Photo by Steve Shay
What about the restrooms at the end of the light-rail line? That was the controversial question before the SeaTac City Council June 12 as they discussed the proposed South 200th Street Station development agreement between the city and Sound Transit. Pictured is the June 7 open house at Madrona Elementary School addressing some design issues to the public. The above-ground line will run along 28th Ave. south for 1.6 miles beyond the Sea Tac Airport stop.

SeaTac lawmakers debate restrooms at the end of the light-rail line

What about the restrooms at the end of the light-rail line?

That was the controversial question before the SeaTac City Council June 12 as they discussed the proposed South 200th Street Station development agreement between the city and Sound Transit.

City of SeaTac program manager Soraya Lowry said restrooms would be part of the retail development at the station.

Sound Transit project director Miles Haupt noted his agency does not normally operate and maintain restroom facilities at light-rail stations.

But SeaTac Councilman Barry Ladenburg questioned whether bathrooms would be available before the retail spaces are developed. He also said the restrooms should be open after businesses close for the night for light-rail riders.

Councilman Rick Forschler noted the station would be at the end of the line until light rail is extended to Des Moines or Kent. He said that while many patrons at other stations may live near them, many riders at the last station might travel from farther away. He said the operation and maintenance of the restrooms should be shared.

“This is a weak area (in the agreement) that needs to be patched,” Forschler said.

But Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson said most mass transit stations in do not have restrooms.

“We don’t want to attract the wrong activity,” Gregerson added.

Mayor Tony Anderson, who is also a Port of Seattle police officer, agreed with Gregerson.

“Unattended restrooms are a magnet for crime,” Anderson said. “Riders will make adjustments.”

Ironically, SeaTac lawmakers were discussing the issue on the same day an American Airlines flight made an unscheduled landing at Sea-Tac Airport because none of the restrooms on board was working. Crews fixed the toilets and the plane took off again after 1-½ hours on the runway.

As part of the proposed station agreement, Sound Transit will pay the costs of adding a high-elevation ladder to a new SeaTac fire engine. The agency will also pay for traffic, bike and sidewalk improvements around the station at South 200th Street and 28th Avenue South.

The station area will include a 700-stall parking garage with another 300-450 interim surface parking stalls. The surface stalls will remain until the light-rail line is extended.

Lowry noted the new station will help ease the parking strain at the Tukwila light-rail station.

She also noted when the new station opens, light rail will extend from south SeaTac to the University of Washington.

The council is expected to take action on the agreement on June 26. The Sound Transit board is set to vote on it two days later.

A contractor should be selected in August with construction beginning in spring.

The station is scheduled to open in September 2016, four years earlier than originally planned.

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