Sound Transit votes to build parking garages at Puyallup, Sumner stations

Parking garages for transit commuters are coming to Puyallup and Sumner.

The Sound Transit board last week unanimously approved plans to improve access to the commuter rail stations on West Main Avenue in Puyallup and Maple Street in Sumner. The decision followed more than a year of community outreach and discussions with local government officials.

The planned improvements will undergo full environmental review and preliminary design through 2016, according to a Sound Transit news release, with construction completed by 2020.

Puyallup’s parking structure will provide about 420 stalls at the existing Eagles surface parking lot. A pedestrian bridge will be built over Fifth Street Northwest from the garage to the Sounder station, according to the release.

Other improvements at the Puyallup station include a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the railroad tracks, a surface parking lot north of Third Avenue Northwest, and additional leased parking at the Red Lot at Seventh Avenue Southwest and Fifth Street Southwest.

In Sumner, most of the current surface-lot parking spaces will be preserved and a 400-stall garage will be added on-site. Sidewalks will be improved at Academy Street and Cherry Avenue, and a pedestrian/bicycle bridge will be built over the railroad tracks at the station. Sound Transit will also consider leasing temporary parking spaces for commuters at the nearby Washington Tractor site during garage construction.

At both stations, changes will be made to sidewalks and bicycle routes on main arterial streets. The transit agency also plans to “support a partnership” between Puyallup, Sumner and the state Department of Transportation to fund vehicle, bike and pedestrian improvements at the state Route 410 interchange, according to the release.

Sound Transit spokeswoman Kimberly Reason said Tuesday that the projects will cost about $54.4 million in Puyallup and about $38.7 million in Sumner.

Money for the improvements came from the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure, approved by voters in 2008.

The measure was meant to improve access as demand continues to increase. At the Puyallup station, more than 1,200 commuters on average catch the Sounder each day; ridership is expected to increase by about one third by 2035. At the Sumner station, an average of 1,022 riders board trains every weekday; that number is expected to grow by 70 percent by 2035.