UPDATE: Sound Transit West Seattle light-rail open house, and what to do if you missed it

6:41 PM: You have until 8:30 pm to get to Sound Transit‘s West Seattle light-rail open house. Big turnout already, and a presentation is getting under way, but even after it, plenty of time will remain to “learn and share,” as the crowd has heard. The latter involves commenting on the “latest route and station alternatives,” “topics to study in the environmental impact statement,” and “project purpose and need.” County Councilmember Joe McDermott spoke briefly – he’s a member of the ST board and emphasized the importance of input now, even if you have commented before – now that it’s the official “scoping period,” they need to hear from you again. That gets you into “the official federal record,” as noted by ST’s Cathal Ridge. He also told the crowd that even though discussions and reviews have been under way for more than a year, this still is “the beginning of the process” as they move toward a board decision this May on what to send into environmental study as the next major step in the process of opening West Seattle light rail in 2030. Tonight’s open house is at the Masonic Center (4736 40th SW); if you can’t make it, you can comment via this “online open house” until March 18th.

7:02 PM: The presentation – which recapped the currently under-consideration alternatives (though you can tell ST you want to see something else considered) and where the process stands – is wrapping up. (UPDATE: HERE’S THE SLIDE DECK.) What happens next – the “open house” info tables, easels, etc., remain open. They are also inviting people to have conversations at “neighborhood forum” tables around the room, but made it clear that they are not taking notes at these tables because they want your comment(s) to be on the record, so if you want to comment here, seek out one of the official comment stations – or make it via the online open house or e-mail, postal mail, or phone. There are also two more in-person open houses, one of which is tomorrow in Ballard. Info on that and the commenting alternatives is all here.

36 Replies to "UPDATE: Sound Transit West Seattle light-rail open house, and what to do if you missed it"

  • Hopefulfortunnel February 27, 2019 (8:27 pm)

    That is true, she made that very clear in her mha amendments. 

  • Su February 27, 2019 (9:58 pm)

    I wonder how this will impact the culture in West Seattle. Influx of people improves sales but also increases the cost of living here and/or owning a family shop.

    • RJ February 28, 2019 (3:20 pm)




      I live on 37th SW and Dakota and I hate the
      planning of this Light Rail going up SW Genesee.  A non-arterial
      residential street that has hundreds of houses  3 churches 2 schools
      and small local businesses. Keep the planning to either a partial tunnel from
      Avalon or Delridge to Youngstown where it less congested. It will also be
      easier to access the ferry or the Junction by bicycle or bus or go south on the
      Metro bus to access Southcenter. Keep the light rail on the Arterial main
      streets. That’s how they build them in Europe.  If done badly this light
      Rail could make West Seattle lose its uniqueness and charm.

  • Junction Man February 28, 2019 (1:01 am)

    I think my least favorite thing about the new alternative is that it would involve DESTROYING MY HOUSE.

    • Rick February 28, 2019 (9:17 am)

      I live on 37th SW and Dakota and I hate the planning of this Light rail going up SW Genesee.    A non-arterial residential street that has hundreds of houses  3 churches  schools and small local businesses. Keep the planning to either a partial tunnel from Avalon to the Junction or stay on the Arterial main streets. That’s how they build them in Europe.  If done badly this light Rail could make West Seattle lose its uniqueness and charm.

      • KM February 28, 2019 (9:59 am)

        The elevated option via Genessee wouldn’t come close to touching the 3 churches and private schools, as it shifts south just W of 37th Ave SW and cuts through the existing homes. Hopefully Buddha Ruksa can relocate! 

      • chemist February 28, 2019 (12:37 pm)

        The “Street Type” map on this page says it is a collector arterial. https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/permits-and-services/interactive-mapsStreet Type Designation: SW GENESEE ST

        Street TypeNeighborhood CorridorArterial ClassificationCollector ArterialStreet NameSW GENESEE ST
        • Rick February 28, 2019 (12:53 pm)

          The map is not telling the true story. This is a block from our House. We drive on this street often. There are no arterial lines on the street.  There are uncontrolled intersections and stop signs on every corner and some Roundabouts. Not a true arterial.

        • TEU February 28, 2019 (3:05 pm)

          I believe the collector arterial designation applies between SW 46th and SW 55th. 

          • Rick February 28, 2019 (5:08 pm)

            SW 46th thru SW 55th are on the West side of SW California.  The light rail plan starts at 36th SW.  Not an Arterial street

  • JeffK February 28, 2019 (6:33 am)

    I like any tunnel option.  More money but leaves WS feeling pretty close to what it is now.

  • Junction resident February 28, 2019 (6:51 am)

    I walked away from last night’s open house with a bigger conviction to make sure they put at least part of this thing underground and that the final alignment prioritize minimal impact to residents (tear down as few houses as possible). There are ways to do that, the biggest of which is putting the elevated portion over the golf course. After talking to an ST engineering contractor at last night’s event, I would beg the decision makers to look at an option that goes south on Delridge, has an elevated station in the area of the skate park by Delridge & Genesee (and makes the turn so as to not destroy homes in this area), it then goes over the golf course and has a station just south of the stadium and just east of 35th & Alaska, and then enters a tunnel going under 35th (and the Triangle/Junction) terminating with an underground station (and required tail track) in the area of 42nd & Edmunds. This proposal (which was largely included in the first draft proposals from ST) has the shortest tunnel (and hopefully least expensive), only has one subterranean station (which are the most expensive), minimize housing impacts (and the expense of buying/forcing people from their homes), and allows for the track to be oriented to continue south someday (hopefully to Morgan, Westwood,  White Center and beyond). Admittedly my bias is not having a train 50 feet over the Junction and destroying the key neighborhood assets and character. And I hope a proposal like this is also pragmatic enough to know that cost is a major factor and has thoughtfully mitigated that. Ultimately though, I think for us to do anything we should commit the necessary resources to do it right, or don’t do it at all. I’d rather not come to the Junction at all rather than have it elevated. 

    • Karen White February 28, 2019 (7:07 am)

      Junction Resident, I agree with everything you say.   For those of us who will lose third-generation homes this is an especially emotional and anxious process.

    • Mas February 28, 2019 (8:58 am)

      I also would love a tunnel, but respectfully disagree on the proposed solution. The route you’re describing does still impact homes (there is no route that doesn’t, and this one would go through numerous homes on 26th & more on Pigeon Point as it would necessitate a south of West Seattle Bridge route into Delridge) but regardless, I feel the top factors should be access, speed to build, and preserving green space in future developed neighborhoods. Light rail will bring development, and Delridge Park is the most used park in the area – with the skate park, open space for festivals, concerts, tennis courts, children’s play area, community center, etc. And going through the golf course will definitely bring up more lawsuits & delays (beyond the fact that due to 4H it has questionable legality). Side note – Delridge Park and Golf Course each would bring separate 4H challenges = higher cost, more delays. Beyond that, three other issues that clearly impact the usability of the route are: 1) by placing the Avalon Station that far south, it will substantially reduce light rail access to the entire neighborhood north of the intersection of the West Seattle Bridge & 35th (side note – The tunnel route that goes across that intersection is a GREAT idea as access points could happen from all parts of that dangerous intersection.) 2) The stations of Avalon and the Junction (which are already very close) would be only 7-8 blocks apart. 3) The junction station would be facing west in this scenario making future expansion much more difficult. The blue route is much more likely to actually be built and accomplish what you are describing (i.e a tunnel). Any Junction tunnel advocate should be supporting that blue option  rather than trying to create yet another route that could split support derail the process (pardon the pun) and being left with an elevated station. Blue route = viable tunnel.

      • Junction Resident February 28, 2019 (9:28 am)

        Actually I think you’re misreading my idea. It largely combined the two blue line options. The Delridge station only moves about a block south and the goal would be to go over both the park and the golf course minimizing impacts to either while prioritizing the preservation of residential structures. The legal fight for the golf course/park can’t be as significant as the fight from each individual homeowner. As for the location of the Avalon station, it does move south, but only about three blocks (at most). And again minimizes impact on property owners (saving money) and construction expenses (being above or at grade versus below). And by moving the Juction station a block you could (and I think the different stake holder groups have correctly prioritized this) orient the track to be pointed south for future expansion. I was very encouraged by the ST reps there last night emphasizing that we’re not locked into any of the proposed routes *yet*, but will be soon. So let’s keep the healthy constructive conversation going! 

        • KM February 28, 2019 (9:46 am)

          It’s too late in the game to start proposing other routes. They have narrowed down suggestions, and this is the three they are going forward with, for better or worse. We cannot delay this any further by proposing new routes. Not an attack on your ideas at all, it’s just too late to consider new options. The best we can do as residents is push for the best of the 3 proposed ideas.

          • WSB February 28, 2019 (10:00 am)

            Correction: It is NOT “too late in the game” to propose other routes. Sound Transit is very clear about that. You can say you personally THINK it’s too late but technically and officially, the process remains open to suggestion. Also please note that they have reiterated “mix and match” as a possibility too – if you like element A of the X line and element B of the Y line, etc. These are NOT three “all or nothing” options. – TR

          • KM February 28, 2019 (10:22 am)

            Thanks for clarifying, WSB. I thought since they didn’t push through some proposed alternatives in earlier sessions, these were the final 3. One one hand, that’s great they are flexible, but it takes so long to get stuff done in this region, I’m bummed they would be open to delaying it further to take even more suggestions from us. Seattle Process and all (yes, I know it’s a Sound Transit project). 

          • Junction resident February 28, 2019 (10:37 am)

            Honestly part of why I am making the suggestion at all is that the engineer I was talking to last night seemed to be nudging people toward mixing and matching the options, as if they, themselves, were not yet convinced the best alignment option is yet on the table. My prevailing takeaways were: people really don’t want elevated to the Junction and second that the potential impact on houses lost and/or trains over the top of residential areas is huge and unconscionable for those affected. If we can get the tunnel, displace a minimal amount of people, and be cost conscious, we should keep the suggestions coming. 

  • Jort February 28, 2019 (9:20 am)

    Just an FYI for everybody: if the ST Board decides against a tunnel, we’re still going to get Light Rail in the Junction. There is no “tunnel or nothing” option. That’s not one of the options the board gets to pick.The reason light rail is going to happen is because a majority of voters checked a box that says, “we want to increase our taxes so that we can get light rail to the Junction,” among other things.We’re paying taxes — right now, and for another 28 years — so that we can have light rail to the Junction. How about we not pay all those taxes and then say, “Nah. I don’t like the way it looks.” Prepare yourself to move on and adapt if your “preferred alternative” doesn’t end up being the one that’s most realistic and fundable, and happening in the real, actual reality world.

    • chemist February 28, 2019 (10:09 am)

      There is no “tunnel or nothing” option  True, but there are still bills related to the MVET and there is another $30 car tab initiative on the way that would seriously blow a hole in sound transit’s budget for all projects.

    • Will S. February 28, 2019 (11:17 am)

      Jort is right, and yet we should all ignore his advice to prepare for defeat. The ST Board is made up of elected officials, including many from the City of Seattle and King County. I was at a community meeting where our county councilmember, Joe McDermott, said clearly he supports a tunnel. County executive Dow Constantine says he’s a “strong advocate for a tunnel.” Our city councilmember, Lisa Herbold, has recognized strong community support for a tunnel but seems to hedge about the increased costs. Mayor Durkan also has expressed initial support for a tunnel and has begun to think about ways to pay for it. One goal for tunnel supporters should be to ensure that District 1’s council representative (whether it is Ms. Herbold or her challengers in this year’s election) fully supports a tunnel and can show the leadership needed to build support for it among other elected officials at the city, county, port, state, and even Congress. While we stand up for the benefits of a tunnel in our community–benefits that include a more vibrant streetscape, more land available for transit-oriented development, and reduced need to demolish existing homes (during a housing shortage!) and businesses that are in the way–it is important that we also describe the broader regional benefits of a tunnel. This is a 100-year investment, and a tunnel preserves the possibility of future light rail expansion from the Junction south toward Burien/White Center. In contrast, elevated rail to the Junction would be a dead end forever, because if it is built over our strenuous objections no one will have the appetite to destroy hundreds more homes or businesses in order to extend the line southward. We can do this the right way, and we’re starting with much more political support than was on display at last night’s forum. It would be a shame for us to give up now when this is the time to make a lasting difference.

      • Jort February 28, 2019 (12:37 pm)

        My criteria will be different. I hope to elect a District 1 candidate who will commit to ensuring — no matter what it looks like — that light rail reach the Junction under any and all circumstances. I will specifically be voting and campaigning strongly against any candidate who adopts the “tunnel or NOTHING” mentality that seems to be gaining steam.      “Tunnel or nothing” is NOT an option. Period. I am not paying thousands of dollars of taxes for 30 years just because we didn’t get our favorite, pretty option.

        • Brian Hughes March 1, 2019 (6:41 am)

          Jort, it must be nice not to own property in a potential right-of-way… A tunnel is the only acceptable option because it preserves the neighborhood.  Money can be found, but a neighborhood is forever.  

  • 98126res February 28, 2019 (9:32 am)

    We live one block from the awful ill conceived Genesee elevated rail option.  Please Do Not bamboozle and toss good Taxpaying residents out of their homes – we would be justified in thinking badly of anyone involved.  West Seattle is a GREAT COMMUNITY that deserves a partial tunnel as much or more than our good neighbors on Capital and Beacon Hills.   Then if necessary, amend it with rail on the street to stabilize traffic on and off our peninsula – using the MAIN arterials, such as Admiral and Alaska for light rail – flux and change are expected along these thoroughfares.  Thank you!

  • Mickymse February 28, 2019 (12:04 pm)

    We just spent like ~$2.5 BILLION to build a tunnel on the Waterfront for cars because people argued that the Viaduct was like a “wall” separating residents from the Waterfront…. It should be entirely appropriate for citizens to ask for the EIS to at least study tunnel options to the Junction that eliminate the need to run a guideway and columns at 140 FEET in the air across the North Delridge dell. That is the equivalent of running the high bridge flying across the top of a neighborhood full of 50+ year residents and many low-income individuals.

  • pemfir February 28, 2019 (12:55 pm)

    I am either losing my house or i am going to be a few feet away from the concrete structure of the rail-road. I am so stressed out. Please help me and your neighbors by not supporting the new West Seattle Elevated proposal. Today, my house is at stake, tomorrow it might be yours, and we should support each other in such moments. I am okay with the tunnel and ST3 proposal. Okay, with anything that minimizes disruption in residential areas. Thank you 

  • lisa February 28, 2019 (2:32 pm)

    It is so very important that we all provide this feedback to Soundtransit  before March 18th.    Email: wsbscopingcomments@soundtransit.org.   The future of our WS neighborhoods depends on it!

  • Brontosaurus February 28, 2019 (6:32 pm)

    I’m devastated. We were planning to sell our house soon but now no one will want to buy it because it could be in line to be destroyed. How long will the city spend making their minds up? Why can’t West Seattle have a tunnel? Why destroy 100. year-old family homes? Homes where kids are being raised. We just got rid of one ugly eyesore in this city. Why build another one?

    • WSB February 28, 2019 (7:10 pm)

      Just a reminder, the city is not who’s making decisions here. Sound Transit is an independent regional agency. It has a CEO plus a board of directors who are elected officials from around the region – current board:
      (Two West Seattleites are on it – County Councilmember Joe McDermott and County Executive Dow Constantine)

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed February 28, 2019 (7:50 pm)

    Just a reminder, Sound Transit is a rogue government agency that is not accountable to anyone.  That is why they are already almost $2 billion over project costs on Federal Way, Bellevue, and Lynnwood lines that have not even started service yet.  And their CEO abuses Sound Transit employees to the point that a consultant had to be hired to teach him how to behave properly in a workplace environment.   And let’s not forget how Sound Transit is taxing us with car valuations from an expired method that the State Legislature abandoned more than a decade ago.If you don’t like Sound Transit, don’t like the idea of how they will destroy residential homes, and don’t like their car tab tax that you are forced to pay…then vote yes on $30 car tabs in November.

  • Brian Hughes March 1, 2019 (6:59 am)

    I wasn’t at the meeting due to work out of town. But I was well-represented, and am grateful for it. 1. We residents have a voice and that voice matters.  By that, I mean that what we want will make a difference in the process. 2.  Nothing has been finalized yet… there is still time for you to register your wishes through the online forum. Link is in the article above.  But don’t wait – you only have two weeks.  Be thoughtful, clear, respectful, and direct.  Which brings me to #3…3.  We need a tunnel to the junction.  Our beautiful neighborhood, which is worth more than the fair market value of the buildings that make it up, is worth preserving.  Period.4. Tell your neighbors to also comment online. This impacts all of us…and some of us more than others.  Fight for your neighbors now because sometime in the future you may need them to fight for you.  This is a time when many voices are needed.

  • Sandie W March 1, 2019 (11:38 am)

    Please no light rail through my neighborhood. Tunnel only. West Seattle is already changing enough😐

  • pemfir March 2, 2019 (12:04 am)

    for those who argue that elevated vs tunnel is just a matter of aesthetics … would you spend $800k on a house next to the concrete light rail walls ?  I would not, and nobody among the people i asked would. These elevated light rails turn into red-flags and impact the property values for those close to it permanently. The city won’t compensate those houses.  It is not just aesthetics, it is people hard-earn investments at stake. 

  • JoAnne March 3, 2019 (4:42 pm)

    Alaska Junction residents have already suffered through years of construction noise and disruption, not to mention the enormous increases in density.  Now this?   It isn’t only homes directly in the swath of the elevated rail that
    will be affected.  Anyone within a half mile or so will end up with
    unusable property.  No one wants trains
    flying past their bedroom window.  There is no reason for them to take out entire neighborhoods to accomplish what they need to do.  Tunnel or nothing. ps.  Where/how do we connect with other residents to fight this?  And yes, I did make a comment on the Metro link light rail website.  And yes, I know they are going to ignore it and do what they want.

  • WiseWoman March 5, 2019 (3:33 pm)

    Is there any way that you could put light rail next to west Seattle bridge on Faubtlwroy and take Starbucks and Taco time and put them close by instead just have only walk on walk off light rail there to connect to busses.??

Sorry, comment time is over.