Everett Light Rail Route Options Generating Lots Of Discussion

September 29, 2022

Everett, Everett Economy

Route Alternative map including the alignment to the Southwest Everett Industrial Center

Potential locations for the operations and maintenance base.

“Light Rail does not exist just to get people to Seattle,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said Wednesday. “I want people in King County to use light rail to come to their jobs in the Southwest Industrial Center in Everett.”

Mayor Franklin was speaking during a meeting of the Elected Leadership Group for the Everett Link Extension. According to Sound Transit the EVLE project’s Elected Leadership Group (ELG) is a group of elected officials that represent the project corridor and the Sound Transit Board. The purpose of this group is to represent local perspectives in the planning process, strive for consensus around key decisions and work through project issues as necessary.

Here’s more detail from Sound Transit on the purpose of the Elected Leadership Group:

  • Offer an opportunity for collaboration across partner jurisdictions and Sound Transit, at the elected official level.
  • Provide ELG members the opportunity to learn in detail about project risks and opportunities, share multiple interests and discuss constraints that affect the project.
  • Provide a forum for surfacing and understanding issues, developing and evaluating creative solutions, and the identification and analyzation of tradeoffs.
  • Collaborate to produce durable decisions that help to streamline the project development and delivery process.
  • Consider the needs/opportunities for EVLE and OMF North within the context of the overall transit system.
  • Make recommendations to the Sound Transit Board at key milestones.
    Mayor Franklin went on to explain her position that when people think of Everett, they think of north Everett and downtown but south Everett is the largest part of the city. It’s the most diverse, presents the greatest opportunity for transit oriented development but is also a part of Everett, Washington that has lacked investment for years.

    Also speaking up at the ELG meeting yesterday was Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers who has served on the Sound Transit Board for 7 years. “Representative Alignment is what the voters chose,” said Somers. “Southwest Everett is the largest manufacturing center in the State with 40,000 jobs, we need to stop wasting energy on things being pushed on us from outside.”

    Here’s a recap of yesterday’s meeting from Sound Transit and some links to the latest on the Everett Link Extension.
    In June, we announced two new route alignments to be studied, one along I-5 and one along SR 99/Evergreen Way, as a response to public comments and Board direction to explore cost savings during the realignment process.

    At their meeting on September 28, the Elected Leadership Group (ELG) provided direction to no longer study the I-5 and SR 99/Evergreen alignments in the Level 2 evaluation. They expressed concerns about the I-5 and SR 99/Evergreen alignments, including:
    • These alignments are inconsistent with the Representative Alignment adopted by the Board in the voter-approved Sound Transit 3 plan.
    • Compared to the Representative Alignment, the I-5 and SR 99/Evergreen alignments do not serve some areas of the community, including the largest employment center in the region and certain historically underserved populations.
    • As part of ST3 planning, similar alignments along I-5 and SR 99 were studied but were ultimately not adopted by the Board.
    • The removal of stations and reduction of light rail service is too great of a tradeoff to continue to study the I-5 or SR 99/Evergreen alignments.

    The ELG noted the concerns raised by the Community Advisory Group, community organizations and members of the public, specifically around equity issues, gentrification and displacement. They stated their commitment to bring light rail and associated benefits to current residents and businesses while working to address issues like housing affordability and potential changes to community culture and character.

    We will continue evaluating the alternatives recommended for further study by the ELG in April.

    Results of this evaluation will be shared with the ELG, the Community Advisory Group and the public this winter and will not include I-5 or SR 99/Evergreen Way alignments. The public will be invited to provide comments during a public scoping comment period at that time.

    Click here for a full look at the Everett Link Extension on the Sound Transit Website.

    About myeverettnews

    My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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