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Train will help connect Whidbey with metro area

Seattle is about to get a bit closer.

Starting Monday, Whidbey Island commuters will be able to commute by train to the city from the new Mukilteo Sounder station near the ferry terminal.

The Mukilteo commuter rail station will provide service from Mukilteo for travel to Seattle and Everett. When the station is in full operation, four daily round-trip trains will travel between Mukilteo station and King Street Station in Seattle.

The Mukilteo station is one part of a larger “multi-modal” transit center built just east of the existing Mukilteo ferry terminal. The cities of Mukilteo and Everett, the Port of Everett, the state Department of Transportation and Sound Transit are working together to plan a facility linking ferries, cars, buses and commuter rail transportation.

Some said the new service will have profound impact on the island as commuters will get to the city without having to deal with Seattle’s rush hour traffic.

Langley resident Craig Cyr makes the trip every day to work.

“The existence of the Mukilteo station is significant to Whidbey Island in so many ways,” he said. “Not the least of which is that commuters to Seattle can completely avoid I-5. No traffic jams, a much safer commute, a dependable schedule, wireless access — what’s not to like?”

But the new station will mean many changes. Cyr said he knows of at least one longtime carpool that will break up.

And in his household, Cyr said the new train will impact the whole family. His sons Forrest and Spencer Cyr attend Edmonds Community College. Spencer takes three classes and, until now, he commuted nearly two hours from his home on the island to the college one way.

“It’s going to be more comfortable and faster,” he said. “It gets me to school faster.”

“It’s a good way to get around and saves the environment from everybody getting in their cars all the time,” Spencer Cyr added.

The new link to the big city is also good news for the tourism trade on the island. Visitors to the metro area will be able to make their way to Whidbey Island easier; there will be no difficult bus schedules to study and no navigating the Seattle traffic in a rental car.

The community will celebrate the innovation with a big bash.

The grand opening of the Mukilteo Sounder station is 10 a.m. today. After the event, Sound Transit is inviting people to ride a special weekend Mariners train into Seattle. The train will pull in from Everett at 11:26 a.m.

There will be activities for people of all ages at the Mukilteo waterfront for the festivities. For more info, go to www.soundtransit.org/x1889.xml.

Sounder trains will begin stopping in Mukilteo for regular commuter service on Monday, June 2.

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