Since the tracks already exist (map), the Sounder could add “infill stations” in Ballard just north of the Salmon Bay Bridge and south of NW 57th St. — as well as at Fishermen’s Terminal, Smith Cove (near the new Expedia campus) and Broad St. along the waterfront. If the stations are “modest” and don’t include parking, Fesler writes, they could cost a “few million dollars a piece.”
A station serving Ballard could be successful in generating favorable ridership for several reasons. Firstly, riders north of Seattle may find the station useful to access jobs in central Ballard and the industrial area centered on Salmon Bay. A variety of all-day and peak-hour buses make connections to those areas easy. Secondly, local residents might find the service desirable to get quick service to Downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, and SoDo. Other proposed stations could make intermediary destinations viable, too.
What would this mean for light rail? Fesler says the Sounder could pick up some of the slack before light rail debuts in Ballard in 2035. After that, light rail “wouldn’t fully compete with North Sounder since the commuter line would still serve unique destinations to the south,” he writes.
What do you think of his idea? Fesler has many more details in this post.