New Tukwila Sounder station is closest access for Renton residents

The Tukwila Station on Longacres Way in Tukwila is a major regional transportation hub for Sound Transit, King County Metro Transit and Amtrak.

The new Tukwila Sounder Station provides access for Renton commuters.

The Tukwila Sounder Station dedicated on Feb. 18 provides Renton residents with their closest access to Sound Transit commuter rail and connections to Link light rail

The Tukwila Station on Longacres Way in Tukwila is a major regional transportation hub for Sound Transit, King County Metro Transit and Amtrak.

“Renton is one of the few cities that has no access to Sound Transit and nothing planned in the near future,” said Preeti Shridhar, Renton’s deputy public affairs administrator.

“All other South King County cities have direct access,” she said.

The new station replaces a temporary station with wooden platforms that opened in February 2001 and was accessible by a dirt road.

Ground was broken on the $46 million Sounder station in June 2013, by local, state and federal officials. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who played a key role in obtaining federal funding for the project, spoke at the dedication, along with U.S. Rep. Adam Smith.

Representing Renton were Marcie Palmer, chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, and Gregg Zimmerman, public works director, and members of his staff. Palmer participated in the ribbon cutting.

Shridhar pointed out that license-plate surveys by Sound Transit several years ago showed that more commuters using the station came from the east – Renton and other areas to the east – than from the west.

Renton’s commuters, who park at the station or ride a bus there, use commuter rail to travel north and south, just as many workers use commuter rail to get to their jobs in Renton, she said.

The Sounder Station and the connecting route on Southwest 27th Street is important to developers, she said.

Like Tukwila, Renton didn’t provide funding for the construction of the Sounder station but it worked with Tukwila on planning.

However, Renton provided major funding for the Southwest 27th Street/Strander Boulevard project from Oakesdale Avenue to the station’s southern entrance driveway, according to Shridhar.

The cost of the two-phase project was $31.3 million. Renton’s share was $8.5 million, including local funds and paying off bonds.

The City of Tukwila is now seeking state and federal grants to extend Strander Boulevard all the way to West Valley Highway within its borders.

“This link will provide a major new east/west trans-valley arterial running from State Route 167 to I-5,” Shridhar said.

The City of Renton has only one other road project in the Renton Valley in its six-year Transportation Improvement Plan. That $4.4 million project, scheduled to be built in 2020, would widen Lind Avenue Southwest from Southwest 16th Street to Southwest 43rd Street to five lanes, where required, she said.

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