Shoreline is Walking the Walk around their Light Rail Stations 

The City of Shoreline’s proposed pedestrian improvements around the future 145th and 185th light rail stations are the most ambitious plans of any City in the Sound Transit area. From woonerfs and pedestrian bridges to multi-use paths, these improvements strive to make traveling by foot not only safe, but also pleasant and convenient. Inspired by Shoreline’s City Planner Nora Daley-Peng’s study trip to Finland this year, the City is working toward the goal of transforming from a suburb to a people-oriented community using a “menu” of policy transformation, creating a high-quality multi-modal network. What Shoreline have been able to accomplish and are planning to do sets the bar for other cities in the region. As Mountlake Terrace, Seattle, and Snohomish County solidify the plans for the streets around their stations, there is much to learn from the City of Shoreline and Daley-Peng’s examples in creating streets that put pedestrians’ safety, convenience, and experience first.

Shoreline has already changed zoning to allow denser developments near the stations at NE 145th Street and NE 185th Street, with the stations scheduled to open in 2024. By 2035, Shoreline plans to have 36% of city residents living within a 10-minute walk of a light rail station. A key pathway to Shoreline’s becoming a people-oriented community is to make walking and rolling the first choice for more residents, especially for areas around stations. Today, the City is working to implement vital street, trail, and public space improvements to ensure safe, convenient, and welcoming walking and biking access to the stations.

Take a look at some of the projects that are brewing in the City of Shoreline:

148th Street Bridge: In anticipation for the opening of the NE 145th Street station, Shoreline has upzoned the surrounding area to create a walkable transit-oriented urban village. Unfortunately, with I-5 situated just west of the future light rail station, and limited options for crossing I-5 in Shoreline, the station-approximate community is divided. Access to the light rail station for residents west of I-5 is particularly difficult. To breach this freeway barrier and tie the two halves of the station area together, Shoreline is proposing a pedestrian/bike bridge over I-5 at 148th Street, to directly connect the western half of the City to the station. The total cost of the project is estimated at approximately $16 million.

3rd Avenue Woonerf: Walking, biking, transit, and auto drop-offs all intersect at the station entrance on 3rd Avenue and 148th St, on the east side of I-5. Shoreline is proposing a public plaza, with the adjacent street being designed to give priority to walking over motor vehicles. This is a concept which the Dutch calls the“woonerf’’, “a living street” achieved through creating shared spaces, placemaking, calming traffic, and lowering speed limits. A living examples of “woonerfs” in Seattle today are 12th Avenue Square Park & James Court Woonerf and Pike Place Market. In a shared space like woonerfs, people’s movement and experience are put at a higher priority over cars. Design and implementation of woonerfs is not always easy. Pedestrian priority needs to be reinforced through design, enforcement and sometimes limit cars all together. Nonetheless, Shoreline has an opportunity to learn from past experience to make their woonerf work for pedestrians. 

Trail Along the Rail: Shoreline is planning a walking and biking trail along the light rail corridor connecting the future 145th and 185th St stations, and extending beyond to the existing 195th St Pedestrian Bridge. Want a low stress path to the station? Get yourself to the trail. This shared-use path will be located on the east side of I-5, running from N 145th Street and NE 195th Street. Much of the trail can be efficiently built as the light rail line is constructed. By the time the light rail opens, approximately 20 blocks of the 50 block trail will be ready to use. Shoreline is seeking funding to complete the trail. Similar to the Interurban Trail, the “Trail Along the Rail” could serve as Shoreline’s segment of a potential regional pedestrian/bicycle network that could ultimately connect cities along the Lynnwood Link Extension.

Join us for a Walking/Rolling Tour of the Station Areas!

Ensuring high-quality pedestrian access to light rail stations is very important to us at Feet First. Our Sound Access for All Campaign is an effort to ensure that walking access to Sound Transit Link light rail stations built in the Puget Sound region is safe, convenient, and inviting, and that communities around light rail stations are walkable, livable, and sustainable. All too often in the past, this region has neglected the needs of pedestrians and accessibility to transit services by foot. At Feet First we believe we should be ambitious about the walkable future we want to see. We know it can be done, we just need to commit to doing it.

If you’re a community leader, member, or planner interested in what’s happening in Shoreline, we’re leading a walking/rolling tour of the station areas on October 1st at 4pm starting at the Spartan Recreation Center (202 NE 185th Street, Shoreline, WA 98155)  where you can hear from Nora and other stakeholders directly. We’ll end up at Easy Monkey Taproom on 15th NE. Join us! Please RSVP at this link (Facebook event)

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