Tuesday, June 6, 2017

UPDATED: Council poised to approve design and construction of Downtown light rail

Editor's note:  The Council hasn't formally approved the design and construction of the Downtown light rail...but they're close.  

Per last night's staff report posted on the consent agenda Council is poised to approve the design and construction of Downtown Redmond light rail project (Concept 2) with a scheduled opening to Downtown in 2024.

The City Council considered changes to the station location and vertical profile of the station and guideway as part of the Downtown Transit Integration (TRAIN) Study, which was conducted between August 2016 and February 2017. Four station area concepts are shown in the above video. 

Originally, the preferred alternative for the Downtown Redmond extension and station just east of Half Price Books called for an at-grade station / extension and a "retained cut crossing" under the SR 520 interchange. (According to a reader, "retained cut" is a walled trench, supposedly, in order to pass below the fly-over lanes.) 

After receiving community input, which strongly favored an elevated alignment (and a station in the in the vicinity of 164th Ave. NE and 166th Ave. NE), the Council recommended an elevated downtown station.  Key considerations for both the community and City Council were maintaining multimodal mobility in Downtown and reducing potential conflicts between light rail vehicles and pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.

Council concluded significant factors in making their recommendation were the ability to connect the East Lake Sammamish Trail to the Redmond Central Connector, overall project affordability and bicycle and pedestrian access to the Connector Connector trail.

Bob Yoder

-- Source:  6/6/17 Council meeting agenda



Daniel K said...

This article is unclear. It first states the council wants a "an at-grade station in Downtown Redmond west of Leary Way" and then it states "the Council recommended an elevated station in Downtown in the “east” location."

Which is correct?

Bob Yoder said...

By "east location" I think staff is talking about the Marymoor Station. I've since included a link on this post to the staff report. Council has not taken action as yet. This post only describes Council's involvement in the review process. I hope that helps.

Daniel K said...

No it doesn't. My point is that on the one hand you write that the council wants an "at-grade station" downtown, and then you write the opposite, that they recommend an "elevated station".

My understanding was that their preference had been for the station to be elevated. I also recalled that engineers did not think that a retained cut crossing under the 520 fly-over ramp was an option due to the water table in that location, and that it wasn't necessary - i.e. the train had enough room to pass under the fly-over without it, before having to elevate over Bear Creek and the Redmond Connector trail.

Bob Yoder said...

You really sound like you know what you're talking about and I'm sorry I was miss-leading. Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad the station will be elevated.

Daniel K said...

Well, personally I would prefer that the downtown station is at-grade as I think it will be an eye-sore if elevated, but I understand why people would like it elevated.

I'm just trying to get clarity. I've attended the community meetings on both stations and read what has been reported, but I know that those were meetings intended to get community feedback and that no final decisions have been made, and it sounds like from what you reported that the retained cut is being considered more than I thought it would be.

I am eager to discover what will be decided.

Bob Yoder said...

"Redtained cut?" I never mentioned it in the report. What is it?

Daniel K said...

You wrote, "a retained cut crossing of the SR 520 interchange".

I had to Google for what it is: basically a walled trench, supposedly in order to pass below the fly-over lanes. Perhaps only a few feet below grade.

Bob Yoder said...

Well, it looks like I need to read the staff report more carefully....and Google more often. Thx for holding my hand.

Mike Moreland said...

So the west location is near Half-Price books and the east location is in front of town center? Elevated would help keep traffic moving but could potentially be an eye sore.

Bob Yoder said...

Remember, Redmond council still hasn't formally approved design and construction, but I think they will soon once Sound Transit signs off.

From everything I've read and heard, the west station will be located near Half Price Books and the east station will be in the vicinity of Maryooor Park. About 1600 parking spaces are planned in and around the Marymoor station, mostly to service Sammamish ridge commuters and future aquatics center users. Nancy McCormmick (retired councilwoman of 24 years) says the parking spaces will also benefit Redmond by relieving east-west traffic flows.

Everyone seems to worry about the elevated being an eyesore - I'll be packing my ear-plugs.

Daniel K said...

I believe Mike was talking about the Downtown Redmond Station locations, and yes, those would be the two choices, with community feedback and Council preference for the location next to the Redmond Town Center parking garage. An additional rail spur would extend a short distance beyond that point.

The SE Redmond Station is the one near Marymoor, and will have a ton of parking (I've heard 1400 spaces), probably in two separate parking garages to be built. This is already a very congested area during rush hour, so traffic is of major concern at that location.

Bob Yoder said...

Oh, yes - Mike was indeed talking about locations for the Downtown Station. Reading the staff report the Downtown station will be in the vicinity of 164th Avenue and NE 166th Avenue. I don't know why they're planning a spur. Geez, that would add to the eyesore and noise.

I find staff naming the Marymoor station "SE Redmond Station" very confusing. I don't understand why they did this. At a meeting I heard Council thinks Marymoor station parking might be scattered around "the neighborhood"...not necessarily in two separate parking garages. Margeson thought parking in the garages would be unbearable. At the last Council meeting during Items a Marymoor developer started lobbying for parking in his proposed buildings.

Daniel K said...

Well, the spur would be a contingency for moving a disabled train out of the way and perhaps a means to have trains shift tracks. I'm not sure all the reasons for it. FOr sure, if the platform is elevated, the spur would be too. It might be a bit longer than a train length long.

SE Redmond is what the neighborhood is called, so it isn't that confusing to people in that neighborhood. Interesting that a council member thinks that parking could be scattered around. Each garage would have at least two entries, and a means to turn around within it, unlike the one at the Redmond Transit Center where you have to do a U-turn at the top to get back out when you get to the end.

I'm sure what we were presented with about the SE Redmond station at the community event will evolve considerably. Right now, everyone is throwing out ideas and seeing which ones will stick.

Bob Yoder said...

Very interesting, Daniel At the last council meeting two developers spoke during Items from the Audience encouraging public-private partnerships for parking spaces. The developers want to give a portion of their buildings to the public for parking. They don't think "massive" garages would be in character with the developing neighborhood.

Thanks for conversing Daniel. I've learned a lot from you.

Anonymous said...

The "spur" (not really a spur) is needed for overnight train storage since the downtown station is at the end of the line. Sound transit needs trains at the station when they start running each morning.