Here’s your first look at 5 early ‘alternatives’ for West Seattle light rail, as unveiled at Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting

(WSB photo from tonight’s meeting)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Here’s where the rubber meets the road – or the trains meet the rail – as the accelerated process of getting to a “preferred alternative” for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light-rail extensions moves forward.

ST has now refined the “themes” that emerged in early comments into early “alternatives” for routing/station locations that were shown, explained, and discussed at tonight’s Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting downtown. When the group meets again in a week, they’re expected to decide on the first-level recommendations they’ll forward to the Elected Leadership Group and Sound Transit Board.

Five “level 1 alternatives” were shown for the West Seattle segment – but a disclaimer, these are not the “finalists” necessarily. “Level 1” refers to which stage of the review process this is in, not their ranking. And a reminder – the SAG members are looking at the entirety of West Seattle to Ballard, and while we know the rest of the line is of interest to many here, especially SODO and Downtown, we are just focusing on the WS end. Here’s the full slide deck for everything covered in the meeting, including all the “level 1 alternatives” and the criteria used to rate them:

(Here it is in PDF on the ST site.) You’ll also see slides in which the criteria are explained, as well as each alternative’s ratings using those criteria – the darker the dot, the better. (We’ve broken the pairings down one by one below.)

Each segment review ended with a slide featuring its early alternatives, and other ideas, sorted into three categories – alternatives with more potential, alternatives with greater challenges, and not-practical suggestions (for example, as you’ll see below, for West Seattle, the latter included mentions of running light rail on the existing bridge and using a gondola for part of the route).

Each of the four segments was presented to the full group, followed by table discussions. Unlike last meeting, where each segment had its own table and SAG members rotated table to table, this time each table had about eight group members seated at it, and they stayed in their respective groups the whole night..

First: Sound Transit’s Stephen Mak went through the West Seattle segment. He showed the multi-line “concepts” from last meeting and how they were refined. And then, each of six alternatives and its ratings:

First (above), the original ST representative project and its main points – summarizing concerns and benefits (challenges included west end that’s not conducive to an eventual extension, difficult design/construction along Pigeon Point, neighborhood impacts beteen Avalon and Delridge, design/construction constraints through the Duwamish River area.

Second (above), “Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel” – improved transition at Junction end, going a little further south on 42nd, to extend south in future; two tunnels and underground stations in Junction and Avalon, would cross the Duwamish further south and “avoid major Port areas.” The two tunnels would present potential “cost issues,” but this alignment has fewer curves so “performs better” regarding “operational constraints.”

Third (above), “West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy” – this one would avoid Pigeon Point, but would have an “isolated station, near port property” on the Delridge end; would affect properties along Fauntleroy; would have its Junction station around 38th, also turning south for a better future extension alignment. Also “avoids sensitive natural areas” like Longfellow Creek. Concerns would include the Delridge and Junction stations being on periphery of land-use centers rather than in the heart of them. It would raise concerns with effects on port and business operations on Harbor Island.

Fourth (above), “Yancy Street/West Seattle Tunnel” – this one would have a “long tunnel,” after “pass(ing) over Nucor” with an elevated station near Avalon/Yancy, the combination of Delridge/Avalon. This one too would avoid Pigeon Point. The station consolidation would raise concerns of serving fewer people, not directly serving land-use centers. But it would have fewer neighborhood impacts.

Fifth (above), “Oregon Street/Alaska Junction”: It would use Oregon to 44th in The Junction, with the station on 44th, pointing southward for future potential extension. This one also avoids Pigeon Point. It would have “good transit integration” at Junction station, and overall performs “generally similar to the representative project.”

Sixth (above)“West Seattle Golf Course/Alaska Junction” – this one would scrap the Avalon station, and would include a “short tunnel with station under Alaska St.” It would affect the Golf course “which is a 4f resource, requires demonstrating no other prudent and feasible alternative.” 4f means the Federal Transit Administration “cannot approve the use of land from publicly owned parks” except in a couple circumstances

Now, here’s how they were ranked:

In summary, Oregon Street/Alaska Junction and West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy are considered to have “more potential,” with Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel straddling the “has potential” and “has challenges” categories, in part because two tunnels “might require third-party funding.” The Yancy Street/WS Tunnel and WS Golf Course/Junction alternatives are considered to have “greater challenges.”

You can see the non-WS segments’ alternatives and evaluations by reviewing the complete slide deck toward the top of this report

WEST SEATTLE SEGMENT DISCUSSION: After the West Seattle alternatives were reviewed, and discussed at the tables, concerns and observations were reported out by spokespeople for each table. The first group mentioned concerns about Nucor’s future, Longfellow Creek and vicinity environmental impacts, and how the port would be affected. The second group said they all agreed a tunnel “is very important” in The Junction area, in part because they want to avoid traffic conflict with existing street users. The third group said it had discussed the Junction terminal location being important for future planning, interest in effects on other public lands including Delridge Playfield, wanting more information on the Duwamish crossing potentially interacting with a Superfund site, and interest in interacting with existing transportation networks, including bus routes and walkshed. The fourth group added that they were interested in the golf-course route if it didn’t eliminate a station, and overall their group considers it vital to keep all three stations “as promised.” Putting a station north of Nucor would mean a “terrible” walkshed, they added.

SO NOW WHAT? Next week – 5-8 pm April 24th – the questions they are expected to answer:
-“Are there alternatives we can safely take off the table?”
-“Are there alternatives we can safely move forward?”
-Are there refinements that can be made to the alternatives?

SIDE NOTE – EVALUATION CRITERIA CHANGES: These are in the slide deck above, too. Toward the start of the meeting, ST exec Cathal Ridge ran through some verbiage changes here. A few of note, adding “station area” to land-use-plan consistency, and looking at local land-use policies as well as plans. Biggest changes were for the criteria regarding how to “preserve and promote a healthy environment,” adding “economy” as well as a list of “economic effects” to consider, including “freight movement and access on land and water” as well as, in environmental effects, “burden on historically undereserved populations.”

PROCESS RECAP: Ridge also showed the timeline “road map” again:

He noted that “right now we’re at the tail end of Level 1,” screening alternatives they hope to take into Level 2, which would involve the first round of technical analysis. The deadline for a “preferred alternative” continues to be “early 2019.”

Other quick notes:

EARLY SCOPING RECAPPED: As reported here Monday, the full report on the “early scoping” period comments is out. It was not extensively recapped or discussed tonight, though.

NEIGHBORHOOD FORUMS: These are official ST-convened events and they start next Saturday in the International District. West Seattle’s first one is 10 am-12:30 pm May 5th at the Masonic Center (4736 40th SW).

P.S. – OTHER LOCAL DISCUSSIONS: This was not mentioned at the SAG meeting, but we are noting in case you are interested that Sound Transit reps are scheduled to bring an update to the next Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting, 6:30 pm April 26th at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon).

52 Replies to "Here's your first look at 5 early 'alternatives' for West Seattle light rail, as unveiled at Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting"

  • TJ April 17, 2018 (9:53 pm)

    My predictions…1 year from now, still gonna be debating these same things…where and what to build. 2021, the correct choice in a elevated line will finally be set in stone. 2025, ST will say they are behind schedule. 2028, they will say they are over budget. 2030, they ask for more money. 2033, West Seattle line finally opens, and people cry the wrong choices were made. 2035, ST4 vote fails.

    • Morgan April 18, 2018 (8:09 pm)

      You forget the possibility of ridership declines due to autonomous technologies…and fragmented, underperforming system like streetcar. 

      Disagree with the correct choice being elevated—if you think this Peters out why would you want all those single purpose columns contesting the public realm in Junction?

      • heartless April 18, 2018 (8:19 pm)

        So your stance is that if it is a system that will peter out we should spend more money on it to build it underground?  Gotcha.

        (Not that I agree with the premise–but your conclusion…  That’s an extra level of baffling.)

  • AvalonTom April 17, 2018 (10:03 pm)

    I went to this meeting tonight and sat through more than 2/3rds of it. I did experience 100% of the discussion on west seattle.  First thing that jumped out at me with the 5 alternatives was that none of them show the elevations plots.  Meaning one has no idea how low or high these options will be form the terrain as they pass overhead.  I overheard one of the experts say that these are completed but for some reason they did not make them publicly available nor did they make them available to the SAG members who did ask for them at one table. The reason this is an issue with me is that if you just consider the  “Oregon Street/Alaska Junction” (yellow) alternative it travels up Oregon Street. This street is very steep creating the same issue that the tall overhead track creates on Genesse. Apparently that option will bless us with not just one, but two large 120+ foot structures to get the train to the Junction. I think this type of information needs to be available sooner rather than later to the SAG team and to the general public. Its like making a decision on what a new house will look like form only the floorplans. One needs the elevations also to make any sort of informed decision.  Better yet, ST could invest a few man hours and come up with some basic 3D modeling to help with this process. 

    Second point, the harvey ball matrix system for the pro/cons seems to have a logical flaw.  The way it was explained at the meeting was that the representative alignment set some sort of a standard and that the 5 other options are being compared to it in either a positive or better them option (filled in circle) or negative or worse then option (empty circle). So based on this logic the representative alignment is actually overall the best option on this matrix. Other options might have positive or negative aspects that compare to some sort of a standard set by the original representative alignment.  So to the folks out there who accused my 3D rendering work being pure fiction propaganda, guess what. The representative alignment is still there along with 5 other options in consideration and based on this matrix its a strong contender. I guess it was a real option after all.    I’m glad to see that tunnel options are on the table.  As soon as the engineering department releases the elevation plots for the 5 alternative options, I will produce the necessary 3D images for each option so west seattle and SAG can have some real tools for evaluating what is really being proposed here. Stay tuned….

    • chemist April 18, 2018 (12:50 am)

      The scoring system makes me nervous.  Where these 5 alternatives first seemed to be just a few ways to display several different ideas from public feedback in a demonstrable way (still something that could be picked from “buffet style”), now it seems like they’re being scored as 5 options.  What if the S facing terminus to a tunnel at 42nd is better combined with another option that doesn’t require tunneling through pigeon ridge?

      • Ray April 18, 2018 (9:08 am)

        I couldn’t agree more. The jump from “just  an arbitrary way to show the community’s feedback” to “these are your options, take them or leave them” is pretty abrupt and seems very short sighted.

        • AvalonTom April 18, 2018 (11:09 am)

          Exactly RAY! I would like to add that (in my opinion) the representative alignment has now become one of the the concrete options. In fact it’s been re-framed now as the “baseline”.  So we have 6 options not 5. Oh and the representative alignment just happens to score the highest (equal with the Pigeon Ridge West seattle double tunnel.)  This scoring system is easily manipulated, is really a black box.  We dont know if any of the measures are weighted equally or if some are more important than others.  Its a perfect tool to manipulate the outcome.

          • AvalonTom April 18, 2018 (11:19 am)

            If you look at this key slide closely, they colored the representative alignment in gray but its still under the “alternatives with more potential” section. I find it interesting that the Pigeon point west seattle double tunnel option is shown lower on the chart then the “Oregon monster” even though the double tunnel option scored the same as the representative alignment in the Harvey ball charts.


          • Oh puh-lees! April 18, 2018 (2:09 pm)

            OMG really? It’s all a sham, just to try to fool you? Nobody’s interested in conspiracy theories.

        • Oh puh-lees! April 18, 2018 (2:08 pm)

          Nobody has presented theses as “take them or leave them” options. This is early design guidance, I think you may misunderstanding what options are and what this stage of the process is. The final design could very well be any combination of these options. Did you expect a perfect option that would please everyone to be presented at this stage? What other options would you present if these are so objectionable?

    • heartless April 18, 2018 (8:49 am)

      Thanks for the information Tom, much appreciated.

      The Oregon path seems like such a weird choice, in part for reasons you’ve pointed out.  On the other hand I really like the spacing of the stations on that mock-up.  I think it relieves some of the worry (real or false) that people have had about the Alaska and Avalon stations being too close (I think it was Dawson who said they’d be three blocks away! Hah!).  Still, going up Oregon and without tunnel would be, as you mention… problematic.

      Thanks again for the post.

    • These harvey balls are half empty April 19, 2018 (10:42 am)

      Exactly right on the harvey ball critique! The evidence that the ST3 Representative Projects are poor alternative are right there in the slides. The Representative Projects have as many if not more problems then the alternatives. They should not be considered the standard nor do they all meet half a harvey ball for their own criteria (e.g., economic effects, engineering constraints, historically underserved populations, etc.). Classic first rule of bureaucracy: protect the bureaucracy.

  • CMT April 17, 2018 (11:53 pm)

    Thank you so much for the recap!

  • Matt Hutchins April 18, 2018 (5:53 am)

    Preserving the golf course as a higher priority that having it blow thru a hundred homes makes no sense to me.  

    further if the two biggest downsides to that route are golf course and one less station,  close the money losing golf course, use 40% of it as a dedicated park the whole community can enjoy (not just the few golfers), turn the remaining space into a new neighborhood with potentially thousands of dwellings and then you have the extra population demand to justify a third station right there. 

    • heartless April 18, 2018 (9:27 am)

      Hear, hear!  Absolutely right.

  • yikes April 18, 2018 (8:02 am)

    Pretty concerned to see that one of the “alternatives with more potential” includes a Delridge station underneath the freeway, fenced in by a giant steel mill and port tracks. That’s about the least walkable, least accessible, and most offensive location I could imagine proposing for Delridge folks to use. Let’s bend over backwards to keep the Junction cute, but meanwhile, let’s shove the Delridge station inside a smelter that’s a mile away from any people or activities. Really hope the advisory committee has some sympathy for Delridge here, but I’m not hopeful given the literal tunnel vision I’ve seen so far. 

    • AvalonTom April 18, 2018 (10:58 am)

      I agree with you YIKES. A few of the Delridge options are rubbish and i’m not sure why and how they made the short list. (6 options is the shortlist right?)  I think its important that Delridge and junction neighborhoods and all in between stay united in this fight and not turn on each other by framing arguments as Us vs Them.  As someone who lives on Avalon I  think the 2 Delridge stations by the Industrial area are dumb and im questioning ST’s decision making process to even allow these options on the short list. I can only imagine they have a goal in mind and these are just red herrings being tossed out there to distract us. I have a feeling this will be a fight between the original design (representative alignment, or what they are now calling the baseline) and the very expensive so “we need more money” double tunnel double underground option. Everything else seems to be a throwaway on the matrix.

  • KM April 18, 2018 (8:57 am)

    Yikes & Matt, both excellent points!

  • Ron Swanson April 18, 2018 (9:15 am)

    Pigeon ridge tunnel all the way.  None of the rest of the alternatives hit the key requirements: 

    -Station on Delridge to serve actual neighborhood (and buses from points south), not wedged in next to the steel mill.

    -Station on 35th to serve Avalon/Triangle/buses from points south

    -No elevated guideway in the junction, central station location

    -Pointing south for Burien extension in ST4

    -Avoids complicated construction around Pigeon Point, port, and steel mill, doesn’t destroy historic golf course.

    Maybe the city can reallocate the cash it was planning to spend on road diets to cover the extra cost.

    • Confused WS citizen April 19, 2018 (9:46 am)

      I don’t support ‘neighborhood’ light rail systems at all, but I agree with you that Pigeon Tunnel is best option.  The Avalon Triangle is already an URBAN AREA.  I still think they should scrap all of this and just have a bus that goes from the proposed West Seattle Stations and goes directly to an existing station, but nobody asked me.

  • JVP April 18, 2018 (9:26 am)

    Having a station on 44th oriented north-sound makes sense.  1) it’s better spacing from the Avalon station, 2) future expansion to the south.  No reason you couldn’t put a station here with the line coming up from Alaska or Oregon street if one of them made better sense.

    I really hope we get a cut-and-cover tunnel from Fauntleroy up through the core of the business district.

    I don’t understand why the current stations are so huge and grand.  Can’t we do something underground, in a trench (not a pure tunnel) that is more similar to the minimalist stations in Rainier Valley?  Keep them way smaller and far more simple.  I’m sure there’s reasons, but it feels wasteful to have such huge stations.

    • chemist April 18, 2018 (10:01 pm)

      The Seattle City council just passed a requirement that rail stations in the city have bike parking for at least 7% of peak passengers, so they’ll have to have some large bike rooms.

    • Confused WS citizen April 19, 2018 (9:47 am)

      Tell that to the people whom live there.  

  • AvalonTom April 18, 2018 (10:41 am)

    Studied the 5 alternatives further and needed to convert that Harvey ball chart to a numerical chart so I can actually compare these mathematically to each other.  Here is what I did: the half circle that is identified as “comparable performance” to the baseline representative alignment I assigned a score of 5. The full circle or “higher performance” recieved a 7 and the empty circle or “lower performance” received a 3. So using these numbers here is how the 6 options scored:

    Representative alignment (baseline) 125
    Pigeon Ridge/ West Seattle Tunnel 125
    West Seattle Bridge / Fauntleroy 121
    Yancy Street / West Seattle Tunnel 115
    Oregon Street / Alaska Junction 119
    West Seattle Golf Course / Alaska Junction 119

    Surprise! the representative alignment comes as the winner (equal with the Pigeon Ridge double tunnel option, the most expensive option for sure as it has 2 tunnels and 2 underground stations


    Second in line is actually a really awkward concept that puts the dellridge station in the port creating 2 stations that are underutilised.  Not even sure how this option is on the table in the first place really and how it scored so high, (unless one considers that the alternatives are only based on refinement of public comments)

    Next up is the Oregon Street / Alaska Junction monster tied with the low profile West Seattle Golf Course / alaska route that puts the tracks out in the golf course and sends the train to the junction area underground as a short tunnel. The reason I call the Oregon Steet option a monster is because it keeps the giant overhead structure up Genesee and then creates another one going up Oregon Street to California. This might be hard to visualise right now as we dont have any 3D of this yet, but consider that the train is limited to a certain rate of climb that it can effectively do. Oregon being steep will require the train to start climbing in elevation much sooner to be able to make the top creating a similar condition that exists on genesee but starting way back around the Avalon station. (those renderings already exist on WSB).  One other piece of information to digest, the intersection of Oregon and California is actually one of the highest points in WS as far as the train location is concerned. One can quickly see why this option will be a monster that will not only be tall but affect the whole Oregon and Genesee residential area heavily. (Welcome to the fight Oregon!)

    The option that has the least points on the matrix is the Yancy Street option. This option has a tunnel but puts the delridge station in awkward spot although a spot that would serve avalon customers well.

    So here is my thoughts on this, if one just used the score at this point it comes down to the representative alignment and the double tunnel, double underground station option. One is exceedingly expensive the other is a massive eyesore. Interesting way to frame the coming battle, no?

    • heartless April 18, 2018 (12:15 pm)

      Yeah, interesting frame.

      Personally I dislike the ‘representative alignment’ (even the name rubs me the wrong way).  The two routes I like best (Pigeon Ridge & Oregon/Alaska) have their own issues, unfortunately.

      I’d like to echo the points of JVP who posted earlier: I think a North/South orientation for the Alaska station (as it’d be in some of the plans) makes a ton of sense–the route MUST go south at some point, and this just makes that extension easier (read:cheaper).  Also if we need to save money, and we probably will, I’m all for skimping on the stations.  What we want is the transit–I couldn’t care less if the stations were less grand and far simpler (besides, that’d be by far the easiest thing to revamp later down the line (pun not intended)).

      It’ll be interesting to see what happens…   

    • ACG April 18, 2018 (10:38 pm)

      So, does coming up Oregon wipe out the Bowling alley, churches, senior center and the new big apartment buildings built along Oregon?

  • skeeter April 18, 2018 (12:11 pm)

    I’m glad Brian King is one of the community representatives for West Seattle.  He’s got a keen understanding of the issues and I value his input in the process.


  • Doug H. April 18, 2018 (12:57 pm)

    I amI am trying to imagine a

    This is the Angle Lake Sound Transit Station.  I am trying to imagine it hovering above Alaska or California or another location in the West Seattle Junction, never mind the above ground tracks to and from such a station.

    • Morgan April 18, 2018 (8:17 pm)

      They’re not going to have the money to have that level of quality on subsequent stations with feds pulling back…I’m guessing…

  • Mike April 18, 2018 (1:30 pm)

    Northgate station in progress imagine a 2 year build up Fauntleroy 

  • Dakota Andover April 18, 2018 (3:08 pm)

    I’m certainly in favor of the buffet-style selection process mentioned in some of the early posts.  With that in mind, if you evaluate the options coming out of SODO, the  ST scoring system gives a reduced or downgraded score to the options that run along the north side of the bridge coming over the Duwamish and the first Pigeon Ridge tunnel would get a reduced score for the costs and Superfund site issues, so that leaves the Baseline and West Seattle golf course (light blue) alignment as the most likely cost effective option.  The golf course alignment also puts the Delridge Station more to the south, making more sense in my opinion than the baseline representative route.

    The golf course gets lower marks for going through the golf course, so let’s look at the other options and scoring for the portion of routes going to and through the Junction.  The elevated up Oregon is an obvious challenge for the reasons already stated, and there appears to be a lot of support for a tunnel, so in my opinion again, and the scoring system, the portion of the Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel portion that appears to have a tunnel portal at Genessee’s steep grade below where the Golden Tee apartments currently sit as a good option for the Avalon to Junction route.

    The question is then how do you connect the Delridge to Avalon/Junction sections.  The representative Baseline alignment destroys that pocket of homes at the Delridge-to-Genesee radius, and I would propose that with the more southerly location of the Delridge Station, you also push that radiused turn a little further south so that the tracks go over the Delridge Park skate park and then gradually swing back along Genesee to run along the edge of the golf course where it could then enter a tunnel portal just before Avalon Ave. where the Golden Tee apts. are.  A tunnel portal there also allows the elevated portion along Genesee to  be standard height and barely change elevation to hit the portal at the mid-point of the hill, rather than the 150-foot plus needed to climb up and over the hill.

    If you run the route along the golf course at the south side of Genesee, some of the holes at the golf course would need to be modified and shortened, but it also preserves the vast majority of the course.  They specifically brought up the USDOT Section 4(f) as a problem for going through the golf course, so perhaps going along the edge may reduce those concerns.

    My thoughts anyway.  It’s nice to see so many WS residents interested and vocal in the process.  We just need to keep it going to find the best option and compromise.  I also seem to remember a recent WSB story about a project in early design guidance for the Golden Tee site, so that’s also a concern and  issue to consider.

  • Brendan April 18, 2018 (3:51 pm)

    The tunnel is not going to happen. There is no money for one. “May need 3rd party funding” is another way of saying “will never happen in a million years.”

    • WSB April 18, 2018 (4:04 pm)

      Please note that the “third party funding” mention was only made for one alternative that would include two tunnels. It was not the only tunnel-including alternative, otherwise.

  • Karen April 18, 2018 (4:44 pm)

    Thank you, Doug H and Mike for posting the photos.  Unless a person has been to one or both of those sites it is impossible to grasp the monstrosities that they are.   Neither of them invade a vibrant and historical community as any of the elevated plans will do here.   

    If any reader  doubts my thoughts, make the effort to go stand close to either of them and try to imagine what will happen here.  

  • Heather April 18, 2018 (7:17 pm)

    Meanwhile in the Netherlands… It doesn’t have to look so awful.

    • Morgan April 18, 2018 (8:15 pm)

      Uhh…that part of Netherlands doesn’t look like West Seattle junction. Just saying.

      • heartless April 18, 2018 (8:30 pm)

        And Northgate does?  Play fair.

  • BJG April 18, 2018 (8:36 pm)

    Karen suggests and I urge as well that neighbors who will be in the shadow of these monstrosities go and sit awhile under the light rail station at Angle Lake or another ST elevated station. You cannot imagine the scale, the noise, the utter ugliness of the structure until you have experienced it. Don’t drive by.  Get out.  Get under it and imagine it at your back gate. It is appalling.

    • Canton April 19, 2018 (6:23 am)

      Agree. It’s funny how some people dislike a functional viaduct downtown because it’s ugly to them. So lets put a train viaduct in the junction core.

  • Heather April 18, 2018 (10:32 pm)

    This is the Wuppertal Suspension Railway in Germany. It reminds me of elements in Pioneer Square, feels whale like, and allows for so much more light, potentially a cool paint color and colorful trains. Perhaps a more curved legged, metal elevated structure is more appropriate for our street level shopping neighborhood.

    • Heather April 18, 2018 (10:39 pm)

      Perhaps a unique interval lighting on the underside… like clustered globe fixtures such as the ones in Pioneer Square. It would be a cool way to  highlight community gathering areas.

      • Heather April 18, 2018 (10:41 pm)

        Upside down these fixtures look really cool.. 

        • heartless April 19, 2018 (4:54 pm)

          Hard to think of Wuppertal without thinking of Tanztheater, and your artistic ideas for lighting only reinforce the theme.

          Love the ideas.

          (You’re not an artist, by any chance?)

  • CAM April 19, 2018 (9:18 am)

    1. I would love a tunnel. But being realistic I have to admit that making the line to WS even partially tunnelled would either significantly raise the costs and/or significantly lengthen the timeline. 

    2. There is no solution to the timeline issue. Those of us who ride transit today can tell you that the system is overtaxed already and unsustainable as it currently functions. There simply is not enough capacity to move the people who want to take transit at particular times of day. This is going to get exponentially worse as time passes. So extending the deadline on this to get a tunnel is not reasonable or rational. 

    3. In order to reduce the cost of a tunnel some people seem to believe it would be workable to eliminate a station. There are two problems with this idea, forcing an increased reliance on already overtaxed buses and streets to move people to a station (since we are not all mountain goats despite the claim that a 20 minute walk up an elevated grade in the pouring rain is “reasonable”) and reducing the system’s capacity to move large numbers of people at a time. 

    4. I’d like everyone to remember the last time they went to a stadium event and the nightmare it was entering and exiting the stadium. Similar to a stadium, a light rail station has a fixed entry point at which all people must pass and must all scan their ticket. Now imagine that that stadium shuts down 1/3 of it’s entry gates. That only increases the pressure and lines at the other gates. Similarly, current riders of the bus system would be able to tell you that a large factor in the delays that occur with buses at peak times is related to the time it takes to load people onto a crowded system. The whole point of getting light rail to WS was to have more reliable and and truly rapid transit. Reducing the number of stations puts further pressures on a system that isn’t even here yet and is going to need to serve an ever growing population. 

    5. The solution from some commenters is that commuters can be moved to the reduced # of stations that are farther apart by a reconfiguration of the bus system. This doesn’t really work either because you’re just talking about lengthening people’s commutes and putting those commuters further at the whim of road congestion. Right now I have to wait 15 to 20 minutes when my bus is late and I miss my transfer. That is only one transfer though. With the implementation of light rail, some people will be on a bus, transfer to light rail, and then transfer to another bus to get to their destination. Eliminating a station or arguing that stations should be further apart only increases the number of people you are forcing into that situation. 

    6. Lastly, I get the impression (sometimes because they have admitted it) that many of the pro-tunnel commenters are a) not currently regular riders of the transit system, b) have not had the pleasure of taking the bus at peak hours, and c) have not lived in a city with a thriving rail system. I think it would be very useful if those commenters were to try to talk to people who fit into at least 2 of the 3 of those categories and listen to what they need from the system. This system needs to be developed to meet the needs of both the current and future population of WS. Having an aesthetically pleasing system would be great, but I’d take a concrete monstrosity that runs properly and can move masses of people at an efficient pace over a very pretty hole in the ground. 

    • Angie P April 19, 2018 (1:32 pm)

      This. All of this. Thank you! 

    • heartless April 19, 2018 (5:37 pm)

      I agree.  My only quibble might be if we could somehow transfer saved funds into future West Seattle extensions (read: points south).  I doubt this would ever happen, but in an ideal world I’d be okay saving money by have fewer/shorter tunnels if it meant a longer or sooner route south.

      Very well said, Cam.

    • Al S. April 21, 2018 (12:23 pm)

      You item 6 unfortunately applies to most if not all of the Stakeholder’s Group. ST continues to operate in a culture where auto drivers or bus riders think they know what’s best for rail systems — when at heart they are stakeholders looking after their special interests and not riders at large. ST continues to design Link as if it’s creating a new system as opposed to an existing system that has and will have operations issues unique to rail. I think it’s particularly telling that they will discuss “freight impacts” but not “rider transfer impacts” as an evaluation criteria.

  • Confused WS citizen April 19, 2018 (9:33 am)

    Let me get this straight, The CITY was the chief opponent for an elevated system called ‘the Monorail’ which was VOTED FOR by the people, and approved by said people, but the CITY made it disappear by not making land available for the route to proceed… NOW WE ARE PROPOSING A GIANT ELEVATED SYSTEM WITH POTENTIAL TUNNELS WITH MASSIVE IMPACT TO PEOPLE, BUSINESSES, HOUSES, AND MAYBE EVEN A GOLF COURSE (that was so sacred, a driving range couldn’t be constructed because A: it would desecrate one sacred hole on the course and B: neighbors were concerned about the lights), ETC. ???

    How about taking a bus to a station like OTHELLO which already exists!  Provide new ALL ELECTRIC buses which leave from the same West Seattle stations being proposed here, and have 1 destination… a Light Rail Station which does not demolish West Seattle?

    • WSB April 19, 2018 (9:45 am)

      No, that wasn’t what killed the monorail.

      • Confused WS citizen April 19, 2018 (10:00 am)

        True, I may be simplifying, but it was one legitimate reason.  Truth:  The city… or more accurately, Sound Transit, did NOT want the Monorail Built because, it, they, had bigger plans of their own.  Here’s a nice quote from our County Executive:

        “I think we’ve essentially concluded, people have concluded, that, one, you have to have more capacity through the bottle neck of downtown Seattle, if you’re going to be adding rail lines anywhere, whether it’s Tacoma or whether it’s West Seattle and Ballard. And two, that if you’re doing that, a tunnel is really the only way to go. There’s just too much going on out in the streets of Seattle to take up another one of them with rail and it’s bad to put elevated rail down the middle of one of those downtown streets, just from an urban environment perspective.”  Dow


        But it is okay to put elevated tracks through Residential Neighborhoods in West Seattle?

  • Golf course route at grade not elevated April 19, 2018 (11:08 am)

    When I commented on moving the Delridge station away from the neighborhood block they were going to buy and destroy and to eliminate the Avalon Station I suggested remaining at the road grade on Delridge after clearing the West Seattle Bridge/Spokane area, moving the station south on Delridge and then tunneling as needed toward the Alaska Junction through the golf course bisecting the larger Seattle Parks land either at Alaska or Edmunds (one block south).  My suggestion was not to have an elevated line above the golf course.  Perhaps Seattle Parks along with Sound Transit can rethink the entire 81 square blocks of parkland to preserve greenspace, increase usage and access, and partner with transportation to this large public park, which includes the Golf Course, Camp Long, West Seattle Stadium and others.

  • Wseattlite April 19, 2018 (10:06 pm)

    The fine voters passed a 50 billion dollar decision to give some people money to get some rail tracks built.  Wait a minute; oh, nope I wAs correct I did use a b before “illion” not an m.  So which track was used in the construction estimate to provide the fine voters the cost of implementation?  That is the right one. If however nobody had a clue which route was used in the estimate or there wa no idea at all, then I could easily summise that the 50 Billoin dollars granted to these people does not mean anything and likely to only be a down payment on the actual cost.  How do I get on the list for receiving money coming out of voter ballot results?  I really could use some.  

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