One of many design examples Sound Transit is considering for a new Kent Station parking garage for Sounder commuters. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

One of many design examples Sound Transit is considering for a new Kent Station parking garage for Sounder commuters. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

Sound Transit seeks public input on Sounder parking garage design

Agency wants to know what style people prefer

Sound Transit wants public feedback about the visual design options for a new parking garage planned in Kent for Sounder train commuters.

The agency is improving access to Kent Station for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders, including building a parking garage with 534 stalls as well as sidewalk, bicycle and bus enhancements. Construction on the garage is expected to begin in late 2023 with completion 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 it stand out or blend in? Feel modern or classic?”

Here are ways to participate:

Visit the online open house through April 26 (available in English, Spanish, and Russian).

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

• Attend the virtual Q&A session: Monday, April 18, 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 a new parking garage and other improvements. The Sound Transit Board then identified a “preferred improvement package” that included East James Street and Railroad Avenue North as the new parking garage site, where the Washington Cold Storage building sits.

“We then created conceptual designs and completed the required environmental reviews,” according to Sound Transit. “We paused 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 a 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 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 garages in 2016, and now hopes to hit the latest timeline.

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 provide 996 parking spaces, but they fill up quickly (at least they did prior to COVID-19), which is why the agency decided it needed a second garage.


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