By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“You have all officially made it through two levels of screening.”
That was the welcome last night for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle-Ballard light rail Stakeholder Advisory Group members at their last scheduled meeting of the year.
The big headline from this meeting: The first look at three “end-to-end” route possibilities drafted by ST staff. Until now, potential routing/station locations have been discussed segment by segment. The three were crafted from feedback in the first two levels of screening, which are recapped in the meeting’s full slide deck (PDF). ST’s Cathal Ridge went through that recap last night, noting major concerns voiced during that phase – including, for West Seattle, an interest in ensuring the Delridge station is a good transfer point between bus and light rail, that a location south of Andover be considered for it, and also that the Junction station be oriented north-south, possibly on 42nd or 44th. Here’s the list of what the three are being called for now, followed by maps and highlights of each:
The goal of the months ahead, Ridge told the group, is to “continue to refine” what’s under consideration in the drive toward identifying a “preferred alternative” by spring, before full environmental study. 17 criteria will be the focus, including cost estimates, for evaluating the end-to-end alternatives. Those estimates aren’t available yet.)
As released last night, the three E-to-E alternatives (with some variables within each one) are “starting points,” ST spokesperson Kimberly Reason told WSB post-meeting. They contain some variables and are expected to be tweaked as the Level 3 review proceeds. From the meeting slide deck, the maps and – where applicable – internal options (note that C-ID is short for the Chinatown/International District section of the project):
ST3 REPRESENTATIVE PROJECT
That is the route as roughly outlined in the ST3 vote that paved the way for light rail to West Seattle in 2030 and to Ballard in 2035.
WEST SEATTLE TUNNEL / C-ID 4TH AVE. / DOWNTOWN 5TH AVE. / BALLARD TUNNEL
It was reiterated here in response to a question that while 44th SW as a possible station location was thrown out by the SAG in September, the Elected Leadership Group subsequently decided it should be returned to the mix under consideration.
Here is a closer look at the potential for the light-rail bridge crossing the Duwamish River north of the current bridge rather than south:
WEST SEATTLE ELEVATED / C-ID 5TH AVENUE / DOWNTOWN 6TH AVENUE / BALLARD ELEVATED
Here is the Junction station orientation considered in this alternative:
And for Delridge, a further-south-than-previously-proposed possibility:
Intensive small-group discussion followed the introduction of the three “starting point” options, with ST staff circulating to the tables to answer questions. There was no big-group “reporting back” afterward, but ST says the discussion points will be taken into consideration.
WHAT’S NEXT: Two months without meetings because of the holidays. January 9th is the next scheduled meeting of the stakeholder group. Another round of community “forums” is expected in mid-February – no dates set yet – all moving toward the “preferred alternative” being finalized by the ST Board on April 25th.