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The 416's long goodbye | Editor's Note


September 5, 2019

When I moved to Edmonds in 2000, I worked as a scribe for Washington Mutual in its internal communications department. (Things went downhill after I left a few years later, LOL.)

Working in downtown Seattle was a great experience (lunch walks to Seattle Mystery Bookshop, RIP), made even better that I brushed off rush hour driving stress and opening my wallet for a steep monthly parking fee.

Community Transit's 416 bus from Edmonds to downtown made the commute a breeze, picking me up on Edmonds Way for the nonstop drive south on I-5. I got off most days on Fifth Avenue, grabbed a latte ($2.10 for a delicious grande at my stand), and enjoyed the stimulating walk to Third and Seneca.

When I started my 416 commute, I kept mostly to myself, reading a book or the paper. After a while, I became an expert bus sleeper, intuiting exactly when the bus would arrive in the city or, on the way home, to my Edmonds Way stop.

Eventually, I cozied up to a few regulars, great people who shared their experiences about life, work, kids, the world. On that Tuesday morning in September 2001, a somber buzz filled the bus.

Everything changes quickly these days, which is why I'm thinking about the 416.

At last week's Edmonds City Council meeting, Councilmember Tom Mesaros spoke of a recent meeting he attended that discussed planning for the opening of Sound Transit's Northgate station and the reconfiguration of bus routes to Seattle.

Mesaros specifically noted that the 416 will eventually no longer connect to downtown Seattle, instead taking commuters in Edmonds to the Lynnwood or Mountlake Terrace stations to connect to Sound Transit's Link light rail.

The hope is to lessen congestion on I-5, a noble goal.

On Tuesday, Edmonds resident and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell joined fellow Sen. Patty Murray, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, and U.S. Rep. Suzane DelBene at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Lynnwood station.

"Light rail is coming to Snohomish County!" Cantwell wrote in a Tweet. The $2.9 billion ($1.17 billion coming from a federal grant), 8.5-mile route will have four stops – two in Shoreline, and one each in Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood.

416 riders have some time to enjoy their current commutes, as Community Transit's plan is to no longer run any buses to downtown Seattle once light rail opens in Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, sometime in 2024.

"This fall, we will present some options to the public that consider rerouting some commuter buses to Northgate in 2021 when Link light rail opens there," said Community Transit spokesman Martin Munguia. "Route 416 is not one of those under consideration. 2024 is a different matter."

Said Mesaros: "Passengers will ride the bus to light rail that takes them to Seattle. This will obviously take a number of buses from Snohomish County off the I-5 freeway and improve traffic flow. The 416 is not the only service to do this; I just mentioned that line because it serves Edmonds."

The anticipated schedule for the light rail trains will be every four to six minutes. When Sound Transit opened the University station, he said, it was overwhelmed by the number of riders, and is planning for a higher volume of riders at the Northgate station.

Mesaros added that there is some negativity about mass transit because some say the public does not use it.

One of problems Sound Transit is anticipating when the Lynnwood station opens in 2024 is the train may be full by the time it reaches the University station, he said. Having enough capacity to accommodate all the riders is a big issue.

Enjoy the ride while you can.


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