Courtesy Photo, Sound Transit

Courtesy Photo, Sound Transit

Sound Transit postpones Kent Sounder parking garage opening to 2027

Fourth delay since agency in 2017 announced 2023 opening; voters approved funding in 2008

Sound Transit has pushed out completion of a new, second Kent parking garage for Sounder train commuters to 2027.

The agency has postponed the opening date four times since it announced a 2023 opening in 2017. Voters approved funding in 2008 with an expected opening of the garage in 2015.

On Jan. 26, the Sound Transit Board approved a design-build project for the parking garage at Sumner Station, a $49 million 602-stall facility expected to be completed in 2026. At the same meeting, parking garages in Kent and Auburn were postponed until 2o27, according to a Jan. 26 Sound Transit news release.

“Those two garages have moved into 2027 because the planning process took longer than anticipated,” said David Jackson, a Sound Transit spokesperson, in an email. “Those schedules also include four months of project float.”

Design-build contracts are expected to be awarded this year for Kent and Auburn, Jackson said. He said project costs in Kent and Auburn are unavailable until contracts are awarded.

Kent has wanted a second parking garage for many years because the current Kent Station garage, 301 Railroad Ave. N., just north of West Smith Street, fills up with commuters. That, however, has changed since the pandemic struck in 2020.

Parking at the Kent Station garage that opened in 2001 is about 40% full on weekdays, Jackson said. Sounder runs weekdays between Seattle and Lakewood.

Sounder ridership has plummeted over the last couple of years, according to a Jan. 1 report by The Seattle Times. A high of 415,173 riders took Sounder in October 2019. That number sat at 104,879 in November 2022.

According to Sound Transit, Kent had 1,900 average daily boardings in 2019. Kent had 600 average daily boardings in 2022, which is nearly double the average daily boardings in the fourth quarter of 2020 when few rode the train due to the pandemic.

Kent will have 415 net new parking stalls at the new garage, according to agency documents. The garage is planned to be built along Railroad Avenue North, just south of West James Street.

In addition to more parking, the Sumner, Kent and Auburn stations will get access improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians. Kent also will receive improved connections with King County Metro buses, which includes 12 routes and a new RapidRide line slated to open in 2026.

Voters approved additional parking garages for Kent and Auburn in 2008 as part of the Sound Transit2 package. The Sound Transit Board suspended the projects in 2010 because of the Great Recession when sales tax revenue for the agency came up shorter than projected.

The agency’s board restored funding for the Kent and Auburn garages in 2016. But the impact of COVID-19 on sales tax revenue for Sound Transit caused the agency to further delay the Kent and Auburn projects.

The board voted 16-0 on Jan. 26 to approve a resolution to move the parking garage projects forward at Sumner, Auburn and Kent with a total budget of $359.6 million.

”I truly appreciate the opportunity to see this finally come to fruition,” said Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, also a Sound Transit Board member.

Kent City Council President Bill Boyce said during a Jan. 27 phone interview that the city had not yet received any official notice from Sound Transit about the delay, so he declined to comment about the 2027 date.

Kent parking garage delays

• 2008: Voters approve new parking garage to open in 2015

• 2010: Project delayed due to Great Recession

• 2016: Sound Transit restores funding

• 2017: Sound Transit releases opening date of 2023

• 2020: Opening date postponed to 2024

• 2021: Opening date postponed to 2025

• 2022: Opening date postponed to 2026

• 2023: Opening date postponed to 2027


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
Kent School District announces employees of the year for 2023-2024

Top teacher, principal, bus driver, coach, paraeducator, custodian and more

t
Medical examiner identifies second victim in fiery Kent car crash

Troy Thorp, 61, died in May 11 single-vehicle crash along South 272nd Street on West Hill

t
Kent man, 52, receives reduced sentence in Seattle fatal shooting

Pleads guilty to lesser charge of manslaughter after video of 2020 shooting indicates self-defense

t
Kent Police use drone, K-9 unit to capture assault suspect

Man had fled after fight with security guard at apartment complex along SE Kent-Kangley Road

Jail bars. File photo
Renton man convicted in 2018 Des Moines homicide

Jurors found 28-year-old Yourhighness Jeramiah Bolar of Renton guilty of two felony charges.

t
One of two victims identified in fiery Kent crash

Kristen Anne Meyers, 53, died in May 11 crash on West Hill, according to medical examiner

t
City-owned ShoWare Center in Kent loses $742,675 in 2023

Losses lower than projected but expenses continue to exceed revenue at 6,200-seat arena

t
Kent firefighters extinguish two fires on the same morning | Photos

Friday, May 17 at apartment leasing office in the Valley and at a vacant East Hill house

Courtesy Photo, City of Kent
City of Kent population drops by 1,051 in 2023 compared to 2022

Decline similar to many cities of 50,000 or more across the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau

t
Kent Police Blotter: April 25 to May 8

Incidents include burglaries, robberies, shootings

t
Rape charges dismissed against former Kent school bus driver

Prosecutors decide they could not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt due to medical tests

t
Feds indict 9 South King County residents on drug trafficking charges

Those accused from Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Enumclaw