Northgate: A parking garage and a conversation on 4/28

Seattle, as a Feet First City, has made clear its goals as a city to improve commuting for all (including those on foot and bicycle) – and the new Sound Transit Link light rail plans are an excellent opportunity to move this agenda forward, but is a parking garage the best way to do so? Be part of a Feet First discussion on April 28th to voice your opinion!

Seattle is a recognized Feet First City: let’s SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE TO WALK, BIKE, OR TAKE THE BUS. 

Posted by Megan Risley

April 6, 2012

The proposed plan for a Sound Transit Link light rail station in Northgate is an excellent opportunity to improve the bustling center’s transportation according to Feet First initiatives.  Sound Transit should be using its limited funds to promote both public transit and pedestrian traffic safety as these two modes of transportation are closely tied.  Improving pedestrian routes to and between public transit stops ensures safety, creating more and clearer bus and transit stops cuts down on walking time and improving the public transit and pedestrian systems in tandem will create a smoother, faster transit for those who cannot afford personal cars.

The North Link Record of Decision to construct a light rail stop in Northgate will mean that Northgate is no longer a terminal station and thus, does not need as many parking spaces.  But, since the Decision, the number of parking stalls have increased from 970 to 1500.  And it is in the plans to build a 500-stall parking garage.

This garage would create more traffic to the area at peak hours (particularly rush hour) when the local bus services are trying to use the same streets.  It also contradicts Sound Transit’s own ridership projection that 80% of the Northgate riders will transfer from Metro bus services.  Ultimately, this parking garage will encourage a dependence on cars rather than a commitment to moving towards sustainable modes of transportation, including walkability.

Feet First suggests that instead of funds going towards a parking garage a better use of the limited dollars that would support all users should go towards improving the sidewalk infrastructure around Northgate to encourage more foot traffic to the station.  Another option for these funds could be a foot/bicycle bridge from the North Seattle Community College campus to the new light rail station.  Both these options are in line with the Feet First initiatives and support a safe, inviting and walkable environment.

To be part of this discussion, attend a interactive meeting held by Feet First, Cascade Bike Club and Futurewise on Saturday, April 28th from 10-noon at the Northgate Community Center, complete with a walk around the area.  To get more information on this important community event, email:  info@feetfirst.org.

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