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Sound Transit invites public input on the design of the Sounder parking garage

Sound Transit is seeking public input on the visual design options for a planned new car park in Kent for Sounder Train commuters.

The agency is improving access to Kent station for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and bus users, including building a parking garage with 534 spaces as well as improving pavements, bikes and buses . Construction of the garage is expected to begin in late 2023 and be completed in 2026. The garage will be at East James Street and Railroad Avenue North.

“Your feedback will help us determine the visual design of our new parking garage,” according to Sound Transit. “Should we stand out or blend in? Do you feel modern or classic? »

Here are the ways to participate:

• Visit the open day online until April 26 (available in English, Spanish and Russian).

• Attend the walk-in session: Thursday, April 14, 3:30-6:30 p.m., Kent Station, 301 Railroad Ave N, east platform near bus loop.

• Attend the virtual Q&A session: Monday, April 18, from noon to 1 p.m. (see link at https://kentstation.participate.online)

In 2017, Sound Transit worked closely with the City of Kent and collected community feedback to identify a site for new parking and other improvements. The Sound Transit Board then identified a “set of preferred improvements” that included East James Street and Railroad Avenue North as the new parking site, where the Washington Cold Storage building is located.

“We then created concept designs and performed the required environmental reviews,” according to Sound Transit. “We halted work on this project in 2020 due to financial uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and restarted in late 2021.”

In addition to the garage, the project includes:

• A new bus layover facility (funding partnership with King County Metro)

• Reconfigured pick-up/drop-off area

• Pedestrian improvements at the intersection of East Smith Street and Railroad Avenue North

• Sidewalk improvements and mid-block crossing on Railroad Avenue North, just north of East Smith Street

Voters approved additional Sounder parking garages in Kent, Auburn and Sumner in 2008 as part of the Sound Transit 2 package. The Sound Transit Board suspended the projects in 2010 due to the Great Recession when tax revenue sales for the agency were weaker than expected. The agency’s board reinstated garage funding in 2016 and now hopes to meet the final deadline.

Commuters now park at the Kent Station Garage, 301 Railroad Ave. N., which opened in 2001, just north of West Smith Street. The garage and surface lot offer 996 parking spaces, but they fill up quickly (at least before COVID-19), which is why the agency decided they needed a second garage.

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Deena S. Hawkins

The author Deena S. Hawkins