WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: See early designs for 13 station alternatives, as shown to new advisory group

(Sound Transit recording of Tuesday’s meeting)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Three stations are planned for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle light-rail extension – Delridge, Avalon, The Junction. Each one still has multiple potential locations under study, but the newest ST public presentation provided an official detailed look at early design possibilities for all of them.

That happened during the first meeting of the West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group for the project, which is now projected to launch light rail to/from the peninsula in 2032.

The slide deck for this meeting ran 119 pages – you can scroll through for the closest look yet at all the station possibilities that are being studied and will be part of what’s addressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement:

Stations were the focus this time. Sloan Dawson from ST and Radcliffe Dacanay from SDOT were the main presenters. They explained how the two entities are working together on this component of the project. As Dacanay noted, a key role for the city is to issue the permits allowing the project to be built. The planning has to be focused beyond that, though, to the few blocks around each station:

The information in this presentation was described by Dawson as “the first step – the start of a conversation – toward station framework.” In other words – early design. Each station area (Delridge, Avalon, Junction) was profiled. Delridge is envisioned with the second-highest ridership – 5,800 daily boardings. The vast majority – 87 percent – are expected to arrive by bus. (None of the West Seattle stations will have parking facilities.)

The Avalon station’s projected ridership is far lower than the other two – 1,200 daily boardings are anticipated, with 53 percent of the riders getting there by walking.

The Junction station is expected to draw 6,400 daily boardings, also with just over half the passengers walking there.

Again, you’ll have to scroll through the slide deck for the close-up looks at each possible station alternative (if you can’t view the embedded version toward the start of this story, see it here). There are 13 possibilities under study – four each for Delridge and Avalon, five for The Junction. Some would require additional funding from unspecified third parties, none of which has surfaced yet. The “extra funding required” possibilities are for the Avalon and Junction stations; all of the Delridge options are elevated, including a 110-foot proposal (the “Dakota Street Station”); third-party funding could bring that down to 60 feet.

The early “framework” designs also looked at possibilities for “transit-oriented development” in the station areas, showing where hundreds of new residential units could be planned in the station areas (though those numbers were not in the context of how many residences might be demolished to make way for the line). In some areas, “creative public spaces” could be planned beneath the guideways/stations – Dawson mentioned cities like Miami that he said have created features such as skateparks.

Questions/comments from advisory group members (who are listed in the slide deck) included gentrification concerns in the Delridge station area – concerns about existing residents getting “pushed out” there and elsewhere. How long would there be a gap between the demolition of existing housing and the construction of new housing? Also the subject of inquiry, what could “transit-oriented development” lead to beyond more multi-family housing? Dawson said they envisioned potential partnerships – maybe even the kind that could bring a long-desired grocery store to the North Delridge area. They’ll also be partnering with affordable-housing developers. And more upzoning might be on the way for station areas as the city looks ahead to its next comprehensive-plan update, said Dacanay.

Another line of inquiry: What will bus service be like once light rail opens? There will still be at least one route going downtown, said a Metro planner in attendance, and a route like the current 50 will continue as well. But, added Metro’s Chris Arkills, a few years before light-rail opens, there’ll be a “robust public process” to talk about it.

WHAT’S NEXT: Before this group and the three other groups assigned sections of the West Seattle/Ballard extensions meet again, ST will release the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on January 28th, opening a new public-comment period. The DEIS will be the topic of the advisory groups’ next meetings; West Seattle/Duwamish will meet at 5 pm Tuesday, February 8th.

54 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: See early designs for 13 station alternatives, as shown to new advisory group"

  • bill January 12, 2022 (8:45 pm)

    Why are the estimates for biking to the stations so low? E-bikes are a game-changer. 

    • Jeff January 13, 2022 (6:13 am)

      I ride my bike around west Seattle a lot, including for small errands etc.    the chances I would leave any bike of mine locked up at a transit center are absolutely zero.   Theft is basically assured, and the response from authorities is nothing at all except to tell you not to steal it back yourself if you find it.    If we someday get to where there aren’t piles of stolen bikes laying under tarps all over town, maybe then I’d think about leaving mine locked up in public. 

      • Kathy January 13, 2022 (11:23 pm)

        BikeLink lockers like the ones at SODO station would be great at the WS stations. You put your BikeLink card in the slot, the locker opens, your bike is locked inside and your card is charged $0.05/hour until you retrieve it.  https://www.bikelink.org/

    • West Seattle eBiker January 13, 2022 (7:24 am)

      I’m not so sure. I love my eBike, but I rarely ride it to a destination. I worry too much about it being stolen to park it for long :(

      • bill January 13, 2022 (7:51 am)

        Theft is an entirely valid concern that could be addressed with bike lockers at stations. Lots of lockers.

    • Chemist January 13, 2022 (11:56 pm)

      It’s kind of odd considering that Seattle codes say that rail transit stations have to provide long-term bike parking for “5% of projected AM peak period daily ridership” and an additional 2% as short-term parking.  Of course, they should also charge appropriately and ban bikes from being on the trains during peak hours, like other big cities do.

      • Victoria February 1, 2022 (11:10 am)

        Suppose that bikes (including ebikes)  aren’t banned on light rail… even during rush hour? Instead, suppose that there  is an extra fee for transporting bikes which is more expensive than the cost of a bike locker?  A policy like this would probably have the effect of increasing demand for rail transit. It might reduce the requirement for so many (expensive) stations. Also, it might help  Sound Transit (or businesses near transit stations which offer bike lockers) a better basis to estimate the demand for on train bike stowage and bike lockers at or near stations.

  • CommonSense January 12, 2022 (9:05 pm)

    This will never be built. Seattle is not competent enough to do this. Never be built. Mark this post. Just planning and gov workers getting paid to goof off. Never be built. Ever. 

    • bill January 12, 2022 (10:40 pm)

      Are you even remotely aware that Link runs from Seatac to Northgate with daily ridership around 80,000?  If not, that’s excusable. Light rail is not the hideous scar on the landscape that the high bridge and its approaches are. It’s mostly out of sight and out of mind unless you ride it. West Seattle capacity is estimated around 80,000 per day. That’s like adding an entire new bridge and approaches and upgrading 99, I-5, and the various surface streets to handle the additional cars, but without doing that! Not to mention somehow parking tens of thousands more cars in West Seattle. 

    • Derek January 13, 2022 (12:06 am)

      You’re completely wrong. It will be built. This is ST, not Seattle.

    • Wseattleite January 13, 2022 (11:49 am)

      Common sense, we can only hope for such sanity. I wish you to be correct. 

    • Unimpressed January 13, 2022 (7:23 pm)

      Just like they never built any of the other rail. 

  • Ray January 12, 2022 (10:16 pm)

    Why don’t they just put the Delridge station over the existing skatepark and save quite a few existing houses by planning the route along the north edge of the golf course?

    • Derek January 13, 2022 (12:07 am)

      That skate park is the best in the city and an institution. Where’s your house? We can skate there and build ramps?

      • Ray January 13, 2022 (6:54 am)

        I’m across the street from the park, so any ramps that get built won’t be there for long once they bulldoze everything to start construction. I just liked Dawson’s noting that Miami put some skateparks under their light rail lines, completely ignoring that a part of this line could go right over an existing skatepark.

        • Ron Swanson January 13, 2022 (8:47 am)

          If you want federal funding for your transit project, it can’t use existing parkland unless there’s no feasible alternative.  That’s why they’re not proposing routes through the park.

          • Ray January 13, 2022 (12:28 pm)

            That is really good to know, thank you.

          • Yep January 13, 2022 (5:55 pm)

            Thanks for that explanation about the park. It would be great to see Gridline (who designed the skatepark and is a local company) expand the park under the light rail! 

  • Mj January 12, 2022 (10:40 pm)

    bill – I noticed the low bike numbers also.  I suspect bike security and theft are a big deterrent.  E-bikes are not cheap and bike theft in Seattle is rampant.  Further there is only limited space on the trains for bike’s.

  • Joe Z January 12, 2022 (11:56 pm)

    Getting the bus transfers right is a big deal. The Delridge preferred alternative is unacceptable with the bus having to detour off of Delridge and the station requiring 3 escalators to get to the platform. They need to switch the preferred alternative to the one that straddles Delridge Way in a N-S orientation. 

    It’s pretty clear that Jefferson Square is going to be the location of the Junction station, it’s by far the best option. 

    There’s also the issue that this is turning a 1-seat ride to downtown on the C or 120 into a 3-seat ride requiring a transfer to light rail and a second transfer to the 1-line at SODO (at least until 2037). If you want to get to Bellevue you will have to ride three different light rail trains. Trains every 10 minutes are not going to cut it, we need to demand 5 minute frequency on our new light rail line. 

    • Jort January 13, 2022 (9:08 am)

      All good points, Joe Z. 

    • neighbor January 13, 2022 (10:08 am)

      I hear you on the Delridge points, but the worst of all would be the one on Andover. That stretch of Andover already gets backed up with car traffic and freight trucks to and from the steel mill. Adding bus traffic on top of that would not work at all.

    • Martin January 13, 2022 (10:28 am)

      JoeZ, all good points, let’s wait until the 28th for their final alignment/station selection. I noticed that the ridership forecast has dropped, that may limit their desire to increase frequency. The highest frequency the line supports is 6min as it will have to share the downtown tunnel with another line. On a weekend, with a 3 seat ride, you may end up waiting 45min along the way. That’s why a gondola would get you more quickly to your destination – no wait and a direct ride to International District where you can catch your Bellevue train.

  • Plf January 13, 2022 (12:15 am)

    So where will all the cars park who won’t roller blade, bike etc?to think that there will not be a high percentage of folks that will drive and park in adjoining neighborhoods is naive but I also believe that this won’t happen, be it funding, lawsuits etcif it comes to pass the majority of us will be six feet under makes me shutter the money that has and will be wasted 

  • Foop January 13, 2022 (12:57 am)

    Personally if I have to bike to Andover to wait for transit, it’s only 15 more minutes of riding to get downtown. Maybe worth when we have a more comprehensive network, but with Ballard being 15 years out, I have little faith I’ll be alive to see it.

    • Derek January 13, 2022 (7:57 am)

      You’re already close. Someone from Gatewood or south of there riding to a rail, then taking it, now that’s different. The people close to the bridge are not who the demographic ST is after here. But even those get the bonus of literally walking, then riding, which is also just as good if not better.

      • Wseattleite January 13, 2022 (11:59 am)

        As someone who lives far from these station locations, I am not going to bike to any of these stations to then wait to ride multiple legs on a train to get downtown. The difficulty is getting to the point of the stations. Not the coast down hills or the flat nice ride from the low bridge to DT. Probably has something to do with the low projected bike numbers.  

        • nf January 13, 2022 (2:37 pm)

          I particularly wonder about all the folks in North Admiral. I will eat my hat if those folks take the bus to the Delridge station. The WS extension misses a huge chunk of WS. So, on what basis do the estimate that only 2% will drive in?

  • Dan January 13, 2022 (5:08 am)

    Well I see arguments be over skate be parks, parking lots, bicyclist ridership, racial equity (really??? It’s a F***ING light rail station!!) but nothing about the 2 things I’m curious to know being 1- how far over budget will Sound Transit end up on this station?  And 2- how far behind schedule will they end up being on it? I can easily see the cost getting pushed to double what they say it will and completion pushed 10 years out. Thoughts?

  • Don Brubeck January 13, 2022 (8:15 am)

    Bingo, FOOP.  Once you are out the door on a bike it will be faster to just keep riding to downtown than to stop, lock up a bike in a locker, and transfer to a train.   Like the water taxi now. If I ride to Seacrest, I can get downtown faster if I just continue on by bike than if I transfer to the water taxi.  At a lot less cost to taxpayers, too, for building and operating the infrastructure.   The trains will serve more people and will be better for going further, like to U District or Seatac.  One environmental impact to comment on: how will the multi-use path around Pigeon Point to the Spokane St Bridge (alongside the Delridge on-ramp to high bridge) be kept open during construction and after construction for walking, rolling, biking?

  • Ant January 13, 2022 (8:34 am)

    The bike cages at the new stations like UDistrict are a game changer. Fully enclosed, secure and digital, and you still use your own bike lock on top of that. I feel 100% confident having used UDistrict and similar cages on UW campus with my $4k Tern.

  • Ken January 13, 2022 (11:31 am)

    I notice the traditional “red-line” areas are being maintained as off limits to transit dollars.  Not unexpected but disappointing.

    • Martin January 13, 2022 (2:39 pm)

      SkyLink is considering extending service to High Point and even the Duwamish Longhouse. Comparison of SkyLink with West Seattle Link light rail connection (westseattleskylink.org)Why would we spend $3.2b to push light rail up the hill to the Junction, if could run light rail South along the Duwamish and the also serve Georgetown, South Park, White Center, and Westwood for the same cost?!?

      • no, thank you January 13, 2022 (6:31 pm)

        Considering extending service, what?  You don’t even exist?

        • Jort January 13, 2022 (8:49 pm)

          They would like to expand the neighborhoods at which people laugh at this joke proposal even to traditionally marginalized communities. Either that or they’re looking for more people gullible enough to donate money to their “cause” so they can use the money to sue Sound Transit to force a delay on the project.

          • Sr.nonbiker January 14, 2022 (10:35 am)

            Don’t follow your logic on this.  Gondola being proposed as a way for Sound Transit to deliver an earlier (this decade), cheaper connection from West Seattle to light rail main line.  Why is it a problem to suggest that some of the money saved could go to neighborhoods where people are more dependent on public transit than the Junction and Avalon areas?  

      • Derek January 14, 2022 (1:57 pm)

        Please stop pushing Skylink. A massive joke… NO. We want the train. Move on. 

  • Wseattleite January 13, 2022 (11:44 am)

    So at least three different rides to get downtown?  No thanks. 

    • nf January 13, 2022 (2:40 pm)

      And add to that a change to continue on LR. Unless they’ve changed the plans, from other community meetings they said that riding from WS you’ll have to change DT to continue. We can either recognize and accept human nature, look at what our behaviors are, and then plan transportation around the reality.

  • mightymoh January 13, 2022 (2:31 pm)

    One of the best things about all this is that a number of the alternatives for the Junction will raze Jefferson Square, which has one of the worst parking lots I’ve seen. I have appreciated businesses and services in that building — and I’m sure lovely people live there — but it sucks.I know it’s because of topography and mix-and-matching alternatives, but it seems crazy to me to have a station at 35th and Avalon and then potentially another at Fauntleroy and Alaska. So close!Excited to get this going. My kids will now be grown up by the time they take the train to visit us, but it’ll be so good to not have to deal with the WSB or a detour, by bus or by car, to get downtown and beyond.

    • CaseyMac January 14, 2022 (2:32 pm)

      Agreed that it seems silly to have a station considered at Fauntleroy given it’s closeness to the “Avalon” station and given it’s a third of a mile from the Junction (it’s intended destination).   Also, in order facilitate the Fauntleroy station would mean razing two new 5 story apartment blocks.  That’s going to be expensive.  Im assuming this is only on the list for comparison and will likely never be seriously considered.  

  • nf January 13, 2022 (2:41 pm)

    Maybe someone has already asked, but I can’t find it…are there any higher resolution images? The document isn’t terribly clear, though it’s more visualization than we’ve had so far.

    • Martin January 13, 2022 (7:45 pm)

      Sound Transit publishes the full recording and presentation on West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions (participate.online) (bottom of the page)

      • WSB January 13, 2022 (7:51 pm)

        Which are both already in our story – the recording is what’s at the top, the presentation is a bit lower, and if you can’t read the embedded version, later in the story we link the full PDF. (We don’t just point to Sound Transit for that because we’ve unfortunately learned the sad lesson over 15 years of local news coverage that public agencies don’t necessarily do redirects when they redesign their websites, and that leads to too many broken links for essential documents. Some broken links don’t matter much but a slide deck might be helpful reference, say, in 10 years when the system actually opens, to compare what was envisioned and what actually happens.)

  • Sweetiebee January 13, 2022 (3:54 pm)

    This is laughable, except is the idiotic way Seattle conducts itself. Who’s going to commute to the junction only to get stuck in SoDo? Waiting for 2 or 3 more connecting something or other.

  • Dubious Dad January 13, 2022 (11:09 pm)

    I too question when and if this will actually be built.  My concern is that ST will force many of us into selling our homes to them for this project sometime around 2023, leaving us with not enough money to purchase another home in Seattle.  Then not use the properties for years or maybe even ever, then sell them to private developers for a profit.  We have seen other agencies do this in the past.  I wish there was some way to protect ourselves from this happening.
    Also, “Transit Oriented Development” leave a knot in my stomach. It looks like it is being used to take people’s homes and give them to private developers.

    • AvalonTom January 15, 2022 (9:15 am)

      I’m also in the sights of this. My wife and I are resigned to move away once Sound Transit layers come knocking. We just cant afford nor would we quality to purchase another dwelling especially that they will be displacing 100’s of families who too will be looking for similar housing. I like the neighborhood but honestly after this is built the “neighborhood” will just become a transit hub so in a way we feel lucky that we don’t have to be next door to 10+  years of construction followed by screeching train tracks and the whole area looking like a airport terminal.  These station structures and the track is humongous.  My guess that the 2023 knock on the door is probably more like 2025-27 as its hard to see how there wont be more delays but who really knows. Its been stressful living with this hanging over our heads now for a while.  Glad the area is getting improved transit, its the next generation that will really take advantage of it. By then the West Seattle that most of us fell in love with will be long gone.

  • Grant January 14, 2022 (5:14 am)

     Moronic pathetic planning that destroys an entire Delridge neighborhood and puts property values in limbo for years to come for something that will never be built for decades. At least the garbage dump of Homeless RVs, Nucor toxic scrap yard, and the ugly and empty old Food Services building and acres of empty parking lot will be saved and enshrined for future generations with a giant Mercia flag thumb in the eye. Get a clue ST, seriously.

    • Derek January 14, 2022 (1:59 pm)

      Because someone’s property equity is to be prioritized over the greater good of the community? NIMBYism should be the last thing to worry about.  I live in the proposed area. Guess what,  my property is still going up. Not affected at all. 

  • Pessoa January 14, 2022 (8:26 am)

    The irrational infatuation with light rail continues.  In most cases, light rail will actually result in decreased access to other transit, such as bus.   But, you can’t reason with emotions and stop projects that have this much financial and special interest tailwinds behind them.   

Sorry, comment time is over.