Transit Briefs: NCTD, Sound Transit

In response to rider requests, the NCTD Board of Directors approved two more weekday (Monday through Thursday) evening trips as well as additional weekend trips for COASTER. The updated schedule, to be released in September, will take effect in October. It will include 30 weekday trips, up from 22; 32 Friday trips, up from 26 current trips during the summer and 22 during the winter; 20 Saturday trips, up from 12 current trips during the summer and eight during the winter; and 20 Sunday trips, up from eight. The schedule will also be modified to bridge existing service gaps. Additionally, Sorrento Valley COASTER Connection service will be modified during weekday peak hours, and BREEZE bus trips into the Poinsettia Station will be added as part of a pilot program to connect with COASTER during peak hours.

The expanded COASTER service is fully funded through TransNet, the county-wide half-cent sales tax for transportation projects that is administered by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear

“This increase in service for our transit partners is a great example of what we can do today to make transit a more convenient option,” SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said. “The goal of SANDAG’s draft 2021 Regional Plan, the blueprint for the future of transportation, is to create a faster, fairer and cleaner transportation system for every person in the region now and in the future.”

In February, NCTD launched five new Siemens Charger locomotives and several renovated Bombardier cars into COASTER service. An additional four new locomotives and eleven passenger railcars are expected by June 2023, according to NCTD.

Through their Trees for Rail partnership, Sound Transit, the city of Shoreline and King Conservation District (KCD) will add native trees and shrubs to the Lynnwood Link light rail corridor in Shoreline, Wash.

Construction of the 8.5-mile, four-station Lynnwood Link Extension project is now under way to bring light rail to north Seattle, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood by 2024 (see map, left). (The Northgate Link Extension opens this October.)

The Trees for Rail partnership leverages KCD’s county-wide Urban Tree Canopy program and Sound Transit resources to meet Shoreline’s landscaping “buffer” requirements between the light rail corridor and residential neighborhoods.

Because in some locations there is not enough space on Sound Transit-owned property or in the city right-of-way for plant buffers, Shoreline, Sound Transit and KCD developed a plan to offer trees and shrubs to be planted at nearby homes or adjacent city rights-of-way in the impacted neighborhoods. More than 200 Shoreline homeowners in parts of the Ridgecrest, North City and Ballinger neighborhoods are eligible to receive free plants. KCD will be contacting those homeowners throughout the coming months and will begin planting later this year.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff

“This program builds on our existing commitment to plant thousands of trees along the Lynnwood Link alignment,” Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said. “We think teaming up with the city of Shoreline and bringing the expertise of KCD to homeowners in these areas will be a big win for residents and the environment.”

“We are excited about approaching rail corridor mitigation in this manner,” Shoreline Mayor Will Hall said. “This new approach reduces the number of property acquisitions needed by Sound Transit, while still ensuring there are adequate landscape buffers along the light rail corridor.”

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