A graphic shows the location of a new Sounder parking garage in Kent. COURTESY GRAPHIC, Sound Transit

A graphic shows the location of a new Sounder parking garage in Kent. COURTESY GRAPHIC, Sound Transit

Sound Transit approves contract for Kent Sounder parking garage

The $62.5 million project will add 415 parking spaces for train commuters at Kent Station

Sound Transit has awarded a design-build contract for a second Kent Station parking garage with 415 spaces for Sounder train commuters. The garage is scheduled to open in 2027.

The Sound Transit Board approved a contract with Puyallup-based Absher Construction, according to an Oct. 26 Sound Transit news release. The $62.5 million project will include a new structured parking facility, additional surface parking as well as pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

The board also approved a $9 million agreement with King County Metro for a new bus layover facility, zero emissions bus charging infrastructure and other support facilities for transit operations and bus operators.

Delivery of this bus layover facility will make it possible for Metro to provide additional transit service in the city of Kent and South King County, increasing local transit connections to high-capacity transit and supporting increased mobility, access, and ridership between Sounder, Sound Transit Express and Metro bus service, according to the news release.

Businesses and residents in the vicinity of Kent Station can expect more information about project progress and impacts before construction begins in 2024. The garage is planned to be built along Railroad Avenue North, just south of West James Street, including property where a closed cold storage warehouse now sits that will be demolished.

Voters approved funding in 2008 with an expected opening of the garage in 2015. But the Great Recession in 2010, the pandemic in 2020 and other funding issues have continually delayed the project. Sound Transit opened a garage in 2001 at 301 Railroad Ave. N., just north of West Smith Street, but that garage, at least prior to the pandemic, typically fills up.

Sound Transit’s Sounder S Line train service gives South King County residents a dependable, traffic-free commute to and from Seattle, according to the agency. The trip, with Wi-Fi, between Kent Station and Seattle’s King Street Station takes about 30 minutes. Weekend service is also offered for select major sporting events.

Kent Station is also served by Sound Transit Express bus 566 and seven King County Metro routes. A new RapidRide line is slated to open in 2026.

Sound Transit recently concluded a rider survey about the future of Sounder S Line service. The agency asked for feedback about whether Sounder should have more trips midday, in the evenings or on weekends or to have longer trains that add more capacity during peak periods.

The agency will consider survey results along with research on travel patterns and ridership forecasting, to decide whether to prioritize negotiating new trips with BNSF Railway, which owns most of the tracks Sounder runs on.

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