A rendering of the future Redmond Technology Center light rail station. Courtesy graphic

Overlake Transit Center parking lot closes for light rail construction

As part of construction of the East Link Light Rail extension, the Overlake Transit Center Park and Ride parking lot in Redmond will close on Monday.

The lot will be closed for up to six years as crews will be constructing the future Redmond Technology Center (RTC) light rail station, which has a scheduled opening for 2023.

Rachelle Cunningham, public information officer for Sound Transit, said while people won’t be able to park at the transit center, a temporary transit loop will be constructed at the south end of the site as some buses and shuttles will continue to serve the location. The north end of the site will become an active construction zone.

As part of the project, Cunningham said a new 320-stall parking garage will be constructed onsite and it is possible that the garage may be complete and ready to use before the 2023 target date for the light rail station.

With the site’s parking lot closing during construction, she said drivers will need to park in other places, such as newly added park and ride spaces.

For more information, on these new parking spots and to learn about other commute options such as carpools and vanpools, visit www.soundtransit.org/eastlink.

One-on-one trip planning service is also available through King County Metro’s Just One Trip program at justonetrip.org/resources for anyone who needs help planning their future commute.

Becky Range, communications and marketing specialist for the City of Redmond, said another tool people can use is Go Redmond, which has a page dedicated to helping people with this.

“It’s exciting to see progress on the light rail extension, but we know this closure may be an inconvenience for some,” Range acknowledged.

To increase mobility on the Eastside, Cunningham said Sound Transit has also added new trips and additional service on Eastside bus routes to increase mobility.

Like Range, Cunningham said Sound Transit knows the transit center parking lot closure will be hard for people and so they are working to provide resources to help people find alternative options.

Cunningham said it is difficult to get any kind of ridership estimate for the park and ride because there is so much bus traffic, including Sound Transit routes, King County Metro routes and Microsoft Connector shuttles. She did say that there are 222 parking spots on site and those are usually full by 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m.

Once the new station is complete, Cunningham said in addition to light rail, it will serve buses, paratransit and Microsoft Connector shuttles and feature a bike and pedestrian bridge across State Route 520.

The RTC light rail station is part of Sound Transit’s East Link, which will extend light rail 14 miles from Seattle’s International District to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond.

Cunningham said once it is complete and operational, it will be a game changer as light rail will provide a reliable form of transportation for people other than sitting in traffic. She said from the RTC station, it will take 40 minutes to get to the University of Washington, 29 minutes to the International District, 64 minutes to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 47 minutes to Northgate and 60 minutes to Lynnwood.

“This is really exciting,” Cunningham said about finally taking a tangible step toward bringing light rail to the Eastside after so many years of planning.

As part of the East Link construction, the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride also will close in the coming months, a Sound Transit press release states. The closure will be announced in advance through Sound Transit construction alerts. To stay informed, visit www.soundtransit.org/subscribe.

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