3:48 PM: It’s by no means a guarantee that light rail is headed this way – but it’s a necessary first step: The Sound Transit board has just approved ST’s Long-Range Plan Update, and part of it included an amendment to the ST map so that it will now show Downtown Seattle to West Seattle to Burien as a (potential) light-rail corridor.
4:41 PM: Some background – the talk about this possibility really started to intensify a year ago, when ST offered an online survey about its Long-Range Plan Update. In May, we reported on a presentation to the ST Executive Committee about the study of potential south-end corridors, including routes featuring West Seattle. Then in June, another survey was taken in connection with the draft environmental-impact statement for the Long-Range Plan Update. In July, ST reps spoke to the West Seattle Transportation Coalition and to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce; and in October, the two West Seattleites on the Sound Transit board, County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmember Joe McDermott, announced they would work to get WS into the Long-Range Plan Update.
So what happens now? ST has to figure out what it wants to propose for its next ballot measure, dubbed ST3, which might not go to voters until November 2016. Today’s vote is no guarantee that the newly added West Seattle light-rail corridor will be included, but if the board hadn’t voted to add WS to the map today, there would have been zero chance of it making the next ballot measure.