By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After convening as one supergroup for their first meeting, the 52 people chosen as advisory-group members for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle to Ballard light-rail project will meet as four separate groups from here on out.
That was the main headline from a meeting that otherwise was mostly devoted to a mega-recap of ST history and the potential routing/station sites being studied for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The DEIS is “very close” to being published, group members were assured, though the new estimate delivery date of “early 2022” is a year later than once forecast. Then again, the West Seattle light-rail launch date is now two years later than the 2030 date with which ST3 went to voters in 2016. Ballard could face even more of a delay – four years, to 2039 – if an “affordability gap” isn’t closed along the way.
Another number from the briefing: 90, the number of days the comment period will last once the DEIS is published, .
As for the heart of the briefing – a segment-by-segment summary of the alternatives being studied – we’ve covered those before, so we won’t recap them now. But if you need to catch up, it’s worth watching – pick up the meeting video below at 1:17:04, when they start with the Duwamish River crossing and continue on into West Seattle:
For a quicker review, you can go through the slide deck from the meeting – the Duwamish crossing and West Seattle recap starts on page 66 (the entire deck runs 112):
A city rep took a few minutes to assure everyone that the city is keeping watch on all this – “90 folks on city staff are reviewing this top to bottom” – and to promise that the city would be out in neighborhoods “robustly” once the DEIS is out and comment time begins.
By that point, the assigned two-hour meeting window had less than 15 minutes left, but the group members had only been asked for input once – to type self-introductions in the chat window at the meeting’s start. (The chat window is not visible to those watching the livestream via YouTube; we’ve asked for its transcript.) They then were asked to answer a question, also via chat, related to station planning: “What kind of things give you a sense of belonging or make you feel welcome?” The answers were turned into this “word cloud”:
The final minutes were devoted to the committee’s role and what happens next:
Assuming the DEIS is published in January, here’s the anticipated ST timeline, including an overview for the board at its January meeting (usually the fourth Thursday) and two public hearings in March, with a board decision narrowing down the routing/station locations in June:
But before then, the individual Community Advisory Groups will be meeting. This schedule was presented:
A SODO group member protested that December 9th was a bad choice for that group, as it would overlap with the next West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting. So that date is likely to change.