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Draft Plan Captures Community Vision for NE Seattle Neighborhoods Around New Sound Transit Stations

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today released a draft station area plan for the neighborhoods surrounding Sound Transit’s future light rail stations at 130th St NE and 148th St NE.

“Having a multi-modal city that moves people out of their cars and onto high-quality transit, is key to reducing carbon emissions, as well as ensuring communities have the resources they need to get to work, school, and appointments in between as we begin to reopen our City,” said Mayor Durkan. “This new Sound Transit station will bring positive change to the neighborhood. We can shape that change to ensure that more people can live near excellent transit, access the station easily, and find the services they need in their growing neighborhood.” 

The draft plan expresses the community vision for a neighborhood with new housing and services with easy walking and bike access to the stations. There is strong interest in the neighborhood for day care, coffee shops, and other small retail. The community also expressed support for protecting environmentally sensitive areas near Thornton Creek and the Licorice Fern Natural Area. The draft plan does not consider changes to existing uses at Jackson Park Golf Course. 

The City is considering early action for the block immediately adjacent to the future station at 130th St. Last year, the Seattle City Council requested a study of possible Comprehensive Plan amendments that would allow additional housing, small businesses, and other services across the street from the station. The Council may consider an amendment to the Future Land Use Map later this year, the first step in allowing construction of new housing types or retail. Zoning changes would only be considered after further environmental review. 

The draft plan released today will be refined through additional community input over the coming months. The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) is currently seeking feedback through an online open house and survey and will continue to raise awareness of the draft plan with a mailing to the neighborhood. After the plan is finalized later this year, OPCD is planning to conduct a zoning study for the area within a 10-minute walk (about 1/2 mile) of the future stations.  

“This is your draft plan and we need your continued involvement to finalize your vision for the future of the neighborhood,” said Sam Assefa, director of OPCD. “Light rail service will transform this area forever. We want to ensure that this massive public investment will not only serve the needs of today’s residents, but also improve equity of access to both local and regional opportunities for generations to come.” 

The station at 130th St NE was approved by voters in 2016 and is currently scheduled to open in 2031, but that timeline is subject to Sound Transit’s current realignment process. Sound Transit is on track to open the station at 148th St NE and the Lynnwood extension that passes through the 130th St Station in 2024. 

Councilmember Debora Juarez, a leading advocate for the 130th St Station, sponsored a resolution to study accelerating construction of the station so that it could open as early as 2026.  

“North Seattle is ready for growth and economic recovery,” said Councilmember Juarez (District 5). “NHL Seattle’s headquarters and training facility, opening in fall 2021, will bring 800,000 unique visitors to the area every year. We cannot wait seven more years for accessible mobility options. This draft plan promises a one-stop shopping and living experience – where you can pick up your child from daycare after work, swing by the grocery store, and take a walk through your neighborhood park on your way home. It’s clear that folks want a more walkable, more connected eco-friendly way-of-life, and this draft plan is our blueprint for making it a reality.” 

The City has been working with community members and organizations in the area since 2019. At the outset, OPCD, in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), conducted open houses, workshops, and community meetings to generate a shared vision for the station area. During the pandemic, the City produced narrated presentations and conducted online surveys to further refine that community input.

SDOT released a multimodal access study in December 2020. The City is considering 18 projects for a better walking and biking connection across I-5, improved access to local bus routes, and new trails to existing open space in the station area.

The future 130th St Station is located between the Bitter Lake and Lake City urban villages. The station at 148th St will be served by future Sound Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit service along 145th St NE.