Championing Safe & Easy Ways to Access Sound Transit Link Light Rail Stations by Foot[portfolio_slideshow id=4586]
Thanks to a grant from the Bullitt Foundation, our Sound Access for All (SAFA) campaign is underway with the main goal to encourage Sound Transit and local jurisdictions to design facilities and adopt policies to encourage people to walk to existing and future link light rail stations.
This campaign builds upon last year’s successful effort to win partial funding for a pedestrian/bicycle bridge across I-5 connecting the future Northgate link light rail station to North Seattle Community College. This project, once completed, will bring 9,000 college students, faculty, and staff within easy walking distance of the Northgate Station.
Designing light rail stations that put people first is critical to building transit ridership as well as supporting smart growth and transit-oriented development. The construction of the link light rail system is an opportunity to measure effectiveness beyond moving trains, and instead by actually building sustainable communities for the people who live, work and play in these areas. This means we need to integrate community design into Sound Transit’s link light rail system and avoid design that does not support the community. The time to take advantage of this opportunity is now. Sound Transit is currently making station-area planning and engineering decisions that will shape the surrounding communities for decades to come.
The Sound Access for All campaign will ensure that Sound Transit link light rail stations are designed to provide real choices to walk because people can and want and are able to go by foot, not just because they have to go by foot. This means there needs to be an invitation for people to use the facility by providing pedestrian bridges, sidewalks, curb ramps, safe roadway crossings, lighting, and wayfinding signage. The Sound Access for All campaign works with local community leaders served by Sound Transit to explain to the agency the importance of policies, programs, and investments supporting places for people to walk.
We have identified four future link light rail station sites at which to concentrate our efforts:
In 2012, Feet First and its partners persuaded Sound Transit and the City of Seattle to create a $20 million fund for pedestrian and bicycle access to the Northgate Station. This money will go towards partial funding of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge across I-5 to North Seattle Community College as well as additional pedestrian and bicycle improvements within a fifteen-minute walk of the station. Find out more about how the community envisions a walkable Northgate. Future work at the Northgate Station includes:
- helping secure additional funding to complete the pedestrian/bicycle bridge
- monitoring identification and construction of other pedestrian access improvements
Angle Lake Station
This station, south of SeaTac Airport, has potential for transit-oriented development. However, the current pedestrian environment discourages people from walking. Nearby Pacific Highway South is six-lanes or more wide, creating a barrier effectively dividing the station area in two for pedestrians. Our work program for the Angle Lake Station includes:
- supporting funding of pedestrian improvements to improve walkability around the station
- encouraging land use policies conductive to transit-oriented development
- hosting a Walk & Talk event at the station bringing together city officials, residents, business owners, and other interested stakeholders to discuss site-specific walkability issues
The Hospital Station is located near Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, astride the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway right-of-way. As this station is near a major I-405 intersection, nearby roads carry very high traffic volumes, creating potential hazards for people walking to the station. Bellevue’s Pedestrian-Bicycle Plan calls for a regional trail along the BNSF right-of-way. SAFA activities at the Hospital Station include:
- supporting improvements to provide safe access to the transit stops along NE 8th Street
- encouraging handicapped access improvements near the hospital
- ensuring that station design can accommodate a future trail along the BNSF right-of-way
- hosting a Walk & Talk event (early February 2014) at the station bringing together city officials, residents, business owners, and other interested stakeholders to discuss site-specific walkability issues
Overlake Transit Center Station
This station occupies the current site of the Overlake Transit Center next to SR-520. A pedestrian bridge is proposed across SR-520 to connect the transit center to the Microsoft west campus as well as the westbound flyer stop at NE 40th Street. Construction of this bridge will save Sound Transit thousands of annual service hours for the Route 545 Redmond to Seattle bus, which must currently divert to the transit center adding 7-10 minutes to each trip. The pedestrian bridge will allow buses to serve the transit center without this time-consuming detour. Future work at the Overlake Transit Center Station will include:
- advocating for accelerated completion of the pedestrian bridge across SR-520
- supporting additional pedestrian access improvements as needed
We are looking for people like you to help make the campaign a success.
People living or working near existing and future link light rail stations, especially the four targeted stations listed above, are encouraged to join our Sound Access for All campaign. Your voice is critical to ensuring Sound Transit and city officials adopt policies and build projects that invest in people safely walking to light rail. Contact us to learn more about this campaign and how you can get involved.
Here are some areas that we could use your expertise:
- Marketing/Outreach/Social Media
- Database experience (Salesforce)
- Event Coordination