Transforming Northgate into a vibrant urban center

aerial view of park and ride lotPutting homes next to transit only makes sense, so King County Metro is partnering with Sound Transit and the City of Seattle to transform the Northgate Transit Center into an urban center with a vibrant mix of affordable and market-rate housing.

More than 1,000 buses a day now carry more than 6,500 daily riders from the Northgate Transit Center, a transfer point for 11 Metro Transit routes and two Sound Transit Express bus routes with 1,500 parking spaces provided nearby. It’s one of the largest transit centers in King County, and when Northgate Link opens there in 2021, it will become even more of a major transit hub for the region.  Metro’s current effort is to replace the surface parking between the transit center and the Thornton Place shopping area with a high-density, mixed-use development, in time for opening of the Link station — including up to 200 affordable housing units recently announced by Executive Constantine and Mayor Murray, thanks to a $10 million contribution from the Executive’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Bond Fund and Transit Station Housing and Development Initiative, and $10 million from the City of Seattle.

The creation of a sustainable, climate-friendly, and walkable development at Northgate would make it the largest publicly-led TOD project in King County, and leverage the benefits of connecting residents with the region’s public transit system. A new bus transit center, integrated with Northgate Link light rail, will provide convenient access from bus to train without having to cross any streets.

“The arrival of light rail at Northgate presents a remarkable opportunity to create a community where families can live, work, and shop without ever getting behind the wheel,” said Executive Constantine. “By investing in affordable housing, we ensure Northgate continues to be an inclusive and diverse neighborhood, connected to the region by a fast and efficient bus and rail network, as well as bike and pedestrian improvements. This is how we can grow and meet our housing and transportation needs, now and into the future.”

The TOD project will complement investments by the City of Seattle and Sound Transit for a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5 connecting Northgate Station with North Seattle College and neighborhoods to the west of I-5.


More than 15,000 daily boardings are projected for the Northgate Station by 2030. Final design of the development, and the proposed funding for affordable housing, require the approval of both the King County Council and Seattle City Council. The project also complements other Metro Transit investments at Northgate, including early support that led to creation of Hubbard Park in the underserved neighborhood north of the Target/Best Buy project.

In related news, the Sound Transit Board moved a step closer to construction of the Northgate Link station, agreeing to buy $6.4 million in land and easements from King County for the project. As reported by the Seattle Transit Blog, “A few board members enquired whether King County or Sound Transit was getting the better part of the deal. Chairman Constantine quipped, ‘You’re getting the friends and family discount.’”

Published by

Frank Abe, King County DOT

Senior Strategic Communications Advisor to the Director of the King County Department of Transportation

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