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Sound Transit adjusts Lynnwood link extension plan to avoid overcrowding


(The Center Square) – Sound Transit is initiating a new plan to reduce crowding at its upcoming link light rail extension through Lynnwood.

Proposed steps. announced last week, include increasing storage capacity for trains to allow for more frequent service during peak hours and alternative bus service between Snohomish County and Seattle.

Sound Transit will delay the opening of the 2 Line over Lake Washington until after the Lynnwood link extension is finished to allow the agency to store new rail cars at its new operations and maintenance facility in Bellevue.

As a result, Sound Transit projects four-car trains running every eight minutes during peak hours rather than the originally projected running four-car trains every 10 minutes during peak hours.

According to Sound Transit, the other operations and maintenance facility in Seattle’s SODO District is already at full capacity, limiting storage options and creating the potential for crowded conditions on trains when the Lynnwood extension opens.

The changes will create 25% more capacity on trains, reducing crowding, especially during afternoon peak hours.

“This action makes good on our commitment to open the starter line in East King County and will help make Lynnwood Link service much more reliable when it opens,” Sound Transit System Expansion Committee Chair Claudia Balducci said in a news release.

The $2.9 billion Lynnwood Link Extension project budget includes up to $1.17 billion from a grant agreement executed by the Federal Transit Administration.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau also executed a $658 million loan supporting the project. According to Sound Transit, the agreement should save regional taxpayers between $200 million and $300 million through lower interest costs.

The Lynnwood Link extension is scheduled to open this fall, with pre-revenue and simulated service for the extension is planned to begin in the second quarter of this year. The light rail line will allow riders access to travel between south Snohomish County and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.