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.