News The Haugen Amendment: Transit Hub at UW
posted by April 4 at 11:32 AMon
Senate transportation chair Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Camano Island) has attached an amendment to the light rail/roads joint ballot title legislation.
Nervous that Sound Transit is going to sign a deal that will botch the idea for a transit hub that connects 520 bus service with the Husky Stadium UW light rail stop, Sen. Haugen added this mandate as the bill made it out of the Senate Transportation Committee before cut off on Monday:
However, as part of the single ballot proposition submitted to voters under this subsection, the authority shall include in the authority’s plan assurances that the authority will not enter into any agreement that would restrict the type of transit station serving the west end of the SR 520 floating bridge such that it would be unable to accommodate a comprehensive and coordinated corridor-based multimodal public transportation system to serve the SR 520 bridge area from Seattle to Redmond, including a high capacity transportation system not limited to rail service.
Why would ST sign a deal that would ratchet back a transit hub at a light rail station? I’m not sure they would. (I’ve got a call into them now to get their take on this amendment.) But here are some theories:
1. The UW is not to keen on having scores of buses pouring in.
2. A smaller station is cheaper.
I talked to Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick about Sen. Haugen’s amendment. Patrick says, “We intend to work closely with WashDot and the UW to coordinate our plans. We’re working with WashDot to maximize the public benefit of both projects. [WashDot’s] 520 design isn’t done yet.”
Patrick acknowledged that bargaining with UW—which is antsy about a big transit center—does have its effect on what ST can do. “It’s correct that they have an understandable interest in traffic circulation.”
Patrick also said: “We’re interested in getting as many people to ride our system as we can. At the same time, we need to be sensitive to WashDot and the UW.”
I asked Patrick if—wanting to maximize ST ridership—he supported Sen. Haugen’s amendment. After all, it would seem to give ST a bargaining chip with the UW. That is: ST could say: “Look, Olympia has mandated that we’ve got to have a major transit hub here.”
Patrick said: “Our commitment is to work with our partners. We hope the plan will please Senator Haugen. ”