West Seattle light rail: See new Sound Transit ‘visualizations’ on eve of neighborhood forum

4:03 PM: In our Wednesday coverage of the newest information available about potential West Seattle light rail alternatives, we mentioned that Sound Transit promised to make new “visualizations” publicly available. They are now up for you to view as part of an “online open house” that’s also been launched – see them above or here (PDF). They’re black and white (unlike the unofficial community-member-created ones featured here back in January) and do not appear to cover all the possibilities currently under discussion, but they’re something else you can take into consideration. The new “online open house” starts here and is open for use until September 23rd. And again, you’re invited to the West Seattle Neighborhood Forum that Sound Transit is presenting tomorrow (Saturday, September 8th), 9-11:30 am in the gym at Seattle Lutheran High School (4100 SW Genesee). This is a key time for your feedback, as the process of determining a “preferred alternative” to send into full formal environmental study is about to get to the third and final stage of review.

ADDED 6:21 PM: We have since received some additional information we had requested – the estimated numbers for displacements projected along each of the alternatives currently being reviewed, and an additional 100-plus-page document with even more evaluation specifics.

The displacement numbers are here (1-page PDF) – “residential units” and commercial square footage – and also viewable on pages 28 and 29 of the additional data (103-page PDF). Broken out:

The “representative project” (ST’s original proposal): Between 85 and 145 potential residential unit displacements

Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel: Between 145 and 220 potential residential unit displacements

Oregon Street/Alaska Junction Elevated: Between 145 and 220 potential residential unit displacements

Golf Course/Alaska Junction Tunnel: Fewer than 85 potential residential unit displacements

Oregon Street/Alaska Junction Tunnel: Between 145 and 220 potential residential unit displacements

62 Replies to "West Seattle light rail: See new Sound Transit 'visualizations' on eve of neighborhood forum"

  • fiz September 7, 2018 (5:21 pm)

    Losing my home and my sanity in these versions.

    • Bronson September 7, 2018 (8:07 pm)

      Same here if they build it south of the WS Bridge. Looks like the documents state that the new bridge will be 100 feet from the old bridge, which basically puts it right on my property line at the very north end of Pigeon Point. I guess I will attend the session tomorrow to see if that means they would be forced to purchase my property of if I would just have to stare out the window at a train 10 feet away.

    • Chris September 8, 2018 (9:44 am)

      Is the idea of the light rail fun?  In concept, it’s great. In reality, it serves around 1% of the population, and costs billions.  I work on the waterfront.  By the time I walk to the rail, sit on it, and walk to work, what’s that commute time actually look like?  I’m looking at an hour plus…for what would take me 15 driving (no traffic), 45 (now) and probably 2 hr (after Sound Transit’s first buggered project is completed this October). I love the idea of it and hate the reality of it.  Is Elon Musk at the helm here!?  How about you -not- remove 1/2 north-south expressways.  How about you -not- push a tunnel project that’s waaay over budget, schedule, and scope?  How about you fix OUR problems instead?

      • heartless September 8, 2018 (2:07 pm)

        “Is the idea of the light rail fun?”

        No?  I don’t think anyone is arguing that public transportation is fun.  Saving time on a commute, not having to worry about driving & parking, avoiding traffic, reducing pollution, etc., are not really “fun”, more they’re just relatively good things.  

        “In reality, it serves around 1% of the population, and costs billions.”

        In reality, you are completely wrong.

    • mysadcutehouse September 13, 2018 (3:49 pm)

      Based off the pictures, my house is right on the light rail and tunnel route. Anyone knows when homeowners will be notified of which properties will be affected?  And how soon in advance to find new housing? @WSB ?

      • WSB September 13, 2018 (3:51 pm)

        Before Sound Transit gets anywhere near that, it has to finalize a “preferred alternative” for environmental study. That is expected next April. That doesn’t make it the final route.

  • Bronson September 7, 2018 (5:45 pm)

    @WSB – still nothing in the properties proposed for demolition and numbers?

    • WSB September 7, 2018 (5:53 pm)

      I *just* got the #’s, which I had asked about in the pre-meeting briefing on Wednesday. Adding above momentarily.

      • Sam-c September 7, 2018 (6:46 pm)

        There’s numbers in a 103 page spreadsheet, but why can’t they just provide a plan with ‘affected’ properties blacked out?

        • Neff September 24, 2018 (4:30 pm)

          85 to 145 families have their children’s beds stolen from them in the red baseline route.145 to 220 families lose their lifelong home and nest egg in each of the purple Pigeon Point tunnel route, orange Oregon St route, and brown Oregon st route.85 or less families have their lives destroyed and forced to start over in the light blue Golf Course route.Numbers published by Sound Transit on 05-Sep-2018.

  • dcn September 7, 2018 (6:28 pm)

    I’m all for light rail, but once they start building, this is going to be painful for everyone, not just the homeowners who are affected by the proposed routes. Delridge, for example, is already a very slow go during the morning and evening commutes. I can’t imagine what it and 35th (where many Delridge drivers will probably shift to) will be like while they are constructing the line and the stations. 

    • heartless September 7, 2018 (8:43 pm)

      I’m also all for light rail!

  • Dana September 7, 2018 (6:28 pm)

    This is destruction.  I am 100% for public transit but these options through West Seattle are unacceptable to me. Not only is it unattractive but I can also only assume the noise would be disarming.  I hope this does not get approved. 

    • Jort September 7, 2018 (7:14 pm)

      Sorry, Dana. It was already approved when we overwhelmingly approved Sound Transit 3. The light rail rail is happening, and nobody will be stopping it. Period. 

      • Jeff September 24, 2018 (4:42 pm)

        54% is not overwhelming.70% of Pierce County voted AGAINST it. Not a single track will be laid in their entire county, but their home taxes will be increased $100 to $200 per month, along with the rest of us.Plus, this corrupt politicians and contractors should be barred from any future government work for defrauding the government and us taxpayers for willingly and knowingly falsifying and over-valuing cars so they can steal an additional $240M per year… 20 years x $240M/yr = $5B caught up in court.Plus All federal funding pulled from the project because it doesnt serve interstate, only serves local… another $4.9B. So ST3 and City of Seattle are already $9.9B short on a $54B project.This project is dead before it started.https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/planned-light-rail-areas-big-backers-of-sound-transit-3/

  • D-Mom September 7, 2018 (6:29 pm)

    Wow!  That sounds like a lot of homes for a small area. We need light rail here, but with those numbers, I’m not a fan. 

    • heartless September 7, 2018 (9:03 pm)

      I mean…  If we wait the area’s only going to get denser…

  • jm18 September 7, 2018 (6:30 pm)

    I wouldn’t worry about losing your home, the neighborhood groups will sue and hold it up forever in court, especially if one of their homes is on the chopping block.

  • Diane September 7, 2018 (6:44 pm)

    whoa, see these residential displacements have always big huge concern of mine; thanks for all the info

  • flimflam September 7, 2018 (6:49 pm)

    all of this time and money and displacement for some sweet 1940’s technology. shouldn’t be suprised i suppose given the city’s weird obsession with obsolete modes of transportation…i mean, street cars? on 1st ave? taking out existing lanes? really? for millions and millions of dollars no less

    • Jort September 7, 2018 (7:17 pm)

      Yeah! We should focus on 1880s technology (automobiles) instead!!      Lord knows no successful modern society has succeeded with train transportation anywhere in the entire world, right?

    • Jethro Marx September 7, 2018 (7:36 pm)

      I’m pretty sure nuclear fission was harnessed in the 1940s too; is that technology obsolete? Have we notably improved on Thomas Crapper’s eponymous invention from even further back? Y’all are right in thinking that the planners will not consider your views or current traffic jams in their calculations, and why should they? They are tasked with a fifty or hundred year mindset. They will bumble about and waste money in the process, because that is our way with public projects, but they are making transportation for a time when West Seattle has twice as many residents and half the cars per person. Tell me, though, what futuristic mode of transportation would you build our city’s future on? Surely not the nineteenth century invention known as the automobile? Perhaps the twenty-second century technology known as self-driving cars?

  • Bronson September 7, 2018 (7:06 pm)

    Thanks WSB.So looking at these numbers and using the WS median home price of $637k, the property purchases could run from ~$54M – ~$140M. What seems odd is that the tunnels would require more property purchases? That doesn’t seem right.

  • Rick September 7, 2018 (7:57 pm)

    They need them for bike lanes.

  • 1994 September 7, 2018 (8:12 pm)

    How about running a light rail or a street car from 1st Ave S up  Olson Place SW and Roxbury, then looping around to run north up the center lane of 35th Ave SW or California to the Junction area?  ST3 or SDOT can consult with Swiss engineers to figure out how to run light rail or a street car up Olson and Roxbury, maybe a cogwheel type of rail to get up the steep grade? Probably cheaper than those proposed tunnels.

  • Mo September 7, 2018 (8:29 pm)

    Excited to have light rail coming to West Seattle! And love that Delridge Park is preserved in most of the routes! My vote would be for whatever route preserves parks and minimizes homeowner displacement!

    • Jeff September 24, 2018 (4:23 pm)

      Delridge Park is overrun in all but the light blue route. The purple route demolishes the most-utilized part of the park, the skatepark.And somehow the crooks don’t need a 4f review.Plus, the tunnel routes go through the Golf Course, and magically them through a brand new 150-unit apartmentcomplex to be built where the Golden Tee is, at Avalon/Genessee.

  • TJ September 7, 2018 (8:32 pm)

    Please keep in mind that all of the cities with traffic rated as worse than Seattle all have choo-choo trains. New York, San Fran, Washington DC, Atlanta. Rail does not help traffic. $54 billion is a lot “for another option”. And the writing is on the wall that our population will not grow nearly at the rate it has. Regional growth is the answer

    • heartless September 7, 2018 (9:06 pm)

      Why on earth would you ever think light rail doesn’t help traffic? 

      Do you also think light rail doesn’t help people?  People who maybe don’t wanna be stuck in traffic? 

      ‘Cause I bet it would help those people A LOT.

    • KM September 8, 2018 (9:53 am)

      Ah yes, great point to bring up that metros that are much more densely populated have worse congestion.Similarily, did you know that Phoenix gets more direct sunlight than Seattle, and is also hotter?

      • heartless September 8, 2018 (11:25 am)

        But do you know WHY Phoenix gets more direct sunlight?  It’s because they have more Republicans there.  TRUE FACT.

        • KM September 8, 2018 (2:50 pm)

          Damn, this is the most woke I’ve ever been,

    • Jort September 8, 2018 (3:56 pm)

      Hi TJ. I’m curious, and can’t seem to find the information, so perhaps you can help me out. Can you show me an example of where car congestion has been “solved” through additional highway and road capacity and by making it easier for people to drive?       I’m willing to wait a while for your answer since it’s actually never happened anywhere on planet earth in the history of human civilization. 

  • WS Guy September 7, 2018 (8:34 pm)

    Elevated renderings show how comically bad they are.  This thing is going down in flames and the lawyers will get rich.  RapidRide buses will drop us off at SODO station, and $millions will be returned to ST for use in smarter ways. 

    • CAM September 8, 2018 (8:02 am)

      You are quite clearly unfamiliar with current public transportation. What you keep describing is already a reality. It is insufficient to keep up with demand and is also bogged down by congestion due to the number of cars on the road. Maybe you should try taking the bus a few times and then you can offer an educated perspective on the realities of public transportation. 

      • WS Guy September 9, 2018 (12:23 pm)

        To answer your question, I commute by bus every day.  It picks me up and drops me off within two blocks of my destination, which rail would not.  Whatever time I save in road transit will be lost by the time spent making a bus-to-rail connection and walking to/from the limited set of stations downtown. 

        • CAM September 9, 2018 (10:47 pm)

          So what you’re saying is light rail will make your commute less convenient, therefore that means that it also makes everyone else’s commute less convenient? I really hope that’s your logic otherwise you’re arguing that public transportation for 100,000 people should be developed based on what meets your individual needs whether those needs align with the majority or not. 

          • WS Guy September 10, 2018 (1:05 am)

            You seemed interested in my personal situation when you asked if I take the bus.  So I shared it with you.  Your belief, I suppose, was that due to various privileges that my life experience does not allow me to understand what it’s like to take the bus.  And therefore that I could not make a comparison to rail.  You are incorrect.

  • Brian September 7, 2018 (9:51 pm)

    Looks like a job for The Boring Company.  We should underground with our extra capacity.  Durcan needs to give Musk a call.

  • chemist September 7, 2018 (10:14 pm)

    Wow, so now we’ve got an official rendering showing the all-way walk would be tucked underneath the track overruns in the representative alignment.  Also, wow, those 100 ft+ columns on slides 10 and 13 are about as wide as many of the homes.Kind of disappointed that the official renderings don’t really give the perspective on the track going down fauntleroy towards the bridge.  I guess AvalonTom’s version will have to do on that.

  • _M_H September 7, 2018 (10:50 pm)

    If the light rail comes up Alaska St., expect the rent in those new apartment buildings to plummet when the noise of the light rail starts to reverberate off the walls.

    • Jon Wright September 8, 2018 (12:03 am)

      Either that or rent will go up because residents of those new apartment buildings (which won’t be quite as new in 2030) will have access to light rail right outside their front door.

      • Mark Schletty September 8, 2018 (9:34 am)

        Having lived in Chicago for 9 years, just a bit north of Wrigley Field, I can tell you that some of the lowest rents were in units  adjoining the elevated rail tracks. No one wanted to put up with the 24/7 train noise. It is loud. And, also, most people did not want to live too close to the stations because they were congregating places for some very unpleasant people in many neighborhoods. 

  • Chris September 8, 2018 (9:47 am)

    Jort – I don’t like your ideas

  • Findlay September 8, 2018 (9:47 am)

    And they made fun of the monorail. This design seems like something produced by The Onion. We’d better off spending money on rapid bus lanes ( or go underground, but likely too $$ )

    • KBear September 8, 2018 (10:23 am)

      Findlay, you think it’s impractical to build light rail, so you propose adding more bus lanes? Where, exactly? The only way that would work would be to ban cars. 

    • Sam-c September 8, 2018 (1:17 pm)

      Funny thing is… My office building was developed and built with the future monorail station in mind (partially). With these renderings, it looks like our relatively new (12 year) old building will be mowed down by any of the scenarios. I really enjoyed living and working in west seattle. ….. Oh well… Guess things change… …. 

      • Sam-c September 8, 2018 (2:03 pm)

        Wait, maybe we built the building 15 years ago….

  • TJ September 8, 2018 (12:07 pm)

    KM, some people seem to want to use rail as an excuse to build more density. Almost like to justify it we should build a bigger population base. Seems to me West Seattle is dense enough. Not that we should not build more, but there seems to be a idea that we are going to have a bigger influx of people than we have seen. I will guarantee that when this opens in 2030 (which is a long shot with an elevated line, never mind a tunnel) traffic will be worse than now. Also, the bar has been set as far as rents go on new apartments. Developders don’t like going down. Sign are they are dropping, and builders will back off when supply opens up like it is. 

  • Rob September 8, 2018 (12:27 pm)

    See ya later, West Seattle. It’s been a nice 15 years, but I won’t be sticking around for this. 

  • _M_H September 8, 2018 (12:32 pm)

    If it weren’t for one-upmanship, we could take a lesson from Portland’s MAX.  At least for the lines I have ridden, most of it is at grade level and the stations are relatively compact. Through downtown, it runs on existing streets, much like a streetcar, with zero additional footprint for stations. Perhaps that could be done in the West Seattle Junction.  

    • heartless September 8, 2018 (1:54 pm)

      Maybe because of the hills?  Portland is much flatter than us, not sure how their light rail would do at grade (although I remember they weren’t always going to build that tunnel, so maybe they would do okay with hills…).

  • Chris Barnes September 8, 2018 (1:46 pm)

    I would prefer no light rail if they build these huge horrible monstrosities.  A bus seems pretty reasonable and alot cheaper.

  • Pigeon Hill guy. September 8, 2018 (4:21 pm)

    How does the so called “Pigeon Ridge” option displace more houses and businesses than the version that wipes out most of the Delridge business district and plows through neighborhood blocks? Mind you I am not thrilled with the price tag or them digging basically beneath my house but based on what I see, it seems like it would be much less disruptive to neighborhoods and businesses. Is it on the West Marginal Way side of the hill?

    • chemist September 9, 2018 (1:36 pm)

      The detailed report WSB linked to says on the PR Tunnel option – Residential  • More than 145 potential residential unit
      • Displacements would primarily occur around Avalon
      Station AND Business  • Between 650,000 and 750,000 square feet of
      potential business displacements
      • Displacements would primarily occur in Duwamish
      industrial areasST is doing a cut-and-cover station at Avalon, but they need to be pretty long and just tearing down one apartment building adds up quickly.  If we’re going to throw any station under the bus and remove from the plan, I’d nominate Avalon as that $200+ million they tend to allocate for an underground station could go pretty far just improving a walkshed between the other two stations.  Invest in providing good paths to walk downhill to or from either of the remaining stations in that area.  And my ideal is still purple plan west of the golf course and light-blue elevated east of the golf course as there’d be one less tunnel to raise the price.

    • chemist September 9, 2018 (2:27 pm)

      I’ve also noticed that the sketches put that station for 42nd right under 42nd at Alaska.  It’s an odd choice, considering that one block east they could just buy up the single story banks or JiffyLube and potentially find a way to build without a long closure of Alaska.

  • Andy September 8, 2018 (6:18 pm)

    Please just do it with Tunnels.  That is what they use in NYC and it works great.  I dread the idea of these big elevated train tracks cluttering up the neighborhood.  Construction should be easier with less disruption.  I guess they cost more but in 50-100 years cost is not the issue.

  • Railroaded September 9, 2018 (1:15 pm)

    I could not be happier that West Seattle is in my rear view mirror. I spent 27 years in West Seattle because of work and I never want to return. The community will manage to screw up a huge potential improvement like light rail. Just watch.

  • zark00 September 11, 2018 (5:17 pm)

    All of you who attacked TJ for stating, correctly, that cities with worse traffic than us have rail, are wrong.It is not a foregone conclusion that light rail alleviates traffic congestion, in fact, it almost a guarantee that it will not reduce car congestion in any meaningful way.”According to the 2002 Urban Mobility Report, traffic congestion in
    American cities both with and without light-rail transit has steadily
    increased since the 1980s.
    The report presents roadway congestion indices for 75 cities from 1982
    to 2000. Cities with light-rail transit, such as St. Louis and Portland,
    have all experienced a continued increase in traffic congestion.””A new study
    in the Journal of Transport Geography suggests that four light-rail
    systems built around England during the 1990s and 2000s had virtually no
    effect on overall car traffic. Instead, the rail systems mainly seemed
    to attract riders who would otherwise have taken the bus.”That’s just two, and it took 30 seconds to find those, the data is readily available, I suggest you read it and then apologize to TJ.

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