WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit briefing confirmed for November 15th

As mentioned in our coverage of last night’s Southwest District Council meeting, Sound Transit reps will be in West Seattle in two weeks for a presentation and Q&A about where the light-rail project stands. We’ve just confirmed with ST that the meeting is set for 6:30 pm Wednesday, November 15th, at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon). Though the line to West Seattle is not scheduled to start running until 2030, planning is under way, and this is the time to get your comments in. The Junction Neighborhood Organization notes, “This is a great opportunity for the community to voice their support for an underground light rail station at the West Seattle Alaska Junction.”

28 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit briefing confirmed for November 15th"

  • WS Resident November 2, 2017 (1:03 pm)

    I am not able to attend the meeting but if anyone would like to ask for more information on bus service that would be great.  In particular will buses feed the stations or remain unchanged.  As an example will the 125 keep its current route or terminate at the Delridge station with the expectation that passengers will transfer to the rail.  

    • Jon Wright November 2, 2017 (2:13 pm)

      The plan is for the downtown routes to terminate at Link. 120/H and 125 would feed Delridge; 21 would feed Triangle; C and 55 would feed Junction. Metro will allegedly be able to use service hours freed up from not having to drive downtown to provide additional local service.

      • Peter November 2, 2017 (2:39 pm)

        Probably not the 21 local, it serves areas of SODO that don’t have access to light rail and would be cut off without it. The others are Hwy 99 routes, along with 21x, so will likely terminate at stations. 

      • WS Resident November 2, 2017 (2:41 pm)

        Thanks for the info.  As long as the the buses run frequently enough it should work.  

      • Meyer November 5, 2017 (7:37 am)

        Do you know what year the C line will change its route? I’m guessing either 2030 or 2035 and I sure hope its 2035 because that is when the light rail will go all the way downtown, like the C line does now. If they change the C line route before then, it wouldn’t be a proper substitute since riders would have to transfer at SODO.

  • chemist November 2, 2017 (2:14 pm)

    I figured this was SDOT’s field study of the elevated line ST would build over Fauntleroy.


  • aRF November 2, 2017 (2:58 pm)

    I know there are many people talking about tunneling and a below ground terminus at the Junction, but that’s an expensive addition for what is already going to be an expensive line over the Duwamish. Everyone should take seriously the prospect of a set of elevated tracks running up Alaska and across California. This would greatly alter the nature of the Junction. If we can’t get them to agree to going underground, I’d prefer it if the line stopped in the Triangle (a short walk from Alaska/California) or at the very least, did not go past 42nd.

    • P November 2, 2017 (3:44 pm)

      Please keep it going all the way to the Junction. That is where the density is, and some people cannot walk as well as others. It would be a shame to wait so long and spend so much money, only to have it end short of the main hub.

      • West Seattle since 1979 November 2, 2017 (8:54 pm)

        Definitely go to the Junction! That’s where there are so many businesses and apartments. 

        Don’t stop at the Triangle! It’s not a “short walk” to the Junction. Not everyone can walk that.

  • DakotaAndover November 2, 2017 (3:22 pm)

    I understand and appreciate the simple graphics style often used for mass transit systems here in the U.S. and internationally, and  also know the plan was to have different operational start-up dates (West Seattle 2030, Ballard 2035, etc.) and the rudimentary graphics can make it difficult to fully depict the complexity of phased-in links.  However, am I reading this right that while a line will be open in West Seattle in 2030, it will essentially start out as a novelty ride from the Junction to SODO, and then everyone will have to get off the train and transfer to another line to finish the trip to downtown?

    The Stadium station appears to be operational in 2035, which would be a huge 5-year missing link and hardly efficient mass transit.  We’ve all heard of the “bridge to no where,” and if this is the case, it would a “link to NODO (SODO).  There’s a reason why the Rapid Ride C bus doesn’t stop in SODO, because that’s not where the vast majority of transit riders from West Seattle are going.

    Please tell me it’s just the constraints of the graphical style for these types of maps.  ST will be saying, the good news West Seattle is that you’ll be up an running in 2030, but the bad news is that it will be effectively useless for another 5 years.  Given that option, I’d say lets wait the 5 years and get the line through the Junction underground.

    • Ron Swanson November 2, 2017 (5:15 pm)

      They have to dig the new tunnel through downtown before it can continue north from SODO.  It won’t be ready until 2035, so there will be a transfer until then. With a properly designed station, still better than the existing transit trip.

      • WS Guy November 2, 2017 (8:03 pm)

        You mean a second transfer?  Because the first transfer is to get off the bus and onto the train.

    • East Coast Cynic November 2, 2017 (7:56 pm)

      As long as West Seattle riders can transfer at SODO to one of the other lines (U District, Capitol Hill?) to keep going north, it should suffice until the extension.  It is certainly better than sitting on an express bus in the 99 bottleneck that moves a few feet every five minutes.

      • Dakota Andover November 2, 2017 (10:45 pm)

        If that’s truly the case where a surge of all West Seattle riders will have to disembark and transfer (potentially again) at the SODO station, I hope Sound Transit starts an outreach program that clearly states that scenario.  I don’t think that’s been entirely clear up to this point on that issue.  Simply saying West Seattle will have light rail service to downtown in 2030, while patting themselves on the back, is not the full story.  They need to be laying out what a typical commute is likely to look like and also by saying, we know it’s not ideal, and it’s only during the interim transition, but here are the things we are doing to mitigate a complex transition period.  For example, adding additional cars on the northbound trains from the south to accommodate the sudden surges during the morning rush hour, and then those extra cars will be empty and ready to take you back on the dedicated West Seattle route at the end of the day.

        I don’t know all the current and projected ridership numbers, but for arguments sake, would it be realistic to say that potentially 150-200 peak-time riders, all with different mobility capabilities, potentially on a morning train coming out of West Seattle, and then all having to “calmly” get off the train and jockey for position on an adjacent platform with the hopes of catching the next train on the one line heading north from SODO.  With ridership generally increasing region-wide, are those surge of West Seattle riders going to have to vie for the last feasibly available spots on what may already be packed trains?  Sounds like that may lead to survival of the fittest elbow throwing to get on that next coveted train.

        I realize that that 5-year transition won’t be without it’s bumps and it may be arguably better than the current situation, but Sound Transit needs to be much more upfront about this scenario, acknowledge the difficulties of what your commute may look like, and clearly, and repeatedly state what measures will be implemented to mitigate that 5-year bridging of the gap.

        • Peter November 3, 2017 (10:59 am)

          Sound Transit has always been up front and transparent about this transfer, it was in all the ST3 planning materials and proposals.

          • Dakota Andover November 3, 2017 (12:45 pm)

            Okay, lets assume that’s true, although much of the published data assumes travel times based on 2035 and beyond with full operation of the system and not on the 5-year gap.  Have they been upfront and transparent about how that transfer logistically works?  Stations are being designed with platforms for four cars.  What happens to those surges of West Seattle Riders in SODO when those four cars coming out of the south and heading north are already full?  What happens if all those West Seattle transfer riders are not absorbed on downtown trains before the next WS train arrives in SODO?  If the goal is to have trains leaving WS every six minutes, that’s a lot of riders to transfer if the existing main line is already full.  Having platforms for four cars does not allow much wiggle room for capacity.

          • Peter November 3, 2017 (3:35 pm)

            SODO station is being rebuild specifically for the purpose of managing the volume of riders changing trains. I believe the plan is for the WS trains to arrive on a parallel set of tracks. People all over the world change trains every day with no significant problems, so I don’t get why you think this transfer is an insurmountable problem. 

            You have a lot of criticisms, so what’s your solution?

          • BL November 4, 2017 (12:35 am)

            This is ridiculous! So riders on the 120 coming from as far as Burien through all of west Seattle will be expected to get off the bus and load onto a light rail only to then get off that light rail and get onto another light rail only 2.5 miles away to then ride another 2-4 miles to get to downtown Seattle stops??

            I’m guessing whoever came up with this plan that includes a 5-year gap has never been on the Light Rail to/from downtown to the Angle Lake station at peak transit times? It is packed to the doors! There will be no room for over 100 people from each of these buses to get onto the light rail cars.

            The commute on the 120 from southwest Seattle to downtown takes 40+ minutes as it is now – and that’s if the bus isn’t too full and leaves people behind – just as the light rail does now leaving to go southbound from downtown. 

            Is the plan here to force more people back into their cars?! Because as it is now, my commute is strangely shorter on the random days I have to drive to work. Those of us who don’t have cars will be forced to transfer 3+ times?

            Why not just have a light rail built through West Seattle that just takes us to the water taxi then? 

            This is a horrible plan. And even calling it a plan is being generous. Ridiculous.

            And yes people all over the world have to transfer to different trains all the time, but not generally for 2 – 2 mile trips at a time on multiple trains that are all already packed headed to one main location with rails located on surface streets so are regularly hit by cars which means suffering delays and service interruptions like allllll the time….smh

            Cleary someone who doesn’t take public transportation in Seattle came up with this idea. 

          • Dakota Andover November 3, 2017 (9:53 pm)

            Sorry, I should have said in one of my earlier posts that I’m a huge supporter of mass transit and getting light rail to West Seattle is fantastic.  I’d vote for ST3 again next Tuesday if it was on the ballot.  Asking questions does not mean being an obstructionist or against something.  I know on anonymous forums that it can often mean “if you’re not 100% in agreement with my beliefs then you must be completely against me.”

            Reread my posts through a support for the project lens and you’ll see plenty of recommendations and suggestions on how they system may logistically work in hopes of avoiding major pitfalls.  When the original light rail line opened, it stopped short of the airport and riders had to transfer to a bus for the rest of the trip.  Many people, and I’m sure even supporters said, that was dumb to stop the line one mile short of the airport.  My questions relate more to lets not make the same mistakes twice.  Another option could always be to wait until 2035 to make sure everything is properly coordinated with the existing and new tunnels.  You only get one shot to make a first impression and I’d hate it to be “Meh – Isn’t getting West Seattle 80% of the way really the final destination?”

            I’ve been on lots of light rail/subway systems, and getting the sense of your support, I’m sure we could both put together an impressive list of worldwide destinations where we’ve used transit systems and could attest to their virtues.  I was in San Francisco last week and loved that I could take BART from the airport to the Powell Station and then walk two blocks to my job site and then reverse that trip back home to Seattle at the end of the day.  The trip  didn’t entail a stop at 24th/Mission and then everyone having to empty the trains with the hopes of catching the next packed train coming up from behind.

            It’s one thing for Sound Transit to be  open and transparent, but it’s some entirely else to upfront and forthright.  That has been the crux of my aforementioned comments to reread.  I know it’s still early in the planning, but maybe the solution (amungst the others in my previous posts) is saying…during peak rush hour times only we are going to have corresponding empty train cars waiting on the adjacent platform so as soon as you arrive the doors open, you walk across the platform onto the new train that we’ve merged into the system, the doors close, and you’re off for the remainder of the trip downtown.  That’s an interim fix I’m sure most people would be ecstatic about.  But if they would say, well that’s not technically feasible and the best we can do is dump 100% of WS riders onto the SODO platform and you may have to try to find space on what may already be packed trains and have to wait…then just say that too, but be forthright and honest.

  • TJ November 2, 2017 (4:11 pm)

    ST3 has a $54 billion price tag, which is hard to even fathom, but you can guarantee it won’t cover tunneling here. Then what? Ask for MORE money? I’m afraid we have been handed a blank check for something that was promised but not even designed. ST hasn’t met a timeline or budget yet (resetting those half way thru and then touting as having been met doesn’t count), so I think those who want a tunnel need to think about at what cost? We have already thrown everything tax-wise into ST3, leaving nothing for bus expansion or anything else transportation related, and this is a agency that has lost face with it’s base with and has crumbling support

    • WS Guy November 2, 2017 (8:06 pm)

      Best option is to give up the Avalon station and use the cost savings to contribute to the tunnel.  Avalon is in the Junction, and the “Junction” station can be placed at the current Bank of America site and serve the entire area.

      • West Seattle since 1979 November 2, 2017 (9:02 pm)

        Avalon is not the Junction, by a long shot. However, if anything is going to be given up, Avalon would be the best choice. 

      • East Coast Cynic November 3, 2017 (5:59 am)

        It would be a potentially short sighted move and disastrous for many commuters to give up Avalon:  A heck of a lot of commuters are coming down 35th Ave SW from Westwood Village,  Arbor Heights, Highpoint, Gatewood, and Highland Park.  A lot of commuters that will either have to make a convoluted trip of sorts to get to Alaska Junction or there will have to be some dedicated bus service to get them down to the Delridge station in order for them to utilize link.  Maximizing ridership and getting the moneys worth from link in WS makes it very crucial to include an Avalon stop for those neighborhoods.

    • Dustin November 3, 2017 (11:34 am)

      I think Sound Transit could achieve savings by simplifying the station design process. Many light rail stations (excepting some of the street grade stations on Rainier) are very large, with elaborate designs and artistic elements. Simple concrete platforms could suffice to get commuters moving. I’d be happy to concede to less beautiful transit stations if it meant more funding for building a better, more expansive transit network.  And while I understand there are constraints to building a tunnel under West Seattle, I think it’s important to seriously consider the impact an elevated railway will have on the character and livability of Seattle’s neighborhoods – once it’s built, there’s no going back!

  • catwoman November 2, 2017 (5:37 pm)

    Does anyone know why ST3 is going to Bellevue before West Seattle? Maybe eastside big money special interest groups influenced that decision.

  • Meyer November 5, 2017 (7:35 am)

    Does anyone know how the long C line will keep running its current route to downtown? If they change the route in 2030 that would mean I would have to transfer 2 different times to get downtown. From the Morgan Junction to The Junction, then to SODO and then on another bus to downtown.

    I’m a huge support of public transit but I sure hope they keep the C Line running as is until 2035 so people in West Seattle can get downtown without transferring.

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