Sound Transit solicits public comment on potential site for new light rail operations and maintenance facility

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New vehicle maintenance site needed for expanding light rail fleet

Sound Transit today kicks off the public comment period on environmental studies outlining the impacts from a new light rail operations and maintenance satellite facility. The new facility is needed to service the expanding light rail train fleet as the system expands from 16 to 50 miles by 2023.

The existing light rail fleet will triple in size from 62 to 180 vehicles by the time the new voter-approved expansions are all running. The current operations and maintenance facility in Seattle has capacity to store and maintain 104 light rail vehicles. As Sound Transit buys additional vehicles in advance of opening voter-approved rail lines to the north, east and south, the existing facility will reach full capacity by 2020.

Sound Transit narrowed potential locations down to four sites that could meet the unique size and operational needs for the new facility. With these constraints in mind, the potential sites include one site in the Lynnwood area between I-5 and 52nd Avenue West and two commercial properties in Bellevue between downtown Bellevue and Redmond. The Bellevue sites are west of 120th Avenue NE adjacent to existing railroad tracks and the other is at 130th Avenue NE and NE 20th Street adjacent to Hwy 520.

The new facility needs to be close to an operating light rail line, roughly rectangular in shape and up to 25 acres in order to store and maintain the additional fleet requirements. The new facility is estimated to cost between $345 million and $415 million.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and other details about the project are available online at: omsf

The documents can also be reviewed at the Lynnwood and Bellevue public libraries. Sound Transit will host two open houses with details about the potential sites and offer opportunities to comment on the options at the following meetings:

Lynnwood Operations and Maintenance Facility Public Hearing
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th Street SW
Lynnwood, WA 98036

Bellevue Operations and Maintenance Facility Public Hearing
Thursday, June 5, 2014
5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Coast Hotel Bellevue
625 116th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

The public can also comment on the project by email or regular mail at the following addresses:

Email: omsf@soundtransit.org

Mail: OMSF DEIS Comments, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle WA 98104

The DEIS examines a number of topics associated with the project including: noise and vibration; land use; visual and economic impacts; social, neighborhood, and social service impacts; and, impacts to parklands, open spaces, and other natural resources. The DEIS public comment period closes June 23, 2014. All feedback on the potential sites will be presented to the Sound Transit Board of Directors.

The Sound Transit Board is expected to identify a preferred alternative later this summer. Staff will then begin work on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) which will address comments on the Draft EIS and move forward with engineering design work on the preferred alternative. The FEIS will be complete in mid 2015 with a final site selected in the fall of 2015.

Sound Transit will open new light rail lines between downtown Seattle and the University of Washington in 2016 along with an extension to South 200th Street in SeaTac. Extensions to the Northgate neighborhood north of Seattle will open in 2021 and extensions to Lynnwood and Bellevue will open in 2023.

Planning and environmental work are also moving forward to establish alignments for extending light rail from South 200th Street to the Kent/Des Moines area by 2023. Following the 2023 opening of all the Sound Transit 2 extensions that regional voters approved in 2008, Link trains are projected to carry more than 280,000 riders each weekday by 2030. The projects are playing a major role in the region's ongoing recession recovery, creating a projected 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The region's 50 miles of light rail will serve as a critical element of the region's overall transportation system, significantly expanding its capacity and attracting riders who won't compete for increasingly scarce space on congested freeways and roads. In 2012 alone, the average Puget Sound resident spent 33 hours stuck in traffic. As growth continues, commuters could spend 300 percent more time sitting in traffic according to Puget Sound Regional Council projections.