WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Big meeting this week; new set of unofficial renderings

Two developments as planning continues for West Seattle’s planned 2030 light-rail extension:

ELECTED LEADERSHIP GROUP MEETS THIS WEEK: For only the second time since the kickoff of the intensive one-year-plus planning process to come up with a “preferred alternative,” Sound Transit is convening the Elected Leadership Group for the West Seattle/Ballard lines. They meet 2-4 pm this Thursday, May 17th, at ST’s downtown board room (401 S. Jackson). The meeting will include a public-comment period. (Here’s our coverage of the ELG’s first meeting back in January.)

(3:32 PM UPDATE: Since we published this, ST has added the Thursday meeting’s agenda and slide deck to its website. One page of interest in the slide deck – page 20, feedback highlights from the May 5th “neighborhood forum” in West Seattle.)

MORE UNOFFICIAL RENDERINGS FROM ‘AVALON TOM’: Though five “concepts” emerged for the West Seattle end of the line (as shown here a month ago), ST’s public visualizations of them haven’t gone any further than flat lines. So “Avalon Tom” offers unofficial visualizations for anyone interested in seeing what the “concepts” might look like. Backstory: He is a West Seattle resident who generated lots of discussion four months ago by producing renderings based on ST’s original “representative alignment.” Now he’s generated a raft of new renderings that show what the 5 West Seattle concepts MIGHT look like. He has multiple renderings for each one – we’ve just pulled one from each set, and you can click through to see the others (or just skip ahead to his special webpage):

First, the “Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel” alternative:

Next, the “West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy” alternative:

The “Yancy Street/West Seattle Tunnel” alternative:

The “Oregon Street/Alaska Junction” alternative:

And the “West Seattle Golf Course/Alaska Junction” alternative:

Again, click the links to any/all of the pages “Avalon Tom” has for the “alternatives” and you will see multiple renderings – we just chose one from each. At its most recent meeting, the project’s Stakeholder Advisory Group (which meets again May 30th) recommended only continuing consideration of the “Pigeon Ridge” and “Oregon Street” concepts (WSB coverage here), but that’s by no means a binding recommendation – the Elected Leadership Group is to take it under advisement.

46 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Big meeting this week; new set of unofficial renderings"

  • M May 15, 2018 (2:13 pm)

    That’s a joke right? Going directly though the golf course on an elevated track? 

    • AvalonTom May 15, 2018 (2:58 pm)

      One of the proposed alternatives does just that. One would have to assume that in this configuration the golf course would be re designed or would be replaced with a public park.

    • HelperMonkey May 15, 2018 (3:02 pm)


    • Smo May 15, 2018 (10:29 pm)

      Completely insane. The whole point of light rail is the environmental impact of getting cars off the road. The golf course route takes the least amount of cars off the road (eliminates Avalon Station) and has the most detrimental environmental impact. It also could risk federal funding. Craziness.

      • Jeff May 22, 2018 (6:34 pm)
        So, going through the yuppy golf course, where Delridge and White Center kids can’t play, requires a 4(f) review. But demolishing the Delridge Skate park, which tons of neighborhood kids and young adults use year-round, and the Delridge kiddie pool, which gets a lot of use during summer, does not require a 4(f) review???
        You all are using the 4(f) review as a scapegoat.
        The golf course isn’t truly a city park. Only rich yuppies can play there. You think they’ll let Delridge or White Center kids play in that “park”?
        ST, City of Seattle (and you) don’t care about neighborhoods. Nor do you care about ridership. Moving the Delridge station farther south could accommodate a lot more low income families.
        The real reason why ST and City of Seattle like the base option and the Oregon St option is so they can blow up North Delridge area and buy out (steal) all the housing. Then build multi-family housing in its place.
        They intentionally snaked it through the North Delridge neighborhood as an excuse to buy up the property for construction staging and trailers. Then after the project, they can flip that expensive property for high end apartments. 
        And if anyone thinks that they’ll actually build affordable HALA housing in those stolen properties in North Delridge, you’re dreaming. The contractors will pay the minor fee to have the affordable housing built elsewhere, away from here (a.k.a. White Center, where ST is providing “upgraded” bus system).
        This project is merely the rich pandering to the richer. Stakeholders Advisory Group and the Elected Leadership Group are just as corrupt and self-serving as Sound Transit and the City of Seattle.
        Oh, and by the way. ST3 already lost $5B of its budget. Federal funding was pulled.
        So they’ll do all these meetings, designs, and waste tax payer dollars. And what will they do with it? Where will that extra FIVE BILLION DOLLARS come from?…
        More taxes.
  • Um, No! May 15, 2018 (2:57 pm)

    Negatory………………… There is a post right in the middle of The Beer Junction.   It’s a no go. 

    • Morgan May 16, 2018 (3:27 pm)

      I know we’re called The Beer “Junction”, but this is getting ridiculous :) — hopefully they can move the post a few feet– otherwise we’ll just have to have a some cool architecture next to our draft lines. 

  • Tim May 15, 2018 (3:05 pm)

    Golf ball target!

  • Joe May 15, 2018 (3:11 pm)

    Love your work WSB, but this is ridiculous. Posting some West Seattle resident’s amateur photo-shopped pics of various locations and tracks, some of which that have no basis in reality (i.e. elevated tracks that go directly across the fairway of the golf course!?), does not seem “newsworthy” or the best use of the website. Just because someone can create a bunch of “unofficial visualizations” of the tracks does not mean they should be publicly disseminated in this way.

    • WSB May 15, 2018 (3:28 pm)

      Thanks, but we had that discussion four months ago. And “Avalon Tom” is no amateur; he spent 18 years making renderings like these for a living. Meantime, if you or anyone else has another idea for how to visualize these concepts, please send it along!- Tracy

      • WSB May 15, 2018 (3:29 pm)

        PS – Since I published this almost two hours ago, ST has published the agenda and slide deck for Thursday’s ELG meeting, so I’m adding those above.

      • Jort May 15, 2018 (5:13 pm)

        I would be happy to see visualizations from Sound Transit, rather than from a private resident who has publicly stated his personal opposition to particular forms of elevated transit. 

        • Chemist May 15, 2018 (8:02 pm)

          I would welcome Sound Transit visualizations too, but they haven’t brought them.  I don’t even recall the Neighborhood Feedback at the Masonic Temple having posters showing what elevated tracks recently built like Sound Transit look like.

        • S May 16, 2018 (7:47 am)

          I think the visual input of someone who has stated his opposition is great–he might come up with solutions in his renderings to issues he had.  Often times it’s good because they want to address and take care of the negative aspects.  Or he might help the rest of us see some of the same problems he was seeing. 

        • Jon Wright May 16, 2018 (9:23 am)

          Jort, given that there are no publicly available renderings from Sound Transit, what’s your point?

    • AvalonTom May 15, 2018 (3:31 pm)

      Joe, please look closely at the “west seattle golf course / alaska junction” alternative drawings from ST. You will see that this is in fact one of the proposed alternative routes.   Perhaps you should educate yourself on the project before offering your “wisdom”. Just shows how these do serve a purpose as most people have no clue what this project actually is.  Yes, one of the alternatives runs on elevated track through the golf course.

    • Jon Wright May 15, 2018 (3:42 pm)

      Joe, the “West Seattle Golf Course/Alaska Junction” alternative does exactly what you claim “has no basis in fact.” Check out  https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/SAG-meeting-3Presentation-20180417.pdf and see for yourself. Energy spent casting aspersions might be better spent getting educated.

    • Mel May 15, 2018 (8:56 pm)

      I respectfully disagree. These are skillful representations provided gratis using the paths under discussion. Tom has my thanks for this as one of the many inputs we can use to formulate questions about the project.

    • Smo May 15, 2018 (10:44 pm)

      Agree on it being ridiculous – not the pictures (which are well done) but the idea of it. That route actually does go directly through fairways. I don’t think the city or SoundTransit realize the uproar that will happen if that route is chosen (once people realize what it is). It’s far and away the most environmentally damaging, will have near-certain environmental lawsuits, risks federal funding of the project, etc. To choose it they’d have to prove no alternatives exist to get the environmental regulations waived (which is clearly not true), and of course it eliminates a station so it wasn’t even what was voted for in ST3. On the plus side, I’m guessing it’s very unlikely to happen.

    • Thank you AvalonJoe May 16, 2018 (3:04 pm)

      Disagree with Joe on two points.

      1) AvalonTom’s renderings are “amateur” and “have no basis in reality.”  In points of fact, AvalonTom is a professional whose renderings are based on the publicly available information and diagrams. His renderings have the same visual characteristics that are real along the entire built ST light rail line (e.g., station entries, volume of overhead stations, height of elevated rail at different topographical points.

      2) WSB has made a good decision to disseminate these renderings.  The goal of the blog is to inform the public on news and events in West Seattle.  The renderings help increase the public understanding of the ST proposals in West Seattle by providing as accurate as possible visual guides unavailable from any other source.

  • Tom May 15, 2018 (3:23 pm)

    Can’t wait for the inaugural ride!  2060 is just around the corner.  

  • swingbattabatta May 15, 2018 (3:33 pm)

    I can see my house from here! *waves* *sobs*

    • KM May 16, 2018 (7:21 am)

      I’ll swap houses with you, I’d love to live near lightrail.

      • PigeonPointPerson May 16, 2018 (8:19 pm)

        I know….my house is featured in many of these shots.  In the Pigeon Ridge route, we’d be just a handful of houses away from a station, which both worries and intrigues me.  If we don’t lose our home to eminent domain in the creation of the tunnel/station, this could be a good thing for us.

  • WS Guy May 15, 2018 (4:09 pm)

    What’s the best way to send feedback to ST and the Elected Leadership Group?  

    Some of those options are just ruinous, especially the Oregon Street one.

  • BJG May 15, 2018 (5:02 pm)

    Many thanks for the new renderings. The earlier ST iteration of how to destroy the integrity of the Alaska Junction did not include the Oregon/44th elevated. Then they had a new idea.  Now we can see that in its ugly reality.  Really scary for the neighbors and others. This affects our properties, using our taxes, impacting our environment into the distant future with their half-baked proposals. Nobody listening yet and they won’t be around to care. For us the tunnel option clearly is the obvious choice here.

  • TJ May 15, 2018 (5:04 pm)

    Does Sound Transit even have this budgeted out in this $54 billion ST3 boondoggle? They promised a West Seattle line to secure votes for ST3, but we have been given a blank check, guaranteed. They haven’t come in on time or budget yet on a project (resetting a timeline half way thru doesn’t count). Where and how is it crossing the river? Where is it going up the hill? Where are the stations? People want a tunnel that for sure isn’t in the budget? Too many question marks for this to be close to budget or on time by 2030. Sound Transit has lost credibility, so there can’t be anymore requests for more money until ST3 comes thru on time and budget. 

    • WSB May 15, 2018 (5:08 pm)

      That’s mostly what they’re still working out except – elevated new bridge across the Duwamish is the crossing that has been in the plan since the start, and no alternative proposes otherwise.

  • H May 15, 2018 (5:19 pm)

    The “slide deck” per the 3:22 update – phew! Lots of info. WS still looks pretty much all over the place in comparison to the other lines but I’m sure it’s due to distance and service needs (per neighborhood feedback). Lots to digest.

  • iSpy May 15, 2018 (5:41 pm)

    -Many Thanks to AVALONTOM for continued efforts to inform this conversation with perspective.

    WestSeattle@Large – please provide your feedback to Sound Transit,  Elected Leadership Group and West Seattle Stakeholder Advisory Group.

  • K8 May 15, 2018 (7:28 pm)

    Thanks AvalonTom!  I had trouble picturing all the different options. I appreciate the help in figuring out what they’ll take with eminent domain.

  • Rusty May 15, 2018 (9:05 pm)

    Definitely appreciate all the work and research done by AvalonTom, it’s really hard to argue against the tunnel option when looking at these. I know – more money.

    Why do I always feel like I’m standing at the 3-card-monty table when listening to ST folks? “Just give us your money, don’t worry about it…”.  I wonder what/if any of the cost of not having to use eminent domain for any section they tunneled under might offest some of the difference in cost – anybody have ideas on that one?

  • JeffK May 16, 2018 (5:50 am)

    Anything aerial west of Fauntleroy is dumb and a mistake.

  • Junction Lady May 16, 2018 (6:45 am)


  • LK May 16, 2018 (7:56 am)

    Keep that thing underground.  Speaking from experience, having lived near elevated BART tracks, the screaming high pitch rails causes consistent noise pollution which has been proven to impact stress levels and quality of life, not to mention it’s a total eye sore.  Let’s not blow this people, this is our chance to share our opinions and have our voices heard.  Future generations will thank you.

  • James May 16, 2018 (9:08 am)

    The  Stakeholders are recommending  the Oregon Street concept? What are  the West Seattle reps saying?

    West Seattle better wake up and start pushing back or the Junction is going to get a railroad line and a train station on top of it for the next 100 years. 

    A question for Sound Transit, why is such a bad, destructive, unworkable option even on the table for consideration.  I asked ST reps this question at the neighborhood forum and was told not to worry that these are “representative alignments” not final designs. Well I am worried now, Destroy the Junction, Oregon Street/Alaska Junction alignment is now the first option.

    If Sound Transit does not have the money to do this properly and their only option is to do it on the cheap then don’t do it. West Seattle does need mass transit but if the Oregon Street/Alaska Junction is the best they can design then NO. 


  • KBear May 16, 2018 (10:59 am)

    The Junction literally GOT ITS NAME because a rail line ran through it. Adding a new rail line, even an elevated one, will NOT “ruin” The Junction.

    • BJG May 16, 2018 (3:15 pm)

      Oh my. THAT was a trolley line, not an ST behemouth! Go park next to the Angle Lake Light Rail station for an hour and see if that is a fair comparison…neighbor.

  • Amy May 16, 2018 (11:48 am)

    Thank you for the visualizations, Avalon Tom.  Given the density of West Seattle, it’s impossible to route this in a way that doesn’t step on somebody’s tail.  I can see advantages and disadvantages to each route. The trick is to find a way to serve the most people while doing the least damage to our neighborhoods.  That won’t be easy!

  • ACG May 16, 2018 (12:54 pm)

    Thanks, Avalon Tom for your time and effort in rendering these drawings. I know they are not the official plans of what it may or may not look like in reality, but they are super helpful in trying to imagine the scope of these options. 

  • Michael G. May 16, 2018 (2:37 pm)

    The plan that wins, I believe, should aim to serve the Delridge community. The alignment alternatives that do not come close to Delridge/bypass Delridge really will not be helpful to anyone in that half of West Seattle. With only one bus line servicing the route along Delridge, there are not a lot of options for folks in that community.         

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed May 16, 2018 (9:37 pm)

    Hmmm…what has Sound Transit not provided with ANY of these alternatives that the elected officials are choosing one from?  Oh, a rough cost estimate of each alternative for comparison and feasibility!  Once again our local government disregards the inconvenient truth of expense and assumes that the voters provide unlimited funds for decades.

  • TM7302 May 17, 2018 (9:21 am)

    I’d like to see the projected costs for these proposals including the cost of expropriation of private property.

  • Amy May 17, 2018 (10:33 am)

    Looking them over, the first alternative, (Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel) with the tunnel through Pigeon Point, and a second tunnel near Avalon and up to the Junction does the least violence to the existing neighborhoods.   It also has three stations, rather than two which I think is a great idea.  However, that’s a lot of expensive tunneling, and may well be the most costly alternative.

    • Chemist May 17, 2018 (11:58 am)

      I still think the West Seattle Junction tunnel planned for the West part of the West Seattle/Puget Ridge Tunnel plan looks best, but just following the original draft design East from the golf course (staying south of the West Seattle Bridge, possibly pushing delridge station to South) seemed like a good budgetary compromise vs two tunnels.

      I’m not sure how wildly different the elevations would be/if that’s not possible, though.  I’m also not sure why there wouldn’t be similar concerns about the FTA Section 4f rules on disrupting parkspace for a tunnel with a portal along the Genesee alignment through the West Duamish Greenbelt.  Maybe it’s just less likely to be considered a “significant” park?

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