WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Your next chance to comment starts now as ‘scoping’ period begins, with visualizations

(One page from new PDF of “visualizations” linked in “online open house” for feedback)

For more than a year, the process of determining a “preferred alternative” for routing and station locations of Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light rail has been under way. Today, your next chance to comment – and last major chance to do it before that “preferred alternative” is chosen for environmenal studies – begins. ST has just announced the official start of a month of “scoping,” which includes its next West Seattle meeting, and an “online open house” featuring new summaries and comparisons of what’s currently under consideration:

Scoping begins today! Share your comments by March 18

Sound Transit and the Federal Transit Administration have officially kicked off scoping for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project. Scoping is the next step in the environmental review process and provides an opportunity for you to comment on the route and station alternatives, topics to study in the environmental impact statement, and project purpose and need. This 30-day public comment period will include multiple ways for you to share your feedback and help the Sound Transit Board identify a preferred alternative and other alternatives to study in an Environmental Impact Statement during the next phase of project development.

This is an especially important time to get involved and we want to hear from you! Here’s how to comment:

Attend an upcoming open house: details below
Comment online: wsblink.participate.online
Email us: wsbscopingcomments@soundtransit.org
Leave a voicemail: 833-972-2666
Mail us a letter: West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions, c/o Lauren Swift, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

Comments must be received by March 18. Your feedback will be shared with the Stakeholder Advisory Group, Elected Leadership Group, and the Sound Transit Board prior to their recommendations on which alternatives should be studied during environmental review. The Sound Transit Board will identify a preferred alternative and other alternatives to study in an Environmental Impact Statement in May 2019.

Save the dates! Join us at a scoping open house

We’re excited to share dates for our upcoming scoping open houses in West Seattle, Ballard, and downtown Seattle. We hope you’ll join us at one of the meetings below to learn more about the alternatives being considered, ask questions and share your comments.

West Seattle on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Alki Masonic Center (4736 40th SW)
Ballard/Interbay on Thursday, Feb. 28, 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Ballard High School
Downtown on Thursday, March 7, 5 – 7:30 p.m. at Union Station

Can’t join us in-person? Our online open house is now live! Visit wsblink.participate.online and submit your scoping comments by March 18.

New year, new numbers: advisory groups review Level 3 evaluation results:

The Stakeholder Advisory Group and Elected Leadership Group recently held meetings to review the latest alternatives and hear more about the Level 3 evaluation results. The three end-to-end alternatives were evaluated based on their performance with respect to dozens of qualitative and quantitative measures, such as service reliability, travel times, environmental effects, technical feasibility and much more.

Want to dig into the details to inform your scoping comments? Explore the evaluation results, then visit the online open house to comment between now and March 18. (Go here)

Other project documents, including a Scoping Information Report, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Determination of Significance, and evaluation reports, are also available for review online.

One thing we noticed while browsing the “online open house” before publishing this announcement – you can access a PDF with visualizations of the currently proposed “end-to-end alternatives” – see it here.

P.S. We’ve been covering all the other steps in the process along the way – most recently, the Stakeholder Advisory Group‘s meeting two weeks ago.

92 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Your next chance to comment starts now as 'scoping' period begins, with visualizations"

  • sam-c February 15, 2019 (12:24 pm)

    Why aren’t there detailed visualizations similar to the ones on Page 5 and Page 6 of the other proposed stations (Avalon and Delridge) ?    

  • sam-c February 15, 2019 (12:27 pm)

    (ie, the stations shown on Page 14 and 16 are barely even on the page , much less shown with any detail on where entrances/ stairs/ platforms would be)

  • Findlay February 15, 2019 (1:24 pm)

    Hopefully, West Seattle will only accept a tunnel into its city core.  We’d be better off to improve bus access if this is the only choice.

    • KBear February 15, 2019 (3:04 pm)

      Buses get stuck in traffic. The only way to improve bus access would be to get the cars off the road. We need light rail, whether a tunnel is feasible or not.

      • empty pockets February 15, 2019 (5:23 pm)

         Light rail  also gets stuck in traffic I remember dozens of delays caused by trains colliding with cars  or pedestrian fatalities.Trains have zero flexibility we could have more  buses and van pools now but instead some of you think a train to the old Rainier brewery is going to improve your lives if built on time a decade from now.Is the Mercer mess fix or the new tunnel an improvement over  what we had before?  Light rail will do nothing to relieve congestion even Sound Transit admits that fact 

        • Ron Swanson February 15, 2019 (5:43 pm)

          One section of the existing line was built at grade.  None of the currently under construction lines or planned ones have any at grade track.  So, no, it can’t get “stuck in traffic”And nothing “reduces congestion”: induced demand means more cars always show up.  Light rail is about providing a reliable alternative, which these plans do.

    • JVP February 15, 2019 (3:25 pm)

      I’m a big fan of the tunnel option. But seems it could be a bit shorter to reduce cost. No way to just improving bus access. We need light rail. Desperately. 

      • Dawson February 15, 2019 (4:13 pm)

        Would be great to see station representation for the tunnel section in the junction. An elevated freeway is currently being torn down in part due to it creating a wall between the city and the shoreline. Do we really want to have another “wall” created with a fully elevated light rail here?

    • J E P Smith February 19, 2019 (9:05 am)

      Most important is to keep the cost of build AND long term maintenance at reasonable levels. Keep the track as level as possible, NO unnecessary tunnels ( the tunnels at Beacon Hill and to reach the University District near the Cut). 

  • janice February 15, 2019 (1:46 pm)

    ok heres my honest opinion, west seattle is perfect how it is, and we don’t want it to look like the rest of seattle. tbh the lightrail would be ugly because it covers our view of the sky. i think we should build the lightrail underground. i understand that we need transportation for all the incoming people but i say we should keep it simple here. leave it how it is! 

    • heartless February 15, 2019 (8:25 pm)

      If you’re worried about it covering our view of the sky couldn’t we just paint it gray?  Nobody would even know it was there for 90% of the year…  Jokes aside, West Seattle is changing whether anyone wants it to or not, and part of that change is a huge increase in population–and the commensurate traffic-related woes–both of which you mentioned.  So we gotta deal with that.  And for the record I agree with you, that underground would be lovely…  Just not sure it’s possible, sadly.

  • Joe Z February 15, 2019 (1:59 pm)

    This looks like a golden opportunity to build an escalator directly from the Avalon station into the Taco Time lobby.

    • heartless February 15, 2019 (3:16 pm)

      West Seattle: where the trains are always on time–Taco Time, that is.

    • KM February 15, 2019 (4:53 pm)

      Best idea I’ve ever seen on the website.

  • flimflam February 15, 2019 (3:02 pm)

    ugh, i pity any residential properties that will be next to this thing….

  • sw February 15, 2019 (3:52 pm)

    They did not decimate Capitol Hill, U District or Roosevelt in this manner.  There is no way those neighborhoods would allow an elevated structure of this sort to happen, nor should we let it happen in West Seattle.  This would not only be unsightly, it would add to traffic woes and be a blight on the peninsula.  Just say no, folks.

    • WS Guy February 15, 2019 (7:36 pm)

      It’s true – it’s a social justice issue.  The rich central/north areas get tunnels while they want to give the south end the cheap version.  We have to stand up for ourselves.

      • CAM February 15, 2019 (11:25 pm)

        Just because it is possible to live in West Seattle on less money than other neighborhoods does not make West Seattle an underserved, under represented, or impoverished neighborhood. The idea of social justice does not usually come into play when talking about the wealthy vs the slightly less well off. If you own a home in the path of this line you are not poor. 

    • Chris K February 22, 2019 (12:52 pm)

      Totally agree

  • Joe Z February 15, 2019 (4:18 pm)

    How many of the detractors live near the West Seattle bridge/Fauntleroy ramp? The car highway is noisier and uglier than light rail ever will be. The car highway is adding to climate change. The car highway forces us to ride unreliable buses that are overcrowded, get stuck in traffic, and do not run in the snow. The light rail will be transformational for West Seattle. The light rail can run along the existing right of way on Fauntleroy. The tunnel option is not worth the money. Build it now! 

  • Elevated Concern February 15, 2019 (4:31 pm)

    We have been saying no and Sound Transit doesn’t care what we want.  They will ram this thing straight through the heart of West Seattle and dead end the thing at the Junction.  Look at what they did to South Seattle Rainier Valley, atrocity!  We are just now getting to tear down the blight that has been with us for half of a century, the viaduct.  Check the elevations on this engineering fiasco, 50, 60 and 100 feet in the air!  A tunnel is the only safe solution to move people with the type of terrain.  Sound Transit has not and will not consider a tunnel until community members say we will not accept this approach, go back to the drawing board and value engineer the solution as they have done for other communities.

    • B. February 15, 2019 (4:55 pm)

      I completely agree–the elevated options destroy West Seattle’s character (not just one block’s or another’s). The massive elevated tracks are the first and last thing people will see when they interact with this community. All to connect to… Sodo.We can each write letters or make phone calls, but what can we do collectively to fight this?

      • Joe Z February 15, 2019 (5:17 pm)

        This is like the West Seattle high bridge except better. People will be able to enjoy the view on the way to work since they won’t have to look at the road. The view from the Genesee span will be fantastic. It will be an excellent experience for riders. The majority of West Seattle voted YES for elevated light rail including 60-70%+ in the precincts that will most directly be affected by this. 

        • Mark February 17, 2019 (10:46 am)

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it voter’s were given the impression that the light rail would follow the West Seattle Bridge and turn up Avalon Way SW when they voted. 

    • Ron Swanson February 15, 2019 (5:39 pm)

      There is no amount of “value engineering” that will make a $700,000,000 tunnel pencil out.  Time to give up on that pipe dream. The representative alignment is a perfectly feasible plan.

      • WS Guy February 15, 2019 (7:39 pm)

        Time to dump Avalon station!  Don’t need two!

        • heartless February 15, 2019 (8:20 pm)

          What reason do you have for saying that?  Or is it just a random opinion?

        • Joe Z February 16, 2019 (9:00 am)

          No, Avalon station is crucial for bus transfers along 35th and is the best opportunity for transit-orientated development in the area. 

          • Mark February 17, 2019 (10:52 am)

            What about those who intend to drive over and hop onto the light rail? I live on 25th, between Genesee and Dakota. Parking in the entire vicinity became filled beyond capacity shortly after the Youngstown Flats opened.City planner’s held a meeting at the Youngstown Cultural Arts center in early February. When asked if parking would be provided for those intending to use the light rail their answer was “NO.”

        • second that February 19, 2019 (8:45 pm)

          Dump Avalon Station – don’t need to pay for this redundancy

  • patt February 15, 2019 (6:29 pm)

    I am for the tunnel option where. Having lived on the monorail line I know how it divides a community. We shouldn’t let this elevated track  happen in WS. We should have nice things like Capitol Hill, U District or Roosevelt. On another point, why,  when most people have grown up reading maps North to South , are maps for this project and for that matter maps for most part other work projects and sign places East to West. It make it real difficult to orient oneself in relationship to  the project esp. if is a small area there are no major streets marked.

  • Elevated concern February 15, 2019 (6:29 pm)

    Ron Swanson, what’s your valued price estimate for a pleasant community to live in?   A community that doesn’t agree with you would like that amount to consider to come to an educated conclusion   Joe Z, provide your source for your majority of West  Seattle in favor of an elevated light rail.   60 to 70 percent is not in the research I’ve done   

    • Canton February 15, 2019 (8:30 pm)

      Come on now. Are you arguing, an  enormous, giant railway, parallel to…, an enormous, giant roadway? I have no skin in the game( except paying the crazy taxes ), as it doesn’t serve my neighborhood in HP. Who wants to take the bus to the train, when one bus will go beyond Sodo? Gotta be fiscal, as you know, the future ST party costs are gonna appreciate by then.

    • Ron Swanson February 15, 2019 (10:27 pm)

      Whose “pleasant community” are we talking about?  The tunnel option flushes $700 million down a rathole that does nothing for Delridge.  And yes, the vote for ST3 and its “representative” elevated rail line was strong in most every precinct the line will travel through:https://seattletransitblog.com/2016/12/27/st3-precinct-map-and-more/

  • TJ February 15, 2019 (6:38 pm)

    I just love that others want to speak for my money and give me a blank check for a tunnel here. People voted for ST3 as designed with a elevated line, which by the way is a blank check itself since Sound Transit never comes in on time or budget. I’m not sure what utopia some envision here, but who is going to pay for a tunnel? People outside West Seattle aren’t going to want to pay for it. The Sound Transit taxing district base is in angry outside of King County and they know that. I won’t pay for it. I have registered all 3 of my vehicles in Spokane to avoid the ridiculous car tab increases as I have no plans to ever use the rail

    • KBear February 15, 2019 (9:52 pm)

      TH, why don’t you move to Spokane, where your vehicles are illegally  registered? You’re clearly not an engaged citizen in our community. 

  • East Coast Cynic February 15, 2019 (7:08 pm)

    To those who want the tunnel, where do we get the extra funding necessary to build a tunnel?  Nobody has a plan.  Would you like to pay an extra tax to build it?  Other light rail segments won’t tolerate having their funds pilfered to pay for a West Seattle tunnel.  Taking away a station or two from our segment may not be enough to pay for a tunnel and would deny a considerable commuter base from using light rail.

    • WS Guy February 15, 2019 (7:42 pm)

      I hear that California has $3.5 billion in canceled rail money to return to the federal government.  Let’s get some of where that came from.

      • Ron Swanson February 15, 2019 (10:15 pm)

        A big part of the federal grant program is cost effectiveness.  What do you think they’ll say when they see that two options were studied with the same ridership, travel time and reliability, but the one chosen costs $700 million more than the other?  My prediction is a big ‘no.’

    • KM February 16, 2019 (9:33 am)

      By registering TJ’s 3 cars legally.

  • Railroaded February 15, 2019 (7:19 pm)

    I hope West Seattle does not blow this tremendous transportation improvement.

  • Wseattleite February 15, 2019 (8:32 pm)

    HAHAHAHAHA!  50 billion for this?  The renderings leave out a lot of sections the proposed runs.  They show the track 140′ in the air near the golf course, but don’t show the actual height at the highest point.  So 140’+ in the air.  All this structure to take people to the Old Rainier Brewery from the Junction at the dead end of the tracks?  And then you can continue to get dumped in SODO?  How do you get downtown from there?   Bus? Lyft? Uber? Bike?  Will they allow bikes on the Light Rail? I am thinking not.  At least the buses will accommodate your bike.  Indeed, the voters have spawned a monster in voting for something that was not even well conceptualized and the time of the ballot initiative.  HAHAHAHA.  Fools.  But “it’s for transit so we must vote for it”.  This is what we get for that kind of money?  Common sense has left the majority of the populace.  Feel good initiatives without leadership and accountability is a dangerous mix.

    • WSB February 15, 2019 (8:46 pm)

      If by “$50 billion for this?” you are referring to whateve the eventual cost is of Sound Transit 3 in its entirety, please note that the West Seattle to Ballard line is just one of several major projects in ST3. See what’s red on this map:

      Also, as for “how do you get downtown from there?” 2030-2035, transfer. 2035 on, the full WS to Ballard line is to include downtown stops.

      And apparently ST does allow bicycles:

      • Wseattlite February 15, 2019 (8:59 pm)

        Thank you for the info WSB. The info on the bikes on light rail is particularly interesting. Not sure how much room there will be during peak commute times to walk your bike on board, and how the escalators/elevators will accommodate the bikes, but it is heartening to know it is being addressed.  Thanks. 

        • Joe Z February 15, 2019 (9:39 pm)

          I do this right now. I bike from West Seattle to Westlake and then ride the train to the U-District and then bike to my destination. Takes about 45 min total vs 1 hour biking the whole way. You have to ride to Westlake in peak time because the train is full at SODO.

    • chemist February 15, 2019 (9:10 pm)

      They not only allow bikes on the light rail, last year the city council raised the amount of required bike parking at light rail stations from 20 spaces to 5% of peak AM daily ridership with SDOT’s director able to add more to the building codes.  Bike park+ride will be a thing. “Sound Transit and King County Metro are concerned about how the proposed ratios will impact design of future light rail and park and ride facilities.”

    • Jon Wright February 16, 2019 (6:25 am)

      I think a citizenry that is ignorant about important issues yet still confidently spouts off with uniformed opinions is a bigger threat than supposed “feel good initiatives without leadership and accountability.”

  • 1994 February 15, 2019 (9:32 pm)

    The light rail running down MLK Jr Way S was nosier then expected. Imagine how far noise will travel from elevated tracks. ST might need to build in some noise mitigation funds for elevated tracks in residential areas.

  • 1994 February 15, 2019 (9:43 pm)

    I would not want to get stuck on the elevated tracks in case of a malfunction or some other reason.  A rescue from those heights would be challenging for all involved.

  • Papa Smurf February 15, 2019 (10:11 pm)

    I do think better transportation will help our lovely part of the city, and yes I’m for fiscal responsibility & accountability (something our city has sorely lacked), but…and this a selfish “but”…I’m on 40th and Oregon, and this monstrosity would be 20 feet over my head and home. It would literally hover directly across from my home so that passengers will have a lovely inside look at my dwellings (I’ll need to remember to wear my smoking jacket and have a pipe to look sophisticated in a wing-backed, leather chair). Jokes aside, I’m honestly torn, and perhaps my selfish, self-interest just needs to die for the good of better transportation for those working downtown but living in West Seattle. We just bought our house on 40th last year so this is a big shock for our family and not something we anticipated. Needless to say, we’re not stoked about the prospects but trying to be a good neighbor. 

    • CAM February 16, 2019 (8:44 am)

      Papa Smurf, that was one of the most thoughtful comments I’ve read by someone whose home will be directly impacted by the decisions made. Thank you for keeping an open mind. The tunnel path through the junction would be fairly similar to the yellow path above. ST has also said that it may be necessary to buy some of the properties that lie above the tunnel as well. I don’t think these images offer any insight into the homes that will be demolished if the tunnel is built and I wonder how many of the tunnel supporters would still feel the same about spending 700 million more dollars we don’t currently have if their homes or the same number of homes were being impacted. Light rail is going to change WS. There is no way around that. But let’s make sure that we have a clear idea what that additional money is actually buying before we say it’s the preferred option. That tunnel will likely impede the further expansion of light rail to other neighborhoods both in WS and outside of it. That’s a significant cost that isn’t easily quantifiable. I’m not sure the tunnel is worthwhile when the negatives are considered. 

  • Maris February 16, 2019 (12:43 am)

    I don’t understand the SODO end of the line statement in some of the comments..My understanding is that the W Seattle line will take one all the way to Lynnwood via downtown, the U District, etc., and the Ballard line will tie into the existing downtown to Sea-Tac line. The WS Line will use the existing tunnel while the Ballard line will use a new one. I live at 41st and Edmonds and won’t be directly impacted  by any line configuration, they all end up a block away. My main concern is the impact on the character of the end product on our neighborhood. The original runout tracks through the Junction would kill the ambience of that block and I feel for all the people impacted by an elevated right of way. Having it all underground would be everyone’s pick if cost was not an issue.Big transit infrastructure projects like this are always “pay it forward” propositions. In other words, my taxes are paying for stations that will be built after I’m retired or most likely moved away. I have always thanked the generations before me for paying for the transit lines I have enjoyed using in Boston, New York, Berlin and London. I guess we have to ask what we want for the children who are just now being born (besides a cleaner environment). 

    • Joe Z February 16, 2019 (9:10 am)

      They are talking about the temporary alignment from 2030-2035 where West Seattle riders will have to transfer in SODO while the 2nd downtown tunnel is being built (likely under 5th Ave). The nice thing about being in West Seattle is that we get our light rail 5 years sooner than Ballard…UNLESS this tunnel happens and then who knows how long it will take. 

  • Brian Huuhes February 16, 2019 (6:38 am)

    The station location is one consideration, but what happens after is another. What will be the route to Burien?  I’ve read they are considering 41st, 42nd, or 44th. An elevated structure would completely destroy these neighborhoods. Yes, a tunnel is more expensive. But can anyone truly imagine surface or elevated tracks right through the Fairmount neighborhood?  If that’s the route south, then it has to be a subway. 

    • Joe Z February 16, 2019 (9:14 am)

      This is why I think the ‘ST3 representative’ alignment is better than the elevated alternatives. It makes more sense to build a different line in the future that connects to White Center/Burien via Georgetown and South Park. Using the right of way along Fauntleroy is lesser impact for West Seattle neighborhoods. 

    • AmandaK February 16, 2019 (1:22 pm)

      Burien has amazing access to the current light rail system.  It’s a 10 min F line ride from the Burien Park and Ride.  As for getting from West Seattle to Burien, the 120 will turn into the Rapid Ride H, the 128 comes this way as does the 131 from Highland Park.  I would not support any additional light rail line from West Seattle to Burien – the cost wouldn’t make much sense.  I would like to see Metro not charge a 2-zone fare for folks in White Center to West Seattle however. 

  • LK February 16, 2019 (8:23 am)

    Reading through these comments it seems the tunnel option is gaining more traction and support, a view I condone wholeheartedly for a number of reasons; mainly because it means a lot less noise and visual and environmental blight on the neighborhood.  Yes, it’s the more expensive option, but this is our chance to do it right for ourselves and for future generations of riders.  You get what you pay for and anything worth doing is worth doing right.  

    • CAM February 16, 2019 (8:31 am)

      Or you’re reading the same people on every article over and over again arguing for the tunnel. There are a lot of people that do not believe the tunnel is the best option, largely for financial and timing reasons, who have commented on other articles that have not commented here. This comment section isn’t really a representative sample of the community. 

      • WSB February 16, 2019 (8:53 am)

        Actually, as previously reported, ST said the comments it received from West Seattle were predominantly pro-tunnel. (Link added)

        • CAM February 17, 2019 (1:02 pm)

          I’m getting an error when I try to open the link. My question about that is whether ST was solely counting the number of unique comments or if they were counting the number of unique commenters that expressed the same opinion. When they had the laptops at the early events for people to use to comment I sat down at one for a few minutes. They required you to identify yourself in order to comment. What I noticed is that there were numerous comments posted at different points along the proposed path that were essentially cut and paste. Sometimes the exact same comment was cut and past at upwards of 10 points along the route. Looking solely at how many comments expressed a particular opinion wouldn’t give an accurate representation of the community as a whole. You would also need to take into account the reality that those most likely to comment are those that are opposed to a plan. Lastly, I would love a tunnel. If ST asked me I would tell them that I am not opposed to a tunnel and would in fact prefer that the light rail be a subway. But, there are a number of other factors I value more than the tunnel which the tunnel will make less likely to occur. I think it’s more nuanced than pro or anti and it’s also hard to make a judgment based solely on voluntary comments on any site about the popularity of any proposed plan. The only instance in which the community as a whole was surveyed was the official vote for ST3 and at that time the only plan presented was an elevated rail line with three stops in Delridge, the Triangle, and the Junction. 

          • WSB February 17, 2019 (3:10 pm)

            The link is working now.
            But better still, you can examine the entire early-scoping report as featured in our story, 220+ pages including even photos of handwritten comments.

            I take exception to characterizing extensive comment processes (not just this one) as “not representative of the community.” This was a much-publicized process and while you can’t force people to comment, many did, and this is what they said. I get that some people choose not to participate. But many did and their feedback shouldn’t be denigrated as “oh, they’re not representative of the community.” Hopefully even more will participate in this round of the process – which IS an official process, as was the “early scoping” a year ago as featured in the aforementioned – whatever their opinion – TR

    • Ron Swanson February 16, 2019 (8:56 am)

      It may be gaining traction in comment boards, but that’s because no one here has to figure out how to pay for it.  The rest of the region has their own rail they want built (almost all of which is elevated), and aren’t going to let West Seattle and Ballard bust the overall budget for aesthetics.90,000 people in West Seattle, so each man, woman, and child’s share of this tunnel would be nearly $8,000.  I’m not sure there’s going to be much support when the cost becomes clear, especially when the benefits are concentrated in a one mile section of the area (Delridge and Pigeon Point get nothing but the bill!)

      • Joe Z February 16, 2019 (9:24 am)

        Yes of course given unlimited money the tunnel option is clearly better, but West Seattle residents have not yet been asked to pay the extra $700 million. If people are given the option of paying for a tunnel (via a local improvement district), I think public support will swing strongly against it. What is the incentive to vote for a huge tax increase just for aesthetics purposes? There are multiple ways to spend the $700 million…could add another couple miles of elevated track and several more stations to the end of the line. For that price we could probably get all the way to Westwood Village with a stop at Morgan Junction and High Point. 

        • LK February 16, 2019 (11:59 am)

          Aesthetics aside, the noise issue is a real consideration as well.  Increases in ambient traffic noise has been proven to negatively affect cardiac health as well as being nuisance. Having lived more than a mile away from the elevated BART tracks that could be heard echoing though the neighborhood nearly 24/7, I’m here to tell you there’s a better way and the tunnel is that alternative.  Also proven in studies, the noise increases that goes with the growth in our area is also negatively impacting the endangered orcas in our community.

    • second that February 19, 2019 (8:53 pm)

      West Seattle still favors a tunnel

  • wsn00b February 16, 2019 (9:34 am)

    I know some people’s quality of life will be affected and I feel bad as a neighbor. However, trying to find a solution that works for everybody in WSEA is like trying to have a giant city-wide HOA trying to figure out what color everybody should paint their house. This discussion has been going on so long for a relatively tiny system. Meanwhile, China, India and EU countries are building 1000s of miles of  high speed rail in the time it took us all to armchair architect debate this thing. This is a small microcosm of why we are so screwed up. We only have freeways that we all love/hate now because they just built it. No reviews, community feedback. FFS, just build the damn train and move on with life. Start shoveling tonight. Otherwise, discussing this for so long, my kids will be long gone before we see this little toy train be built. What a frustratingly lazy unproductive process.

  • TJ February 16, 2019 (12:30 pm)

    The noise from an elevated line will have zero impact on orcas. Lets stick to facts at least. Again, a tunnel is not in the budget of ST3. I can promise you Pierce and Snohomish county tax payers who are part of the taxing district will not pay for it. Please do not keep thinking of creative ways to spend a ton of MY money for aestethics purposes. Especially when ST3 isn’t the end goal of Sound Transit believe it or not. They will want a ST4, but also know that there won’t be the support for it outside of Seattle. I would expect any future talk of more money to be for projects in Pierce County.

    • carole February 17, 2019 (3:04 pm)

      But if you are illegally registering your THREE cars in Spokane it really isn’t your money is it?  Why assume only WS folks will pay more for a tunnel?  We ALL paid for the tunnels to Capitol Hill, UW. etc.  They can likewise pay for ours.  Even at the current proposed completion date I will likely never use the system because of my age, but future generations will.

  • Sara February 16, 2019 (12:34 pm)

    Fascinating and critical look at nationwide subway and rail estimates:Why it’s so expensive to build urban rail in the US

    • flimflam February 16, 2019 (3:46 pm)

      thanks for the link. what a bummer, but not shocking…well worth a read.

  • Anon February 16, 2019 (8:57 pm)

    We’re investing so much money in light rail to go to SODO when we’re literally a 10 minute boat ride across the water.

    • heartless February 16, 2019 (9:33 pm)

      Okay.  Get to SODO in ten minutes, starting now.  Go.  Right, silly me, of course not.  You know as well as everyone else what a ridiculous argument you’re mounting.  (At least I really hope so…)

      • Anon February 17, 2019 (6:36 am)

        Heartless I don’t understand what you’re getting at? I agree, you can’t get to SODO in 10.  What I’m saying  is why are we investing all this money in light rail including displacing homeowners just to get to SODO when commuting by boat to downtown is a viable option. Doesn’t displace homeowners , doesn’t create an elevated line over people’s homes, and it’s a ten minute ride across the sound. Invest the money in an expanded shuttle service to and from the dock and/or put in a park and ride on Alki.

        • heartless February 17, 2019 (10:59 am)

          I’m sorry, you are trying to suggest the West Seattle ferry is in some way remotely equivalent to the planned light rail?  Yeah, there is no way I’m going to engage in a debate about that with you.  How ridiculous.  

          • Anon February 17, 2019 (12:13 pm)

            There are ferries that accommodate thousands of people each day to downtown, I guess they should eliminate them and build a bridge across the water so light rail can run instead? Not sure how ferries are ridiculous. 

          • Ron Swanson February 17, 2019 (4:56 pm)

            The passenger service on the cross-Sound state routes is subsidized by the car fares.  The Water Taxi costs the county nearly $11 per boarding to operate…$22 per round trip rider.  It’s expensive and it doesn’t scale.  Not to mention that it can’t take you to anywhere except Colman Dock, where the light rail will be able to get you all the way to Everett without transferring.

  • anonyme February 17, 2019 (9:16 am)

    Anon, that’s the most sensible option I’ve read so far.  Trying to superimpose this massive structure over and through well-established, densely populated neighborhoods seems crazy.  Minimal gain, at maximum cost.  The plan to greatly expand shuttle and water taxi service could easily be tested for viability before making a commitment to this incredibly costly and destructive light rail concept.  It could also potentially be a boon to commercial businesses around Alki that currently suffer due to seasonal variables while expanding and revitalizing the waterfront.  My impression is that the hype around light rail is more political than practical.

    • heartless February 17, 2019 (11:02 am)

      You seem to forget that we voted for it.  And again, you are really trying to suggest the West Seattle water taxi as an alternative to light rail?  Are you insane?

    • CAM February 17, 2019 (12:51 pm)

      The areas the light rail is cutting through remain primarily single family homes. Single family homes does not meet any definition of dense. 

      • anon February 17, 2019 (3:23 pm)

        I live in a single family home here. I can literally look directly into my neighbors living room and kitchen. I can tell you what they’re watching on TV or having for dinner. We’re not exactly all living on a lot of acreage. It’s dense even for single family homes.

  • Deb February 17, 2019 (9:40 am)

    How many total residents will be displaced by the above- ground, elevated rails?  Three neighborhoods are clearly negatively impacted. How many businesses and neighboring properties will lose value because of the elevated line (noise, shadowing of property, unsightly rails) ? Build the tunnel and increase the opportunity to construct more high-density housing and transit-oriented businesses near and above the below-ground stations.  Let’s preserve and protect the beautiful West Seattle urban experience.

  • Mark Z February 17, 2019 (12:22 pm)

    I live on 25th Ave SW, between Dakota and Genesee. There are
    many families living within the two square block area bordered by Dakota,
    Genesee, Delridge, and 26
    th that live there
    because it’s one the few affordable, close-in to the city core neighborhoods
    remaining with readily accessible public transit that allows people to get to
    their places of employment. 


    90 houses are within the area slated for the building of the
    light rail. To the north is the small strip of businesses next to Nucor Steel,
    plus the Safeway headquarters.


    Retirees, a single wage earner supporting a spouse unable to work,
    single wage earners with stay-at-home parents/spouses, immigrant and
    refugee families, aging people who have been planning to reside in their homes
    until they die, single parents, a family with disabled children, and
    multi-generational households occupy my neighborhood. 


    Many survive on low paying jobs or are living on fixed incomes.
    The list goes on when you walk the neighborhood and get to know my neighbors.
    Due a myriad of factors, many, who would be displaced by the light-rail would
    have little hope of ever owning a home again. 


    I am one of those. When I bought my house I did it via an owner
    contract. It’s a small, 740 sq. ft. Craftsman. I had never in my life believed
    I would ever be able to own a home, and given the current housing market in
    Seattle I feel I will be forced to leave the city.


    Many of the people on my block didn’t even know about the
    routing plans until very late in the game. In the least, the city could have
    mailed notices to those who would be affected. How much would that have cost?  


    And now that we do know, we can’t sell our houses…at least not
    without ethical, and possibly legal requirement to disclose the information. The city says they
    will pay fair market value for the houses they buy. In the meantime, those of
    us who do own houses in this two block radius are held hostage.


    At the Sound Tranist meeting held in the Youngstown Cultural
    Arts Center in mid January one neighbor questioned whether he should stop
    making improvements to his house. Will the city offer him less money for his
    house 3-5 years from now because of ‘deferred’ maintenance? What happens if the
    housing market depreciates in this timeframe?


    Another neighbor asked why the city is still allowing/giving
    building permits to developers on 25th Ave SW. The answer provided is
    that the city hasn’t “finalized” the plan yet, and they can’t stop people from
    selling or buying property…or builders from speculating.


    In the last several months three single-family dwellings have
    been sold to developers on the 4100 block of 25th Ave SW. Properties
    that have sold for $400,000-$500,000 are still being developed into properties
    with several $650,000 units on them!


    Two of the lots now have a total of 7 units on them. All of
    those units have sold…the last one taking six months to sell, and selling only
    two weeks ago. Do the new owner’s know what is happening? The other
    single-family dwelling, located at 4153 25th Ave SW, has four units
    currently being built on it. You can come on over and take a look at it


    And directly across my backyard, over on 26th Ave SW,
    two side-by-side lots were purchased by a developer one year ago. 12 more units
    are slated to be built there. Since no construction has begun I can’t help but
    wonder whether that particular builder knows.


    Another point is parking in the neighborhood. Since the
    Youngstown Flats were built the blocks slated for removal have become filled
    with parked cars. Sound Transit has NO plans to build or offer parking, and
    there will indeed be those who will drive to the area to use the light rail.


    Since they can’t park on Delridge the only parking will be on
    the west side of the Delridge Community Center, south of Genesee on 26th
    Ave SW. You can’t park on Genesee, and due to the topography and the way other
    side streets are built, there’s absolutely no other streets in the area which
    can service parked cars.


    We held a private meeting last week for the people on our block.
    One of the things mentioned is whether those living near the end of line,
    around 40th and Oregon have any idea whether they’ll end up being as
    surprised as many of us were when we learned about the city’s plan of exercising
    eminent domain on our properties.

    You folks living up there should indeed be concerned. We
    considered doing an outreach and walking door-to-door in your neighborhood, to
    provide details of what is happening down in our little ‘hollow,’ but we’re so
    busy between work and attempting to manage our own little slice that our plates
    are full! 

    • Karen White February 17, 2019 (2:39 pm)

      What you have noted is excruciatingly painful and playing out over many sleepless nights in more than one neighborhood.  My family will lose a home purchased in 1950 and currently enjoyed by a third generation.   Having said that,  none of this matters in Sound Transit’s plans, it just doesn’t matter.

    • natinstl February 17, 2019 (3:20 pm)

      I am so sorry.

  • Arianna February 17, 2019 (1:37 pm)

    Maybe we can get some of our tax dollars back and fund the tunnel – federal government just sent $1.17 Billion over for the Lynnwood line… Can someone from Sound Transit let us know at the upcoming meeting more about that option? https://patch.com/washington/shoreline/sound-transit-gets-1-17-billion-grant-lynnwood-light-rail

  • Arianna February 17, 2019 (3:17 pm)

     The block where the elevated Alaska Junction station is planned might have some interesting experiences ahead:- best case scenario: a tunnel station is slated across the street, and property values go up 20-30% more than they otherwise would; or even better, the city rezones the block to NC-95 (it is literally surrounded by large buildings, and density is the name of the game today), and private developers pay 2-3 times the fair market value (ka-ching!), this will be a super prime location.- worst case scenario: elevated station is slated for the block, and Sound Transit buys your property – here is what we have heard/read so far, not verified, so take with a grain of salt – whether they will pay a full market price is a concern, but they do have a good rap sheet: at another light rail location in the city, they bought over 350 properties, with only 2 lawsuits…This is great for people who planned to sell in a few years: no broker’s commission (6%), no excise taxes (1.78%), no capital gains taxes (15%) – there are some time limits, etc., check with a professional, you do have to buy a replacement property possibly within 1-3(?)  years, etc. They will pay for closing costs when you buy, moving costs, also for the difference in price if your replacement property is more expensive (has to be a “true” comparable). Also they will cover the difference in mortgage interest, if your rates will be higher for a new property, in cash upfront. Relocation assistance. It all sounds very good, providing the market is great at the time of appraisal (2023? – by then we should be out of a recession, maybe coming up in 2020, with real estate prices higher in 2023 ). If the market is not doing well, then your replacement property will also be cheaper to buy.For the properties on the block that will not be bought out, and the tracks will run close to them, Sound Transit will likely compensate the owners for a reduction in value – a good question to ask at the neighborhood meeting if someone is interested – will they “make you whole” (pay a full loss in value), which properties will qualify, etc…Although our gut feeling tells us the whole block will be bought out – a lot of space is needed for construction materials, equipment, safety concerns, etc. If not bought by ST, then it will be likely rezoned, ka-ching.The real heartbreak is for the people who did not plan to sell, are emotionally attached to their place, tracks running near, etc. We feel for them, and so will definitely send a comment to support the tunnel option – with a tunnel instead of elevated tracks, the properties could be preserved and a part of the neighborhood would not be destroyed.

  • HW February 18, 2019 (9:57 am)

    Does this mean that the alternative tunnel locations are not moving forward? (40th, 44th?). I am thrilled to see a tunnel seriously considered. We should not cut corners to save 5 years and $1B (pennies to the govt) when many of us have waited decades for this type of transport option. Other neighborhoods were granted tunnels, which we all paid for, and West Seattle should have the same.

  • Jen Shaughnessy February 18, 2019 (11:36 am)

     Mark Z, I am one of those homeowners impacted by the new “yellow” line cutting across my home so. of 39th & Genesee.  Could you please call me directly to chat about this 206-399-6586

  • Kristian K February 19, 2019 (9:32 am)

    I understand the goal of realigning the Junction station to head north/south. However, I am concerned that the elevated line through the neighborhood will have a tremendous and negative impact on a large swath of blocks between 35th and California north of Fauntleroy. In particular, the section of properties between the proposed elevated line and Fauntleroy seem at risk. Who will want to own or live in these homes? What is Sound Transit’s plan to redevelop this area in a positive way? It is easy to envision an area of rundown homes nobody wants. It’s harder to imagine this area solely supporting commercial development. The other homes north and west of the line will be impacted too, by noise, sightlines, and degraded urban fabric. As others have noted, equity and parity should be part of the conversation. If tunnels were the least impactful solution for Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, and the U District, why was a West Seattle tunnel not planned from the start? We should not be held hostage by poor planning at the beginning. An elevated line through the neighborhood is a disaster that will last a generation or more.  The elevated route along Fauntleroy/Alaska is not great but is a better option. A tunnel is the best option. Disclosure: I own one of the homes directly in the path of this proposed route. However, even if my home were to be spared, disrupting a neighborhood in this manner is very poor urban planning. The whole east-facing side of the hill will be impacted by this new option.

  • KATHRYN M VITELLI February 21, 2019 (6:14 pm)

    Please tunnel in West Seattle to preserve our beautiful area. The station and parking could be at the golf course with the tunnel starting there. I know it will cost extra but in the long term it will be worth it.

  • Scott Caldwell February 21, 2019 (8:30 pm)

    Just a reminder of what the elevated options may likely look like in real life:  https://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/what-might-elevated-light-rail-look-like-in-west-seattle-see-one-readers-unofficial-interpretation/

  • JC February 25, 2019 (12:34 pm)

    Is the ST3 representative Red-Line along  still under consideration? Other than the tunnel option, the other options seem much more disruptive than were ever alluded to during the voting process.

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