News

Transit center struggle continues

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

Gateway Center is asking the state Court of Appeals to hear its case against Sound Transit’s proposed transit center, parking garage and freeway ramps fpr Federal Way.

The corporation is contesting an environmental ruling that found the five-story, 1,200-stall transit center and garage on South 317th Street, with access ramps to high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Interstate 5, would have no significant impact on downtown Federal Way.

Federal Way City Councilwoman Mary Gates, a member of Sound Transit’s board of directors, expressed confidence the agency will prevail.

“Appeals have been won by Sound Transit consistently,” she said during her report at a council meeting last Tuesday.

In their appeal of the environmental determination, business owners and residents have expressed concern that traffic congestion from commuters heading for the garage and buses coming and going on their routes will swamp the Gateway Center and surrounding downtown area and will create noise and air pollution.

Business owners first appealed the environmental ruling in the summer of 2002.

A Spokane hearing examiner ruled in Sound Transit’s favor, so Gateway Center appealed his decision in King County Superior Court. Judge Mary Yu dismissed that appeal in March.

Meanwhile, Gateway Center is still working through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which partners filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in February.

The effort will keep creditors at bay while Gateway Center reorganizes its debts. Gateway partners said shortly after the filing that businesses in the shopping and commercial center would not see any difference in day-to-day operations.

The transit center appeals are expected to have limited financial impact on the reorganization of Gateway’s debts.

Staff writer Erica Jahn: 925-5565, ejahn@fedwaymirror.com

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