Residents can go online to help decide which local government projects should receive System Access Funds from Sound Transit to improve sidewalks, bike lanes, new pickup and drop-off areas around Sounder train and Link light rail stations.
The 2016 voter-approved Sound Transit 3 System Plan included a System Access Fund for projects and is allocated equally among Sound Transit’s five subareas for projects that make it easier and more convenient to get to transit.
The city of Kent submitted two projects for consideration:
• An $800,000 grant for lighting and pedestrian wayfinding along West James Street and West Smith Street between the James Street Park & Ride lot and Kent Sounder Station. City staff has requested that the James/Smith streets pedestrian project start in 2020 and be completed in 2021.
• A $250,000 grant for a pedestrian crossing on West James Street at Second Avenue North. The project would include a rapid flash beacon that pedestrians could activate by pushing a button. People often cross illegally in the area across from the North Park neighborhood, according to city documents.
Earlier in 2019, Sound Transit opened a call for projects to solicit proposals from local governments and transit agencies. Sound Transit received 53 applications from 33 jurisdictions totaling more than $86 million in requests, according to a Sound Transit news release. In this first round of funding, the Sound Transit Board of Directors will allocate up to $10 million per subarea for a total of up to $50 million.
Sound Transit has invited the public to an online open house to provide input to help determine which projects should receive System Access Funds. The online open house is available at systemaccessfund.infocommunity.org/ through Aug. 23.
Sound Transit staff evaluated the project proposals based on policy and technical factors, rating applications high, medium, or low for each factor, and assigning each project an overall rating of highly recommended, recommended, or not recommended. The online open house is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the System Access Fund and provide Sound Transit with input that will help inform how these resources are distributed.
In September, Sound Transit staff plan to review evaluated projects and public comments with the Executive Committee of the Sound Transit Board. The Sound Transit Board is expected to award this initial round of System Access Funds to projects later this year.