WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit’s first toplines from ‘early scoping,’ and more

Updates on the process of planning Sound Transit‘s West Seattle (to Ballard) light rail:

FIRST TOPLINES FROM ‘EARLY SCOPING’: The slide deck above (also visible here) will be presented to the Stakeholder Advisory Group at its meeting this Wednesday (agenda here), and it includes toplines of what Sound Transit says it heard from commenters – in person as well as online – during the “early scoping” feedback period that wrapped up a week ago. It’s not the full “early scoping” report – that, ST says, will be out next month – but it’s important because public comment will be considered by this group before making its way to the Elected Leadership Group that in turn will, in about a year, make a “preferred alternative” recommendation to the Sound Transit board.

SPEAKING OF COMMENTS: This caught our eye when ST issued a reminder that “early scoping” is closed but that you can see the comments made on the map that was part of its “online open house” – note the number of West Seattle comments vs. everywhere else:

As you probably noticed in the slide deck atop this story, ST says it’s received 2,800+ comments in all for the West Seattle/Ballard extensions, so far.

ONLY ONE ‘NEIGHBORHOOD FORUM’ HERE: As we mentioned last week, ST now says the “neighborhood forums” will start in late April. Though the agency previously had suggested they would be deeper dives into individual areas, the list on the slide deck for Wednesday’s meeting notes only one West Seattle “neighborhood forum” is planned, out of the six locations listed (clarification: in the first round, ST notes).

LIGHT-RAIL DISCUSSION IN ADMIRAL: Tomorrow night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting will include an unofficial light-rail discussion, led by ANA president Larry Wymer, who is a member of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition board. ANA now meets every other month, and at an earlier time; tomorrow’s meeting is at 6:30 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW/SW Lander).

28 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit's first toplines from 'early scoping,' and more"

  • MJ March 12, 2018 (2:54 pm)

    As person who attended and commented, did ST failed to listen.  I know many people commented, including me, on the need to provide parking.  Why is parking not listed?

    • CAM March 12, 2018 (4:25 pm)

      Parking has never been a part of the plan. The plan is to direct bus service from other areas in West Seattle to one of the three stations. 

    • Mr. K March 12, 2018 (4:36 pm)

      People can comment to have spots to tie their dirigibles, but that doesn’t mean they’ll consider it or put it in their slide deck. If people want a tunnel because light rail is so ugly, why would we have a giant ugly parking structure? You can bus to the Junction and take the light rail or who knows, maybe there will be connector shuttles.

      • Jort March 12, 2018 (8:23 pm)

        I would strongly recommend that West Seattle residents give an e-bike a shot! I rode one of the Lime E-Bikes from the Junction to High Point (and back) and it felt like the city was completely flat. I didn’t even break a sweat!

        E-bikes have the power to truly connect our communities in a sustainable, healthy way. And on the plus side, you don’t need a multi-million dollar parking garage to store them!

      • Von Zeppelin March 12, 2018 (9:08 pm)

        Yes!  Dirigible parking!

    • Car? LOL! March 13, 2018 (11:44 am)

      That would violate both Sound Transit and City of Seattle policies regarding park and rides within the city.

  • Ian March 12, 2018 (4:04 pm)

    That is outside of the scope of ST3, original plans only called for light rail stations not, Parking Garages. An activist group in west Seattle could buy the land next to the station and build a parking garage with private funds but, for ST to build it you would need a voter referendum and it would need to get past by the sub area and require additional taxation authority granted by the state legislature to the subarea to levy additional taxes  to pay for it. 

  • MJ March 12, 2018 (5:11 pm)

    As a taxpayer at least leave some street parking near the stations, unlike Beacon Hill, Columbia City and other stations where all the street parking is made into RPZ parking even though during the day more than ample parking exists, per City parking study, to allow one side of each street be open to unrestricted parking.

    Maybe allow City residents to purchase street parking permits to park near stations.  The issue we all are paying for train and not everyone has easy access to it, and the City’s overly restrictive parking needs to be fixed.  I grant this may not be a direct ST item but it is certainly related.

    • Jort March 12, 2018 (8:08 pm)

      As Ian said, you and other automobile enthusiasts are more than welcome to pool your funds together to build a parking structure for your private use.

      However, Sound Transit is under no obligation to even consider a park-and-ride, and the city statutorily will not allow one, anyway.

      One of Sound Transit’s park-and-ride facilities way out in the suburbs recently had a cost of about $100,000 per space. Maybe that would help explain why they’re not pursuing a parking garage in one of the most expensive cities in the United States? It’s also possible that Seattle doesn’t want to be the very first major metropolitan area in human history that prioritizes parking structures in the midst of its densest, most urban rail station locations.

      Good news, though, MJ. Buses currently allocated to getting stuck in traffic headed downtown will likely be re-allocated to connect the north/south points of the peninsula to the rail stations. If you’re concerned about station access, it is probably a more constructive and better use of your time to advocate for improvements to transit connections, because, unfortunately for you, the garage idea is dead on arrival.

  • TJ March 12, 2018 (7:54 pm)

    Walk 3 blocks to wait for a bus down here past the ferry dock, take it to the rail station, wait for the train, then take it down to Sodo to walk 3 blocks to my office? Sounds like a nightmare. Fixed rail has lots of limitations. I’ll always be driving one of my suv’s or pickup

    • Jort March 12, 2018 (8:12 pm)

      Sounds good! Have fun in traffic!

    • The King March 13, 2018 (7:33 am)

      Factor in setbacks, politics and lack of foresight and we will have self driving cars by the time they get rail to West Seattle. Time waits for nobody, your car will drop you off and then find a place to park. Everyone will have a self driving car, it will be awesome. 

      • Car? LOL! March 13, 2018 (11:47 am)

        And next from fantasyland …. gondolas!

    • Also John March 13, 2018 (8:33 am)

       @TJ…  Really?  The buses pick ferry passengers up directly across the street from the ferry.  Light rail currently comes through downtown ever 12 minutes.   I just walked 3 blocks along 2nd Ave just now and it took me 3 minutes and 28 seconds. 

      I’d take light rail in a heartbeat over driving my vehicle.  BTW….a bike is even better.  

    • catdogcowgoat March 13, 2018 (11:05 am)

      I had commuted from the Burien area to SLU for a few years. My experience echos your concern. For an average day, driving was always faster than taking light rail, and somewhat significantly so. Driving to the light rail station, waiting for a train, taking the train to Westlake, walking to the street car, waiting for the street car, taking the street car to SLU, walking to work. That commute was always 1 hr 15 min or more. Driving directly from home to work was always 45 min or less (unless there was an accident making that 1 hr 30 min or more, but that was very very rare). You can’t say what the rail commute from WS to DT would be without experiencing it, but you’re concerns aren’t unfounded. Rail pass was paid by my work, and parking was almost $20/day, so I often chose rail because of that. But the days I drove were great, it felt like I gained back almost an hour of my evening.

    • Car? LOL! March 13, 2018 (11:46 am)

      Go ahead and pretend that’s not exactly what you would do anyway.

  • Jort March 12, 2018 (8:20 pm)

    MJ, I’ve been able to tell that you’re very interested in reading studies regarding traffic management. I would strongly encourage you to read some work by UCLA researcher Donald Shoup, who wrote “The High Cost of Free Parking.” 

    He has lots of helpful information about how cities fail when they design their infrastructure primarily around subsidized, cheap vehicle parking. 

    Thankfully, most modern urban planners understand this, and our cities are becoming better, more thriving places every year as they take these lessons to heart. 

  • MJ March 12, 2018 (10:46 pm)


    I believe all modes of transportation need to be addressed. 

    Why the City does not let residents use some of the existing public street parking to park near light rail stations is unjust, not everyone lives near good transit.  The City’s own studies show ample daytime street parking is available near the light rail stations.  Where I live no midday transit exists.

    What is needed is a balanced approach.  What is not needed are ideologues from either side of the spectrum.


    • Jort March 13, 2018 (9:54 am)

      Hi MJ,

      What I don’t suppose you realize is that it would, indeed, actually be quite radical, and actually unbalanced, to build a park-and-ride structure in an urban area. A park-and-ride is not a “sensible centrist” idea. It is, in fact, an extremely irregular and counterproductive idea and no major city would even spend 30 seconds entertaining the idea. 

      Park-and-rides can sometimes make sense in places like Issaquah, or Auburn, or Puyallup. They have no place in a densely-built urban village.

      Again, I would encourage you to instead devote your efforts toward improving bus connections throughout the peninsula, so that residents from the tip of Alki all the way to White Center have regular, easy connections to the train. That is actually a “balanced approach.”

      By the way, I would also like a “balanced approach” when it comes to the amount of money the city spends on bikes and transit. So far, the overwhelming, vast majority of the SDOT budget goes to maintaining roads for automobiles. I’d love to see that number reduced, and the cycling infrastructure increased! That would be much more balanced!

      • Jon Wright March 13, 2018 (2:32 pm)

        I went back and revisited MJ’s posts and nowhere does MJ suggest a parking garage. MJ does, however, talk about street parking. I agree with MJ that the allocation of street parking is ripe for change. I don’t know if I agree with MJ how it should be changed, but I will share my thoughts.

        Street parking is a public resource. Yet residents always seem to think they have a preferential claim. When an RPZs is created, that is basically a giveaway of public resource to residents within the RPZ boundaries because the cost of an RPZ permit is so low ($65 for 2 years). I would say go ahead and create RPZs around places like the Beacon Hill and Columbia City Link stations but sell permits to anyone who wants them at market prices. In some neighborhoods, the roads have parking on both sides and only one car can drive through at a time. Basically the city is giving away 2/3 of the road for free for personal property storage! Monetize parking and eliminate the expectation that I can store my vehicle for no charge on city property. 

  • WS Resident March 13, 2018 (9:02 am)

    Please stop with the parking comments.  If you want to drive your car to a parking lot to take public transit move to the suburbs.  If you think the city needs to provide you with street parking right in front of the station, dream on.  

  • Bryan March 13, 2018 (9:40 am)

    The car fanatics need to stop demanding every project be about them and accommodating their expensive and polluting lifestyle choice. Parking is not a right. It’s a blight that wastes space, and there’s already too much parking that goes unused that could better be served as literally anything else. Asking a transit agency to throw money after your parking garage obsession shows just how selfish and short-sighted these fanatics are. We need better transit, not siphoning off those funds for more parking our future can’t afford.

  • 56bricks March 13, 2018 (9:58 am)

    Yes,please stop with the parking nonsense. WE have decided evil cars need to be destroyed and you will succumb to our desires. There, sound better?

  • MJ March 13, 2018 (10:30 am)


    I am not advocating a parking garage, I am simply noting that a portion of the existing street parking near light rail be available to other City residents to use.  The City’s own parking study near the other light rail stations south of Seattle show ample availability to open some of it up to others.

    Regarding the WS light rail it should integrate the existing P & R under the viaduct and maintain some street parking near the proposed Avalon station.


  • Carlover March 13, 2018 (3:39 pm)

    Keep in mind Jort has stated in past post’s that he/she OWNS AND DRIVES a car. Their “car’s are evil” rants are BOREING!! We DO have issues with traffic. We DO need to encourage all form’s of transportation. What we need are REAL WORKABLE solution’s. The problem is that nobody’s provided us with anything workable in the real world. The prevailing idea to “make thing’s tough and they’ll sell” only makes those of us who want and need a car tune you out. And to those that claim to live without a car-PROVE IT! Prove you don’t own,rent or ride in a car. Prove you don’t let family or friends visit you in a car. Lead by example.

    • Huh? March 13, 2018 (5:08 pm)

      Wait, what?

      Who said cars are evil?

      No, really, who said that?  

      Because I feel like you’re arguing with phantoms here.

      And please don’t call people who say they don’t own a car liars, that’s just mean.  And you know perfectly well it’s nigh impossible to prove a negative (i.e., prove you don’t rent cars), so please stop with that silliness.)

      But all that said, I certainly agree with your conclusion that we should lead by example.  People arguing for fewer parking spots should absolutely use fewer spots (that is, drive less), and people arguing for buses sure better be using them!

      • Rick March 17, 2018 (2:43 pm)

        SCAMSCAMSCAM. Did I mention Scam? All for dollars. Always will be.

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