WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit returns to JuNO at ‘really good time to be engaging’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Back in November 2017, the Junction Neighborhood Organization hosted a briefing with Sound Transit, at which a top ST manager promised “an interesting year and a half” ahead.

That year and a half is almost over; May is when the ST Board will decide which routing/station locations for West Seattle light rail will go into environmental studies. But as another JuNO briefing with ST showed last night, some local residents are just starting to sit up and take notice, especially since multiple locations are now in play for the Junction station.

An upstairs meeting room at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction filled to overflow capacity for last night’s briefing and Q&A. ST’s Leda Chahim reassured them that “this is a really good time to be engaging,” though the “scoping period” for public comment ends one week from today.

First – here’s the slide deck Chahim and other ST reps used to recap where things stand.

The light-rail system’s extensions to West Seattle and Ballard are being planned concurrently, though WS is scheduled to open five years sooner than Ballard (2030 and 2035 respectively). ST’s West Seattle lead is Stephen Mak, who briefly but briskly went through what had happened in the first two levels of filtering (this final pre-environmental-impact phase is Level 3).

Though the briefing hadn’t arrived at the Q&A stage yet, one attendee called out, “Who expressed concerns about the cost?” regarding the potential options that were no longer at center stage.

“Public feedback,” Chahim replied.

Someone thenn asked for clarity on who had made the recommendations of what went forward and what did not. Reply: The Elected Leadership Group. “Who elected them?” was the response, to rippling laughter.

(If you’re new to the light-rail discussion, the ELG is the advisory group that will make a recommendation to the ST Board; the feedback its members are to consider includes that of the other advisory committee created for this process, the Stakeholder Advisory Group. The ELG’s members are listed here; the SAG’s members are listed here.)

Mak also went through a fast review of the dozens of criteria that were set for reviewing the possibilities, with these at the top level:

That list brought one person to wonder aloud where “neighborhood” came in; Chahim noted these were just one level of “many, many” evaluation factors.

Though some cost estimates have been issued – primarily how much “extra” tunneling would cost – actual numbers won’t be known until the final design and budget, due in 2024.

The recap then went through the “key considerations” and “key differentiators” between the West Seattle segments of the three “end-to-end alternatives” currently in play – the original “representative project” (red), an elevated alternative (yellow/orange), an alternative with some tunneling (blue). Keep in mind, though, while ST didn’t make this point at the briefing, they are not “all or nothing” options – they are compilations of features that ST put together. The Stakeholder Advisory Group has been told repeatedly that “mix and match” is possible.

The “comparison summary” slide included some potential displacement numbers, as well as the “how much extra?” estimates. Yes, some would be displaced even if there was tunneling, it was verified.

“But if you do this, you’re going to have to stop in The Junction, because (extending any further south from The Junction) you’d have to take out 1,000 (residences),” said an incredulous man.

Put that in your scoping comments, urged Chahim, reinforced by JuNO director Amanda Sawyer.

He had, verified the attendee, “but I don’t even know why we’ve let it get this far, this is ridiculous.”

Back to the cost. The orange and red are comparable costs, and would likely be around what’s already budgeted, said Mak.

One attendee wanted to know about “disruption” estimates – “what (does it) mean to homeowners specifically?” There’s nothing online, said Chahim. What about offline? There wasn’t an answer for that, except “we don’t have that level of detail.”

Chahim repeated that the alternatives have continued to change, and that’s why they “sent a postcard’ in January. She also reiterated that the public-involvement process they’ve been going through this past yea is earlier than they’re usually going through it.

She also noted that since theres so much interested in tunneling, they’re suggesting looking at at two alternatives, including one that would rquire extra funding and one that would not.

They also quickly showed a slide with toplines of the acquisition/relocation process:

Bottom line, though, with environmental studies and other review ahead, “We won’t know the project we’re going to build until 2022.” (The most detailed discussion of the acquisition/relocation process that we’ve covered is in this coverage of a January meeting with ST organized by Youngstown-area residents who are in the path of a potential Delridge station location.)

After the presentation, it was Q&A time. Sawyer suggested that some of what JuNO’s been talking about is how an elevated track would not just displace existing residents but also take land that could be used for denser housing and affordable housing. Any means of construction wlll have impact, of course, she said.

One resident asked for advice on crafting a “thoughtful scoping comment.” Chahim said the project team needs to understand commenters’ “why” because that might help them synch with a goal even if the specific request isn’t possible.

Sawyer stressed that getting involved in shaping the neighborhood’s future beyond light rail is vital too (a rep from OPCD was scheduled to be present tonight talking about the upcoming neighborhood-planning process but had to cancel so will be rescheduled for May).

Is JuNO going to be submitting comments? Yes, it has, and has more planned, said Sawyer.

Another question: Did you make 3-D visualizations and share them with the public and stakeholders? Yes, there are visualizations, said Chahim. (See them here.)

Next: Wasn’t it just days ago that West Seattle rezoning was approved by the council? Sawyer explained that the single-family zoning in The Junction is now going to be Residential Small Lot – so the attendee urged everyone to point out that not only might their house be taken out, but the possibility of three residences.

Who’s on the ELG? (Here again, as also linked above, is the list.) It was noted that reps from Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Joe McDermott‘s staffs were at the meeting.

Since some ELG members are not running for re-election (City Councilmembers Rob Johnson and Bruce Harrell, for starters), what happens to those positions? The ELG only is scheduled to exist through its April recommendation, and after that, elected officials will be engaged on a wider basis, Chahim said.

Someone asked about construction staging area (mentioned at last week’s SAG meeting, as we reported here) – that’s not included in what they’re talking about at this phase, Mak said, while suggesting that those concerned go take a look at currently under-construction sites.

One person said it’s a mixed message to hear West Seattle reps say they support a tunnel but also want to come in on time and under budget. (The McDermott rep repeated a short time later that her “boss” is all for tunneling.)

Another person said people were surprised when they knocked on their doors to find out. “All the printed information said it was going to The Junction. … We’re all saying, I don’t care if it takes you 10 years to get here, do it right.”

“Write that down,” Sawyer urged.

An attendee said something was missing in the criteria – “quality of life.”

Suggestions included taking the line to 35th or Delridge, more natural pathways to points south such as White Center and Burien.

How did other neighborhoods convince ST to tunnel – Capitol Hill? Beacon Hill?

Chahim and Mak said they didn’t have that information, which led to skeptical murmurs. “It’s your job,” said attendees.

“Why do we get shafted?” someone said.

“Why don’t we get shafted?” added another voice.

Sawyer suggested ST should organize a walking tour of the “orange line.”

There was a “driving tour,” someone noted.

Why was this even brought up, when it wasn’t in the ballot measure? asked someone.

So the ultimate goal of it pointing south is to go to Burien? Yes, affirmed ST.

Another woman from the side of the room urged everyone to focus their comments – especially on “loss of land” – “if we make (the point) that a tunnel is so much more sensible to the environment, the economy, everything – that’s probably where Capitol Hill, Bellevue were successful – we have to focus on what makes sense from a total environment, total community.”

Another attendee: We can comment until we’re blue in the face, but the Elected Leadership Group shouldn’t be able to wake up in the night and come up with something totally new. She also said that this is just more validation that “West Seattle is the stepchild of the city,” which drew scattered applause.

One woman worried about ridership and said this only “passed by what, 51 percent?” (The actual ST3 vote in Seattle was more than two-thirds in favor.)

The East Alaska Junction Neighborhood Coalition organization surfaced at that point. (We reported on their concerns here; you can find them online here.)

Someone else brought up West Seattle representation on the Stakeholders Advisory Group – 6 members, Sawyer noted – and mentioned again the staging-area size concern. That would be part of the EIS, said Mak.

Another attendee asked for clarification about displacement that a tunnel could result in. Too early to say, was the basic area. “We need soil sampling, we need information,” said Mak.

“But you’re making a decision in – six weeks.”

“Of what to study,” was the clarifying reiteration.

Another attendee pointed out that the ST reps here are just the public spokespeople so be sure to direct your comments in the official channels.

How will all this affect bus routes? was another question.

Yet another person said there’s no guarantee that just because this ends in The Junction doesn’t mean that’s the starting point for a line to White Center and Burien – that could be channeled down Delridge instead.

Delridge is a logical alignment, said another person.

Another person voiced skepticism. “This is a done deal. These guys have their minds made up.”

“It is NOT a done deal,” insisted Chahim.

Another person on the side said that it might be important to engage directly with ELG members – with a message like, “We need you guys to save us” – because “they have the ability outside the scoping comments to come up with something creative.”

Shortly after, the meeting wrapped up. Those present were invited to write comments on the spot that would be received as part of the planning process. Also noted:

-The Elected Leadership Group meetings include public-comment periods. Next one is this Friday, 9 am-noon, at the Sound Transit board room (401 S. Jackson). After that, the ELG’s April 26th meeting and the ST Board’s May 9th/23rd meetings have public-comment periods too.

-The “online open house” continues, with commenting options, through April 2nd (find it here).

-The Southwest District Council‘s April 3rd meeting (6:30 pm, also at the Senior Center/Sisson Building) also will include ST reps, confirmed JuNO director Sawyer, who co-chairs SWDC.

56 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit returns to JuNO at 'really good time to be engaging'"

  • Also John March 26, 2019 (6:56 pm)

    This is the link for all that wish to make a comment regarding this project to Sound Transit.https://wsblink.participate.online/commentThe design of the “Elevated 41st South of Alaska” proposed route will eliminate 90 – 120 residential units as calculated by Sound Transit.  These are beautiful homes.  In addition, the “Elevated 41st South of Alaska” route would be a mini-viaduct bisecting the Junction urban village.We request a tunnel similar to Capital Hill, Beacon Hill and the U of W.  Why should West Seattle get an eyesore structure!

    • Rick March 29, 2019 (8:28 pm)

       Just keep the Rail station in the Youngstown *Delridge*area.  The junction is the most congested area in West Seattle already.  The Parking that is there is for the Restaurants and Retail already on S.W. California.  Where as Youngstown *Delridge* has an old business park a struggling workout gym and a large skateboard park and an old Community center and is much less congested.  So it would much easier to have buses deliver people up and  down the hill to the single Light rail station in Delridge. And you would save billions of dollars not having to build tunnels and tear down neighborhoods and churches and schools as you go up the hill.  And from Delridge you have  a direct route south to White Center and Burien. Please consider this option, as a long time West Seattle Resident I don’t want the Uniqueness and Charm of West Seattle to disappear.

  • Seth H Perkins March 26, 2019 (8:44 pm)

    Outside the scope of this article, the route being pushed by ST is going to cut a scar around Pigeon Point (the neighborhood on the south edge of the WS Bridge – home of Pathfinder K-8) and westward through North Delridge.  This will also destroy houses, businesses, and blight the neighborhoods leading in to the Junction with this Viaduct-The-Sequel.There was a tunnel on the table through Pigeon Point to set up  the tunnel to the Junction.  It needs to be brought back and assessed with real research and rational investigation.Do it right the first time, West Seattle.  Design for the future.Design for the good of the communityDo not design for politics.We have the population and the land mass.  We deserve to do this right!Comment now before it’s too late!  https://wsblink.participate.online/comment

  • TJ March 26, 2019 (8:51 pm)

    A tunnel wasn’t budgeted for this. $54 billion for ST3 and the writing is on the wall that this won’t be on budget or meet the 2030 projection as is with a elevated line. Who is going to pay for a tunnel? I won’t. The now large population of disgruntled Sound Transit taxpayers outside of Seattle certainly won’t pay for it. Sound Transit already has admitted they need to build trust and faith after the ST3 vote fallout and continually going over budget befire they can try for anything new after ST3 is supposedely completed in 2035. Asking for money for a pet project tunnel is not in their interest now. Elevated lines exist all over. Time to move on

    • WSB March 26, 2019 (9:16 pm)

      Well, among other possibilities, we have already reported that the port might consider chipping in.

      • natinstl March 26, 2019 (10:50 pm)

        The city of Bellevue chipped in for their tunnel by giving ST rights if way for nothing. Seattle could do the same. After attending the meeting it was clear they have no true idea what this will cost tunnel or not. Focus on doing it right vs the money is the most important thing on the table right now.

  • BJG March 26, 2019 (8:51 pm)

    Thanks, TR. I was there and you have done a thorough reporting of the events and discussion, also the tone. We Junction residents are now not alone in demanding that what is built in our neighborhood should not destroy it. The attendees were mostly new, but the concerns are what we have been raising for the past year and a half. Good to hear all the energy and support last night for reasonable alternatives.

  • KBear March 26, 2019 (8:52 pm)

    So let me get this straight: The Alaskan Way Viaduct was a transportation marvel which afforded gorgeous views of Elliott Bay and the Olympics. The SR99 Tunnel is an expensive boondoggle that should have been a reconstructed above-ground viaduct. But elevated light rail would ruin West Seattle? NIMBY much?

    • WS Guy March 26, 2019 (10:08 pm)

      No, and fortunately we didn’t rebuild the viaduct.  We built a tunnel.  Thank you for the support.

    • Also John March 27, 2019 (7:24 am)

      Kbear,You’re referring to a WSDOT tunnel project.  The Sound Transit tunnel projects have been successful.

    • SMP March 27, 2019 (12:17 pm)

      Have you been through the tunnel yet?  Its amazing.  Commute times from WS to downtown are down.  If that’s a boondoggle, I’m alright with it.   

      • natinstl March 27, 2019 (8:13 pm)

        Gotta agree, the tunnel has reduced bridge traffic and getting downtown much easier and faster.

  • Pete March 26, 2019 (9:44 pm)

    Also make sure to include your comments in the EIS scoping effort. Those comments should be directed to wsbscopingcomments@soundtransit.org. Comments made to this address will be included in the scoping document. 

  • WS Guy March 26, 2019 (10:11 pm)

    WSB thank you for the vivid descriptions.   It sounds like it was a raucous meeting.  Wish I could’ve been there.

  • Canton March 26, 2019 (10:15 pm)

    A bit confused, on why tunnel would go under pigeon point? The images are a bit rough, when zooming in. Without knowing the exact geography, couldn’t they elevate it over the duwamish, along WS bridge and tunnel at Avalon? As others have stated, any southern extention should be underground. Elevated south, and eminent domain, would rip a huge swath of neighborhoods.

    • WS Guy March 26, 2019 (10:27 pm)

      They are referring to a tunnel through pigeon ridge, directly aligned with SW Genesee St and well south of the bridge and the point.  This so-called “purple line” actually included two tunnels, since it re-entered the ground near Avalon as you described.It was taken out of consideration by the ELG.  They cited cost, ridge soil instability, and potential Duwamish tribal concerns. 

      • Canton March 26, 2019 (11:12 pm)

        Forgive my ignorance, but by two tunnels, does the train require a loop, to get into and out of WS? Don’t know much about the  trains, but if there’s an engine on each end, couldn’t it use a single track back and forth? By the time this gets rolling, I’ll have more ear hairs than wits.

  • Garlo March 27, 2019 (6:24 am)

    It seems like there are ghosts commenting here who don’t seem to have an interest in the West Seattle neighborhoods potentially scoped for destruction – Kbear- How would you feel if it was your life-long neighborhood that was about to be destroyed? 

    • KM March 27, 2019 (8:00 am)

      Dear lord. Just because people have a different perspective doesn’t make them ghosts. Sounds like, and looks like, this public meeting didn’t bring out a very diverse crowd. That happens often. Everyone might be in agreement in the meeting that a tunnel is mandatory, but that might not be representative of the neighborhood. 

      • CMT March 27, 2019 (8:51 am)

        True, but the majority of input through all mechanisms – not just this meeting – has been pro-tunnel.  There is simply no evidence to suggest that the silent majority favors an elevated option that would, by all accounts, drastically change the neighborhood.  That is especially true given the first hand accounts by residents that have gone door to door and found that many are simply unaware.

        • KM March 27, 2019 (9:22 am)

          Is there a place where we can see all the scoping comments thus far for the line to compare? I have seen support for the tunnel referred to anecdotally here, but wondering if there is actually a place where we can see this for ourselves rather than just comments in meetings and on articles. You’re probably right, many people in the immediate neighborhood are in favor of the tunnel (and it would be ideal). What about other residents affected by the options on the line? It’s not just the Junction we need to be concerned about, a change in the ST representation could have repercussions all the way to Ballard. I should have said that is “might not be representative of community” because it really does affect everyone, not just homeowners in the East Junction. I haven’t had anyone knock on my door.

          • CMT March 27, 2019 (10:25 am)

            Yes, it will absolutely impact the fabric of the entirety of West Seattle community forever.  I haven’t seen a published compilation of the comments from ST recently although I do recall one after the initial interactive map.

  • KM March 27, 2019 (8:02 am)

    Is it indicated in the slides which tunneling option wouldn’t add more cost? That could be really great.

  • Retired March 27, 2019 (10:37 am)

    I urge all who read the WS Blog to click on those links and put your comments and concerns to be added to their data.  I read the blog like you every day.  I read in the blog a couple days ago for the first time, both sides of my street could be destroyed for a  elevated railroad line.  Three years from now notices will go out to home owners on this railroad that ends at,or near the WS Junction.  Ten years from now we will get on or off that train.So here we sit and wait.  Is there an extension?  When do we get to know the bulldozers are knocking down our homes?   And what does this elevated  railroad do to property values of the surrounding homes in its shadow?  Where does it go from the WS Junction?  Tunnels that don’t destroy homes are under construction now from downtown  to  Capitol Hill to the U District and all the way to Northgate! Even Bellevue gets tunnels.  West Seattle used to be 20% of the city before we added White Center. We need tunnels too!

  • Mary March 27, 2019 (12:23 pm)

    I am confused why the “Junction” residents feel they are the only residents in West Seattle. The  junction has become more of a condo park than a neighborhood in my opinion. They complain about the unfair circumstances of being the step child of Seattle all along only concerned with their neighborhood and loss of property. So if the junction residents are the step children of Seattle what does that make the Delridge residents then? Also wouldn’t a higher structure going through the golf course on Genesee be less of a nuisance, pollution and noise wise for the residents and park goers than one that is ground level? I do  not see a lower level rail being good for the environment at the park where children play or wild life at long fellow creek. And there is no way I am for longer construction time and paying one cent more so a few people don’t loose their neighborhood when they only seem to care about their own properties not the owners who are less fortunate to live in a less expensive neighborhood.

    • WSB March 27, 2019 (12:37 pm)

      Sorry if it’s not clear in my report – the “stepchild” reference was to all of West Seattle, not just The Junction. And this just happened to be a Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting, therefore the Junction focus; we have also reported on eastern West Seattle (Delridge, Pigeon Point, etc.) residents advocating for their respective parts of the peninsula.

      The Junction BTW has very few condos. (Alki is the only WS area where those are being built.) Thousands of new-ish apartments. Some townhouses and single-family houses. – TR

    • Karen March 27, 2019 (2:08 pm)

      I am a Junction resident of 70 years and I talk with friends all over West Seattle, and to those who come from Burien and Maple Valley to the Junction for dinner once a week.   I want to keep them informed as to how this will affect the region for decades to come.  I believe that West Seattleites have a vision as big as all of the peninsula and some of us are currently speaking to our most immediate threat.   And at the JUNO meeting I heard the commenter refer to West Seattle, not the Junction, as the stepchild.

    • CMT March 27, 2019 (3:47 pm)

      Why do you think people are only concerned about their own loss of property?  I am not losing any property (and don’t live in the Junction area) yet I care about the preservation of the Junction for the entire West Seattle community.  That is not mutually exclusive from also wanting appropriate placement of light rail and development in the Delridge area to allow that area to grow in a a way that maximizes all of its historic and community resources and amenities.  

      • natinstl March 27, 2019 (8:18 pm)

        Same here, I live in Seaview, but the heart of the neighborhood is the Junction. The elevated line will actually eliminate green space and land for future building. The tunnel leaves green space and land for building more homes.

    • WS Guy March 27, 2019 (8:08 pm)

      I don’t stand to lose any property either, but I care about the quality of life of my neighbors and that neighborhood.  I commute through the Junction and have found it to be a wonderful area full of families and life.  I don’t view their lives and properties as something to be trashed in the name of my own selfish convenience.  

  • Mary March 27, 2019 (1:50 pm)

    Single family homes in the junction? Businesses and condos, and more on the way. Isn’t the antique store being purchased for more condos? And my point is I have been reading the comments for all the rail articles within WS and the junction residents are the only ones that continuously remark with entitled comments about their loss of property and neighborhood and the tunnel being the only option no matter the cost to the rest of us. And my biggest point is that the rest of the residents of WS need to think about is if there is a tunnel the rail will be ground level or much lower than no tunnel.  An elevated rail would be a much better option for the rest of WS.  A ground level will be much more disruptive to the environment, parks and residents of the rest of WS.

    • WSB March 27, 2019 (2:13 pm)

      If you mean the projects on California SW (and 42nd), they are all apartments, including the one that is planned for the ex-Cyclery/Lee’s/Kamei site.

    • HW March 27, 2019 (4:09 pm)

      I disagree that elevated is what is best for West Seattle, at least not in the ST3 redline, which ends with a giant structure in the junction. That is our town square – a dark looming shadow over our farmer’s market, our summer fest food vendors, our halloween children’s parade. If we must have elevated, it at least needs to end a few blocks east of this to preserve our historic downtown.

    • SMP March 27, 2019 (4:10 pm)

      Sorry, but because some of us happen to live in the terminus of the future light rail and would have to forfeit our homes (yes there are condos in the area, around the 41st Ave. area)- and, BTW, we would have no prayer of remaining in this city with how much housing costs- we are entitled?  

      • Mary March 27, 2019 (9:22 pm)

        The tunnel hurts the rest of the neighborhoods.  If you were given a choice of the rail goinging right by your home feet away would you want it 50-60 ft up in the air or closer to the ground? Would you be okay with it closer to the ground and your home so other residents could have it go underground? All of WS is great and one part should not bare the burden for the other. And on top it ask for millions to do it. To think you have that right is yes sorta entitled. And btw LR said they would pay the difference of the market price and your new home if there is one. All the homes affected by a rail 30-50 ft closer to their homes get nothing but noise and loss of value. 

        • Also John March 28, 2019 (7:47 am)

          Mary…    Please explain how a tunnel hurts the rest of the neighborhood.   I’m having difficulties following the logic of your comments.   A tunnel is underground and unseen.  The tunnel is constructed with a TBM not opencut and cover.

  • Mary March 27, 2019 (4:14 pm)

    Why is the rail so much uglier in the junction than going through a skate park, golf course, community center or other neighborhoods. I really hope everyone not living in the junction comments to LR on how much more a low rise rail will negatively impact the rest our community in West Seattle.  I am sorry if you haven’t notice but the junction is not what it once was. I would rather eat and drink in White Center or Burien than the junction. LR needs to be looking ahead to get the most service  to everyone not appease a few. 

    • Anon March 27, 2019 (8:21 pm)

      Why not move to Burien or White Center then. All of your comments don’t make it sound like you care about West Seattle at all. The tunnel serves the same people as elevated does.

  • BJG March 27, 2019 (4:25 pm)

    West Seattle’s Junction neighborhood has hundreds of homeowners. I am just one. I’ve been here since 1947. I was raised in one home, grew up and bought another, raised children here, saw many of my patients here. I went to Jefferson (not the Square) as did my children.Mary, there are a lot of us who care, some like me and some who are recently arrived. We all love this place and are deeply invested. You should look farther than the big new buildings. Most of us aren’t there. We want WS light rail to turn out well for everyone and will be active to protect our interests in this scoping period. I expect you will be doing the same in your neighborhood. Delridge has a lot to lose too. I’m watching and hoping for good outcomes for our neighbors there. Keep fighting for what you need.

    • Karen March 27, 2019 (5:11 pm)

      Mary, when my brother and I went to Jefferson Elementary School (not the Square) some of my classmates were third generation students, and yes we all walked there from a block or ten blocks   but we all lived in the Junction neighborhood.    If you narrowly define the Junction as California Avenue you miss the fabric of this community,.

  • LG March 28, 2019 (6:44 am)

    “Light rail will pay the difference of the current market price of your house and a new one”? I find that hard to believe. Anecdotally I have heard/read reports that isn’t true. It would be precedent setting to “take out” that many residential homes in Seattle & potentially continuing south w/ST4? I walk a lot through West Seattle & would be using light rail for my commute downtown. I don’t live in the junction but I advocate for a tunnel.Ruining whole neighborhoods? Is the plan to put low income housing in these neighborhoods that are ruined?

    • Mary March 28, 2019 (2:36 pm)

      I am curious where you heard or read reports that it isn’t true LR will not pay the difference? I stand to loose my home so I want to read this information. Also where did you get that the plan is to take away homes to put in low income housing? Is this speculation or where did you get this information? How would LR afford to take out homes just to put in low income housing? The tunnel option would put my home in a better position to not be taken. I just can’t be for something that lowers the grade for the rest of the WS community.  All of  WS deserves the elevated rail to be as elevated as possible to decrease the impact. Not to mention the millions it would take away from other areas that also needing rail transportation. 

  • CAM March 28, 2019 (7:54 am)

    Elevated light rail does not “ruin” neighborhoods. Yes, it changes neighborhoods but change does not imply something being ruined. It will eliminate some single family homes. Those spaces won’t be big empty lots. You will have development spring up in those spaces that may in fact provide a greater benefit to a wider variety of people than a bunch of single family homes currently do. The neighborhood is going to change whether there is a tunnel or an elevated line. Aside from saving specific people’s homes, I have yet to hear one argument for why a tunnel is better for everyone other than the usual argument that people like things the way they are and hate change. Unfortunately for those individuals, ST has already said that a tunnel will wipe out numerous homes/properties that are above the path of the tunnel so change is inevitable. I would also recommend that individuals fighting so hard against any change in the Junction take a look at the concept of TOD (Transit Oriented Development) and understand that those single family neighborhoods are going to be significantly altered whether the line is elevated or tunnelled. I appreciate that no one wants to lose their home and that is something that would make me just as upset if it were happening to me. On the other hand, my individual needs don’t dictate the needs of the community, nor should the needs of residents of a relatively tiny number of homes dictate the needs of the entire peninsula. Or the city for that matter. Money doesn’t just appear from nowhere and I find it difficult to swallow that the port is going to eat the entire cost of the tunnel. Nobody also seems to be taking into account that light rail 12 years from now will already be at least 20 years too late. Delaying its arrival further for what amounts to a vanity project seems like a denial of what is coming for this neighborhood in the next decade. Before you say I’m anti-tunnel, I’d love the light rail to be tunnelled everywhere it goes. I just don’t think people are weighing the costs and benefits globally because they are emotionally attached to keeping things the same as they are today. That is a losing position to take. 

    • John March 28, 2019 (11:40 am)

      Thank you CAM for such a thoughtful and rational post.  What you write can not be denied, change is coming and can’t be stopped.  If we are to learn from history, we must not make the same mistakes again and again.  

    • CMT March 28, 2019 (1:32 pm)

      Change is coming for sure.  However, the small town feel and historical character of the Junction are important and the heart of those do not need to be destroyed to accommodate that change.  An elevated track involves massive concrete supports extending from the ground and high into the air, marching down the middle of the road for blocks and limiting sunlight.  The supports become dirty and unsightly.  An above-ground  station would take up an entire block above ground.  The trains are loud.  The elevated track bisects the neighborhood into two sides.  Those things would pretty much ensure the destruction of what many find appealing about the Junction.  Without question, transportation is a critical issue for Seattle.  However, while cost is an important consideration, it should not be the only one.

    • Mary March 28, 2019 (1:46 pm)

      Amen to that Cam! Well put.

    • KM March 28, 2019 (2:16 pm)

      100%. With a city of 725k and a greater metro of 3.5m-ish, we need to change to accommodate our growing population (birth and immigration) and the many implications it brings. Protecting the “small town charm” of several blocks of the whole city, historically accessible for few to live in and hard for many to access without cars, should be the lowest priority. 

      • CMT March 28, 2019 (3:04 pm)

        Really.  Not just a lower priority but “the lowest priority.”  

        • KM March 28, 2019 (3:11 pm)

          I can’t think of a lower priority for this project, but I’m open to suggestions! 

          • CMT March 28, 2019 (3:24 pm)

            If you can read and hear all of the feedback  from members of your community with whom you may not agree but to whom those issues are really important yet still pronounce them to be the lowest priority, I somehow doubt you would be open to suggestions.  

  • LG March 28, 2019 (1:18 pm)

    I’ve been to meetings,wrote several scoping commments but obviously $$$money talks, ST & ELG will most likely go with elevated. So why not minimize the damage to neighborhoods & go down major arterials?

    • jc March 30, 2019 (10:39 am)

      Agree, that is what they are aiming to do. Elevated through the junction on California doesn’t make sense (it is too crowded). But since it’s determined to have the light rail go to the junction, the plan to skirt the junction, then come around and go down 35th is the plan that makes sense. And all these meetings are not going to change the Deciders of the Advisory Boards’ minds.

  • ARPigeonPoint March 28, 2019 (3:27 pm)

    As a Pigeon Point resident a stone’s throw away from the bridge, I’m sad at some of the unsympathetic comments to those of us who will either be losing our homes or will be pushed out due to the destruction of our community.  I’m team tunnel all the way. 

    • jc March 30, 2019 (10:46 am)

      Hi, I hope the decision is not to go through Pigeon Point. Makes no sense, it’s not a major destination. It should go along the WS bridge, and ‘node’ at Andover, so the many 120 riders can get on if we want.Chin up,jc

  • 98126res March 30, 2019 (8:06 am)

    SAVE WEST SEATTLE >>  PUT RUNAWAY TRAIN “ST3” ON HOLD FOR ONE YEAR!!!Literally, most residents of WS and all over town do not even know about this project.Somehow it is at Stage 3, good options in the dust, public comment ends in 3 days, to be handed over to the “ELG” (mayor, KC exec, city council). Thank you!

Sorry, comment time is over.