WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit launches ‘online open house’ with new maps and more

Sound Transit now says its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for West Seattle/Ballard light rail will be out “mid-2021.” That’s the next big comment period, and the next step toward firming up details of the route, but in the meantime, ST has just launched an “online open house” website to let you know where things stand. Here’s what’s in it:

The updated site features an overview of our environmental review process along with detailed maps, elevation profiles and descriptions of each alternative currently being studied. Additionally, we have new maps for each proposed station and cross-sections for all elevated stations, along with information about how people could walk, roll, bike, or take transit to potential station locations.

The map above, with accompanying cross-section, is just one of those featured, as are station cross-sections like this (click through the dots beneath each station map):

The maps and descriptions outline the possible routing under consideration, including the potential guideway elevations, as well as the possible station locations.

Planning for the voter-approved light-rail extension continues even though a delay is possible – it is scheduled to open in 2030, but ST has been hit by the pandemic economic crunch, and its board will decide within a few months whether to push back the timelines on projects like this that aren’t yet under construction.

34 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit launches 'online open house' with new maps and more"

  • Auntie November 18, 2020 (8:42 pm)

    Whoa there – I think this is a case of the cart before the horse. First they need to figure out how it’s going to cross the Duwamish. Certainly not on the West Seattle bridge – upper or lower!

    • WSB November 18, 2020 (9:48 pm)

      that’s part of what the DEIS is studying. The plan has always been for ST to build its own bridge, parallel to the existing one.

  • Joe Z November 18, 2020 (9:14 pm)

    Not much new information here as far as I can tell…but that 105 ft tall elevated Dakota St station is a sight to behold. Clearly the one directly over Delridge is the best.

  • Matt November 18, 2020 (9:15 pm)

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but how are they proposing to build an elevated station above the Safeway and the attached apartments?  If that location were to be chosen would it just mean that the land gets bought out and those businesses relocate or close shop?  I know this is a 2031 (or likely to be later) problem and not a today problem, but it’s an interesting location to propose.

    • Chemist November 18, 2020 (11:12 pm)

      I am pretty sure they’d need to buy Jefferson square from sps and other owners and raze most of it.  I fear what construction closures of delridge and fauntleroy will be like for these elevated station monstrosities.

      • Derek November 19, 2020 (7:28 am)

        The elevated stations look kind of cool to me. I don’t see what the beef is. We’re becoming a modern city. I’m a homeowner in West Seattle right near 40/Oregon. I could not be more excited for this. 

        • Anon November 19, 2020 (10:16 pm)

          As a former NY’er the dirt, noise and ugliness of living next to an elevated rail line was not cool. A drawing is nothing compared to real life. Not to mention it becomes the toilet bowl underneath.

    • Anne November 19, 2020 (6:38 am)

      They will take whatever property is in the way.

  • Ice November 18, 2020 (9:21 pm)

    With an administration that is transit friendly, I hope they can get some federal dollars for this and speed it up. 2030 is a long way away.

    • Lisa November 19, 2020 (1:18 am)

      I agree! I would love to see it up sooner and safely.

  • Justind November 18, 2020 (10:31 pm)

    Has there been any talk of eventually extending the line further south?The raised line seems fine as planned. But if the line were to continue south, it would cut right through residential neighborhoods. If a southern extension is even a possibility, then the tunnel or short tunnel options would be much better now. 

    • KW November 18, 2020 (10:41 pm)

      It’s already going to cut through several residential neighborhoods as planned.

      • Derek November 19, 2020 (7:24 am)

        It basically follows Faulntleroy way and will only disrupt apartment buildings. 

      • Joe Z November 19, 2020 (7:40 am)

        It’s unacceptable that an alternative following the West Seattle bridge ramp was not advanced to the DEIS. Especially if they end up going with the northernmost Delridge station which was added late in the process despite its terrible location right next to Nucor. If all three stations are going to be within a block of the main route into the junction, why take a meandering route through residential neighborhoods that goes straight up the hill rather than following a gradual grade like the bridge ramp does? The whole thing could have been elevated in the median of Fauntleroy.

    • Derek November 19, 2020 (7:31 am)

      It would be easier to come south from the line by Sea Tac than for this line. This should be exclusive to West Seattle. A tunnel under California would take a Bertha level effort and cost too much for a small amount of people. Take rapid line to the Junction station. Much easier. 

  • BJM November 18, 2020 (11:02 pm)

    Ugh… If they don’t bury this whole line underground west of Avalon, like they did with Beacon Hill, I prefer they didn’t do it at all. 

    • Dustin November 19, 2020 (7:06 am)

      I am inclined to agree. I’ve lived in a community with a raised rail line and it may as well have been a wall. In effect, there became two different neighborhoods defined by which side of the rail they were on. The effect is not unlike that of a major highway.  

    • Derek November 19, 2020 (7:26 am)

      ???? We need this in West Seattle at ANY cost! It’s not about the FEW NIMBYs that get mad, it’s about getting the masses in West Seattle to the city center. 

      • Anon November 19, 2020 (10:19 pm)

        Clearly working from home has made many employers recognize they don’t need to pay for expensive downtown offices. I predict ST won’t be able to fund these projects due to lack of ridership and they’re going to keep coming back asking for more money.

    • Martin Pagel November 19, 2020 (9:52 am)

      ACT4WS (Aerial cable transit) is working on a gondola alternative which would minimize the disruption to the neighborhood. I don’t think tunneling will happen due to the current ST budget shortfall due to covid.

    • Azimuth November 19, 2020 (10:11 am)

      Agreed. Wait until those of us who complain about a single new apartment building ruining the neighborhood get a look at what this beast will do!

    • SpiritOfWS November 19, 2020 (10:35 am)

      Agreed! The idea of having an elevated line running right through WS breaks my heart. I love this neighborhood and all of its beauty and would love for it to remain that way. The just brought down the viaduct and that was an eyesore. Why is it okay to build another one of these structures right in the heart of our community? I understand the need to have WS be more accessible but we’re not a tourist attraction. There’s a distinct difference in the culture in WS compared to being in the city and surrounding neighborhoods. We are much more warm, loving and connected and we have an undeniable camaraderie that is so prevalent! To build this large cold structure in the middle of our home is a direct blow to the heartfelt atmosphere that has been established here by our residents. Please don’t destroy our beauty, peace and unity as a community!

      • Anon November 19, 2020 (10:34 pm)

        Agreed. We live 10 minutes by boat to downtown, they should be investing in more boat options. Taking me to SODO by light rail  where I then have to catch a bus to the core of downtown is just more of an incentive to drive.

        • Matt P November 20, 2020 (5:47 am)

          Why would you take a bus? You would change trains at SODO to get to downtown or Bellevue or UW or Ballard. 

  • Chemist November 19, 2020 (1:32 am)

    I’d feel a lot better about these outlines (and, wow, I thought that elevated station was going to have the run-over rail down 42nd, not the alleyway between 42nd and California) if they’d update to newer maps for these sketches.  The Fauntleroy/Alaska Pit, Huling Bros, Howden-Kennedy are still present so these are 7-8 year old maps?    They’re in for a surprise with that Alaska/Fauntleroy EIS station and that underway construction they’re running the train into at a 35 ft track elevation.

  • Holy collateral damage!?! November 19, 2020 (7:03 am)

    Why would we destroy a neighborhood we’ve spent the last decades building up? I just don’t understand why, when the golf course is right here and already owned by the City, wouldn’t we put it over that put a station at ground level at 35th and Alaska? Should we be mowing down tons of buildings and building a concrete monstrosity in the sky, like the hideous viaduct we just torn down along the waterfront? The golf course is right there and I’d rather lose that they raze huge swaths of the triangle and junction. And they could save a boatload of money by combining two stations into one (Avalon & Junction). If they really wanted to connect closer to the Junction they should consider a trolly style streetcar that loop around the Triangle and Junction. But there is space the city already owns in a pretty ideal location by the totem pole park on the east of 35th. This new alignment seems crazy from a land acquisition, ugly elevation, and expense point of view. 

    • Chemist November 19, 2020 (12:07 pm)

      ST likes to go back to trying to keep the same number of stations and coverage that voters approved but I agree that it starts getting silly when the voters approved a representative alignment where the Avalon/Junction station were about 2,800 ft apart and then Avalon/Fauntleroy options are in the EIS that are more like 1,800 ft apart.  If budgets crash hard enough, ST has dropped stations (to later be infilled) and shortened lines in the past.  Dropping Avalon vs stopping at Avalon might be a future ST board decision.  I think they should also look at skipping the Ballard Bridge in favor of gondolas into a Ballard station too.

  • JL November 19, 2020 (10:43 am)

    Wow, I’m on 41st and Alaska. I wonder how much ST will offer for my property. 

  • WS Realtor November 19, 2020 (10:59 am)

    The land acquisition process of Eminent Domain insures property owners will receive fair market value. . . . good luck with that.  

    • JL November 19, 2020 (11:10 am)

      My spidey alarm senses sarcasm. Can you confirm?

  • Only the planners will get paid November 19, 2020 (11:46 am)

    My money is on Sound Transit pushing back and eventually canceling the entire West Seattle Line.  Perhaps a line will be build north from SeaTac up 599/99 and West Marginal Way one day.  In the mean time only the planners and designers will get paid.

  • SeattleJ November 19, 2020 (12:35 pm)

    Having been on urban gondolas in other countries, I’m all for using that modality to connect West Seattle to the SODO and/or International District LINK stations.   In Medellin Colombia I had a fabulous, quiet ride in an eight person cable car high above residential neighborhoods to a light rail platform where I boarded the train to my hotel.  It took minutes to do what would have otherwise taken an hour or more.  In Mexico City they now transport 17 million people on aerial cable transit.  Plus a gondola structure takes up much less ground space (slender towers) and can be built in 2-3 years.  

    • HS November 19, 2020 (10:20 pm)

      Here, here! 

  • FIRSTTIMEHOMEBUYER November 19, 2020 (4:02 pm)

    Wow! Today has some good news for us. As a new homeowner in North Delridge (purchased AFTER the WSB was closed)  I am excited to hear about this Light Rail Extension passing right by my neighborhood.  Also excited to hear about the decision in favor of the Bridge Repair this morning. Whoever buys/rents my house in the future will love the upcoming transportation options!

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