WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Why you need to heed 2018 ‘sense of urgency’ for 2030 service

(Sound Transit’s West Seattle-to-Ballard ‘representative’ map – draft ‘alignment’)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you care about what’s going to happen with West Seattle’s forthcoming light-rail line, you need to pay attention to and get involved in the process right now, especially for the next year and a half – though it’s not due to arrive until 2030, the timeline depends on key decisions being made in the next year and a half.

That point was made repeatedly during the first meeting of one of the groups that will be involved in the planning process for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle and Ballard extensions, the Elected Leadership Group. Here’s video of the meeting, just published by Seattle Channel:

Another point: The planning process is not ONLY for groups – individual comments will be vital. (But if you want to get involved at a more-intense level, you are invited to apply ASAP for one of up to seven spots open on the soon-to-launch Stakeholders Advisory Group, which has 19 members already announced – more on them, and how to apply, later.)

West Seattle-residing County Council Chair Joe McDermott is co-chairing the Elected Leadership Group with City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. Others in attendance at the group’s first meeting, at Sound Transit headquarters on the south side of downtown, included Mayor Jenny Durkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Lorena González, Bruce Harrell, Lisa Herbold, and Rob Johnson.

ST CEO Peter Rogoff opened by speaking of a “certain sense of urgency” and mentioned “how much worse congestion will get … before we can deliver these projects.” He also mentioned the hope of speeding up the projects beyond the current 2030 West Seattle/2035 Ballard opening plans. And he acknowledged the complex logistics – including the bridges to be built over waterways for both lines, and the new tunnel that the Ballard line will use. He vowed to be “responsive” and “straightforward” in the anticipated “back and forth,” and promised that ST would do its best to answer questions thoroughly and transparently.

Two West Seattleites was among the half-dozen people who spoke during the public comment period early in the meeting.

Both were from the board of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. First was Deb Barker, who noted that WSTC has been “watching and advocating for decent transportation for all of West Seattle,” and beyond, and “we’re glad that this process has started and we’re glad to know that you’re starting your public outreach.” She mentioned WSTC’s routing workshop with 50 attendees back in June (WSB coverage here) and said she’s hoping WSTC will be part of the forthcoming discussion, one way or another. The other was Marty Westerman, who noted that he didn’t see an SDOT rep at the table (ST then said SDOT had someone in the audience) but wants to see lots of inter-agency cooperation. He specifically mentioned SDOT’s Fauntleroy Boulevard project, which, as has been pointed out, is set to be built in the next few years – and then, perhaps just five or so years later, torn up for light rail. “We would like to see that conflict eliminated.”

Main points of the meeting, as noted by facilitator Diane Adams after that, were ST’s presentation, the group’s charter, and appointments for the Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Cathal Ridge of ST (above, center) gave the presentation (he’s the same ST executive who gave two recent presentations in West Seattle) about what’s happened so far and what’s ahead. Here’s the slide deck (or see it in PDF):

Points of note – 2030 is not just the year light rail is to extend to West Seattle, but also the year that the southward line is expected to reach the Tacoma Dome.

Ridge explained the “representative alignment” – the draft routing and station locations – identifying some of the key factors. He also had some ST3 backstory (the ballot measure in which $ for West Seattle and Ballard light rail was approved), including a reminder that six possible alternatives had been studied before ST3.

After that, Chris Rule of ST showed a little more detail (in a Google Earth visualization that we’ll add if and when we can – in the meeting video, you can see it at 30:30 in) about the “representative alignment,” with these specifics – which, it was stressed, are not final, just what was drafted: They’re envisioning the line going down Alaska – “elevated along Alaska, transitioning to Fauntleroy Boulevard heading northeast, to “Avalon Station near the intersection of Fauntleroy and 35th,” then continuing elevated east “past the West Seattle Golf Course, turning north toward Delridge Way, to a Delridge elevated station “near the intersection of Andover and Delridge.”

From there, in the “representative alignment,” the route would go on, elevated, “close to the West Seattle Bridge, hugging Pigeon Point,” over the south end of Harbor Island, then continuing south of the bridge until SODO, where it would turn north “into SODO, … we’re assuming we would have a new elevated SODO station adjacent to that.” He continued to show the route through downtown, and on toward Ballard. “Westlake Station … will be an important transfer point.” There’ll be a station at Westlake and Denny, then a turn westward into South Lake Union, with a station “just to the east of the Bertha tunnel portal.” The light rail continues under Seattle Center, to a station serving Uptown – near KeyArena – and the light-rail tunnel will go elevated over Elliott Avenue West, past Smith Cove, serving the cruise-ship terminals, then on along 15th to Interbay, north to the existing Ballard Bridge with a new structure to its west. The Ballard Station would be “in the vicinity of 15th and Market Street.”

City Councilmember Bagshaw was the first to comment after that – she said that people in the Ballard area favor a station “west of 15th” and favor below-ground routing, not above ground, even knowing that adds extra expense.

Councilmember O’Brien asked about what “construction disruption” might look like. Ridge said that over the next year, they’ll be assessing that.

Executive Constantine asked “how are we going to unpack … the different questions, concerns” that participants will have, while “meet(ing) our schedule to get to the preferred alignment.”

That set up the next discussion – how the process will work, toward the goal of getting the projects done more quickly. “A lot of outreach, engagement, and partnership” will be key, Ridge said. He showed the slide comparing the new and old approaches to project development. He said they hope to “build on the system-planning work” that’s been done in recent years. Identifying the “preferred alternative” before the environmental-review process is key, he reiterated. They want to have the “preferred alternative” locked in by mid-2019.

So how do they get there? “This is going to be challenging,” acknowledged ST’s Jim Parsons. And it’ll be fast – by April of this year, they hope to get to a “short list. … We’re going to look at the most critical issues first,” including “the water crossings.” To get to the short list and beyond, they’re looking at neighborhood forums in “five general areas of the corridor,” plus four meetings of the soon-to-be-finalized Stakeholder Advisory Group before April. That’s all part of the “first level” of planning, which makes way for a “second level” starting in May of this year. For those familiar with some of this process, “formal (Environmental Impact Statement) scoping” will happen toward the end of the process to choose the preferred alternative. Your role in this:

“Lots of opportunity for public input,” Parsons promised.

A subsequent comment led Ridge to say that recognizing budget limits would be important in the process, so they would assess budget implications along the way, when suggestions and questions pointed in costlier directions.

But don’t let that discourage you from speaking up.

“We have to do authentic community engagement,” insisted Mayor Durkan. “It can’t just be left up to … whatever task force we create.” And after prefacing it with “spoiler alert,” she said she is in favor of alternatives that won’t cause major disruption in the International District, plus she also wants to “mitigate the need for elevated in West Seattle … as much as possible,” and she expressed interest in tunneling in Ballard.

Councilmember Herbold also said she wanted too to be clear that they’re not on a timeline to pursue the current “representational alignment,” necessarily, but to get to the “preferred alternative.” In response, Ridge warned that changes could have implications for timeline as well as cost.

Councilmember Johnson asked how much time they have to get “all the ideas out on the table.” Ridge said it’s important that everything be brought up as quickly as possible: “What we’re trying to encourage everyone to do is to engage actively in this process over the next year.”

Parsons underscored that and said “we constantly have to look at the urgency of the schedule.”

So how do the various voiced-and-to-be-voiced issues get factored into that? Executive Constantine sought to clarify. Parsons said that for starters, they’re looking at the big issues. “So save the minor issues for later?” Constantine said.

Then Rogoff stressed the point again, not just for the elected officials’ benefit but for everyone interested: Get your issues on the table sooner rather than later, rather than waiting because you don’t believe that decisions will really be made in 2019 for something that won’t open until 2030 … they WILL be. “There were always be people at the end who are shocked and dismayed and feel they weren’t consulted … but we’re going to be bending over backward and doing triple back flips” to minimize how many people wind up falling into that category.

“In that spirit,” then, Herbold said, maybe another update should be added to the schedule (in the slide deck).

“If people want to know what’s going on, there are going to be many many ways,” Ridge promised.

Bagshaw at that point observed that many in the community have done a lot of work so far too – and suggested “inviting (those people)” into the process now to work from there.

O’Brien said he hopes the outreach will “build toward broad community consensus toward the specifics … and that’s a big task.”

Councilmember González wanted to recognize that no matter which alternative(s) are chosen, “there will be impacts to some parts of the community. … I am really interested in making sure that especially the city stakeholders at the table are putting that at the top of our minds … about what the realistic impacts will be of any of the designs we ultimately adopt so that we can address those impacts with the community…”

Councilmember Harrell then asked about mitigation funds, and whether they’ve been discussed yet. “No … we’re just beginning,” replied Ridge. Harrell expressed concerns about small businesses in particular.

The group discussed its charter – with five more meetings ahead – and “a lot of behind the scenes work,” as facilitator Adams put it. Reading the draft charter, Bagshaw said she wanted the language in the third paragraph to say elevated OR tunnel. Ridge said the language in the charter just reflected the “representational alignment.” Councilmember Johnson noted at that point that the “representational alignment” represents the outline of what voters approved in 2016. He then said that “ease of connectivity” is something he thinks should be evaluated while they’re working toward the “preferred alternative” – to improve that connectivity.

County Council Chair McDermott expressed concern about equity and suggested some alternative language to be sure that effects on marginalized populations, “especially people of color and low-income populations,” are addressed. Adams said that’s under development.

Mayor Durkan said she wants to be sure the stations and service are friendly to all modes of transportation; Councilmember Herbold says she’d like that specific language included too.

Elaborating on Johnson’s point, O’Brien said that the potential for “editing” the representational alignment still is something that should be explicitly mentioned, lest anyone think this all was already long since locked in.

Finally, they moved on to the issue of setting up the Stakeholder Advisory Group. The group is to include 25 to 30 people from along “the full corridor” (West Seattle to Ballard). 19 appointments were made at the meeting, and then applications are being invited to fill out five to seven spots on the group. Here’s who’s on the list already:

 Becky Asencio, Seattle Public Schools
 Willard Brown, Delridge Neighborhood Development Association
 Lynn Dennis, West Seattle Chamber
 Abigail Doerr, Transportation Choices Coalition
 Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club
 Dave Gering, Manufacturing Industrial Council
 Ginny Gilder, Force 10 Hoops/Seattle Storm
 Erin Goodman, SODO Business Improvement Area
 Paul Lambros, Plymouth Housing
 Steve Lewis, Alliance for People with disAbilities
 Mark Nagle, Expedia
 Greg Nickels, Former Seattle Mayor
 Savitha Reddy Pathi, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience
 Scott Rusch, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
 Jon Scholes, Downtown Seattle Association
 Peter Schrappen, Northwest Marine Trade Association
 Mike Stewart, Ballard Alliance
 Maiko Winkler-Chin, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation & Development
 Bryce Yadon, Futurewise

They hope to ultimately have representation from fourteen different emphasis areas. Asked what kind of geographic balance is it supposed to have, Ridge replied that it’s supposed to have the interest of the entire corridor at heart, replied Ridge.

Mayor Durkan said that while the list so far looks fairly geographically balanced, it appears to need more people of color. Councilmember Harrell said he hopes there is enough millennial representation.

Application process:
-Now through January 22nd
-Five to seven seats open
-Applications to be reviewed

Want to apply? Here’s all the info you need, including the link.

Wrapping up the meeting, co-chair McDermott said, “We want to get this done well, not just quickly.” Co-chair O’Brien added that it’s an “exciting process. … we hear from all our communities that they want light rail, and they want it soon.”

WHAT’S NEXT: The aforementioned Stakeholders Advisory Group will have its first meeting after its membership is finalized. Watch for the first community open house, too. Both of those events are expected to happen in February.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE: All of Sound Transit’s info about planning the West Seattle to Ballard is here, including who to contact with questions/comments.

50 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Why you need to heed 2018 'sense of urgency' for 2030 service"

  • elevated concern January 5, 2018 (1:30 pm)

    Marty, if they proceed with the route down Alaska, then to 35th and then down Avalon…it will not affect the Gateway project that has been vetted and approved.  Your comment and ask makes no sense.  If you’re representing me then I ask that you demand that the rail be below ground, NOT an elevated line.  So when did they determine that Alaska was the preferred route?  Avalon to Fauntleroy has always been the citizen preferred route and that how the Triangle planning process was approached.  Who changed it and why?

    • WSB January 5, 2018 (2:16 pm)

      The video wasn’t available until right before I had to hit publish on this and run out to an (unrelated) interview – my notes are fairly faithful to the verbatim, as you can see and hear on the video starting at about 30:50 – what the Sound Transit rep said was, elevated on Alaska, to Fauntleroy, then to a station described as “near the intersection of Fauntleroy and 35th,” then on to Avalon/golf course/to Delridge and Andover. That segment of Fauntleroy seems to be most or at least part of what’s in Fauntleroy Boulevard. However, again, this is the draft route, not final. I asked Councilmember Herbold after the meeting what’s going on with Fauntleroy Boulevard, given SDOT now telling JuNO (as we reported in our Southwest District Council coverage) that it’s not ready to present at their meeting in late January, and she said that some conversations are under way regarding how these projects might or might not overlap (as many community advocates have long been requesting). – TR

  • KtotheF January 5, 2018 (1:40 pm)

    Light rail has gone under every other hill in it’s way and I hope (and will express my opinion to them as such) they will do the same in our neighborhood. 80’+ tall cement towers and stations slicing through our community will be a disaster.

    • WS Guy January 5, 2018 (6:33 pm)

      Lets trade one of the three stations in WS, if needed, to free up funds for a tunnel.  The two stations within the Junction are shown just four blocks from each other.  Nowhere else outside of core downtown do you find two stations that close together.  A single underground station located at the site of Bank of America could serve the Junction.

      In addition, I favor building a public plaza or park over the excavation area to help address the critical open space shortage at the Junction. 

      Does anyone have thoughts on that?

      • KM January 5, 2018 (8:17 pm)

        I think these are great ideas!

      • D January 6, 2018 (11:41 am)

        I agree WS guy

  • East Coast Cynic January 5, 2018 (3:40 pm)

    I’ve read that there is a concern in ST that a tunneled route thru Alaska would be a budget buster.  I would not want West Seattle link deferred to ST4 or written out entirely over a tunnel; nor would I want other projects to be deferred many years out due to our tunnel demand, e.g., Ballard and Everett.  We can learn to adjust to an overhead rail configuration (as people in other “world class cities” do) and I’m sure, as Mayor Durkan has said, that there will be some mitigation to offset potential hardships caused by the design.

    • Erithan January 5, 2018 (7:53 pm)

      This really needs to be underground, especially with all the new apartments at the intersection, lot of events utilize the area too.

      Sorry if I missed anything, migraine, car noise for apartments at Alaska junction is already bad, Including shaking from idiot boom cars etc. Icant imagine the nightmare of having a railway at my window level…

    • JCW January 5, 2018 (8:54 pm)

      Agreed. I spent several years in an apartment that abutted the elevated trains in Chicago. It was directly adjacent to a stop on the brown line and red going full speed out of a tunnel. The first few nights were an adjustment, and everything after it is white noise. Updated windows helped, but even on the rooftop the sound wasn’t deafening. You get used to it quickly. 

      Realistically, the values of the properties within walking distance will spike. The ability to be downtown in <20 min will be paramount, and you’ll get tenants or owners who value that first. 

      Also, in ‘other city’ experiences, it doesn’t have to be strictly elevated or strictly subterranean to merit a future extension to Morgan Junction and White Center. Changing grade is certainly possible.

  • M January 5, 2018 (3:47 pm)

    I hope our councilwoman Herbold fights as hard for underground as Bagshaw appears to be doing for Ballard. It’s quite frustrating that every wealthy neighborhood in Seattle seems to be getting underground and the the rest either get surface level or elevated. 

    I really hope the people of North Delridge realize the urgency of this situation. Underground would be no-dispution of the community with great transit, overground would literally put an 80 foot ELEVATED LINE directly over the neighborhood. The route does not do a 90 degree turn on Gennessee/Delridge – the plan is to go OVER the neighborhood directly to the north of Delridge play field. There are a ton of houses that will either be destroyed or property values destroyed, including many new townhouses. Hopefully the buyers of those are aware that trains will be speeding ABOVE their roofs in a decade and construction will shut down the area for years.  I IMPLORE all residents of North Delridge to get involved and demand underground. We are not second class citizens to Ballard, North Seattle, and the up-the-hill West Seattle residents.

    • WS Guy January 5, 2018 (6:28 pm)


  • Cindi January 5, 2018 (4:03 pm)

     Since the proposed elevated routing sounds so similar to the proposed (dead) monorail, I hope they can spring board off of some of prior technical analysis (soils, etc).  The monorail also had a draft EIS put out, so probably some good information in there as well for a heads up.  I have a whole box of materials if anyone wants to dig around and I’m sure the city has a lot of materials they should be contributing.

  • dcn January 5, 2018 (5:40 pm)

    From the map it appears that the West Seattle Line would end at Sodo in 2030, and at the Stadium in 2035, requiring a transfer to the line originating at Seatac to get the rest of the way into downtown.  It doesn’t show a direct shot to downtown until at least 2036 when the line to Everett is built. Is the line to Everett even a sure thing? Transferring to an already crowded train at Sodo or the Stadium would be a pain (the Stadium stop shows no transfer ability to the Seatac line). The Ballard line, on the other hand goes all the way into downtown directly.

    Does West Seattle connect directly to downtown when the new downtown tunnel is complete? I’m curious what the eventual north “end of the line” will be for the West Seattle line. Will it be Ballard? Everett? Hopefully not just Sodo.

    I only scanned the presentation slidesand WSB’s synopsis, so I might have missed some important information not evident in the maps.

  • Matt January 5, 2018 (6:51 pm)

    If ST3 stops at an elevated station it the Junction, it is a dead end unable to turn south and link Morgan, White Center etc without wiping out recently built development or historic downtown.  

    It has to go underground otherwise District 1 will always be starved of viable mass transit up and down the peninsula.

    • East Coast Cynic January 5, 2018 (9:25 pm)

      Morgan and White Center could hook up with West Seattle link using the 21 and Rapid Ride lines C and H as connector buses to reach the Avalon, Alaska and Delridge link stations in lieu of actual extensions to those areas, not that I would oppose such extensions; however, given the potentially difficult political battles necessary for further taxation and spending for more rail on the peninsula, we may have to settle for a good system instead of a perfect one.

  • TJ January 5, 2018 (7:28 pm)

    I am skeptical that the current $54 billion budget of ST3 will get the line here above ground, never mind a tunnel. It already feels like we have been handed a blank check being they are still figuring out how to get it over the river and up the hill. And then a promised 2030 up and running date that we seems unlikely when they are talking about doing everything we can now to make that happen? An elevated line will be great and serve the purpose of s train the same. It appears some people think of Seattle as the movie Pleasantville, a perfect utopia where tax money doesn’t matter. What will Sound Transit do when the biggest local tax in US history can’t cover a tunnel? The agency has a ton of credibility to rebuild with anger over the taxes of ST3 and couldn’t have the audacity to ask for more money on this. And a proposed “ST4” wouldn’t be proposed until after ST3 is finished (2035?) and would be a extreme long shot to pass with voter base backlash in many areas. 

    • WSB January 5, 2018 (7:41 pm)

      ST2 still has years of projects to go. So if someone were to propose an ST4, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be after the ST3 buildout.

  • Tun January 5, 2018 (8:11 pm)

    I agree with others who say an elevated track into the junction is just a disastrous idea. 

    How about if the line comes up next to the golf course and into the stadium parking lot, stopping 35th and Alaska before tunneling the length of Alaska to wherever it ends. I assume the city owns the course and the stadium so there would be no big land acquisitions needed there and not much controversy going through the stadium parking lot, which is very long. Then I suspect they could even do a cut and cover tunnel along Alaska, so no need for a boring machine.

    • M January 6, 2018 (12:39 am)

      This is the up-the-hill mindset in a nutshell. Oh yes, totally dump on the people of Delridge because they are poorer. Run an elevated track through that neighborhood (which is the ONLY part of the route going through non-arterial residential streets), but then once you get to the richer and whiter part of town go underground. Fantastic solution buddy.  But that’s been the mindset so far (elevated or surface on southside, tunnel up north). How such a liberal, progressive city could not see the clear racism involved in that mindset is beyond me.

      • dsa January 6, 2018 (1:09 am)

        M, It makes sense to tunnel through Pigeon hill  if they construct a low level opening span.  Otherwise suggest suggest a route before calling racism.  BTW I voted no, but now that this is a go, I want the best outcome for WS which is to maximize tunneling.

      • chemist January 6, 2018 (1:19 am)

        Alternatively, when you look at the light rail bridge matching the navigable height of the high bridge, 140 ft above sea level, you realize it’s crossing at an elevation approximately equal to Avalon+Genessee intersection and diving down doesn’t make economic sense.

      • JanS January 6, 2018 (1:34 pm)

        M…explain to me how being “poor” is equivalent to a race of people. By
        all criteria, I, a 70 yo disabled white woman living on a (very) fixed
        income in the Admiral District, am “poor”.  I don’t see the equivalence
        here. The light rail is coming no where near me, if I stay where I’m at
        (Just like Metro has killed bus service by me). What exactly is your
        point? There are people in North Delridge that  I would never consider
        poor…and definitely not on my level.  Claiming racism as an excuse for
        everything you disagree with does not work in this instance. Poor has
        nothing to do with color, believe me. Maybe leave the name calling out
        of the discussion. It doesn’t add to it.

        • M January 7, 2018 (3:10 pm)

          That’s fair, I should have focused on class more than race, and I apologize for that. It’s just frustrating that surface or elevated light rail are more weighted towards neighborhoods that clearly have lower property values than areas with tunnels. And seeing proposals for elevated in Delridge until the top of the golf course and then tunneling just adds to frustration.

          If tunneling was not an option, I would propose running the route along the West Seattle freeway with a station at the base of Delridge (about a block from the current proposed station, which could be in the parking lot area behind Ounces), and then continue along the freeway to Luna Park cafe and then run up Avalon and to the junction.

  • Tun January 5, 2018 (8:22 pm)

    Here’s a rough map of what I mean. Red line would be tracks. Yellow would be the station. It utilizes a lot of underutilized land that the city I assume already owns and sets up a much easier tunneling job into the junction.

    • WS Guy January 5, 2018 (8:36 pm)

      Ya.  Or the 18th tee box and 17th green could move a little south.   Those last three holes are a grind!

    • dsa January 5, 2018 (11:22 pm)

      This suggested alignment has a lot of merit, sorry golfers, but tunneling must be considered.  The red line could probably be tweaked to spare  more of the course.

    • M January 6, 2018 (12:42 am)

      And again, what about the people in North Delridge? Out of sight, out of mind?

      • WS Guy January 6, 2018 (11:48 am)

        Since it’s on your mind can you make a proposal for something?  I’m pro-tunnel for the densely populated Junction area but I’m ready to support something sensible for Delridge too.  I don’t live there so I don’t want to impose my own vision on the area. 

  • wetone January 5, 2018 (8:46 pm)

    Curious to life left of high bridge (WSFWY ),  the lower swing bridge and the rail bridge  ( very old) .  Hopefully city and light rail group are looking at these issues and seeing if new construction can combine more than a single use in a new build that crosses the Duwamish corridor.  

    • WSB January 5, 2018 (11:28 pm)

      Don’t know about the rail bridge but neither of the other two is particularly old – high bridge built in the early ’80s, low bridge built in the early ’90s. Haven’t yet found specific lifespan expectations to which they were designed …

  • Michelle January 5, 2018 (9:03 pm)

    The stop along Delridge needs to be as far south as possible. Genesee area perhaps? A stop there is more central to the north Delridge neighborhood and still walking distance for a lot of the Andover population.

  • Chemist January 5, 2018 (10:31 pm)

    Sticking to a budget might be easier if there weren’t parties also trying to mandate rail stations build massive amounts of bike parking.  I’m not sure Sound Transit ever proposed building bike parking for 7% of their morning users but here’s the new parking minimums propopsed on Wednesday.

    • Tsurly January 6, 2018 (6:49 am)

      Right, it will be the installation of bike racks that will cause budgetary issues on a $50B project. Get real.

      • Chemist January 6, 2018 (9:46 am)

        Bike racks won’t satisfy “long term parking”.  The proposal requires “Provide full weather protection for all required long-term bicycle parking” and “features such as locked rooms or cages and bicycle lockers.”

        With a daily ridership projected for 35,000 (WS) or 50,000 (Ballard) a day, you’d be talking about bike rooms/cages for 2,000+ bikes at each station.  If Sound Transit needs that many, they’d build it without a city minimum requirement in code.

        • CAM January 6, 2018 (2:00 pm)

          The document you posted references 5% of AM peak ridership and yet in your comments you state the city will require 7% and also reference total daily capacity to calculate the # of bike storage needed. The document is also likely referring to the peak ridership at each station, not for the full line. They aren’t going to build 5% storage for total ridership of the entire line at each station. It will be based on estimates for how many people will use that station. 

          Outside of that, the purpose of building safe and secure bike storage at a rail station is to encourage people to bike from home to the station rather than trying to build more parking for cars. It’s far easier to bike to a station than it is to bike downtown and building storage capacity that ensures your bike will be there when you return will dramatically increase the likelihood people will use the rail system. These are all good things. 

          • Chemist January 6, 2018 (7:12 pm)

            I’m counting 5% (4+hr standard) and 2% (under 4 hr) design as outlined in the document.  They didn’t define the parking measurement as ridership “per station” so I’m not sure if you’re right or not.  Either way, you’d agree that it’s several hundred bike parking spots are being mandated per station instead of letting Sound Transit decide, right?  Surely more than the old standard of 20 spots.

            What does Sound Transit charge for a bike locker now?  I just think Sound Transit is in a better position to know if it makes economic sense to build bike parking lockers at this amount vs our city council.


  • Jack January 6, 2018 (7:43 am)

    As congested as the West Seattle to Downtown daily commute is, does anyone know how many people can ride on a single train and how often they will come?

    • AMD January 6, 2018 (10:18 am)

      They can add extra cars (not an infinite number, but they can make them longer) during times of expected heavy use and increase capacity without altering the schedule.  They have done this for events at Husky Stadium, etc.  It’s actually kind of awesome, having experienced it firsthand.

      • Chemist January 6, 2018 (11:33 am)

        Inekon, who made our current light rail trains, doesn’t have any models more than 5 cars total.  Maybe the engines can only pull so much mass.  ST has gone from 2 to 3 car lengths where they can.  Platform lengths also matter with longer trains.


        • Richard Bullington January 11, 2018 (10:30 am)

          There are no “engines”.  Light rail cars are self-propelled.  The trucks at the ends of each car have traction motors of several hundred horsepower each.  The center truck under the articulation section is unpowered.

          There is no limit to the length of a light-rail train, except the lengths of the platforms at the stations and of the “tail tracks” at the end of a given line sometimes used for reversing.  For the tiny number of light rail systems which have single-track sections, the length of sidings can be a limiting factor for the trains which use that section.  This is very rare.

          I nekton is not the manufacturer of the Link cars.  Kinki-Sharyo of Japan built the cars in service.  I believe Siemens is building the next order of cars to be delivered in time for the opening of Northgate. Inekon built the original South Lake Union streetcars.  

    • ColumbiaChris January 11, 2018 (3:19 pm)

      Sound Transit’s data shows that Link cars tend to top out at 200 people per car, although the theoretical crush load is about 250.  Platform lengths allow for a maximum of 4 cars. Adding the second tunnel downtown as part of ST3 will allow minimum headways of 6 minutes on all lines.

      So figure 800 people every 6 minutes or 8,000/hour as the effective maximum.

  • jack, January 6, 2018 (7:26 pm)

    Thanks, but how many people and how often?

    • Jort January 8, 2018 (8:43 am)

      Hi Jack. The trains can hold about 1,000 people, and they come every 6 minutes. 

      Here is a helpful graphic that shows how to move that many people using our various forms of transportation.

  • Greystreet January 8, 2018 (6:48 pm)

    I think the timeline is incredibly disappointing.  West Seattle and Ballard are already ridiculously congested and I feel they should be been given priority but instead we are pushed aside as an after thought :::eyeroll:::, this city gets harder to live in every year.

    • Richard Bullington January 11, 2018 (10:39 am)

      Because the legislature did not give Sound Transit large bonding capacity, construction has to be staged according to incoming tax revenues.  That’s why South Link will not make it to Highline using ST2 funding streams.  The South King sub area sales tax revenues have not recovered to the levels projected at the time of the approval election.  But Pierce sub area has saved enough to loan South King some in order to bring the section between Angle Lake and Federal Way to the front of the line.  The section in Pierce is useless without the Federal Way extension.

  • RayK January 8, 2018 (8:55 pm)

    The point not addressed in this thread is about changes to the Metro bus routes within West Seattle to feed the Link rail stations. Speakers at West Seattle Transportation Coalition meetings have stressed the need to adjust the routes to feed stations for enough riders to significantly reduce buses into downtown. The RapidRide routes might be removed or truncated within the peninsula despite the Seattle long-range transit plans.  This might offer more service to Admiral District if the intention is to feed the current peak period routes (37, 55, 56/57) with routes that run all day to Link stations. 
    Riders will need to transfer to more seats for their travel needs.  Don’t expect a single seat ride to Third Avenue except on local service routes (like the Rt 21).  Other routes that don’t go downtown (like the Rt 50) may continue. 
    Note: these comments are informed conjecture, not based on any published comments by Metro and / or Sound Transit. 

  • Don Brubeck January 8, 2018 (9:44 pm)

    Let’s not hold a sure thing that will benefit everyone no matter how they get around (the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project) hostage to something that is at best 12 years away, and really uncertain to happen at all in this century’s political environment and in light of ST’s massive cost overuns in the north end.  The Fauntleroy Boulevard project’s sidewalks, intersection safety improvement and bike lanes are needed right now for this rapidly developing triangle. We have already paid for its planning and design. It is funded. It will get people safely from all those new buildings to bus stops and avoid the need to dump even more cars on our crowded streets. It is needed for freight mobility for delivery of goods to homes and stores and businesses,. These improvements will be needed even more for walk and bike access to light rail stations if the trains make it here someday. I hope that Marty and the West Seattle Transportation Coalition will change their focus from the futile attempt to increase the speed and number of automobiles to increasing mobility for everyone, including those on foot, bikes, buses and driving trucks. 

    • Richard Bullington January 11, 2018 (10:51 am)

      The “massive cost overruns in the North End” (you mean the North Link tunnels between Westlake and Northgate being 1.4 billion under original estimates?  Those “massive overruns?) are about half in the Snohomish sub-area, and are largely due to demands from the cities of Shoreline and Mountlake Terrace.  Some of those demands are being “value engineered out right now.

      Given the Federal government’s right turn and the craziness in Olympia at this very moment, there is cause for concern about Sound Transit’s ability to pay for everything included in ST3 within the projected time frame.  Built they will be, but perhaps not until a few years later than scheduled.

Sorry, comment time is over.