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Innovation meets efficiency for south Everett’s new median park-and-ride lot

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You might not know it as you drive past it, but south Everett’s newly completed freeway median park-and-ride lot is the first of its kind in Washington. The public is invited to come see this innovative new transportation facility at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and community celebration at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13. The park-and-ride opens for service on Sunday, Sept. 21.

The new $31.2 million facility, just north of 112th Street SE, boasts more than 400 parking spots for commuters plus direct access ramps for transit and high occupancy vehicles (HOV) to the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 5, which could shave up to six minutes off a round-trip bus ride to Seattle from south Everett.

“This partnership between Sound Transit, WSDOT and the City of Everett couldn’t have come at a better time for everyone seeking a transit solution to today’s high gas prices,” said Sound Transit Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “This new park-and-ride facility in the median means we can increase access to transit while improving the reliability and safety of our highway lanes for drivers and transit riders alike.”

“We’re proud to be a partner on this project,” said Paula Hammond, Washington State Secretary of Transportation. “The new ramp supplements our new HOV lanes with added access and parking opportunities for riders. The transportation system works best when people have more transportation choices and when we find ways to operate the overall system more efficiently. This project accomplishes those things.”

While this is not the first partnership for WSDOT and Sound Transit to build a transit facility adjacent to a highway, siting this facility in the freeway median saved taxpayers money because no funds were spent to acquiring land.

“There is another huge benefit to this project: cooperation. Time and again, we’re showing the region how a number of different jurisdictions and agencies can and are working together,” said Sound Transit Boardmember and Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts. “This freeway station satisfies short-term needs here in Everett and Snohomish County, and it also shows how transit is an important long-term answer in this region.”

In addition to the park-and-ride lot, crews also widened the 112th Street bridge from two to five lanes to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. New retaining walls will protect sensitive areas, and a wall along the east side of I-5 at the park-and-ride area will absorb traffic noise.

“This project and the work of all the partners involved is good news for anyone traveling to, from or through the South Everett area,” said Everett mayor Ray Stephanson. “The work the city has done in conjunction with the park-and-ride facility means we have safer and more convenient access to and from the park-and-ride, no matter if you drive, walk or bike across 112th Street.”

State Representative Mike Sells noted, “Investments in our transportation infrastructure, like this new freeway station, not only make it easier to get to jobs around the region, but also create family-wage jobs. That’s good for workers, their families and for the region’s economy.”

The new park-and-ride lot will meet the growing demand of transit users in the south Everett area. The project includes new northbound and southbound HOV on and off-ramps and an extended northbound HOV lane to just north of the Highway 526 interchange. These changes allow buses, carpools and vanpools to enter and exit the freeway without weaving through three lanes of traffic.

The project’s innovative approaches and successes ultimately saved nearly $200,000 and produced a better project. One major cost-saving environmental effort re-used excavated soil on the site instead of hauling it away. Some of the soil was used to create a noise berm instead of building a more expensive noise wall, limiting the negative environmental and traffic impacts of hauling soil away by truck.

“The South Everett Freeway Station project takes a big step forward in helping satisfy the demand for transit services and parking in Snohomish County. But future demand is looming, and Sound Transit is working with Community Transit and the region’s transit agencies and jurisdictions to plan for the increased transit demand that we know is coming,” noted Sound Transit Boardmember and Edmonds City Councilmember Deanna Dawson.

The new South Everett Freeway Station will be open to commuters on Sunday, September 21. Sound Transit routes 510 and 532 will serve the new facility, as well as Everett Transit route 19. The existing Eastmont Park-and-Ride will continue to be served by Sound Transit Route 513, and Everett Transit Route 19 will connect Eastmont with the new South Everett facility. More information about the project and the celebration is available at x1877.xml.