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Sheck said that the over-the-tracks terminal would offer ease of access and an abundance of space for buses, and "might be the ultimate logical solution" if BNSF could buy into it.
A key figure in North Lot's development sees value in the idea, too. “All it takes is a lid being constructed that we have designed and was ready to go back in 2005,” wrote Kevin Daniels, president of NLD partner Daniels Real Estate, in an e-mail interview. He estimated the structure's cost at $10 million. “The thought at the time was to leave an option to build additional office space above it as a development option to help fund the cost. We also talked to Sen. [Patty] Murray at that time and received some support."
"Cramming more activity onto a dead end King Street makes no sense," Daniels said. “I also believe the cost of this alternative is less than buying the required land and development rights needed to address adding interstate bus activity ... in the North Lot.”
Daniels' last statement alludes to the possibility that the north lot parking area remaining between his development and the stadium may present. The Washington State Public Stadium Authority (PSA) owns that lot, and the land under CenturyLink Field, and has leased both until 2029 to Paul Allen's First and Goal, the Seahawks' parent company. The terms of the King County-NLD sale included creation of a 90-foot-wide easement, following the alignment of Second Avenue between the development's two blocks, to allow pedestrians, cars, and charter buses to reach the stadium for events. According to PSA project manager Steve Woo, no arrangements have been finalized as to where the charters will stop to load or unload passengers in the parking area.
That creates a natural question whether the parking arrangements would allow combined access for both the occasional event charters and scheduled intercity buses serving Seattle — all within a few hundred feet of the train station. The need for bus terminal facilities complicates the idea, but the configuration seems to offer, at the least, a simple, place-holder option while a grander solution takes shape. If PSA or King County finds merit in the option, Daniels stated, “they can come discuss what they might need.”
First and Goal did not respond to several requests for comment.
There could be other solutions around King Street Station. Sheck raised the possibility of purchasing and converting the Seattle Lighting building, across Jackson Street to the north of the station, as an option that would be similar to Portland, where the train and intercity bus stations stand almost next to each other.
Indeed, multimodal terminals shared by Amtrak, intercity bus providers, and local transit constitute an increasingly common feature of urban life in cities from Vancouver, B.C., to Meridian, Miss. The political question thus reads: Does Seattle intend to seize the opportunity?
In September, McGinn lauded the King County-NLD deal as “good news.” The release touted expectations that “the project will be the largest transit-oriented development on the West Coast.” Now, with Greyhound on the hunt for a new site, one wonders just how far the mayor's vision for transit-oriented development extends.
In a phone interview late last week, mayoral spokesman Aaron Pickus said a senior member of the mayor's staff would be meeting with the Seattle Department of Transportation and WSDOT and evaluating the situation.
Pickus did not have a date for the meeting. Greyhound executives might take part, he said, adding that “our office [also] will be working with our Office of Economic Development, which has expertise in siting and working with neighborhoods as to where things go. We're very much in a fact-finding stage. The mayor wants to help.”
If a meeting with Leach “appears beneficial, I'm sure he'll be very open to it,” Pickus added, referring to McGinn. “The mayor's position on transportation is that people need a wide array of choices for getting around,” he said, including intercity buses.
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