WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Where do you want it to go? WS Transportation Coalition invites you to ‘community-led design workshop’

Voter-approved Sound Transit 3 promises light rail to West Seattle by 2030, with three stations envisioned. Inside that framework, many details remain to be decided … including exactly how it will get here, and where the stations will be, among other things. ST has not yet started its official outreach process to ask what you think about that – but the West Seattle Transportation Coalition isn’t going to wait – WSTC is inviting you to a community-led design workshop one month from tonight. Here’s the official announcement:

Where do you want the light rail to go?

Where do you want the light rail to go in West Seattle?

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) invites you to a community-led design workshop on Thursday, June 22, 2017, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave SW. Sound Transit (ST) plans to build the West Seattle light rail line by 2030. You can help decide where to put light rail stations, where the route will go, and what you think is best for West Seattle neighborhoods and commuters.

In a facilitated setting, we’ll look over Sound Transit’s ST3 proposed routing option and options proposed by WSTC and others. Our aims for this workshop include:

*Explore the costs and impacts of each option – underground, surface and elevated – on our overall community

*Determine where the community and neighborhoods want light rail routed to best serve West Seattle and improve ingress-egress for the Peninsula

*Discuss ways to get light rail delivered sooner than 2030.

Afterward, the WSTC will assemble the results into a formal document and present it to Sound Transit, the King County and Seattle City Councils, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and local stakeholders. Since Sound Transit has already conducted seven design reviews with Ballard, and this is West Seattle’s first, the WSTC will urge ST to combine West Seattle’s preferred options with ST3 overall plans.

36 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Where do you want it to go? WS Transportation Coalition invites you to 'community-led design workshop'"

  • dawsonct May 22, 2017 (10:32 am)

    This should be archived, so when the inevitable complaints about WS light-rail surface, people can be reminded that they had the opportunity, in fact their duty as citizens, to participate in the design of this project, or shut the hell up and accept what their fellow, more civically engaged, citizens have helped create.

    • WSB May 22, 2017 (10:59 am)

      It will be archived! Everything we’ve published since the start, more than a decade ago, remains accessible on the site (and via search engines, etc.). We’ll be at this, of course, and I’m sure WSTC will record it too … TR

    • Anonymous Coward May 22, 2017 (11:25 am)

      Why?  Everyone at all the meetings is going to want it to go to the Alaska junction.  And it’s going to go down Delridge to Burien.  Because they need the White Center and Burien population to keep down the “cost per rider” of the new bridge.  And because Avalon is too steep for a surface option (for friction rail). So they’ll build it where they want to and we’ll be “promised” light rail to the Juction if only we approve the levy for ST4…

      • WsEd May 22, 2017 (11:43 am)

        I think you are exactly right.  This meeting sure sounds like hand waving to appease the populous or are we to believe that the ST3 tax was voted on before they had any idea what they were going to build including the site feasibility and budgets?

        • WSB May 22, 2017 (12:50 pm)

          Sorry, people, that’s totally misplaced cynicism. This isn’t any sort of appeasement. It’s not even a Sound Transit-initiated meeting. WSTC is a citizen group (and would love to have your involvement, like all citizen/community groups, if you care enough to get involved), founded just a few years ago. What the result of their meeting will be, who knows, and what Sound Transit does with the feedback, that too will be a question mark, but this is a direct result of WSTC saying “We’re not going to wait around until you ask us – we’re going to tell you what we want to see.” Archived coverage of what they’ve been talking about recently: https://westseattleblog.com/?s=west+seattle+transportation+coalition

      • Ron Swanson May 22, 2017 (12:32 pm)

        It’s absolutely not going down Delridge; that ship sailed in the original alternatives analysis.  It’s going to Youngstown, up the hill to the Triangle, and ending in the Junction.  Eventually it’ll go to Renton via White Center and Burien if ST4 passes, but that’s not up for debate now.

        The real meat of this phase is going to be Elevated vs. Tunnel west of 35th.

  • Jim Clark May 22, 2017 (12:56 pm)

    This whole system will be obsolete before they are close to getting it done.

    • Engineer May 22, 2017 (3:34 pm)

      Yes, obsolete, but CMs Lorena G and Rob J and their urbanist cronies need this project so they can shove mass density on every good neighborhood in Seattle. Because massive tax increases don’t also increase rents, car tabs, or the cost of living for middle class Seattle residents (sarcasm).

      • KM May 22, 2017 (8:14 pm)

        This is a Sound Transit project, Gonzalez and Johnson are city council members.

        • JanS May 22, 2017 (10:09 pm)

          KM…do you think those who  complain about city council members, even though it’s Sound Transit , care? They’ve made up their erroneous minds, and will moan and groan until they’re blue in the face, and stay misinformed, because they don’t care if they’re misinformed ! Facts? Who needs those?

          I will be long gone from this world by the time it’s finished, I do believe (70 yo). They will do what they want, no matter what you say.

          • Cmt May 23, 2017 (8:13 am)

            Neither agreeing nor disagreeing with your statement JanS but Rob Johnson is on the Sound Transit board as well as being on City Council.

          • Engineer May 23, 2017 (6:24 pm)

            JanS before you go accusing people of being liars/misinformed/erroneous,  not fact based why not provide some evidence. I’ve attended the meetings, Rob’s staff say HALA upzones and ST3 go together to create their vision of urbanist utopia (and the pay to use golf course counts as green space and allows greater density to be forced on Weat Seattle without the creation of any additional green space or livability mechanisms. I have my facts in order- no need to be nasty just because I’m a concerned citizen who values livability for my children, and see that some CMs are shills for an agenda that won’t negatively impact them, and while I voted yes on ST3 I see some challenges again. Fact. If you and KiMmy want Seattle to be San Francisco north that’s your agenda.

      • Jort May 23, 2017 (4:27 am)

        “Urbanist cronies?” What is that even supposed to mean?

        You do realize that we live in a city with millions of people in it, right? We aren’t going to be the first city in the world to solve our transportation issues with more car infrastructure. 

    • WS Guy May 22, 2017 (9:19 pm)

      I think you’re probably right.  Autonomous buses will be the preferred mode of transportation by 2035.  Routed by intelligent, on-demand systems, they will group together on dedicated roads and lanes forming a “virtual train” that splits apart to carry passengers close to their actual destinations once they reach neighborhoods.

      The ST3 concept is to run buses around the peninsula and drop passengers off at the Junction or Delridge train stations.  There, you will ascend to a 70′ sky platform and wait for a train to take you to one of four downtown stations.  There will be no bus service downtown since they need train ridership numbers.  No, I am not kidding, that is the plan.  If you think, “I’ll just drive instead” then you get to deal with the traffic of HALA density and the city’s urbanist “road diet” policy.

      (1). We should insist that the new bridge can carry buses in addition to trains so that it has the flexibility to accommodate this future.   

      (2). Likewise, the trains should run in a tunnel once they reach 35th rather than on a single-purpose elevated track.  An elevated track will be ugly, loud, and obsolete within a decade of its construction.  Visit Angle Lake station if you need convincing.

      (3). We can scrap the Avalon station to save money if needed.

      See you on the 22nd.  

      • East Coast Cynic May 23, 2017 (12:54 pm)

        Given the growth and density we will see circa 2035, it’s far more likely that there will be autonomous light rail lines that will transfer us around the sound, above and below the car traffic.  The limitations to expanding road space given our geography and density will not allow for much more in way of right of way lanes for buses. 

        The future, and an economical one at that, is right of way transportation.  if the elites don’t want to sit in traffic with the proles, they should hope for the invention of jet packs and autonomous drones—-travel Jetson style. 

    • Jort May 23, 2017 (4:25 am)

      Oh, right, it will be obsolete, so why even bother doing anything at all? I say we put all our eggs in the automated car/bus basket, because there’s no possible way that could ever turn out to be vaporware.

      I mean, why even make an attempt to create a transportation system that has already been proven to work in hundreds of applications in cities and towns across the entire globe for the last 100 years when we can just put it off even longer in hopes of a magical technological solution that won’t force anybody to give up the sense of “personal freedom” they think cars give them?

      Trains in cities haven’t gone obsolete for 100+ years. But if you want to hold out hope for your flying cars, I suppose you could do that. 

  • Jort Sandwich May 22, 2017 (3:05 pm)

    This is good:

    *Discuss ways to get light rail delivered sooner than 2030.

    Well, one way to avoid a long, seemingly endless series of delays and setbacks is to prevent every single neighborhood advocacy organization and pseudo-political interest group from trying to incessantly micromanage every minute detail of the project from start to finish. 

    Here’s a head-start hint: if you think the hill that’s worth dying on is “not changing the ‘neighborhood feel’ of the Junction in any way, whatsoever, because I like free parking and 1 story buildings,” then you are wasting everybody’s time and energy. Sound Transit is not going to build a multi-million (perhaps billion) dollar train to Husky Deli and expect the exact same population and density patterns to continue.

    Light rail will being massive and unprecedented changes to West Seattle. Begin your personal adaptations to this new reality sooner, rather than later, and it will be easier for you. 

    And yes, absolutely add your feedback. But let’s be realistic about our feedback. “Don’t change anything in my neighborhood but gimme that 8 minute commute” is not realistic. 

    • CMT May 22, 2017 (5:31 pm)

      Oh, you’re right.  No one should try to advocate for planning that makes West Seattle a better place for both new people and existing residents.  The City clearly has this well under control.  Nothing to see.  Thanks for saving everyone a ton of time and energy.  

    • Captin May 23, 2017 (6:48 am)

      Jort. You’re right. The responses on this blog are basically the same people ranting every day.

      It is good for people to be involved but we don’t always get our way. And we need to accept that. They’re are so many people that are stuck on one detail that’s different from the detail that someone else is stuck on and will fight and fight and fight for it it’s amazing that anything gets done in this town.

      • CMT May 23, 2017 (11:56 am)

        Yes, well I note that your comments are pretty much the same ones you always make as well, Captin.   Whether something is a rant is really in the eye of the beholder.


  • Engineer May 22, 2017 (3:30 pm)

    Light rail cannot travel on greater than 4% grade, preferably 2.5% or less. If the community doesn’t agree to tunnel it, and cough up additional funding for tunneling, it’s not going to make it to West Seattle. So how about WSTC focus meetings on how much above ground displacement will be required for stations, connections, and eminent domain at the triangle and Junction. I suspect all free parking lots will be the first confiscated. 

    • Ron Swanson May 22, 2017 (5:48 pm)

      Go down to Portland and astound yourself by seeing the impossible…MAX trains ascending a 7% grade!  So, no, it’s not tunnel or bust.

    • East Coast Cynic May 22, 2017 (6:25 pm)

      If they plan to elevate in West Seattle, I don’t know how they can build the rail structures above and around the buildings on Avalon, Fauntleroy and Alaska.  I’m find with digging below even if it costs more $$$$, just get it done.

      • WS Guy May 22, 2017 (9:47 pm)

        The preliminary plan that they used for budgeting shows a bridge over the Duwamish that descends to an elevated station at North Delridge.  From there, it curls up the North side of the golf course, at some points soaring 140′ above the ground.  It reaches an elevated station above the Pecos Pit and the adjacent residential neighborhood.

        From there it continues at an elevation of 80′ above what would be a freshly rebuilt Fauntleroy Ave, and then heads west up the hill of Alaska.  The last station is shown as suspended 70′ above the street in front of Capco Plaza (QFC).  It is unclear how people get up or down from the stations.

        The rail line can’t stop at the last station since the trains need extra track to turn around.  So the line actually continues across California and Alaska at a height of about 40′, right over our two new landmark buildings and finally ends in front of Wells Fargo.  Residents near the rail area will recline in the shade of the massive support pillars and the relaxing squeals of metal wheels on track every 3-8 minutes.  Junction shoppers will be serenaded by announcements from station loudspeakers mounted high above them announcing every trains arrival, departure, or delay.

        The Delridge and QFC stations are supposed to be major bus transfer points although it’s not clear how space for that will be organized. 

        It’s not the final design of course.  But the biggest issue is that they cheaped out on the preliminary design estimate in order to present the lowest cost ST plan, which is now considered the allowable budget.  Any new scope such as a tunnel, property acquisition, or decent station design is going to be a “budget buster” and we will have to fight for it.  They alsowrote the plan to stop running buses downtown and drop everyone at the station instead, to save bus expenses and juice the ridership numbers.

        If there is any part of this plan that you don’t like then you should come to the meeting on the 22nd.

        Also bear in mind that what the people of Puget Sound actually voted for with ST3 is the TAXES.  There is no guarantee in the legislation as to how the money is spent, only guidelines.

        • CMT May 23, 2017 (9:09 am)

          Holy cow!  Will we need a Disney fast pass to ride it???  

          • sb2780 May 23, 2017 (9:42 am)

            Ha. Thank you. Best response ever. Hopefully they will have some nice cast members to point everyone to the right place.

    • Swede. May 22, 2017 (6:57 pm)

      So will that even make it over the existing, lower bridge? Or they are going to build a new bridge too? Looking at the 520 bridge that’s not a thing they are very good at here for any reasonable costs…

      • WSB May 22, 2017 (7:36 pm)

        New bridge.

  • badwolf May 22, 2017 (4:59 pm)

    I still have my ticket for the may 2007 opening of the monorail….. 

    • Vicki May 22, 2017 (5:55 pm)

      I’ve been waiting since 1962…😟

    • ts May 22, 2017 (10:26 pm)

      I was hoping someone would reference the previous plan. Thanks.

  • Mark May 22, 2017 (7:33 pm)

    Allow people to park nearby on some streets.  On Beacon Hill only about 30% of nearby street parking is used during the day!

    • John May 23, 2017 (7:42 am)

      Good luck finding street parking near the Junction.  I’m on 41st and the parking is gone.  All the apartments have created an overflow of parked cars in the neighborhood.

      Where did the City get the idea that these apartment dwellers would not have vehicles? 

      • Swede. May 23, 2017 (8:22 am)

        Not the city’s fault. There probably is parking available, it’s just expensive on top of the already high rent, so they park on the street for free. 

        • CMT May 23, 2017 (12:56 pm)

          Swede – Developers are not required to provide parking for their apartment buildings in the West Seattle Junction Urban Village.  Whether you view it as a negative or not, that is the City’s decision/responsibility.

  • wetone May 23, 2017 (7:17 pm)

     New bridge will be needed for ST3 coming to WS. That’s why I have little faith ever seeing anything ST3 board promised here in my lifetime. High bridge was never designed to carry loads of rail system. Unless of course they took lanes of traffic away. As city allows more building in area, planning options disappear and cost climb quickly. All ST3 did was give a handful of people job security and lots of money to blow for the next 25yrs. Lot’s of promises but no facts and hard numbers, just some fancy cartoon drawings and chicken scratch they gave the public and people passed the vote.     “Amazing”    Don’t complain if you didn’t vote, and more importantly research what your voting for, don’t just listen to what someone says and promises ….

    Just wait for tunnel to open and T5 to be built….. if one thinks it’s a timely commute now just wait,  soon to be lot more timely and $$$$.  Seattle government and city council have done little for infrastructure over last 10yrs.  Catching up is going to get very costly, involving much higher taxes soon ;)

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