu­rate ser­vice on Sat­ur­day, April 27th.

NPI will bring you cov­er­age of both open­ings right here on The Cas­ca­dia Advocate.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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