When using transit is safe, comfortable and easy, more people will see it as an alternative to driving.
But before they can get on a bus or a train, they have to get to the station.
Sound Transit’s new System Access Fund aims to make it easier to get to our trains and buses on foot or by bike.
The $100 million fund is part of the 2016 Sound Transit 3 expansion plan and will be distributed among the cities we serve to build their own projects.
The Sound Transit board recently approved $40.6 million for 30 projects across the region in the first round of project awards.
No single solution for improving transit access
Earlier this year, Sound Transit solicited proposals from local governments and transit agencies. The applications from 33 jurisdictions totaled more than $86 million in requests.
'System access' can entail a lot of things – safe sidewalks, protected bike lanes, bus transfer facilities, pickup and drop-off areas – but it’s really about good planning and placemaking.
This first round of funding is going toward a wide range of projects, from a $275,000 pedestrian crossing in Kent to a $3 million contribution for a new bike trail connection in Bellevue.
Many are related to Sound Transit’s system expansion plans, including awards for Everett Station non-motorized access improvements, and funds to improve access to the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension.
The new Judkins Park Station (opening as part of East Link in 2023) will have improved pedestrian and bike access thanks to a $2.4 million award to the City of Seattle.
How projects are graded and selected
Staff evaluated the applications based on six policy and technical factors: customer experience, equity, safety and human health, connectivity, funding and delivery plans. Then, we asked for public input with an online open house.
Based on feedback and results from this first round of funding, the Board will work with staff to fine tune the program and prepare for future rounds of soliciting potential projects.
In the meantime, we look forward to working with all of our partners to deliver these important projects for current and future riders.