Light-rail tunnel talk @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition

(Slide deck for JuNO tunnel proposal)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

To tunnel or not to tunnel.

Sound Transit‘s draft plan for light rail to West Seattle, opening in 2030, is all elevated.

But here in the midst of its “early scoping” period soliciting comments and ideas, the idea of finding a way to put it underground, at least into The Junction, has some loud voices of support.

At last night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, not only did Junction Neighborhood Organization reps present their tunnel-to-The-Junction proposal – the one previewed here on Wednesday – but County Councilmember Joe McDermott declared that he also envisions light rail getting to The Junction underground. His voice is a significant one, given that he is on the Sound Transit board – which has the final say – and co-chairing the Elected Leadership Group that will recommend a “preferred alignment” to the board next year.

McDermott also offered something of a primer of the upcoming transportation changes and challenges that peninsula residents do, and will, face getting to and through downtown in the next few years.

But first – JuNO’s presentation:

JuNO’S PROPOSAL FOR TUNNELING TO THE JUNCTION: Rich Koehler, with whom we talked for the preview published here on Wednesday, presented it, with slide deck (see above). Here’s our video:

The proposal would drop the 35th/Avalon station and redirect savings into tunneling. Koehler added during the WSTC presentation that the envisioned site of that station isn’t particularly accessible anyway – it’s blocked on one side by the entrance to the West Seattle Bridge, and on the other by densely developed residential buildings. It also, as envisioned, would take out some houses. Undergrounding the Junction station would solve various problems, JuNO’s proposal suggests, including disruption of the heart of The Junction at California/Alaska – two landmarked buildings, festivals, the Farmers’ Market, parades, etc. Koehler stressed that the “representative alignment” is a “baseline” – and that new ideas need to get to Sound Transit during the “early scoping” period through March 5th.

WSTC chair Michael Taylor-Judd noted that the elevated track in the Delridge area might not be so high in the air if it was headed for a tunnel. He also said some in Delridge would like to see the station move further south.

WSTC vice chair Marty Westerman brought up the idea of having the new bridge over the Duwamish River for light rail be built to carry buses too. Koehler said he had talked with Sound Transit engineering and they believe even building the narrow light-rail-only bridge is going to be a challenge.

Could the bridge across the river be lower than the current high bridge, which it’s currently expected to more or less match in elevation? asked WSTC’s Mark Jacobs. Koehler said they hadn’t talked about that but it’s certainly something that could be suggested at this point in the process.

Tunneling seems reasonable given ST’s track record of success with it, one attendee suggested.

WSTC’s Chas Redmond said that if the Avalon station were jettisoned, there would have to be a plan for handling riders such as those who currently take Route 21, which comes down 35th to Avalon.

Westerman brought up another funding question that led McDermott to remind everyone that the Legislature is moving toward cutting the car-tab taxes that are funding ST3. He says it’s too early to start coming up with contingency plans in case those cuts happen, though – if such plans are made now, the Legislature might decide it could cut even more, he warns.

Taylor-Judd asked about the next steps for JuNO’s plan – how will they submit it, are they looking for people to show support, or … Koehler said, “If you like what you saw, there’s an e-mail address for feedback to Sound Transit … send an e-mail there to say you support the tunnel alternative.” Leda Chahim from Sound Transit spoke up from the side of the room at that point to provide the address – – and suggested that those who plan to comment in support of it include why they like it so that Sound Transit will have context.

McDermott said at that point that his vision is to have a tunnel serving The Junction – but where, how, how to pay for it, all has to be worked out. And he underscored the importance of speaking up now, whatever you think/support/want to see. (The final page of the “online open house” also includes an online form, as well as a postal-mail address.)

Here’s what he said during his presentation earlier in the meeting:

COUNTY COUNCIL PRESIDENT JOE McDERMOTT: He focused on transportation. “We live in a gem of a neighborhood but the tough part about living in West Seattle is getting in and out.” And he detailed why that isn’t going to get any easier any time soon – here’s our video:

He ran down all the big projects ahead, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s permanent closure, expected in September. And he talked about the changes that will result for West Seattle bus routes using the Viaduct – plus the changes when Metro Route 120 becomes the RapidRide H Line. He says Metro has invested money to make sure there are the same amount of departures. And he says they’re looking for feedback.

He talked about the Water Taxi, and various events that were a boon to sampling – from the Super Bowl parade to Viaduct closures – as well as its ridership increase, and the March 1st fare increase. They’re negotiating a new lease for Seacrest – it would be five years plus five 1-year extensions. He also had an update on the construction of the Water Taxi’s new downtown dock. And he noted the WT has sustainable funding because of action taken last year.

Segueing to light rail, he said more than 300 people attended the Sound Transit open house in West Seattle last week. And he mentioned his role co-chairing the Elected Leadership Group, which includes three other West Seattle-residing politicians – City Councilmembers Lorena Gonzålez and Lisa Herbold and County Executive Dow Constantine. And he reiterated that they are tasked with recommending a “preferred alternative” in a year.

Also on the light-rail subject:

STAKEHOLDERS ADVISORY GROUP: Deb Barker from the WSTC board is on it and noted that its next meeting is March 14th (here’s our coverage of its first meeting). That is when the group will get summaries of the “early scoping” comments that are due March 5th. Taylor-Judd said he’ll be very interested to hear how the comments are captured and “reported back.” He was also concerned that some of the ST staffers at the recent open house did not seem to have a full grasp of the project. And he wondered how ST could possibly turn around all the feedback between March 5th and March 14th: “That’s a rather quick turnaround.” Barker said they had yet to hear anything more about the “neighborhood forums” that ST has said will start in late March.

MEETING WITH MAYORAL REP: Chair Taylor-Judd, vice chair Westerman, and Barker had a meeting at the mayor’s office earlier in the day. It ran about half an hour, with them talking about “who are we, who are our priorities” – including WSTC’s longstanding legislative priorities.

NEXT MONTH: The WSTC March meeting topics are expected to include the city’s bike-share program. The mobility forum that’s been in the works, inspired by this one last year, is likely to happen in May.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets fourth Thursdays, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point.

63 Replies to "Light-rail tunnel talk @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition"

  • sealiner February 23, 2018 (11:47 am)

    Sure, tunnel would be nice, but horse trading for the Avalon station is not worth it. There are a lot of apartments on Avalon, with a ton more on the way, not to mention the existing bus transfers from all points south. WSB paraphrases Koehler as saying “… Avalon isn’t particularly accessible anyway – it’s blocked on one side by the entrance to the West Seattle Bridge, and on the other by densely developed residential buildings.” What? Putting a station in the middle of dense development is exactly the definition of accessible. Go ahead and figure a way to get your tunnel, but don’t throw your neighbors under the bus/train to get it. 

    • KRJ February 23, 2018 (11:56 am)

      Thank you. Exactly this.

    • West Seattle since 1979 February 23, 2018 (1:21 pm)

      Yes. So much this. Why put it somewhere where people aren’t? 

    • CMT February 23, 2018 (2:26 pm)

      I disagree.  As I understand it, the Avalon station is currently not contemplated as one that would be fed by transit/buses taking people to it (and that would not be logistically possible given its location), as opposed to the Junction and Delridge stations.  The plan is that thousands of people are (hopefully) going to be taking buses to get to the two transit fed stations.  If we could get a tunnel by eliminating the Avalon station, it would make sense to have those that would otherwise be served by the Avalon station take a short bus ride (maybe even a small bus like the water taxi bus) to one of other two stations.

      • East Coast Cynic February 23, 2018 (5:17 pm)

        A small bus like the water taxi bus for #21 riders to take to the Junction or Avalon????  Do you know how crowded the #21 is during rush hour?  Like those buses can handle those huge crowds.

        The Avalon Station is not at the doorstep of an 21 stop, however it is in reasonable walking distance to the the Avalon Station for those getting off the 21 at Avalon

        Unless there is a logical transit plan to handle the large passenger base arriving on the 21 coming up 35th that will be without an Avalon Station, Juno plan should be rejected with all godspeed.

        • West Seattle since 1979 February 23, 2018 (5:38 pm)

          Plus what about the people who live on Avalon and near 35th and Avalon? Not everyone can walk to the Junction.  I cant’ believe this.  I thought the 35th and Avalon bus stop was one that would stay, but no.  All my other bus stops have been removed, such as the ones near where I work.  I’m beyond upset by this.

          I wouldn’t be upset if I trusted Metro to provide buses to the station. But they won’t, or they”ll be little buses that’ll fill up quickly, because they think we’ll walk.

          I’m glad it’s a long way off.

          • CMT February 23, 2018 (6:29 pm)

            Sorry if I wasn’t clear.  I was referring to a smaller bus for the people that live on Avalon (to address the Avalon residents who would now be farther from a station) not as an alternative to the 21.   The JuNO presentation specifically addressed the slight reroute the 21 could make to drop people at the Junction station.  I think it’s a good plan.

          • West Seattle since 1979 February 24, 2018 (7:02 pm)

            As long as there are adequate buses to get people to either one or the other station. 

          • Adam February 23, 2018 (9:16 pm)

            It seems like the easiest solution would just be to slightly reroute the 21 to terminate at the Delridge station instead of continuing to downtown directly. That would about halve the route, which would enable them to run twice as often and even with the transfer would probably speed things up given how slow 99 is in the morning.

        • East Coast Cynic February 23, 2018 (7:32 pm)

          For the 21 to hook a left from 35th to Alaska and wait at a usually long light at the Fauntleroy intersection then continue to drive up hill to Alaska Junction is not exactly a slight adjustment except in the fantasies of the JuNO planners.

          • CMT February 23, 2018 (8:52 pm)

            The 21 would not be able to pull right up to the Avalon station so people would have to get off the bus, travel on foot  to the Avalon Station, and then go up a number of stories to get to the elevated platform.   A minute or two extra to pull right up to a tunnel station may well be more convenient.  I currently commute by bus and that’s the alternative I would find preferable.

    • PigeonRidge Ben February 23, 2018 (6:00 pm)

      Not sure of the math but…. When Link initially opened they bypassed First Hill due to logistical/funding conflicts and “made up” for it by the implementation of a streetcar. Perhaps an Admiral to Avalon Triangle via Alaskan Junction street car would pencil out and increase service area?

      • dsa February 23, 2018 (6:38 pm)

        A WS only shuttle bus would work and could include more neighborhoods than those mentioned.

        • CAM February 23, 2018 (10:09 pm)

          Let’s stop discussing at grade solutions that are impacted by the flow (or lack thereof) of traffic since the whole purpose of the light rail is to eliminate that problem. The solution to the problem cannot be more of the same problem. 

      • CMT February 24, 2018 (2:22 pm)

        Much of the overall solution will need to incorporate at grade options since the Junction and Delridge stations contemplate that riders will be arriving from all over the peninsula.  Bus service is going to be discontinued to downtown from many areas and diverted to the stations.  Unless your view is that light rail is only intended for those that can walk to the stations from their residences.

        • CAM February 24, 2018 (6:48 pm)

          CMT, what you are advocating for is the replacement of a proposed transit option that is above grade with a transit option that is at grade. That is what I object to. The buses will of course bring people who are not near a station to a station. But there will be a lot more people who are not within walking distance of a station if they eliminate the Avalon station and thus you would be increasing the number of people reliant on at grade transit for at least a portion of their trip. That is moving backwards from the current plan and that is why people accuse JuNO of being anti growth and anti transit. I love West Seattle and I have no intention of leaving this neighborhood. I also know that one transit line running through the neighborhood will not destroy and will only add to it’s appeal as a functional and well developed community. 

          • CMT February 24, 2018 (8:18 pm)

            I disagree that seeking a tunnel solution is in any way anti growth.  You may not mind an elevated line but the people that do will hopefully continue to propose solutions that will help West Seatle grow in a way that improves the pedestrian and bike usage, preserves the Junction historic area, creates the potential for open space that are increasing density sorely needs and addresses a myriad of other deficiencies that have been ignored in our growth to date.  That is the input Sound Transit andour elected leaders are asking for.

          • CAM February 25, 2018 (12:22 am)

            I’m not anti-tunnel. I would love a tunnel. I am unwilling to sacrifice the functionality and usefulness of the line by demanding a tunnel. We should all be fighting for a rapid transit that is so accessible that people are lining up to take it. Eliminating 1/3 of the planned access points does that. 

    • Rich Koehler February 23, 2018 (8:58 pm)

      I thought I’d answer a few questions related to our position on Avalon.  It’s not that we think that Avalon station has zero utility – it’s just that it has such a small utility that it’s not a responsible use of taxpayer funds.  Especially if the alternative is to ask for taxpayers to carry the extra cost of a tunnel, likely for both Ballard AND the Junction.  In this region we seem to treat taxpayers like bottomless wallets – why not show that we can be responsible when we ask for their support for a tunnel? 

      I put some slides at the end of the presentation to address some of the FAQs about this position.  Please have a look since the slides are posted above.

      FAQ1:  What will happen to bus service traveling NB on 35th, or from Avalon?

      We should expect that bus routes will be completely redesigned upon the arrival of light rail.  ST3 assumes that bus service directly downtown will cease in favor of West Seattle bus circulators that shuttle people to and from stations.  Per ST3, Junction and Delridge stations are budgeted as transit connectors; Avalon station is not.  Buses coming from the south on 35th could make a turn onto Alaska St and travel almost the exact same distance to a station at 40th SW as compared to one at the proposed Avalon station location.  Both would cross one traffic light.  The bus on Alaska would travel against traffic, while one headed north on 35th would head directly into the traffic headed toward the WS Bridge.

      FAQ2:  What if I want to walk to a station from my apartment/condo on Avalon street?

      The lower half of Avalon is just as close to Delridge station at Andover St. as it is to the proposed location of Avalon station.  The upper half of Avalon would, of course be much closer to a station if one were built there.  Bus service up and down Avalon could solve that however, for those that do not or are not able to walk the additional five blocks to the Junction or Delridge.  It’s hard to justify the demolition of homes, businesses, and the cost of an entire station to serve such a small area.

      Every other neighborhood outside of core downtown (Ballard, Roosevelt, Capitol Hill, etc.) has one station.

      • AvalonTom February 24, 2018 (7:56 am)

        I was also there to film the presentation, here is another angle with slides incorporated into the video. Hope that helps: 

      • West Seattle since 1979 February 24, 2018 (7:13 pm)

        Bus Service up and down Avalon and to 35th and Avalon and on to the Junction would solve the problem, I think. Or buses going from that area to Delridge station. Just please don’t take away all our buses and expect us to walk. 

    • Nigel February 25, 2018 (4:23 am)

      I just love how people in “the Junction” are willing to sacrifice some “other” neighborhoods station, but let’s just turn it around. The Light Rail should just stop at the Avalon Station; everyone in the junction can just walk to the Avalon Station. Or they can have little transit buses take them to the Avalon Station. I’m repeatedly told it is no big deal, just a short walk, so you “Junction” people can just take a walk. The savings of eliminating the junction station would be great. That money could be saved for other transit infrastructure around the city or it could be used to make the Delridge and Avalon Stations nicer, with parks and open space.

      • CMT February 26, 2018 (10:16 pm)

        Avalon is actually part of the WS Junction Urban Village so Avalon residents are ‘people in  “the Junction”’.  I’m not sure where you draw your conclusion that everyone in favor of eliminating the Avalon Station if necessary to obtain a tunnel live in closer proximity to the Alaska Junction than to Avalon.  Perhaps many people simply view it as a preferable alternative to an elevated line, particularly where the Avalon location is not well suited (or intended to be) a transit drop off location.

  • dsa February 23, 2018 (12:28 pm)

    Capitol Hill only got one station. 

  • bettytheyeti February 23, 2018 (12:28 pm)

    I too attended this well thought out and presented alternative to the West Seattle ViaDuct.

    Thank you Rich K. and Avalon Joe for the visuals, and Tracy R. for recording it for the blog.  

    I urge anyone who doesn’t what to see this concrete behemoth in the  middle of the only real  historic pedestrian commercial  area in West Seattle to please respond to the Sound Transit survey by March 5 asking them to adopt the JuNO plan.

  • dvaustin February 23, 2018 (1:17 pm)

    I am very impressed with the work put in here.  That is a solid alternative would love to see it under consideration.  It is also financial feasible to offer to trade a station for tunnel.  I know that will upset some people but maybe they can find funding for both?  Part of this funding is based on property tax and as we just saw on the state level,  our revenue projections just went through the roof for the next 2 year and 4 year budget cycle.  maybe we can have both.  I live in the Morgan Junction with Hala density coming my way and I don’t have a station, so what? Jump on what will be the newly designed bus routes and get to the station.  We won’t clearly all be able to walk to the station but this design is clearly the most attractive for WS in my opinion.

    Great work JUNO!!!

  • junctioneer February 23, 2018 (1:53 pm)

    I’d support any tunnel over the bridge even if it’s more expensive even though I likely won’t use it.

    What is really intriguing to me though is the “base of Avalon” tunnel alternative. As an Admiral resident I’d walk down to use that. I occasionally walk to the C line since we only have peak commute hour bus service, although it’s a bit far. The “base of Avalon” looks closer. I could imagine walking down Admiral to use it. I wonder if anyone else would make that walk–not sure, I can only speak for myself. But I really like the idea of that being a spot that both Avalon residents and Admiral residents could use it.

    • junctioneer February 23, 2018 (2:03 pm)

      I see now I misread–that is the tunnel entry point–not a station

  • WS Taxpayer February 23, 2018 (2:15 pm)

    Appreciate the well thought through, objective and articulate solution.  I prefer the tunnel idea to the Elevated solution!  

  • LiteRailBlight February 23, 2018 (2:29 pm)

    MANY THANKS! to Juno for sincere alternative effort to blend transportation demand with respect for preserving the established and well loved West Seattle neighborhood.

    Juno Tunnel Plan gets my vote

  • sw February 23, 2018 (2:40 pm)

    Thank you, JuNO – this tunnel scenario is the best option.  Note that the North line through Captiol Hill, U District and Roosevelt do not have elevated rail.  If we let this be built above ground, we will regret it.  

  • BettytheYeti February 23, 2018 (3:16 pm)

    Apologies to Avalon Tom not Joe!  And thanks for illustrating  West Seattle Viaduct imprint.

  • Seaweed February 23, 2018 (4:55 pm)

    I urge anyone who is not familiar with the general plan and presentation put forth by the JuNO group, to make an effort to become informed of its considerable merits. Certainly there are any number of issues that will need to be solved,  but this seems to be a far more refined visualization of Sound Transit Light Rail future in West Seattle.

  • West Seattle since 1979 February 23, 2018 (5:20 pm)

    Where is the actual survey that’s mentioned?  Is it too late to take it? I’m very upset about this.  I can’t believe they’re going to eliminate all bus service from 35th and Avalon and make people WALK to the Junction.  That is too far!  Not everyone can walk that far, and not everyone will want to.

  • West Seattle since 1979 February 23, 2018 (6:04 pm)

    Are any of you who are for this JUNO plan actually living anywhere near where the Avalon station would be? If so, do you use public transportation?  

    Metro isn’t going to provide enough buses to get people from this area to the Junction station. They just aren’t. We will be expected to walk or bike the mile or so. They might provide buses for people living on 35th, but they would need to do that anyway even if the Avalon station was built. But people who normally catch buses on Avalon Way, including 35th and Avalon? No way will we get buses. Or if we do they will be small and very infrequent. We will be expected to walk or bike. 

  • PigeonRidge Ben February 23, 2018 (6:23 pm)

    I find it confusing to follow the JuNO organization’s positions on urban planning. I’ve understood their position as trending toward an anti-growth, pro-car sentiment rooted more into the past then reaching into the future. Perhaps they might prefer the light rail stop at 35th? I suppose an ideal situation might be to have a billion dollar tunnel arrive beneath their low rise commercial strip surrounded by parking lots and single level, single family homes thoughtfully nestled into their private park like yards? What’s it going to be neighbors, a thriving, dynamic urban center or a time capsule serving memories over reality? 

    • CMT February 23, 2018 (8:56 pm)

      JuNO is not anti-growth at all.  Why do you think that?  If you are basing that on JuNO’s opposition to the HALA/MHA proposal, the opposition has nothing to do with being anti-growth and everything to do with it being a hugely flawed proposal.   you should check out what they actually support.

    • Rich Koehler February 23, 2018 (9:36 pm)

      It’s true that JuNO does not fit neatly into the anti-growth or pro-growth stereotypes as some would like to paint us.  We support a balanced growth strategy that respects current residents as well as welcomes new ones.  We strive to apply local knowledge of the area to guide sensible choices about where and how to apply growth plans; and how to solve livability issues at the same pace as growth.  We have advocated that urban planners listen to local residents across all Seattle’s neighborhoods – because locals have tremendous knowledge about how their neighborhood actually functions.  Current residents should not be dismissed as obstacles that occupy lines on a map.

      We support transit, light rail, and the Junction’s historical role as a commercial and transit hub for the area.  However, we view an elevated line as insensitive to the neighborhood for the reasons outlined in the presentation above.  We strongly advocate for a tunnel, pedestrian/bike improvements, and a landmark central station that will be a focal point for the area for generations.

      The Junction has the highest growth rate of any urban village in Seattle in the past 20 years.[1]  Still with a tremendous amount of unused zoned capacity, the Junction will have the highest growth rate in the next 20 years.[2]  This is not a neighborhood that has rejected growth.  At 85′, this is not a low-rise commercial area – it is already one of the most densely zoned areas outside of the City’s urban centers.  We do value the housing diversity, tree canopy and space that is afforded by the streets surrounding the Junction’s dense commercial district, as outlined in the Junction’s Design Guidelines.[3]  We are disappointed that the City has allowed the area to surpass residential density goals without meeting open space or employment goals.[4,5]

      [1]  111% household growth 1995-2015.  Seattle MHA FEIS, p.3.24

      [2]  59% household growth 2015-2035.  Seattle MHA FEIS, p.2.26

      [3]  West Seattle Junction Design Guidelines, SMC 23.41.004

      [4]  “Open space is minimal, at a sixth of an acre, which provides only 0.04 acres per 1,000 housing units.”  Seattle 2035 Urban Village Study, 8/2015

      [5]  “Unbuilt development capacity under current zoning for both jobs and
      housing is sufficient to achieve target densities. The housing target density is already met, while employment density is below target. Village size and zoned capacity are adequate to achieve density targets.”  Seattle 2035 Urban Village Study, 8/2015

    • Jort March 1, 2018 (10:16 pm)

      I am breaking from my off-an-on WSB comment sabbatical to let you know that this is one of the finest comments I’ve seen on the blog in several months. Thank you, Pigeonridge Ben.

  • Morgan February 23, 2018 (7:44 pm)

    False choice. NYC and Chicago stopped building elevates trains early in their transit systems histories for good reasons—they blot Out the sun. Urban areas are made more dynamic with layering infrastructure. I support the tunnel; save the Junction intersection.

    • CAM February 23, 2018 (10:06 pm)

      Chicago just added elevated lines heading out from downtown in the last 15 years. Try again. 

      • CAM February 23, 2018 (11:14 pm)

        For the sake of discussion, all of the lines described in this article are elevated for the portion of the lines they are discussing. The red line extension is moving forward last I heard and is being pushed by the current city leadership. 

      • Morgan February 24, 2018 (8:11 am)

        Key point being out of downtown…in dense areas, cities switched to tunneling. You wouldn’t tunnel in Federal Way along I5 obviously, but respect the context.

        • CAM February 24, 2018 (12:04 pm)

          I’m sorry but I’m completely confused by what you are trying to argue. If you’ve been to Chicago you would know that the only place there are tunnels is downtown. All of the other neighborhoods are fed by elevated lines. For each line, the moment it gets out of the core of the city it pops out from the tunnel and becomes an elevated line. And people LOVE it. They try to find housing as close as possible to it. Because it makes your life better. 
          Unless of course you are trying to argue that West Seattle is part of downtown, which then I think several of the other posters on this thread might have a beef with you.

        • CMT February 24, 2018 (1:13 pm)

          I understand what you are saying Morgan.

  • West Seattle since 1979 February 23, 2018 (9:01 pm)

    What bothers me is they will expect people in the Avalon area to walk a mile or so to the Junction, with no buses provided (or small or infrequent ones.) 

    • chemist February 23, 2018 (10:18 pm)

      The direct distance between the proposed Junction Station and Avalon Station is ~0.5 miles and between Avalon and Delridge is ~0.6 miles.  The current walking distance for frequent transit service development is 0.25 miles over sidewalks, iirc.  In a decade, maybe everyone who can’t walk a half mile will get a solowheel or e-assist heelys but these aren’t particularly bad distances.  Every stop along the light rail line has some measure of slowing down service too (like the difference between rapidrides and non-rr lines).

      • East Coast Cynic February 23, 2018 (11:28 pm)

        The distance between Junction and Avalon may be around .5 miles (at a bit of an uphill climb from Avalon), but the walk from the 35th and Avalon bus stop to Avalon station appears to be much shorter – .25 – .30 miles?  

        The multiple stories climb to the Avalon train platform will presumably have escalators to assist commuters on that steep climb to the platform, like other modern subways.

      • West Seattle since 1979 February 24, 2018 (7:23 pm)

        You realize there’s a very steep hill between Avalon and Delridge, right? Not everyone can handle walking up this.  You’ve also said .25 Miles is the standard, but this is .6, which is more. 

        But circulator buses would solve the problem. I’m just concerned that someone will decide they’re not needed, since people seem to think the distance isn’t a problem. 

  • TJ February 23, 2018 (9:55 pm)

    PidgeonRidge Ben, perhaps a clarification is in order on what you envision growth and density here. We have had plenty of growth, more on the way, and don’t need to change zoning at all to meet Seattle’s urban planning from the 90’s. You really want the city to have all these give aways to developers to attract people here? This region will not continue to see the same rate of population growth, and this whole region should absorb it equally. Things don’t get better with heavy density I can promise you. I hear people like you talk about density and I get the impression you want it to justify rail. You criticize JuNO, then comically use a socialist view of single family homes. Well, I moved last May into my house I had built here by the ferry dock, and while not single level, I do have a park like yard. Guess what? Everywhere I look I see houses gere. It is still the American dream. Not gonna change. And not sure if you get out to the junction much, but it seems like we already have a “thriving, dynamic, urban center” now. 

    • West Seattle since 1979 February 24, 2018 (7:26 pm)

      Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) thousands of people continue to move here, and there still isn’t enough housing for them, which pushes up prices to where only the wealthy can continue to live in the entire city of Seattle. So that’s why there’s so much housing being built, not just because some people want more density. 

  • Kathy February 23, 2018 (10:56 pm)

    Yikes, did I hear right? Lander Street between 1st and 4th Avenues is closing to traffic “later this month”?

    Does Metro know? Will the revised routes for the 50 and 21 buses be published anytime soon? Kind of hard to see those reroutes from the projection in the video behind Joe McDermott.

    • WSB February 23, 2018 (11:05 pm)

      I haven’t seen an alert yet, but will be following up. “Early this year” is what the project page says.

      • West Seattle since 1979 February 26, 2018 (11:26 am)

        I just saw today that there is a “new” bus stop at 1st and Stacy for the 21, which the orange sign indicating it’s not open yet.  That’s the only new stop, so that leads me to believe they’ll turn right on Holgate to get to 4th. However, the stop only said 21, so I’m not sure what the 50 is going to do.  But it seems that Metro is indeed aware of Lander closing. 

        • WSB February 26, 2018 (11:28 am)

          Thanks for the reminder that I need to ping them today. If this is really starting that soon, it’s time for some kind of official advisory.

          • WSB February 26, 2018 (4:01 pm)

            And I did get info from Metro, which I will write into a separate story tonight or tomorrow. In part: “Metro routes 21, 37, 50, 116, 118 and 119 will have scheduled routing revisions for the duration of the South Lander Street project. These changes will be considered the regular routes and will take effect with the March 10 service change.”

    • West Seattle since 1979 February 24, 2018 (7:28 pm)

      Just guessing they’ll use Edgar Martinez Drive to get to 4th? But this is not going to be great for people who need to get to places on 4th between Lander and there.

  • Dphp February 24, 2018 (7:04 pm)

    I heartily support the tunnel plan put together by Juno. I would suggest that the 21 north could continue its present route east on Avalon and stop at the delridge station for transfer to light rail. It would reduce congestion at Alaska turn and maintain the avalon/35th service so many rely on.

  • Kathy February 24, 2018 (8:26 pm)

    The 50 bus is the only West Seattle route that connects to the SODO Link station. The 21 gets close but probably won’t anymore if it can’t use Lander to get to 4th.

  • Jon February 26, 2018 (9:03 am)

    Bad idea. trading a station for a tunnel is a very shortsighted approach. Even though elevated will be “ugly” to some if not most people, stations could still be added and retro fitted at later dates. the cost of adding stations to a tunnel down the road is exponentially higher. We need to get over ideas of aesthetics and beauty and place good working, maintainable infrastructure first and foremost.  It will also become cost prohibitive to expand a tunnel to places like Arbor heights or wherever the expansions will take place 30+ years from now if everything is underground. We need to look into the future. 

  • Alison March 2, 2018 (2:26 pm)

    Including West Seattle light rail in ST3 was a political decision to begin with (should have been BRT). You get elevated, or you get nothing at all.  Trying to push for tunneling is ridiculous. I don’t want Sound Transit spending a dime looking at tunneling option for West Seattle.  Funding priority should be on the higher ridership area that is far more deserving of light rail and weirdly last in line (that would be Ballard).

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