As proposed in the draft plan for Sound Transit 3 – the 25-year outline for expanding light rail around the region, expected to go to voters in November – West Seattle would be served with an elevated line. Some community advocates think a tunnel would be better, once the line gets across the Duwamish River (currently envisioned as happening via its own new bridge). With the proposed final plan just weeks away, the City Council is expected to pass a resolution shortly offering its feedback to ST. Here’s what’s mentioned about that in the draft of the council resolution, which you can read in full here:
The ST3 package should include a light rail extension from Downtown Seattle to the West Seattle Junction, including a grade-separated alignment through West Seattle. The ST3 package should allow for future consideration and evaluation of a tunnel alignment through West Seattle, if cost savings within the ST3 program or additional funding resources become available.
We asked City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for comment on whether she supports this language; she is the “alternate” member on the City Council Transportation Committee, which will consider the resolution at its 2 pm meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, May 17th). We just received a reply through her legislative assistant Newell Aldrich: “The resolution incorporates language suggested by CM Herbold and the WSTC — we worked with them on the WS section. We all wanted to ensure there was equivalency with the Ballard section (i.e. listing a potential tunnel option if funding allows).”
WSTC is a reference to the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. As a side note to this, you might recall that the WSTC ran a survey about WS light rail this spring, before the ST3 draft plan came out. In WSB comments, some have wondered when those results would be released. Former WSTC board member Joe Szilagyi, who led the group’s online presence during his time on the board, published them in this Medium.com post today.