Dick's Drive-In supporters outraged over proposed Sound Transit maintenance base

Kent city council approves building moratorium to protect beloved burger joint
RELATED TOPICS: WEST | PEOPLE | INFRASTRUCTURE | PASSENGER | TRANSIT
Trains Industry Newsletter
Get a weekly roundup of the industry news you need.
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine. View our privacy policy.
KentWash
Kent, Wash.
Google Maps
KENT, Wash. — Is there a hamburger powerful enough to stop a train?

The Puget Sound region’s rail-transit agency and fans of a local hamburger chain may find out.

Sound Transit, the regional authority building and operating a light-rail system in Seattle and its suburbs, recently issued a list of six sites it’s studying for an operations and maintenance facility at the south end of its existing Link light rail network.

What caught the eye, and sparked an uproar, with the public and public officials was one of those sites and its current tenant: a burger joint known as Dick’s Drive In.

To area residents, Dick’s is as much a part of local lore as Seattle's Space Needle, and is older than that landmark too. The small chain, with just seven locations, was famed as a late-night purveyor of inexpensive burgers. The founding family has been lauded for its treatment of employees and its involvement in civic affairs. Even in an era of national chains with far bigger ad budgets, Dick’s retains its popularity. Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates was recently photographed dutifully standing in line to place an order.

The seventh location opened in Kent in December to much fanfare and after a public vote on where the next location should be.

That the restaurant might be forced to shut so soon after opening does not sit well with ether the company or the city of Kent.

“We welcome the opening of the new light rail station in Kent, just blocks from our new location,” the company said in a letter to Sound Transit. “It will be good for our customers and good for our employees. But, we can’t serve our employees, customers, and communities if we are not there.”

The city went a step further, with council approving an emergency measure imposing a moratorium on development of transit-related facilities on the property in question.

Public officials and the company say that Sound Transit should look instead at a nearby property, a now-closed landfill. Sound Transit says developing that site could entail expensive environmental remediation measures.

Such has been the outcry that Sound Transit felt compelled to post an explanation on its public blog.

“Identifying a site for an OMF is always challenging because it requires at least 30 relatively flat acres that are near the light rail line, with specific site conditions often pushing the acreage requirement higher,” the agency said.

Nothing is going to happen quickly, it added. Preliminary review will be completed this coming May; then Sound Transit’s board will decide which alternatives should be considered further for an environmental impact statement. The environmental statement, it says, “will take up to a couple of years to complete.”

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

  • Previous Day
  • February 19, 2019
  • Next Day
Leave a Comment
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of TrainsMag.com are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Please keep your feedback on-topic and respectful. Trains staffers reserve the right to edit or delete any comments.
0 COMMENTS
FREE DOWNLOAD

FREE DOWNLOAD

150 facts about the Transcontinental Railroad.

SEE INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Learn more about the stories and photos in this months issue

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy
Subscribe Up To 54% off the newsstand price!
Subscribe To Trains Mag Today
+