What MIGHT elevated light rail look like in West Seattle? See one reader’s unofficial interpretation

Though Sound Transit has stressed that nothing’s final, it’s envisioning the future West Seattle light-rail line as elevated. If you’ve found it difficult to imagine what that MIGHT look like, “Avalon Tom” wants to help. He e-mailed WSB after making these renderings based on what preliminary information is available about the possible route “alignment,” and gave us permission to publish them.

“Avalon Tom” explains that he has “18 years experience in the architectural industry producing images like these professionally,” and adds, “I’m not associated with any group, just a citizen who lives and works in West Seattle and wants everyone to understand what they are proposing.” He also acknowledges that he is concerned with “the size” of the project and hopes that ST will consider tunneling.

Again, these are UNOFFICIAL, and we can’t vouch for the dimensions – whatever’s built could be higher or lower, wider or narrower, on a different route – but it’s something we’d been wondering about, and wondering how to visualize – so we’re sharing Tom’s renderings, in case you were wondering too. And as ST stresses, NOW is the time to get involved, because major decisions will be finalized in the next year-plus, even though the service itself isn’t expected to launch until 2030.

By the way, “Avalon Tom” says he’ll be printing 11×17 versions of these (and a few others) and bringing them to meetings.

(Sound Transit’s description of the “representative” – draft, basically – alignment, on which Tom’s images are based, can be seen and heard in our coverage of last week’s Elected Leadership Group launch meeting.)

The issue of overhead vs. underground is likely to be a big one – for the Ballard end, as well as West Seattle – as the “preferred alignment” is developed in the next year-plus, and Sound Transit has warned that tunneling would change the cost and likely the timeline.

Speaking of timeline:

STAKEHOLDER GROUP RECRUITMENT CONTINUES: Sound Transit is continuing to seek applications for at least five people in the West Seattle-to-Ballard corridor area to be on its Stakeholders Advisory Group. Just another week and a half to apply if you’re interested – go here to find out more, including how to apply. This group is expected to have its first meeting (CORRECTED DATE) February 8th, ST tells us.

OTHER WAYS TO HAVE A SAY: Keep an eye on the project website (and on WSB) – more feedback opportunities/meetings are expected soon.

176 Replies to "What MIGHT elevated light rail look like in West Seattle? See one reader's unofficial interpretation"

  • Marianne January 11, 2018 (9:29 pm)

    Creepy

    • Tulula January 12, 2018 (6:51 am)

      Concur…. And ugly

      • JC January 12, 2018 (8:37 am)

        i agree and wonder how many will be forced out of their homes for this.

        • AvalonTom January 12, 2018 (9:43 am)

          The noise level alone will be a problem in this area

          • Brett January 12, 2018 (3:22 pm)

            Nice work! It looks really cool. :) I can’t wait to ride it. The views will be incredible…and what an awesome ride to take to work every day!

          • Meyer January 13, 2018 (8:26 am)

            This looks incredible! I can’t wait for it to be built. Although I would prefer a tunnel, I understand they are far more expensive. It looks like above ground, this would have spectacular views!

  • Scott A January 11, 2018 (9:30 pm)

    Great conceptual renderings. People should walk around the existing Mt. Baker station to get an idea of how Link aerial stations are sized. I think some of Tom’s columns are probably too slender for really tall ones but still a great early visual.

    • Out for a Walk January 16, 2018 (8:04 pm)

      Yes, The columns are way too narrow and way too tall.  Go walk around other Link aerial stations and see for yourself!  This is not a realistic visualization at all!  The overhead rails will be huge, noisy, cast dark shadows, invite graffiti, property values nearby will plummet.  I consider this something like “fake news!” although it is “fake drawings!”…..

      • AvalonTom January 16, 2018 (8:21 pm)

        Ugh, fake news? Fake drawings? Really? please, please review the original proposed design that the renderings are based on. Look at the proposed elevations heights: https://www.scribd.com/document/352039517/ST3-WS-Representational-Alignment#

        All the concerns that people bring up are legit. There will be dark shadows, the tracks are noisy and the overhead rail is very large. I’m not sure about the tagging or property values, but all the other issues are real news!

        • WSB January 16, 2018 (9:17 pm)

          Also, a bit upthread I linked the Google Street View’s very real imagery of the existing elevated light rail tracks through Tukwila, which is not that far away, for anyone who wants a firsthand look. Or pick another area where it’s elevated – that just happened to be the one with which I’m familiar, because of Southcenter, Sea-Tac, etc.

  • Tony S January 11, 2018 (10:11 pm)

    VERY impressive; I’m wondering if the actual elevation is correct on some of them — the California / Alaska one, to be specific. But, it’s certainly eye-opening. 

    • chemist January 12, 2018 (8:49 am)

      West Seattle Blog has linked to this document in prior articles.  It indicates a height at the Junction of somewhere over 50 ft and about 80 ft or so in the alaska/fauntleroy turn.  The scale on the side is ticked in 50 ft increments and isn’t particularly easy to read so you might want a ruler.

      https://www.scribd.com/document/352039517/ST3-WS-Representational-Alignment#

      • WSB January 12, 2018 (8:56 am)

        For the record, that’s the same one on which “Avalon Tom” mentioned he based this, per his comment above. And for credit-where-credit’s-due, we uploaded it to Scribd last year after it was provided by the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, as mentioned/embedded in our coverage of their June workshop:

        http://westseattleblog.com/2017/06/happening-now-talking-light-rail-routing-with-west-seattle-transportation-coalition/

        If you were at that event, you might recall a cardboard representation of what elevated rail might look like – scroll through the above-linked story and you’ll see it a few images down. – TR

        • chemist January 12, 2018 (10:28 am)

          For the record, to us normal users, that comment by Avalon Tom appears 1/4 of the scrollbar below.

  • future carfree resident - I hope January 11, 2018 (10:13 pm)

    Wow, I know these are supposed to be scary, but I actually think it looks very cool. It’ll add an interesting visual element to our part of the city in addition to the obviously huge benefits as a piece of transportation infrastructure. Very exciting.

    Thanks ‘Avalon Tom’ and WSB for making and publishing these!

    • Dustin January 12, 2018 (8:41 am)

      I don’t think these are supposed to be scary! There’s been a lot of discussion about the merits of an elevated rail vs a tunnel, and this helps visualize (rather than fear) what the elevated option would actually look like. I think the visualizations of the rail around Avalon, 35th and Fauntleroy Wy look great, but the elevation of the track over Genesee seems too high for an area characterized by steep hills with a risk of earthquakes. I also question whether the rail platform should be so high over Alaska Junction – this will be one of a high traffic station and it would be nice to have quicker access to the platform via fewer steps or a shorter escalator. (One of my complaints about the existing stations is that they are so deep/high it can take a few minutes to get from the entrance of the station to the platform.) I think we also need to be considering alignments which allow the option to extend the rail line deeper into West Seattle. Though it’s not on the table now, someday this rail line to Alaska Junction may actually be finished and we’ll have to figure out what to do next!

      • AvalonTom January 12, 2018 (9:22 am)

        According to the elevation drawings the the track sits approximately 65 ft above the roadway @ California and Alaska.  The Record store roofline is about 33ft above the roadway. Here are a few more views of what the end of the line will look like. Again, please understand that these are massing models.
        They are based on the not so great drawings that show the elevations. But even +/- 5 feet error still makes this a monster.

    • Seaweed January 12, 2018 (3:21 pm)

      That’s very exciting for you FCRIH.  Soon you will be able to buy a Condo right next to it too!

  • JCW January 11, 2018 (10:25 pm)

    Hmm, this actually makes me like the light rail design even more. This is way sleeker (and will be way quieter) than any other rail transit I’ve lived by in other cities. If those houses on Genesee dip in value, I’d be quite interested in moving further north on the peninsula for a good deal and a quick commute. 

    • AvalonTom January 12, 2018 (1:11 pm)

      The fact that there are no graphics that show the massing was what prompted me to produce the images.  I’m afraid that people are making decisions, taking sides, and presenting opinions without having even the basic understanding of what this will look like and how it will change the neighborhoods.  I imagine all the folks on here who are supporting the above ground option probably do not live anywhere near the junction (or along the path) nor do they visit the businesses around there.  I for one live, work, walk, shop, take transit, drive, and go out along this corridor daily.  My residence will be directly impacted by this project. I will be forced to move or get ear plugs. This will have direct impact on my life along with 100’s of families.  I for one support public transportation, I have a well used Orca card in my wallet to prove it.  The system needs to be designed to serve and support communities and not just steam roll over them.  Having a 80 foot concrete structure with screeching wheels and noise every 6 minutes is not exactly ideal for anyone who lives anywhere along the corridor.  My wife and I will be moving, our property value will go into the toilet. the folks who live along this structure will be the ones taking a hit on quality of life, property values, etc.  The folks who say build it as is need pause for one minute and consider if they would feel the same way about that if they had a 40-80 ft structure casting a shadow and generating constant noise above their roof. I have a feeling they would want to ask a few more questions and perhaps consider possible alternatives.  My hope is that these images will get a better conversation started and push the decision makers to consider more community oriented solution and not just look at the all mighty dollar as the only factor.

      • the January 12, 2018 (2:08 pm)

        I live in the Junction, frequent its businesses regularly, and like the above-ground option. 

        You say your property value will go down, but generally property values go up when light rail goes in nearby:

        https://seattle.curbed.com/2016/6/27/12043732/seattle-light-rail-stations-home-prices-expensive

        Some people like above-ground, some people don’t. You are incorrect to assume that people who simply disagree with you are uninformed, or don’t spend time in the Junction. If you move because you don’t like it, I think someone will happily take your place, and will pay you handsomely for it.

        • CAM January 12, 2018 (3:59 pm)

          Agreed, the. As a junction resident and a former resident of Chicago, which is quite well known for its elevated rail lines, I think the dire predictions being offered by those anti the elevated lines are not realistic. 

        • AvalonTom January 13, 2018 (2:43 pm)

          You are correct, I apologise.  I myself support the project but I do have a strong opinions that these type of projects should be planned with community in mind and not just as a cheapest option. Again, I’m sorry for assuming everyone is not ok with living under a train track bridge.

      • AMD January 12, 2018 (6:36 pm)

        I shop in the Junction all the time. 

        I also lived in an apartment with the Monorail going by my window every 10 minutes for years.  There was not a noise issue there and the light rail is even quieter.

        I’m excited for the new line and I think it looks cool in the elevations.  I really hope it comes by my house some day (which it might–there has been discussion of our ‘hood as a future extension).

        It’s not nice to categorically dismiss the opinions of people who disagree with you based on your assumptions.  So please stop.

  • Rob B January 11, 2018 (10:36 pm)

    Isn’t the California and Alaska stop supposed to be at ground level? I’d heard this may be elevated through our hood but always assumed it would be at street level in the junction. Where/how would you board at the junction if up so high? 

    As as others have said, thanks for providing the renderings for an idea of what this could look like! 

    • WS Guy January 12, 2018 (12:36 am)

      No the stations are elevated too.  Maybe Tracy can post pictures of Mount Baker or Tukwila stations?

      Each would be ~1.5 blocks long to permit boarding on 4-car trains (as I recall).

    • Eddie January 12, 2018 (8:03 am)

      Where in or near the junction did you envision a ground level station being built? There would be so much outcry and rage you couldn’t imagine. 

  • MJ January 11, 2018 (10:39 pm)

    AT thank you for the renderings.  Damn good work, very insightful.

  • S January 11, 2018 (10:39 pm)

    Cool! I actually like it and it gets me excited about light rail in WS. Bring it!

  • AvalonTom January 11, 2018 (10:41 pm)

    Here are the only engineering drawings available and it’s what I based the images on. They include the proposed path plus the elevation of the track: https://www.scribd.com/document/352039517/ST3-WS-Representational-Alignment#

    Everything else is based on what is already built around the sound.

  • dsa January 12, 2018 (12:26 am)

    If you don’t believe it look at the south link from Angle Lake, SeaTac north toward Seattle.  And agreed the columns are probably too narrow.  I also think the “T” should be wider to match the existing that I referenced, but maybe not if there is only one track.

  • WS Guy January 12, 2018 (12:33 am)

    Great renderings, although needs shadows and dirtier columns to be more realistic.  It shows what a tragedy an elevated rail line would be; basically splitting the Junction in two with imposing, massive, noisy, concrete structures.  I still can’t conceptually understand how a station could be built in front of Capco/QFC, 60-feet above the street.  

    This train needs to be underground like they did for the wealthy north end neighborhoods.  The Junction is one of the densest urban villages in the network.

    • AvalonTom January 12, 2018 (9:30 am)

      I measured the columns were I had easy access to them by SeaTac, were the track is not very high off the roadway. They measured 10.5′ x approx 6.5′. I kept them all the same for sake of simplicity. I agree that the taller the structure gets, it will probably require a much larger column to deal with the earthquake issue.

  • flimflam January 12, 2018 (2:02 am)

    wow, a train!

  • Calires January 12, 2018 (3:14 am)

    Didn’t we vote for an elevated monorail something like 4 times before it being voted down?  I think, based on these renderings, that it’s a lot less visually disruptive than some of the giant apartment blocks that look like the worst of 1970s Scandinavian public housing that we’ve had foisted on us in the last 10 years.  And I’d like to believe that once this is in place, I’ll be able to take the train to (what will be then) geriatric medical appointments downtown.

  • Lisa January 12, 2018 (4:51 am)

    Interesting….very Chicago-ee. 

  • M January 12, 2018 (5:04 am)

    Should probably add in a bunch of graffiti tagging on the columns to make them more accurate of what we will actually experience. 

  • East Coast Cynic January 12, 2018 (5:56 am)

    If we on the peninsula, as well as Ballard, want a tunnel, we would have to be willing, in all likelihood, to spend more money to make them happen.  I don’t think we can get the more expensive proposition of drilling tunnels for the same price tag.  Another levy to be voted on?  One that  could potentially push back the delivery dates for the projects.   Too many people here and around the city squawking now about paying for the present price tag.  I’m not sure that we have the political will to spend more money through further levies and taxation to make the tunnels happen.  

    Interesting scenario for the elevated portion near the Alaska Junction; It looks like it could negate most of the ability to drive up and or down Alaska near the QFC and Safeway by the California intersection.

  • AMD January 12, 2018 (6:24 am)

    Wow, these look great!  This looks way more interesting than I’d imagined the light rail line being through the area.  I like it and I really hope the final project looks like these.

  • Mary January 12, 2018 (7:07 am)

    Can’t happen fast enough! Bring it on! Yay transit!

  • gh January 12, 2018 (7:12 am)

    Very interesting!  It almost looks like the rebirth of the monorail they wanted to build all those years ago; the one that no one wanted.

  • LK January 12, 2018 (7:28 am)

    Cool…bring it!

  • Cid January 12, 2018 (7:32 am)

    It looks a lot like the Monorail extension that we voted for 4 TIMES years ago before they finally got the no vote they wanted. sigh (and I agree….no uglier than the box high rises that are covering our lovely WS ) 

  • Chris January 12, 2018 (7:33 am)

    This is great news for many.   We know it is progress.   The one thing on our mind as we see this progress is how many homes and businesses will be lost to make this construction happen.   Will the government help people relocate?

  • Gene January 12, 2018 (7:44 am)

    Yes progress – this will no doubt happen- but there will be a cost— homes & businesses will be taken- something to remember folks.

  • LAH January 12, 2018 (7:48 am)

    Thank you Avalon Tom as that is a dystopian nightmare.  

    • Jort January 12, 2018 (2:17 pm)

      “Dystopian nightmare”  ???!!!!??!?!?!!

      It’s a light rail line, not a post-nuclear wasteland! Geez!

  • JeffK January 12, 2018 (7:57 am)

    Very nicely done AT!

    For layout, I’d prefer it to drop down as it turned off Fauntleroy on to Alaska and then go underground between 40th & 41st (in front of the Jiffy Lube).  Then the tunnel portion would only be 3-4 blocks long, preserve the Alaska Junction as-is, and not be crazy-expensive.

    • Terry Forsyth January 31, 2018 (5:30 pm)

      If there is anything about Seattle I love, it is its “visualness” with the mountains and clear air.  I understand how tunneling the entire line would be super aesthically–out of sight and definitely quieter.   That it should take longer to bore and cheaper if elevated is an essentially short-sighted rationale when considering these are essentially eternal, irreversible decisions once built.  As goes the comment no one remembers the sale price after the garment shrunk (or something like that).   You think after all the accidents and service disruption on Rainer Blvd will cause that section be rebuilt?  Saved $400m though.  Having said that, I think parts of this line should be underground with The Junction area as an example of compromise.  The same for downtown Ballard.  Other areas of significance should be considered such as the southern terminus:   No difference between failing to reach the ferry dock and original Central Link terminus failing to reach the airport.

  • Nae Nae January 12, 2018 (8:03 am)

    The visual thought of it may seem “UGLY” to some. But I believe the commute in and out of West Seattle is MUCH UGLIER!!,

    • Cashmere January 12, 2018 (12:25 pm)

      Agreed! Well said. 

  • S January 12, 2018 (8:08 am)

    I just want to ask what people are on that think this is cool looking.

    You say cool, but you most likely don’t live where one would be going in, I wounder if you did if you would change your statement and say underground.   

    • LK January 12, 2018 (1:11 pm)

      Relax, it’s just a rendering. At the rate things get done around here we’ll be lucky to see it in less than 15 years. I think it’s cool.  I’m a homeowner living 3 blocks from the Alaska Junction.  Would be nice to see it go underground once the WS bridge section meets land, but in reality that would likely double or triple the cost.  This is what progress looks like…the commute situation is not sustainable at the current growth rate. 

  • wsgal January 12, 2018 (8:11 am)

    Great work on the rendering. Would be a great opportunity for artists to potentially design work to put on the pillars to make them less like towering concrete statues and instead more welcoming and appealing. I hadn’t thought of this until seeing it rendered like this, but I would worry about the noise from light rail…  I kind of wish it didn’t come this far into west seattle, but instead stopped around where the port of seattle is. Less invasive, and just add shuttles/buses specifically for getting to the light rail. 

    • dsa January 12, 2018 (11:31 am)

      Perfect, an alternative such as this would enable everyone in WS to use it.

    • CAM January 12, 2018 (4:01 pm)

      So add more vehicle traffic to the roads?

  • Junction Lady January 12, 2018 (8:20 am)

    No thank you!  Elevated transportation will turn West Seattle into a slum!  These pictures don’t show all the graffiti on the structure and on the train cars that will be passing by the windows of condos, schools, homes and businesses.  Crime on ground metro is horrible requiring Fare Enforcement etc.  Crime will grow and our town will get uglier.  Dirty rain water will spew and drip from the tracks and make walking near undesireable.  Too much would have to be displaced and we would all suffer through the nightmare construction era not too mention the future decades of looking at the eyesore and all of the negative ramifications that go along with it!

    • Mr J January 12, 2018 (4:30 pm)

      Ha! You’re funny.

    • Krista C. January 15, 2018 (4:56 pm)

      The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

  • Smittytheclown January 12, 2018 (8:20 am)

    Looks like a thousand Roman Aqueducts you see all over Europe.

  • mtnfreak January 12, 2018 (8:52 am)

    I still think an underground station and tunnel is the best option, like that at Beacon Hill, and I’m willing to wait a little bit longer. If the Junction was filled in with buildings equal to or taller than the elevated line my opinion may be different, but that’s not the case. The tunneling equipment already exists with a proven track record through Beacon and Capital Hills. I’m willing to wait a little bit longer – I’m already 45, so another year or two wouldn’t make a difference for me.

    • CAM January 12, 2018 (4:04 pm)

      Are you also willing to personally pay the cost difference? Improved mass transit is needed urgently and at a reasonable cost. Your ability to personally live without this improvement to the neighborhood for a few more years does not make that reasonable for everyone else. 

  • juicepoots January 12, 2018 (8:55 am)

    Neat! The pic at the Junction reminded me of a Chicago street. The one by the golf course looked crazy high, I bet the views on this train will be insane!

  • Michelle January 12, 2018 (9:04 am)

  • Don Brubeck January 12, 2018 (9:07 am)

    Great to see images of what the rail track might look like, Thanks for the work AvalonTom!

    The renderings show the track in between stations.  Stations will be significant, and will need good design to fit their locations.  Mt Baker Station and Angle Lake Station may be similar to the size and scale needed in WS, 

    Photos of Angle Lake station are here and here,   Mt. Baker station photos here and here,

  • EH January 12, 2018 (9:37 am)

    I think elevated is a great idea up until maybe Avalon/Fauntleroy area. I think it’d be better for it to dive underground through the Junction as this is a more dense/urban area with little room for even an elevated station. 

    Everyone keeps referencing the Tukwila, Angle Lake, and Mt. Baker stations, but those are all stations that have a more suburban/expansive area to build on. I think we deserve an underground station at the very least in the urban core of the Junction, just like Capitol Hill, U district, and Beacon Hill got.  I’m willing to wait/pay for it. 

  • js January 12, 2018 (9:49 am)

    Junction station: I recall seeing a study — probably posted on this blog — with the station located on Alaska, across from QFC/Capco Plaza. It would replace (or at least encroach upon) the office building at Jefferson Square and/or the B of A branch. Does anyone else remember seeing that as a proposed site?

    • WSB January 12, 2018 (10:00 am)

      Various possibilities might have been thrown around over the years and you can’t even read too much into what ST reps themselves are saying, yet, BUT it should be noted that when ST’s Chris Rule ran through a Google Earth flythrough of this “representative alignment” at last week’s Elected Leadership Group meeting – video is in this story http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/west-seattle-light-rail-why-you-need-to-heed-2018-sense-of-urgency-for-2030-service and the flythrough starts at 30:30 – it began on SW Alaska just west of California in The Junction, quoting ST’s Chris Rule as he narrated, “with I think the word Alaska over Easy Street Records there if you need a landmark.” So it doesn’t seem they’re thinking *currently* about stopping short of there. But again, THIS IS THE TIME to say what you want to see or don’t want to see, and where – TR

  • Ryan C January 12, 2018 (10:05 am)

    It would be interesting to know what the estimated cost is for doing an elevated track vs. an underground track.  

    Buying up the homes and commercial spaces to put in the elevated track isn’t going to be inexpensive. How does that cost compare to the tunneling/excavating? 

    How do the concrete cost of an elevated track compare to the concrete costs to the concrete costs of an underground track? Is the elevated columns and track formed/poured in place or precast? The below grade tube would more than likely be precast similar to the Bertha SR99 tunnel.

    I’m sure that they have done this enough to get a good gauge on elevated vs tunnel so it would be interesting to see a breakdown of comparative costs. 

     

  • AvalonTom January 12, 2018 (10:28 am)

    I added all the high resolution images I created to date to a google drive that anyone can access, share, print, copy and distribute. 

    • sam-c January 12, 2018 (3:27 pm)

      thanks so much for all the work you did to create these.  I am just curious, do you have any views beyond the ‘SW Genesee St Overhead’- the view along the north side of the golf course?  Do you have any beyond that? Going up Delridge ?

      • AvalonTom January 13, 2018 (2:46 pm)

        My plan is to create more as time allows.

  • Peter January 12, 2018 (10:34 am)

    Cool renderings. The width looks about right, but he shows the supporting columns much closer together than they actually will be based on existing elevated sections. Finally, modern mass transit is coming!

    • AvalonTom January 12, 2018 (10:43 am)

      I actually researched this a little. The average columns on the existing built tracks are about 120′ appart. I tried to align the columns at that interval but some would fall in the middle of the interaction and what have you. So i moved them around a bit to get them to fit. So yes, some are too close together and some probably too far.

      • Azimuth January 12, 2018 (11:30 am)

        These drawings are really great. Thank you!

  • Old Friend January 12, 2018 (10:41 am)

     Sound Transit should acquire the Alki Lumber site and utilize as a transit hub.

  • old timer January 12, 2018 (10:57 am)

    I think the view from the elevated light rail might be a satisfying replacement for the loss of that from the soon to die viaduct, I’m just not sure where the line should stop.

    I can’t believe that the entire population of  around 110,000 West Seattleites now spread over miles of peninsula, are going to be magically accommodated, unobtrusively, by light rail under the “walk-all-ways” intersection.

    I think the discussion needs to be expanded to include Metro and the  bus services that will be required/provided.

    What routes will be eliminated or re-routed to the Link terminus?

    How much area will they need for loading/unloading?

    Is Metro even considering the impact of light rail in West Seattle?

    Is there any one agency or authority to decide the policies integrating rail, bus, auto, and pedestrian mobility?

    It seems there are competing authorities with mis-matched capabilities/interests.

    Thanks for the visuals, reminds me of the days spent in pursuit of the Monorail.

    I still have a ‘free ticket’ magnet for the Monorail opening day, December 15, 2007.

    With hope, this light rail effort turns out better.

  • Chris January 12, 2018 (11:01 am)

    Awesome! So excited about light rail coming to West Seattle!

  • Wakeflood January 12, 2018 (11:19 am)

    This is very cool!  Thanks!  My personal vote is for a short tunnel from the Avalon/Bridge area to the junction.  It allows for optimizing the size of the underground junction station without sacrificing that whole area.  Best option for tons of reasons IMHO.

  • Brendan January 12, 2018 (11:25 am)

    To be clear, the odds of this being made into a tunnel are exactly zero.

    That money doesn’t exist in the existing plan, and the state is planning to remove about $2 billion in sound transit funding when they revise how car tabs are calculated. Subways cost $250-$500 million a mile.

    If people manage to block the elevated line, it just means there won’t be a line to west seattle.

    • East Coast Cynic January 12, 2018 (1:30 pm)

      I thought there wouldn’t be any money in the existing plan for a tunnel for West Seattle or Ballard.  That being said, I think Sound Transit, as well as Herbold and Bagshaw, should make the realpolitik clear to the residents of the two areas that it is either the elevated options or nothing rather than allow the neighborhoods to get their hopes up over the possibility of some “golden egg” funding that can be found somewhere to get the tunnels done.

    • WS Guy January 12, 2018 (1:47 pm)

      Then no line it is.  Just build the new bridge and run buses over it.

      I’m not going to take a cheap, shoddy answer that destroys the area just for the sake of “train”.

      • Jort January 12, 2018 (2:20 pm)

        I am not paying thousands of dollars in taxes over the next 30 years to get more buses.

        I voted for the train. I don’t care how ugly it is, it’s going up. 

  • Cindi January 12, 2018 (11:43 am)

    Thank you AvalonTom, visualization helps with understanding and being able to ask better questions.  When the Monorail studies were going on in Morgan Junction, we were the terminus as well.  All the discussion was focused around the station location design and the actual “terminus” was not covered so much.  It was when we took a powerpoint slide overlay of a photograph (ancient technology) and saw 100 yards of a track stub hanging over the middle of the Morgan Junction business district that we really “got it”.  Then we could ask better questions!

  • dsa January 12, 2018 (11:59 am)

    Old Timer, you brought up an interesting question.  Where is the EIS?  All your  questions and options of a tunnel should have been explored in an EIS.   Maybe I missed it, but Tom’s renderings are the first we’ve seen.  I’ve had questions as to how the Delridge station is going to work with limited staging area.  I think there are alignment issues there too.

    Often agencies declare projects essentially environmentally inert by filling out an environmental checklist and issuing a  fonsi, finding of no significant impact.  The trick is that unless one knows the checklist is being filled out, it can’t be challenged to force a full EIS.

  • Scott A January 12, 2018 (12:03 pm)

    An underground station at Alaska Junction would almost certainly be built with a cut-and-cover construction approach.  It would be a massive hole that would pretty well shut down the business district for a few years (see the scale of the current Brooklyn Ave or Roosevelt stations).  An aerial station will also be large and disruptive but at least should be bearable.  Plus there’s no way ST has the money to underground much if any of the West Seattle or Ballard lines.  If people get really upset with an aerial profile ST would probably do the Rainier Valley approach where Link is on the surface (terrible) or just not do the West Seattle line.  “Save Our Valley” opposed the aerial profile back in the Link planning stages and demanded an underground line.  West Seattle is wealthier and better connected than the Rainier Valley but still.
    Just a glimpse of the history:
    https://www.thestranger.com/seattle/whose-valley-is-it-anyway/Content?oid=2061

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/transportation/article/Sound-Transit-sends-20-000-bill-to-group-that-1070309.php

  • bolo January 12, 2018 (1:02 pm)

    One thing about AvalonTom’s renderings that really struck me was that, in contrast to the usual renderings we see, these had way more cars in them. Then I realized he started with actual photographs. I guess that tells us that the usual architect renderings broadcast to us have optimistically low numbers of cars in their illustrations.

  • idriveeverydayinhorribletrafficefromWStoUWforwork January 12, 2018 (1:12 pm)

    looks awesome, can’t wait, wish it was TODAY

  • wakeflood January 12, 2018 (1:30 pm)

    Brendan, that’s possible but certainly not a done deal.  Elevated doesn’t really work in WS in the alignment that we need to fit into to put it in the appropriate places.  It might be cut and cover, it might be a short tunnel (less than a mile) but if you are willing to accept only elevated as an option, then you’re going to get a ton less throughput (station size requirements) and it’s going to be undersized from the minute it opens. That’s unacceptable.  Other areas pushed for a logical solution, we should too.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Even if it takes a few years longer.  This is a hundred year system.  Why build a hamstrung one to save a few years?  Bad idea.

  • Seaviewer January 12, 2018 (1:39 pm)

    I makes zero sense to have an elevated station that terminates in the Alaska Junction heading west.  You’d want the flexibility to continue the line south and having it terminate at 44th and Alaska makes that nearly impossible.

    That thing as rendered would ruin the Junction.  I’d rather it simply skirt the Junction entirely and have a station in the Triangle headed South (with possible expansion down Fauntleroy to Gatewood, Fauntleroy, Westwood, etc.)   If anything, have a trolley that runs from the triangle to the junction and then have it turn north up to Admiral.  

    • aRF January 12, 2018 (2:09 pm)

      I support the idea that the line should terminate at the Triangle headed south for future expansion. This is practical and will save the heart of the Junction from being turned into a concrete underpass. I’ve floated this idea on these forums before and found that there is a vocal group of people living in the Junction that do not wish to walk from the Triangle up the hill to the Junciton. To mitigate this problem, a level pedestrian path could be run from the elevated track at Fauntleroy, straight and level up Alaska. No need to go up an escalator or elevator to get to the tracks. 

      • neighbor January 12, 2018 (2:50 pm)

        That’s a great idea!

        • Scott A January 12, 2018 (3:42 pm)

          I agree that terminating the line where shown in the concept drawings heading west is crazy for construction and operational reasons.  Columbia City (where I lived until recently) worked out pretty well because the impacts of construction were two long blocks away but very walkable from the historic business district.  At one time there were ideas of running Link under Rainier Ave with a station in CC but I’m glad that didn’t happen in retrospect.  Stations for 400 foot long trains are big projects. 

      • West Seattle since 1979 January 12, 2018 (3:29 pm)

        The Triangle is not the Junction.  35th and Avalon isn’t the Junction.   I would think that more people would want to go to the Junction than anywhere else in the Triangle. If one or the other of these stops were eliminated from light rail, why couldn’t shuttle buses go between the stop that got missed and the Junction? Surely they’re not going to expect us to walk all that way.  even on a level pedestrrian path.  Surely they’re not going to take all the buses away from 35th and Avalon and have no train stop there as well. 

    • CAM January 12, 2018 (4:15 pm)

      An elevated rail line does not ruin anything. Maybe it ruins it for you for some reason but it does not ruin the neighborhood. Entire cities have been developed based on elevated rail systems. There is nothing unique or special about the Junction as compared to other urban hubs in thousands of cities worldwide that makes it more prone to aesthetic ruination by ONE elevated line running through it. 

  • sam-c January 12, 2018 (2:15 pm)

    I’m really curious about what it will look like directly adjacent to the skate park at DelridgeCC, or is it sweeping north to go onto Delridge at that point?

    • sam-c January 12, 2018 (7:50 pm)

      Would also love to see a ‘vision’ of where the Delridge station would be.

      the planning document show it in the middle of the street. I would assume it would not be in the middle of the street though. Is Sound Transit going to buy the dilapidated (red) house near the bridge that is currently being deconstructed, along with the other properties between there and Andover? the ‘for planning purposes’ plan seem light on info and size and location of stations.   seems like it could easily span all the properties on the east side of Delridge between the bridge and Andover.

  • LIGHT RAIL January 12, 2018 (2:15 pm)

    Drawing is nicely done.

    Lightrail may be a good idea.

    BUT 

    I DO NOT WANT THIS STANDING NEXT TO MY HOUSE.

  • Jort January 12, 2018 (2:29 pm)

    I am excited to see light rail in West Seattle, and I don’t really care what it “looks” like. My feelings are not going to be hurt by concrete towers. 

    AvalonTom created these drawings, which are interesting as far as hobby-work goes, but we should also understand that AvalonTom stated that his opposition to the current project. I would encourage viewers to consider his biases when evaluating whether these are fair visual representations of the final project.

    Additionally, for those clamoring for a tunnel “no matter the cost,” I would STRONGLY encourage you to contact your state representatives to let them know that you do not want them to do ANYTHING to reduce Sound Transit’s tax revenue sources, including rejecting current proposals to re-value the MVET.

    The tunnel will cost significantly more money and take more time. You better start coming up with ways to get that money before you start demanding tunnels “at all costs.”

    In the meantime, if voters find out that they’re spending thousands and thousands of dollars over the course of 30 years to not get light rail in our community, which we overwhelmingly voted for, they will be extremely angry, and justifiably so.

    Do. Not. Seattle Process. This. Rail. Line.

    • WS Guy January 12, 2018 (2:58 pm)

      I’ve already proposed sacrificing Avalon station, thereby reducing the number of stations at the Junction to one.  That is a means to free up funds to tunnel.

      As to timeline, one thing the MHA process should be teaching us is that bad solutions are not faster.  They just drive residents to organized opposition. 

      • West Seattle since 1979 January 12, 2018 (3:43 pm)

        Avalon Station is not the Junction!  Why is everyone equating the general area of 35th and Avalon with the Junction?  

        That said, I agree with you that that would be the logical station to cut, provided that they still had buses stopping in the general areal to take people to either of the other stations.  

        • WS Guy January 12, 2018 (4:38 pm)

          Avalon is within the boundary of the West Seattle Junction Urban Village.  I.e. technically it is in the Junction.  The optimal place for an underground station is at the current site of the Bank of America on Alaska.  Two blocks from the Triangle and two blocks from California Ave.

          The optimal place for an elevated station is in the garbage can.  Giant concrete columns make for an unfriendly pedestrian area.  For all our guests from Seattle Subway or whatever you are coming from, let’s try to keep the Junction and urbanist environment and not a suburban transit utility.

      • East Coast Cynic January 12, 2018 (3:48 pm)

        Too many neighborhoods (and quite a few people) to be reliant on a potential Avalon station to throw it out of a WS light rail plan (Gatewood, Highpoint, Roxhill, and Arbor Heights) and in all likelihood using connector buses on 35th Ave SW to reach the stop.  A lot of Apartment buildings going up along 35th with a huge increase in population that would be denied link by the time it’s ready.

        Besides, not only would you potentially take a lot of paying customers from light rail, but you may not get enough savings to build a tunnel.

        • WS Guy January 12, 2018 (4:46 pm)

          According to the ST3 proposal, Avalon station was not intended for use as a bus transit connector.  The other two were (Delridge and Alaska) per their project documents.

          • East Coast Cynic January 12, 2018 (6:51 pm)

            Presumably the 21 that stops on 35th off Avalon will allow commuters, even with the lack of bus/rail integration facilities, an opportunity to walk a few blocks around the corner to get link at the Avalon station.  ST hasn’t called for taking out the 21 for the 35th and Avalon stop.

      • Jort January 12, 2018 (3:59 pm)

        Is that why the anti-HALA/anti-MHA suffered crippling, overwhelmingly decisive defeats at the ballot box last November? 

        Sometimes the “organized opposition” isn’t as important or as big as it likes to think it is. 

        • CMT January 12, 2018 (6:39 pm)

          I think you vastly overrate the importance of HALA/MHA to the average Seattle voter and thus misconceive a “decisive” victory. (And neither you nor I or probably the majority of the people in this thread are the “average” voter, i.e., not immersed in the City’s plans, land use and/or TOD, etc.)

      • CAM January 12, 2018 (4:16 pm)

        Good to know that you think those people don’t need public transit options. 

        • S January 12, 2018 (5:45 pm)

          Makes zero sense to stop it short of the Junction. Bring it all the way.

    • AvalonTom January 13, 2018 (3:01 pm)

      Jort, Please review the ST3 drawings available to the public  closely and let me know where you think i’m in error. I will gladly update my work. My biases really have nothing to do with interpreting engineering drawings of a proposed project. I’m simply using my professional skills to help people understand what they are about to receive.

    • bolo January 13, 2018 (7:33 pm)

      Jort I am calling you out on this:

      “… AvalonTom stated that his opposition to the current project. I would encourage viewers to consider his biases when evaluating whether these are fair visual representations of the final project.”

      NO Jort he DID NOT state his opposition to the current project.
      AS REPORTED ABOVE: “He also acknowledges that he is concerned with “the size” of the project and hopes that ST will consider tunneling.”
      That’s a far cry from opposing the project, wouldn’t you say Jort?

      Hopefully we will get efficient well-designed rail service.
      Realize that it will probably not be exactly what you yourself wants.
      Also realize there are many many others that have viewpoints, desires, and opinions that differ from yours but they have just as much right to voice them as you, and many of theirs are just as valid as yours, and some may be even more valid than yours.

  • Community Member January 12, 2018 (3:09 pm)

    I wonder if instead of trying to shoehorn this massive project into the already dense Triangle and Alaska Junction, maybe it would make more sense to build a gigantic, beautiful above ground station, similar to Tukwila’s, at Westwood or somewhere else more southern. Yeah, the density isn’t there yet, but it will be.  

    And why does the bridge have to be built adjacent to the existing bridge? Is there an engineering reason? I would have though that once you decided to not put the rail on the existing bridge, it would make sense to build it further south so that it can be a smaller bridge.

    I often ride the First Hill street car that connects a large area to the Capital Hill Link station. I wonder the relative costs of a surface street car on California plus a regional Link station at Westwood or another hub, versus having either a tunnel or a huge above-ground station at the Alaska Junction.

    • S January 12, 2018 (5:42 pm)

      Brilliant! And instead of going to that busy downtown area, maybe it should just terminate in some barren field in Burien. 

    • Question Authority January 12, 2018 (7:45 pm)

      The need for freedom of navigation due to tall ship traffic goes all the way to South Park so building further South does nothing.

  • Ron Swanson January 12, 2018 (3:34 pm)

    Looks great!  Well past time to get this done.

  • Seattlite January 12, 2018 (3:52 pm)

    Excellent visual of elevated rail.  It’s totally heinous and would adversely impact so many people, businesses in WS, real estate prices.  It would be the nail in coffin in ruining WS’s once unique, off the beaten path ambience and turn it into a concrete column wonderland.  Seattle’s roadway/transportation planners suck and have totally ruined so many roadways.  I was in downtown Seattle today…what a nightmare trying to drive on second avenue with the on-going construction blocking lanes, bicycle lanes and street parking on 2nd avenue are just ridiculous.  Two near accidents with cars pulling out into on-going traffic from parked spaces without warning. All of this transportation planning should have started 40 or 50 years ago to accommodate for growth but now Seattle voters will be paying for the ineptness of Seattle’s politicians with their pocketbook and quality of living.

    • Jort January 12, 2018 (4:49 pm)

      We held an election a few years ago on this very subject, and it was overwhelmingly approved in our neighborhood. 

      Your neighbors overwhelmingly disagree with you. They want the light rail. Now that we’re paying for it, we better get it.

      • chemist January 12, 2018 (5:51 pm)

        How many years of MVET did you pay into the Monorail? I learned my lesson about the permanence of voter mandates between that and I-91.

        • carole January 12, 2018 (11:30 pm)

          I paid four years of monorail fees. Most people paid three.  I believe those of us with June renewals were the only ones stuck with four.

    • Question Authority January 12, 2018 (7:49 pm)

      So 40-50 years ago planners knew Amazon was going to ruin this City?  Expecting growth is like predicting the next earthquake which won’t be a good time to be on elevated light rail.

      • Seattlite January 14, 2018 (1:17 pm)

        Leaders, city planners, are supposed to have a vision of a city’s future which includes growth of population, businesses, etc.  Because Seattle has had extremely bad luck with inept leadership, Seattle is where it is today…extreme transportation problems.

        • WSB January 14, 2018 (1:29 pm)

          I wasn’t here 50 years ago. Was the voters’ rejection of mass-transit $ in 1968 and 1970 the result of “inept leadership”?
          http://www.historylink.org/File/3961

          • East Coast Cynic January 15, 2018 (10:40 am)

            In my opinion, a few too many voters lacking in vision and political leadership that passive aggressively wanted Forward Thrust to fail because they set such a high threshold for passage – 60%.

      • East Coast Cynic January 15, 2018 (10:45 am)

        The growth was happening as far back as the early 90’s w/ heavy traffic on the major highways in rush hour.  The region should have gotten going then.  Unfortunately, many were scared that it would turn Seattle into NYC or Chicago.  Also, I suspect that many people thought that if the infrastructure wasn’t expanded, the growth would stop and people would leave town; but guess what, it went on unabated and now we are in a pickle of being way behind the 8 ball in transit infrastructure with way more commuting pain on the way for many of us in the region before we get more light rail up and going.

  • KtotheF January 12, 2018 (4:14 pm)

    Wow, these are fantastic renderings that show a 50-100 year blight that could be brought to our neighborhood. We can easily wait or pay a little more to go underground once the train crosses the Duwamish but we may not have to. The Avalon and California Junctions are closer together than any other stops on the light rail which is a completely inefficient use of heavier (e.g. non-streetcar) light rail. Instead, let’s toss the Avalon station, shift the California stop a block east towards Fauntleroy/Alaska, put the whole thing underground, then have entrances/exits to the underground platform yet another block to the east and west of that station. That creates a perfectly usable walkshed and cuts costs by going with a single station and, most importantly, avoids the mess of weaving through our neighborhoods and our air space.

    • KtotheF January 12, 2018 (4:17 pm)

      And let’s also not forget the mildew that tends to streak down the sides of any porous surface in our moist Northwest environs. The renderings show an idea when the towers are shiny and new. Reality will be something far different over time.

    • Susan Bari Price January 15, 2018 (9:32 am)

      Yes, blight is the right word! 

  • Admiral Mom January 12, 2018 (4:17 pm)

    Wow! First of all, THANKS Avalon Tom! These are great for the public to get an idea since I haven’t really visualized this. Second, I’m so happy I live in Admiral so I won’t have to deal with all of the construction. And third, who thinks this will be the new Bertha? Overpriced, check. Behind schedule, check. And constant complaining about the light rail, check.

    • Mr. J January 12, 2018 (5:51 pm)

      Except “Bertha” was the State. Light Rail is Sound Transit and they have been under budget and early on the last two extensions. People will continue to complain about the light rail because it costs money and takes time and probably because they have nothing better to do than hate on something that  will benefit the region but may or may not be hideous/cause slums/destroy property values [insert panicked delusion].

  • Chris Barnes January 12, 2018 (4:55 pm)

    Hell no…will never be anything close to that.  If even a fraction of something like that is built it will be a black day for West Seattle…Would be like rebuilding the viaduct over our heads right here.

  • Melinda January 12, 2018 (6:03 pm)

    Thanks, Tom. Would you please share any renderings that you have of the light rail as it comes off the bridge into Youngstown, i.e., down Delridge as it curves west to Genessee. Many thanks for your work.

    • RayK January 16, 2018 (9:59 am)

      @Melinda, ST has stated that the will cross the Duwamish with a new bridge dedicated to the light rail so it will not use the current high bridge. The new bridge will be on the south side of the high bridge and pass between it and Pidgeon Point while dropping closer to ground level at North Delridge. 

  • TreeHouse January 12, 2018 (6:21 pm)

    Why would WSB post some third party unaffiliated baseless renderings of the light rail system when the person who designed it has literally no affiliation with the planning, design, or construction process? Especially given that the individual has stated his/her opposition to the light rail and planned growth in West Seattle? This isn’t responsible journalism. 

    • WSB January 12, 2018 (6:30 pm)

      (a) It’s not “baseless.” Tom used the Sound Transit representative alignment draft. As did, for example, the person who crafted the cardboard version shown at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition workshop, as linked above. (b) Journalism involves reporting on “what MIGHT/COULD happen” (and what MIGHT NOT/COULD NOT happen) all the time. We actually don’t do enough of it here. – TR

    • Seattlite January 12, 2018 (8:06 pm)

      There thousands of individuals opposed to light rail  and overdevelopment in WS. 

      • CAM January 12, 2018 (9:23 pm)

        There are definitely people opposed but thousands seems like a bit of a leap with no backup. I would have said hundreds based on those who’ve spoken out publicly and the groups that are actively fighting the proposals. 

    • AvalonTom January 13, 2018 (2:55 pm)

      Treehouse, As a citizen I have the right to express my opinions.  Im biased as all humans are. If you disagree with my work, please review the proposed design closely that can be found here, let me know were you think I made an error and I will carefully  consider your claim and make the update in my 3D simulation if its warranted. I did everything I could with the information publicly provided to produce a close as possible massing study.  Its not perfect, but even with 80-90% accuracy this visual tool gives my neighbors a tool so they can make up their own mind about what they want the neighborhood to look like.  Afterall you must agree that as citizens we at least have the right to speak out verbally or in my case  visually. Please dont shoot the messenger.

  • Aaron January 12, 2018 (6:39 pm)

    Love it! Please build it yesterday, and put the Delridge station as far south as possible. Use the Golf course if needed too!

  • TJ January 12, 2018 (6:54 pm)

    Uhhhhhh, sorry Mr J, but NO Sound Transit projects have been on time or under budget. The last 2 ended up being ahead of schedule and under budget, but that was after those being RESET during construction. They still were behind and cost more than what was promised. Current ST managers have somehow defended that as accurate by saying previous ST adminstrators were wrong, but are no longer there. Still doesn’t count. How about the Lynnwood line? WAY over budget and behind schedule, which was purposely not disclosed until after the ST3 vote. Please work with facts. I didn’t vote for this, yet people think it appropriate to spend my money on it. And all this talk of a tunnel is a dream, unless people want to cough up more money, which means speaking for mine. Nope

  • WS1976 January 12, 2018 (7:14 pm)

    Blaine the Mono lives!

    • German Bee January 13, 2018 (9:34 pm)

      Very interesting analysis. 

  • Bad DNA January 12, 2018 (7:37 pm)

    You know this train doesn’t go by quietly,  you can hear it blocks away…

    Is ST3 going to pay for the sound deadening and new windows for nearby residents?

    • dsa January 12, 2018 (8:46 pm)

      Bad Dna asked:  “Is ST3 going to pay for the sound deadening and new windows for nearby residents?”

      The first question to resolve is if the trains cause a noise impact.  That evaluation is typically answered and addressed in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the Final Impact Statement should state if there will be noise attenuation for the selected alternative.   

      My question is where are the other alternatives from ST3?  Are they working on a FEIS?  Sorry I may be behind on this, but I just do not remember seeing discussion of alternatives taken to the public

  • wsbusinessowner January 12, 2018 (10:11 pm)

    Seriously, I understand people’s concerns about noise but it’s an URBAN environment. Suburbs may be better for you, West Seattle is not a suburb. I for one have seen the traffic get horrificly worse in the last two years and when we knock down the viaduct next year and open the tunnel (which will be useless to anyone going downtown) we are looking at 2019. They are saying light rail won’t be done until at least 2013 so imagine FOUR more years of growth, fewer highways, and LOTS of people who simply can’t bike to work. Who cares what it looks like, we need to move people just like New York, Chicago, and other major metropolitan cities have been doing for 100’s of years. 

    • sgs January 13, 2018 (10:19 am)

      Who cares what it looks like? Most architects in the world would disagree with you. Visuals matter; we
      are visual beings, and our well being is greatly dependent on our
      surroundings.   Maybe you haven’t been exposed to successful city planning vs thoughtless $$$ motivated plans.  Just returned from Singapore where they have incredible growth and visuals are still uttermost in city planning. New York and Chicago also have underground portions of their transit.  If land is premium, like our dense West Seattle, underground makes most sense. 

    • NH January 13, 2018 (12:25 pm)

      Agreed. Commute time has grown in the last two years and is only going to get worse. We need transit.

  • billy_blakely January 12, 2018 (10:47 pm)

    AvalonTom, your rendering of Genesee north of 32nd Ave appears to show all the homes missing on both sides of the street.  That’s about 20 + single family houses gone.   Do you seriously expect those homes to disappear?

    • AvalonTom January 13, 2018 (2:40 pm)

      Yes, I believe the homes under the station will be removed.  You need, bus access, utilities, parking, pick up drop of areas, I dont think all the facilities are compatible with having residential homes right next door or under the tracks.  Also, if you closely review the proposed design you can see the train station is on top of the homes. The schematic shows the station only as an icon. In real life the station will need to be much wider. (see image) Consider the track, its approximately 28 feet wide. You need platforms on each side for people to wait for trains, let’s say that’s a very tight 10 feet wide on each side.  you need large staircases, elevators to get people to the track level. Add a few more feet for that. The station structure will need to be at least 50-60 feet wide. You need bus access, you need fire truck access, you need maintenance access, etc, etc, etc. The engineering drawing shows the station as 20-30 foot wide rectangle, but the actual size must be larger and will require breathing room around it for all the needed access and egress. I can only assume all the properties around it will need to go.

      • chemist January 14, 2018 (9:25 am)

        And Seattle is working on revised minimum codes for parking, including requiring parking for 5% of AM light rail users at these new stations in cages, rooms, or stalls.  They’re going to need to be able to house at least 1,000 bikes at this station, and maybe a lot more.

  • billy_blakely January 12, 2018 (11:12 pm)

    Oops, I should have said “south of 32nd Ave” instead of “north”

  • Alki Resident January 13, 2018 (12:59 am)

    The second we get a good earthquake in West Seattle, those concrete pieces will fall and kill so many people. We have no room for this monster project the way it is. 

  • LJ January 13, 2018 (9:20 am)

    I voted no on ST3 because I still do not understand how I will personally benefit from a  light   rail station in the Alaska Junction. The way I see this project  is in 13+ years from now I will have to walk uphill for a mile and then get onto a train for a 4 mile trip to SODO.  Is there something wonderful that I am missing ?   I will not be living in West Seattle in 20 years and possibly moving before 13 years due to the ever increasing  tax burden.

    • Ron January 15, 2018 (12:17 pm)

      See ya!

  • sgs January 13, 2018 (10:02 am)

    Would support extending to Alaska/Fauntleroy or something just along Fauntleroy or Avalon.  The Junction is our walkable area, like a square in Europe.  You don’t see many people strolling along 5th Ave underneath the Monorail.   Transportation hubs are necessary, but shouldn’t overwhelm pedestrian areas.

  • aRF January 13, 2018 (12:39 pm)

    Hey everyone! You can support light rail to West Seattle without supporting this particular alignment. ST3 was written with the idea that many of the actual design decisions would be made down the road. We are now entering that period. If you think the Junction terminus should not extend over and past California Avenue, then you need to let the planning groups know.

    One thing that will not be happening without more money is tunneling into the Junction. If you want that to happen, you’ve got to have the community cough up a revenue increase of some sort. I would love to see the light rail go underground. It makes sense. It is the right long term investment. But show me where the additional money is coming from.

  • EdSeattle January 13, 2018 (1:48 pm)

    Currently the way this is laid out there will be several homes, condos, and business destroyed to make way for these stations and the wide swing of the rail because trains don’t turn like cars and need more room.  This means there will be hundreds of people displaced.  What makes more is to do away with the Avalon Station, which, according to the schematics will eliminate several houses housing 15 families  and at least 2 condominium buildings housing 20 units each or 40 families.  When you get to Delridge you see where the swing is on these drawings, wiping out another 20 or so houses.  Yes, Sound Transit will claim these and make these people homeless for the greater good.  WHAT MAKES MORE SENSE: We do away with the Avalon Station and move it over to where the totem pole park is which is 2 blocks south of the proposed Avalon Station.  This and the golf course are underutilized and already public land that ST and the city can negotiate with little impact on the residents in the area. We can  sacrifice the golf course and tunnel under the Delridge area and over the proposed bridge.  The tunnel would cost more granted, but  ST will save millions of dollars by not having to purchase all of those houses and condominiums to make way for the concrete stantions  by going under the golf course.  When we do something  of this magnitude let’s do it right and not do something we will be sorry for in the future.  I hope councilwoman  Herbold will support a tunnel that so many West Seattle residents (read the comments) want so we don’t have to live with these unsightly concrete monsters.

    Nice Job on the schematics Avalon Tom.  I looked at the numbers and elevation proposed by Sound Transit on their site  and these measurements are within a couple of percent points plus or minus.

  • Seattle_Gal January 13, 2018 (7:13 pm)

    And just think not but six years ago everyone in Seattle voted down having a monorail which in essence is what they’re getting with the elevated, the only thing that’s changed is the technology for the cars. And it would’ve come online sooner and been less expensive. But what can we say.

  • Gaston January 14, 2018 (1:27 am)

    Being under this rail will be like being under the west Seattle bridge or the viaduct. Dark, dank, smelly places wet with dirty rainwater. Do you know of any bright, vibrant welcoming areas under the bridge or the viaduct? No, because there aren’t any. Welcome to the new junction- a dark dirty wet parking lot. You’re welcome. 

    • WSB January 14, 2018 (1:40 am)

      Can’t compare the underside of an elevated light-rail track to the underside of a six-lane bridge, sorry.

  • KLC January 14, 2018 (8:58 am)

    Wow, that’s going to be really ugly. As another poster said, imagine this eyesore covered in graffiti and stained brown and grey by dripping water. Besides, in 10-12 years when light rail is slated to be finished, won’t we have autonomous busses? Just string them together to make a train and put them on existing roads. Costs would be a lot less than $54 billion.

    • Susan Bari Price January 15, 2018 (9:25 am)

      The autonomous busses are a great idea!

    • East Coast Cynic January 15, 2018 (10:51 am)

      Those autonomous buses will be slowed up by car traffic as buses are now, but worse due to increased car traffic from a larger population on the existing roads that are having trouble with present volumes of traffic.

  • WSB January 14, 2018 (8:33 pm)

    An actual look at the underside of an elevated track is available via Google Street View. Follow the line along streets in Tukwila.

    https://www.google.com/maps/@47.465225,-122.2714221,3a,75y,111.69h,92.67t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2vSlpbK949v9TIrVYh1t1g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  • Susan Bari Price January 15, 2018 (9:24 am)

    That is truly hideous. There is no reason the light rail needs to come into the Junction(s). How about a street level rail down Delridge like the one that runs through Columbia City? With Metro shuttles from the Junctions down to the light rail. Adding that monstrosity of a raised concrete snake will ruin the already diminishing attractiveness of our neighborhood. 

    • Also John January 15, 2018 (11:48 am)

      Hi Susan…..  You’re forgetting that people look for any excuse to get back in their cars.  They’ll say ‘I don’t take the light rail because I have to take a bus and light rail to get downtown.  That’s just simply to much work’.  Trust me…that’s what they’ll say.  We need the light rail at the Junction, because that’s where all the apartments are being built…

  • nikki January 15, 2018 (5:04 pm)

    Looks Like I have 6 years to plan my move out of west Seattle. Lived here for 40 years but I can’t say I like the changes. 

    The noise level alone is worth moving —- YIKES – 

  • RayK January 16, 2018 (10:19 am)

    Thanks for all posting in this thread with your 2-cents.
    What could we defer to a later ST program to make the tunnel affordable? I’d consider terminating at an Avalon / 35th Ave station and provide two articulated buses circulating from that station during peak periods counterclockwise along 35th to Alaska, to 44th Ave, to Oregon, to Fauntleroy and the Avalon / 35th Ave station. Also, two artics circulating clockwise on the same route. Each bus can carry up to 100 passengers and the ride won’t take long. Tunnelling would delay service several years and the extra cost must be paid from the current West Seattle project budget: we can’t steal from other projects like Ballard’s which includes some tunneling downtown.  
    I’d like to know the load projections for riders at each station in the representative route provided by ST to see how many people they expect for station entry/egress. A four-car train can carry 300+ passengers, right? With 3-minute headways, that is a lot of passenger capacity Metro must deliver to deliver full trains to the light rail network spine at SODO. Can Metro really deliver enough passengers using the current roadway infrastructure? They do plan to restructure the peninsula bus routes to feed the stations as they are doing at Husky Stadium.

  • Billy January 16, 2018 (10:32 pm)

    By the time this light rail is up and functional, people will be begging for it without considerations of what it is going to look like. I left Seattle for many years, and came back to traffic that at times rivals busy Asian megacities’ traffic.  While I am a huge fan of underground subways, it would take two decades to get something like that going here – bureaucracy, government red tape, regulations – it’s all slowing down our (and America’s progress), but that’s just how we function as a nation, and I digress. Yes, I’m all up for a light rail or subway connecting West Seattle to the rest of the city, especially the core. If not for me, for the people that will continue to live here and continue to move into West Seattle over the coming few decades.        

  • Eddie January 17, 2018 (10:09 pm)

    I hope they build a direct “express” route to Crystal Mountain.

    Think snow.

  • David February 1, 2018 (4:30 pm)

    Look up North to Vancouver and you will find that elevated lines don’t have to be that high.  One such example is the Richmond-Brighouse station – on a busy road and near the mall.   Here is a link to the images:

     https://www.google.com/search?q=richmond+brighouse+station&rlz=1C1CAFA_enUS707US707&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjV9rKW_IXZAhVF_mMKHb9CB7oQ_AUICygC&biw=1024&bih=472

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