Sound Transit Board identifies preferred site for parking and range of bike and pedestrian improvements for Kent and Auburn stations
Improvements include new parking garages, adding approximately 500 new spaces in each city
The Sound Transit Board of Directors today identified preferred alternatives for the Kent and Auburn Station Access Improvements projects. The preferred alternatives include locations to build additional parking garages and a suite of access improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders in each city.
"I am very pleased that the needs of South King County transit riders are being addressed by Sound Transit," said Sound Transit Boardmember and Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus. "Many members of the community got involved in the planning process, and they can feel proud that their input helped shape the improvements at these stations that will benefit the region for years to come."
"As Sounder ridership continues to grow, these improvements will go a long way toward alleviating parking issues at these high-demand stations," said Sound Transit Board member and King County councilmember Dave Upthegrove. "Easy, reliable access to transit is crucial in south King and Pierce counties, where residents experience some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation."
In Kent, the Sound Transit Board identified parking garage site 3, south of E. James St. In Auburn, the Sound Transit Board identified parking garage site 1, at the 1st St. NW and B St. NW parking lot. Both garages are estimated to add approximately 500 net new parking spaces. The specifics of both projects will be refined as project development advances.
The board also identified a proposed package of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access improvements at both locations. The projects were prioritized as the most effective at improving non-motorized access to the stations.
The Kent and Auburn Station Access Improvements projects were approved by voters in 2008. Funding was suspended in 2010 because of the economic recession, and the Sound Transit Board restored funding in 2016. Sound Transit will now move the project forward to prepare for preliminary engineering and environmental review. The Board will make its final decision on the project to be built when this process is complete in 2019.
Ridership on the popular Lakewood-to-Seattle Sounder line continues the growth it has experienced since service began from Tacoma nearly 17 years ago. Third quarter weekday ridership grew 6.4 percent compared to the same period in 2016, and special service to Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders FC games remain the top travel choice for many sports fans.
Sounder commuter rail service operates 13 daily roundtrip trains on its south line Monday through Friday at nine stations in Pierce and King counties. The Board's decision today comes as the agency just added two new round-trip trains to accommodate ridership growth.
More information on Sounder station access improvements can be found at soundtransit.org/Projects-and-Plans/auburn-station-access-improvements-project and soundtransit.org/Projects-and-Plans/kent-station-access-improvements-project.