WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: With 9 days to comment, what you need to know now

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What routing and station locations will be deemed “preferred” for West Seattle light rail? Key decision deadlines are headed this way fast.

With Sound Transit soon to decide what will be the focus of environmental studies, you have nine days left to comment as part of the “scoping” period. Here’s what’s happening as the April 2nd deadline nears:

JUNO MEETING TONIGHT – The Junction Neighborhood Organization is focusing its meeting on light-rail routing, 6:30 pm tonight (Monday) at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon). This is one place for you to have a say, along with the online open house.

EAST ALASKA JUNCTION NEIGHBORHOOD COALITION: We reported on this new group two weeks ago. Sunday, you might have seen their table at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market:

They’re advocating for tunneling into The Junction and, in particular, opposing the “orange” elevated routing (their materials call it the “yellow” line), not only because it could take out an entire residential neighborhood but also, they say, because it would predetermine how light rail would expand south – taking out even more homes. Go here to see the flyer they have been circulating, as well as their proposed alternative.

ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT DISPLACEMENT: Youngstown-area residents continue voicing their concerns about the southernmost option for the Delridge station; we reported in January on a special meeting they had with ST. They invited Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman on a walking tour of their neighborhood this past Thursday:

That’s Bowman at left above with Dennis Noland, a longtime area property owner who’s been leading the neighbors in advocacy against the Youngstown-area station location. She’s a member of the Elected Leadership Group, which will make a routing/stations recommendation next month to the ST board.

The ELG also meets this Friday (March 29th), scheduled to talk about the Delridge and Chinatown-ID stations, 9 am-noon at the ST board room downtown (401 S. Jackson). That’s where the Stakeholder Advisory Group (which had a member along on the Youngstown tour too, Deb Barker) met this past Thursday night – here’s how that went:

STAKEHOLDER ADVISORY GROUP TALKS STATIONS: Station planning was the focus of the SAG meeting. No decisionmaking, just a chance for the SAG members to ask more questions. Here’s the slide deck; the meeting broke into table discussions fairly quickly. West Seattle was one of the first route segments discussed; we monitored the discussion at both tables. ST station planner Sloan Dawson facilitated.

The slide deck doesn’t include the graphics and renderings to which Dawson referred – we’ll be requesting them later today. (ADDED TUESDAY: Here they are.) They were detailed down to where station entries might be and how the station location possibilities might interface with bus routes. 44th, Dawson said, might work well with Metro’s long-range plan,, but is out on the edge of the urban village. An elevated 42nd SW station, “spanning Alaska Street,” could intersect with the future Neighborhood Greenway. The 41st SW proposal might be a little too far east from the heart of The Junction – California SW – so that would require a “tweak” to Metro’s long-range plan (which looks ahead to 2040, a decade after West Seattle light-rail service is supposed to start).

While the Metro long-range plan was brought up more than once, the point about how the Junction station would set up future light-rail extension was deflected by Dawson – “we’re not planning (for that, right now).” Some participants wanted details such as depth of an underground station and what businesses a 42nd SW station would affect. Construction staging could require “2 or 3 acres,” Dawson said.

Moving on to the Avalon station – currently with two options suggested – Dawson noted that it’s a difficult area for any kind of transit station, especially for pedestrian access. (His second table talk went into a few more details. One of interest – the site that is currently home to Taco Time might eventually be where transit is consolidated to interact with the Avalon station.)

On to the Delridge options, Nucor ingress/egress would be a challenge to the northernmost site; the middle one would span the street but seems to hold promise for connecting with the future RapidRide H Line. And then significant discussion ensued about the station option that could take out a residential area near Youngstown, the area where the aforementioned walking tour had happened earlier in the day. On one hand, it would interface well with the 26th SW greenway; on the other hand, in an understatement, there would be “a significant effect on the existing neighborhood.” Would 25th SW even continue to exist as a street? someone asked. Hard to say, was the reply.

(And for those noting that this is a “generational decision,” a reply Dawson had for a question verified that, saying they design all this expecting it will last 100 years.)

WHAT’S NEXT: Again, as noted above, tonight’s Junction Neighborhood Organization community meeting is at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center; in the official ST process, the Elected Leadership Group meets Friday morning, and then on April 2nd, the “scoping period” commenting opportunity ends. The Stakeholder Advisory Group will be convened to make its routing/station recommendations – group members asked last Thursday how that meeting will work, and ST said it hasn’t figured that out yet. This all leads into a May 23rd Sound Transit board vote on what to send into environmental study

16 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: With 9 days to comment, what you need to know now"

  • 98126res March 25, 2019 (2:46 pm)

    Do not care for the “ELG” or Elected Leadership Group – for light rail extensions to both ballard and west seattle. Yep, it’s the mayor, city council, and a couple people from sound transit.  Talk about loaded, not in a good way!  I would not trust any of them as far as I could throw them…  to make a good decision FOR THE PEOPLE on transit to west seattle.  They show one of their pricey PR firm dog and pony shows that we pay for, then they just do what they want:  more density, more rail, and more tax revenue for their pet socialist projects.

    • WSB March 25, 2019 (2:53 pm)

      As linked in the story, the membership of the ELG:
      • Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council
      • Executive Dave Somers, Sound Transit Board Chair
      • Executive Dow Constantine, Sound Transit Board Member
      • Mayor Jenny Durkan, Sound Transit Board Member
      • Councilmember Joe McDermott, Sound Transit Board Member
      • Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Seattle City Council
      • Councilmember Lorena González, Seattle City Council
      • Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Seattle City Council
      • Councilmember Rob Johnson, Sound Transit Board Member
      • Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Council
      • Commissioner Stephanie Bowman, Port of Seattle

      None are “people from Sound Transit.” Five of them also are on the ST board but there too they are representing the jurisdiction in which they were elected. (Snohomish County executive, King County executive, King County Councilmember, Seattle mayor and councilmembers, Port of Seattle commissioner) What part of the story are you describing as a “pricey PR firm dog and pony show”?

      • West Seattle Hipster March 25, 2019 (7:45 pm)

        Thanks for posting the members of the group. ..I do do not have faith they will get it right.

      • 98126res March 26, 2019 (8:26 am)

        I was expecting a pr show, but there was none in last night’s Juno meeting which makes sense.  I was thinking back to the community meetings about HALA, that I did not care for and were led by outside pr communications people, at least the one I attended.

      • TEU March 26, 2019 (9:40 am)

        Anyone concerned with the introduction of the yellow elevated line into The Junction, please consider contacting the members of the ELG prior to the Friday ELG meeting. Let them know if you feel like this alignment was introduced very late in the process without community outreach. My hope is that public pressure will guide the members to realize this option should not even be considered in the EIS.

  • Fiz March 25, 2019 (2:54 pm)

     I’ve heard comments from WS residents who are not in the proposed routes say they don’t care.   Make no mistake this will be a major upheaval  in entering/leaving the Junction/Avalon/Delridge neighborhoods for several years.  All of us will be affected.Construction staging could require “2 or 3 acres,” Dawson said.   That’s in addition to actual construction.  And is that for each station – my first question at the next meeting?   If my elementary school math is correct, 2 or 3 acres are 17-26 average size city lots.   Homes and businesses will be gone, not just in construction of the guideway but to store equipment and materials. If you have not attended the meetings, read as much as you can find, talked with neighbors, you have a big surprise coming.

    • 98126res March 26, 2019 (8:40 am)

      Last night’s meeting?  Lost in a gazillion details, planning stages, power point presentation, and forgone conclusions.  How did I just hear about this, yet we are apparently at Stage 3?   I am most concerned about a major disruption to our small town lifestyle we love here, depicted in many beautiful murals painted on buildings in west seattle.  This lifestyle is enjoyed by residents here, and people from all over town who visit family and friends who live here, restaurants, beaches, views, parks, and the vashon ferry.  I think a recent survey bore this out in the data.Is it too late to propose LEAST disruptive options?  Bring rail along the west seattle bridge to the base, then from that central point, create other quieter cheaper types of transportation to all points in west seattle… a la Centraal Station in Amsterdam.  Delridge is a thought, although that consideration is with residents there.  Millions in transit dollars could be a boost to that area, and further south in unincorporated White Center.  Or as a gal suggested in last night’s meeting, could this be built down 35th, a very wide street already, so less or no homes need to be removed.  People are focused on boring a new giant transit system into the heart of the junction.  Can someone tell me if this is an absolute legal requirement and where it is written?    Was it from the original Sound Transit vote years ago?   Thank you for all your great careful detailed coverage, West Seattle blog!

  • Also John March 25, 2019 (3:26 pm)

    Please attend this meeting tonight and all future meetings.  The ELG needs to see high numbers of West Seattle locals expressing concerns.  West Seattle would never be the same if the revised Level 3 elevated light rail option is picked.  This option will run south of Genesee from the Avalon Station.  It will begin to turn southwest heading for the intersection of Oregon and 41st Ave SW removing approximately 30 homes in its path along with apartments.The engineers drawing shows the elevated station located between Alaska and Oregon on the south side of 41st Ave SW.  The complete northern half of that block will be cleared.The elevated rail will continue 580 feet south on 41st Ave SW heading for the back street of Safeway (Erskin?)Sound Transits future plan is to continue the elevated rail south within 41st Ave SW.  I’m not kidding.  Sound Transit stated they would purchase all homes on both sides of 41st Ave SW.  This would be a visual nightmare within the new revised Urban Village.  In addition….displacing countless people.We need a tunnel like every other neighborhood.  Please express your concern and comment to Sound Transit.  Thx

  • Brian Hughes March 25, 2019 (7:43 pm)

    We voted on the representative red line. It’s not ideal but it minimizes the impact on the area around Genesee. That entire block will be decimated. And neighborhood after neighborhood will be destroyed in future southbound expansion. That’s crazy. Plus, once the train is in place above ground, nothing else can ever be built. This yellow/orange line is nothing but bait-and-switch by Sound Transit. And Lisa Herbold is essentially supporting that option. We’ve been talking to dozens of neighbors. Not one was aware of the yellow/orange line. And not one of them wants it.The only truly viable option for a North/South orientation is an underground station, with future expansion south via underground tracks.  Please log your comments supporting a tunnel to Sound Transit by April 2nd. 

  • Natinstl March 25, 2019 (8:45 pm)

    I wasn’t to say that I’m so glad I attended tonight’s meeting. It really gave me perspective on the route options. It also reminded me why I love West Seattle. People here love their community, their neighbors and the small business community. We can have light rail without affecting so many individuals. They made it very clear that they want our comments by April 2nd so please check the blog on ways to comment. JUNO highlighted some very good reasons as to why the tunnel option gains us so much more than elevated. It also takes away less. Thanks to the sound transit reps who listened to our very impassioned group.

    • WSB March 25, 2019 (9:23 pm)

      Glad you were there! I hope to publish our story tomorrow … barring breaking news, which has gotten in the way of a few things lately (like my original plan to publish the story above by mid-evening Sunday). I also learned before leaving the Sisson Building tonight that Sound Transit also will be at next week’s Southwest District Council (which JuNO director Amanda co-chairs) meeting, 6:30 pm Wednesday 4/3. -TR

  • GeneseeHillResident March 26, 2019 (7:26 am)

    Would you be able to post the link for commenting? I haven’t been able to find it. Thanks!

  • BJG March 26, 2019 (1:06 pm)

    Just noticed your time stamp, TR. Who’s up at 2AM still covering the WS news? Just you. Thanks!

  • WSB March 26, 2019 (3:16 pm)

    For anyone checking back on this (while we continue working on our coverage of last night’s meeting), we’ve finally obtained the station graphics from last week’s SAG meeting – added above and accessible:

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