Over the past few weeks, hundreds of community members have stood up to Sound Transit and asked for a fair deal at Northgate. They sent hundreds of emails to the Sound Transit board, they packed an open house on June 4, and they continued talking with their neighbors about what kind of Northgate they want for themselves and their families.
The community has spoken loud and clear. They want the 92 percent of people who will access Northgate Station by bike, foot or transit to have the freedom to choose how they get around and to do so safely. And they don’t want a $30-40 million parking garage with up to 900 stalls that will be used by the 8 percent.
We’re starting to see the effects of the community’s efforts.
At the Capital Committee meeting of the Sound Transit board yesterday, residents from Northgate gave more hours of their time believing that, as advertised, they’d have a voice. The committee didn’t ask for comment, unfortunately. But we heard from Seattle Councilmember Richard Conlin, also the vice-chair of the committee, who proposed a package of investments for the 92 percent. Under his proposal, Sound Transit would do three things:
1) Contribute 25 percent (up to $5 million) of the cost of the bicycle/pedestrian bridge over I-5
2) Match up to $5 million in city bike and pedestrian investments around the station
3) Fund a new 450-stall parking garage
The committee directed staff to work in the next few weeks to refine Councilmember Conlin’s proposal and then to bring it back to the board.
We thank Councilmember Conlin for moving the conversation forward about how Sound Transit can address safe access for those who want to bike, walk and take transit. The Councilmember’s proposal would undoubtedly be a strong improvement from the current plan and it’s clearly a better deal for Northgate. But the question remains: is it a fair deal for the 92 percent? Ultimately, the question will be answered in the details being worked out over the next few weeks.
We are proud of the community members who have spoken up, changing the conversation and helping to ensure a vision for Northgate where everyone has the freedom to safely and easily get around. So thanks to all of you who have lent your voices to help make this change. Stay tuned and stay involved, as the train is about to leave the station. And join us at the June 28 board meeting to help ensure that we don’t miss the incredible opportunity to realize the community’s vision.