Light Rail Communities
Welcome to Snohomish County’s Light Rail Communities project webpage. Planning for light rail is a collaborative project between Sound Transit, Snohomish County, Community Transit, and other interjurisdictional agencies.
In 2018, light rail communities work initially began by identifying “locally favored” options for light rail station locations. This was followed by public outreach to hear from the community about their vision for the future of the area. In 2022, the County began work on the Urban Core Subarea Plan. It will be completed as part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan update in 2024.
Everett Link Light Rail Extension
The Everett Link Extension (EVLE) will add 16 miles of light rail, connecting the existing system through the City of Lynnwood to the City of Everett in Snohomish County. As part of the EVLE, light rail service will be brought through the unincorporated Southwest Urban Growth area of Snohomish County. This includes light rail stations at 164th St/I-5 (Ash Way) and 128th St/I-5 (Mariner). A third provisional station at SR99/Airport Road is planned, but not funded. Light rail service is scheduled to begin operations in 2037-2041. In addition, Sound Transit will be sitting and constructing an Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF). The OMF provides rail car storage and maintenance.
Roles and Responsibilities
The planning for light rail is a collaborative project between different entities. Sound Transit is responsible for the planning and construction of the light rail alignment, stations and the OMF. The County is responsible for the land use planning around station areas. The following table notes the specific roles and responsibilities for Sound Transit and Snohomish County.
Sound Transit Roles
Snohomish County Roles
Makes final decisions on light rail alignment.
Makes final decisions on light rail station locations and designs.
Responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of light rail infrastructure.
Creating plans for the community in preparation of future light rail service.
Responsible for planning future land uses around station areas.
Responsible for infrastructure improvements to roads and sidewalks near stations.
Station Area Planning
In 2018-2019, Snohomish County initiated Station Area Planning work to identify “locally favored” light rail station options. This initial planning work included seeking community input, establishing relationships with cities and partner agencies, and completing a market study of future growth around light rail stations. More information can be found in the Station Area Planning Final Report (2020).
On February 18, 2020, Snohomish County Council approved Joint Resolution No. 20-004 expressing support for Snohomish County light rail station planning.
Subarea Planning Public Participation
In Spring 2020 to Fall 2021, the County conducted public outreach regarding light rail communities. Outreach included online surveys and public open house sessions. The purpose was to collect input from people who live, work, and travel through the area. This included feedback on current conditions, ideas for future planning, and how the community can benefit from light rail investments.
The summary results of the surveys and open houses are available:
- Community Preferences Survey – March-May 2020
- Virtual Housing Workshop – Sept 2020
- Housing Affordability Workshop – Nov-Dec 2020
- Land Use and Transportation Survey – Aug-Sept 2021
Urban Core Subarea Plan
Snohomish County is developing an Urban Core Subarea Plan. This plan will be a new element added to the County’s GMA Comprehensive Plan as part of the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Update. In short, the Urban Core Subarea Plan will be the guiding planning document for that portion of the unincorporated Southwest Urban Growth area that will be serviced by future LINK light rail.
The Urban Core Subarea Plan is comprised of the following sub-elements:
- Demographic Profile
- Regional Collaboration
- Environment and Climate Change
- Land Use and Urban Design
- Transportation and Mobility
- Parks, Recreation, and Open Space
- Capital Facilities and Utilities
- Economic Development
The draft policies for the Urban Core Subarea Plan were available for public review and comment from in March 2023. The Urban Core Subarea Plan is expected to be presented to the Snohomish County Planning Commission at a briefing in June 2023. Public hearings on the 2024 Update including the Urban Core Subarea Plan are targeted for late October 2023.
Project Documents and Other Resources
Public Meetings and Notices
The draft policies for the Urban Core Subarea Plan were available for public review in the month of March 2023. Links to the policies and more information on the 2024 Comprehensive Plan update are on this webpage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use this link to access frequently asked questions.
Project Contact Information
Snohomish County Planning and Development Services
3000 Rockefeller Avenue, M/S 604
Second Floor, Robert Drewel Building
Everett, WA 98201
Snohomish County Public Works
3000 Rockefeller Avenue, M/S 607
Robert Drewel Building
Everett, WA 98201
Customer Service Center