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