WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit publishes Draft Environmental Impact Statement earlier than expected

4:18 PM: Though Sound Transit had announced the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the West Seattle and Ballard extensions would go public on January 28th – it’s out now. Its many chapters are linked here. We found it on the ST website after a tip that it was out, and have barely begun looking at it, but wanted to let you know, for starters. If you need a refresher, here’s what this phase of the process is all about – including public comments.

(Rendering of potential guideway near Delridge station’s Dakota Street option)

4:58 PM: If you want to skip ahead to the visuals, go to this section, the Visual and Aesthetics Technical Report. Renderings for the options start on page 106. If you haven’t been paying much attention until now, note that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement does not propose any new routing or stations – it just analyzes the potential impacts of all the ones the board agreed a few years back should be studied.

6:54 PM: The overview is, as you might guess, in the Executive Summary. This includes tables listing the major impacts of each option, including how many residences and businesses would potentially be displaced. For example, along the Delridge alternatives, the Dakota Street North Lower alternative is projected to displace the most residences, almost 200. Of the Junction alternatives, the Fauntleroy Way station alternative is projected to displace the most residences, 435. The 41st/42nd elevated Junction alternative would also take out both the Trader Joe’s and Safeway stores, ST projects.

One more note – though the DEIS is out early, the official public-comment period still doesn’t start until January 28th, ST spokesperson Rachelle Cunningham tells WSB. She says the early release was mandated as part of the process to get a notice published in the Federal Register.

114 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit publishes Draft Environmental Impact Statement earlier than expected"

  • Derek January 19, 2022 (4:30 pm)

    Seeing the pictures of the raised tracks and how’d they’d look in our community is a little discouraging. Really wish we could do a tunnel for this. Raised track kills any and all views of Elliot Bay. Also it looks like no matter what North Delridge isn’t going to be the same again in ten years.

    • Leo January 19, 2022 (5:23 pm)

      I did not have time to read 224 pages but does anyone know if people/council from the WS community have any opinion on this expansion project?

      • Peter January 19, 2022 (6:29 pm)

        There has been nearly a decade of forums, open houses, presentations to community groups, surveys, polls, mailers, open public comments, massive numbers of emails, extensive reporting, and websites dedicated to this, all together providing pretty much unlimited opportunities for anyone to give input. But, as always, no matter what or how much ST does, some people will always try to claim there was no community input. 

        • JunctionResident January 20, 2022 (2:23 pm)

          Haha, very true. Anyone that claims they didn’t have a chance for input was either not paying attention or didn’t care.

    • Jort January 19, 2022 (5:26 pm)

      If you think this train will block the views just wait until I show you the gigantic, high-rise automobile bridge literally in front of Elliott Bay. Good news, though. You’ll still be able to have great views of the mountains and the sound once you get on the train!

      • skeeter January 19, 2022 (5:52 pm)

        Hey Jort – I am trying to set up a meet and greet with you.  Please check the community forums if you are interested.  Thanks!  West Seattle Blog… | Topic: I wanna meet Jort in person thread (Jan 2022)

        • A Fan January 19, 2022 (7:00 pm)

          I’m a Jort fan too!

        • Jeepney January 20, 2022 (7:11 am)

          If this happens, please post pictures.

        • Emmalou January 21, 2022 (7:28 am)

          Enough people hate Jort that this seems like a sketchy idea. He seems to get off on pissing people off with his zero compassion attitude towards people with kids, disabilities, or for anyone living life in a different way than him. I’d love to meet the narcissist that is jort, but certainly not for the same reason as you. 

    • WestOfSeattle January 19, 2022 (5:36 pm)

      Pray tell, Derek, how much would you like to contribute in taxes for the tunnel? I trust that in that scenario, you’d also be on here complaining about how many additional years digging a tunnel will take.

    • Bus January 19, 2022 (6:28 pm)

      A tunnel would not only make the current path more expensive (and take longer to do), it would make any future expansion south more expensive and delay that as well.  Points south that are not as well served by buses as the Junction already is deserve light rail too.

      • Doug January 19, 2022 (9:00 pm)

        Given real-estate pricing trends, and delay trends … I’m not sure the tunnel will end up being more expensive. I agree it will likely take longer though.

    • Frog January 19, 2022 (7:18 pm)

      The rendering is also unrealistic, because they left off the graffiti.

      • kjb January 20, 2022 (10:21 am)

        and the garbage…

    • JunctionResident January 20, 2022 (2:25 pm)

      Tunneling is much more expensive. 

    • Mary January 26, 2022 (9:56 am)

      What you need to understand is that those renderings are not from Sound Transit or any of Sound Transit’s designers.  They should not be viewed as what the track might actually look like.  They aren’t necessarily the actual elevation.  WSB should note that when posting those.

      • WSB January 26, 2022 (11:27 am)

        Yes, the only rendering in our story above IS from Sound Transit, taken directly from the DEIS document, which has many others.

  • sna January 19, 2022 (4:43 pm)

    The elevated options are gonna tear down half the junction to put this ugly thing in 

    • flimflam January 19, 2022 (5:17 pm)

      Yeah but CHOO-CHOO TRAINS!

      • JunctionResident January 20, 2022 (2:24 pm)

        You must love wasting time sitting in traffic then

  • Matt in WS January 19, 2022 (5:04 pm)

    The hilly topography of WS really doesn’t accommodate elevated rail like the preferred alternative would like. Just look at the 150 ft guideway coming up Genesee St!  However, it looks like ST could have a way to avoid high structures and have a tunnel to WSJ with the combination of alternatives DEL-6 (Andover Street Station (Lower Height)) and WSJ-5 (Medium 41st Tunnel). In addition, this combination has an almost equivalent cost vs the preferred alternative with DEL-6 costing 400M (vs 600-700M for the preferred alternative) and WSJ-5 costing 1.1B (vs .9-1.3B for the preferred alternative). Hopefully that means no or minimal third party funding  (additional taxes) required. I think the only downsides to this is having the Delridge station farther north by Nucor but that would save two blocks of houses from total demolition. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make

    • CAM January 19, 2022 (6:11 pm)

      You would also be sacrificing access to transit for people that are supposed to be prioritized for access to transit so that you could have a tunnel. 

      • Joe Z January 19, 2022 (10:01 pm)

        Yeah I think this basically comes down to the DEL-6/WSJ-5 combo vs. DEL-3/WSJ-1 or WSJ-2. I bet the Nucor station wins out, but it makes you wonder whether the social justice initiatives are just lip service? An elevated Delridge station next to a steel mill and a highway with a poor bus transfer configuration? Meanwhile the stations up the hill would be below-grade and have minimal visual impacts…hmm…

        • Nathan January 20, 2022 (3:51 pm)

          I think you hit the nail on the head. 

        • WS Guy January 20, 2022 (6:43 pm)

          It has to be elevated DEL-3/WSJ-2 versus tunnel DEL-6/WSJ-5.  Those are both priced at $1.5 billion.  The cheapest “preferred option” which will be taken as the baseline is $1.5 billion.  Nobody is going to fight to spend more for any other option.  The fight will be over whether Delridge station can serve the community with TOD if located North adjacent to Nucor, versus the devastating effects of elevated rail on park space, displacement, and the neighborhood.

    • Martin January 19, 2022 (9:50 pm)

      Yes, those two options look tempting, but the Andover St station is tricky due to the large grade changes along Andover, that will make bus stops challenging to maneuver for people with mobility challenges. Also, once in a tunnel, it will make it much more expensive to serve the Southern part of the peninsula as you would have to continue to tunnel. Sound Transit had looked at that at some point and considered a tunnel to White Center, no station at Morgan Junction and Highpoint. Due to cost, I’m not sure that would ever happen. Rather than spending $3 billions to push light rail up the hill, for about the same cost, you could build a gondola up to the Junction, run light rail from SODO to South Park and then another gondola to Greenbridge, White Center, Westwood, and may be even the Fauntleroy ferry terminal. That way you could serve the whole peninsula rather than a privileged few and provide zero carbon transit much sooner.

  • K to the F January 19, 2022 (5:04 pm)

    Now ST should update the renders to show how grungy and moldy those concrete towers look after a year, five years, 10 years, etc. Horrible design for our dense, walkable neighborhoods. For reference, here’s another view of the scale of these things:

    • natinstl January 25, 2022 (10:45 am)

      and these show no graffiti, which I’m sure will also be an issue.  I grew up outside NY city, living near an elevated anything brings value down and looks gross. 

  • Will B. January 19, 2022 (5:09 pm)

    They are using pre-pandemic ridership estimates to justify it.  The world changed since remote working took over.  The ridership levels they estimated are fantasy-land thinking now.

    • Peter January 19, 2022 (6:34 pm)

      This is being built because it was overwhelmingly approved by voters. No ridership numbers are needed to “justify” it, we voted for it. 

    • CAM January 19, 2022 (6:36 pm)

      This isn’t going to last. Offices will reopen and people will return to working in shared space. People are experiencing increasing burnout and job dissatisfaction working in isolation constantly. I know of more than one person that has quit their job due to remote work conditions. There are also a large portion of the population who continue to go to work everyday outside the home but are currently driving because of the pandemic but would use public transit in other circumstances. Ridership will increase.  You’re also falling into the trap that Seattle of the past did when they didn’t build appropriate public transportation when it was less invasive to do so. This isn’t just for today or the next 10 years. People need public transit forever and you build for future capacity not current needs. 

      • JunctionResident January 20, 2022 (2:28 pm)

        So true. This should have been done 50 years ago or earlier. This will provide quick access to hospitals, sporting events, the airport, shopping on the eastside or Northgate, nightlife on Capitol Hill, etc. Not just about commuting to work (which will recover to a certain extent as well).

    • Jort January 20, 2022 (3:30 pm)

      Did you know that people leave their homes for reasons other than commuting to work?! 

      • sam-c January 21, 2022 (11:39 am)

        That’s a very good point.  We also leave the house to take our kid to soccer practice/ games, and our 100 lb dog for a walk on the beach.  When we have the Jort meet-up, can we please have a demonstration of those outings on a bike ?    I’ve not been able to get that much cargo (not sure how much our 7 y.o. weighs exactly but she doesn’t bike all over yet) up and around these hills. 

        • Jort January 21, 2022 (3:05 pm)

          Oh my gosh, I wonder if there are any other cities in the world where people have dogs and children but don’t have cars? Oh wait, there are hundreds, and Seattle is not so special that every citizen with a child or dog is required to have a car to facilitate movement. If you weren’t being deliberately sarcastic and facetious, I’d gladly point you in the direction of cargo e-bikes that are more than capable of carrying your child and dog with ease. But you wouldn’t believe those are real even if I showed you.

          • natinstl January 25, 2022 (11:14 am)

            but do they have one that can pull our boat and travel trailer?

        • Jort January 21, 2022 (9:01 pm)

          Here is a bike, made by a company right here in beautiful Seattle, that has a 350 pound payload capacity, and it is an e-bike which can make going uphill a breeze. https://www.radpowerbikes.com/collections/utility-electric-bikes/products/radwagon-electric-cargo-bike If you would like to have a demo, I encourage you to stop by their shop. Yes, even you can ride a bike, and even with your dog and kids. In doing so you would join thousands of other people who manage to do it just fine, also. See you on the bike!

  • AvalonTom January 19, 2022 (5:54 pm)

    Folks! take a look at the document West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions DEIS: Appendix N.2 Visual and Aesthetics Technical Report Pages 112 – 165 The Junction specific stuff starts around page 130. Boy this is BIG CONCRETE stuff everywhere.  Like I said before, there goes the neighborhood! 

    • sam-c January 20, 2022 (8:28 am)

      Lots of concrete- and that tree (shown as ‘existing condition’ on page 126) blew down in the one of the recent storms, so that tree obscuring all the concrete pages 127-130 isn’t even there anymore. 

  • AvalonTom January 19, 2022 (6:11 pm)

    • Jort January 20, 2022 (5:31 pm)

      Yeah, kind of reminds me of the thousands and thousands of miles of roads paved with concrete and asphalt in this city. Dare I say … roads with even more concrete than the light rail construction?! I’m willing to do a concrete swap in which some concrete streets are permanently removed in favor of light rail construction, if the concrete is really bugging people.

      • AvalonTom January 21, 2022 (11:03 am)

        Lets take a poll Jort! How many people want to swap concrete on the ground for concrete in the sky? 

        • Jort January 21, 2022 (9:02 pm)

          We did a poll, it was called Sound Transit 3 and it won overwhelmingly. The train is coming.

    • Mary January 26, 2022 (10:04 am)

      If you drive, then you are responsible for concrete everywhere.  Just look at that hideous car bridge over the Duwamish and all those wide streets you drive on taking up valuable real estate.

  • admiral admirable January 19, 2022 (6:44 pm)

    I love how they make up metrics like “Visual Quality Impacts (miles)” to make the visual quality impact of the elevated section of the Junction section look minimal! Oh, only 0.1 miles? ok then, hardly any visual impact at all! Get real. An absolutely giant viaduct through the heart of our community. Why does the rest of Seattle hate West Seattle? The tunnel is short and simple, and has a relatively small financial impact compared to the overall project. And it preserves hundreds of millions of dollars worth of just completed apartment buildings (and many hundreds of homes.) I really can’t believe we’re even debating it. I’m just relieved I don’t live under it.

    • WS Guy January 20, 2022 (5:31 am)

      It appears that the rubric is that if the view changes from “residential” to “transportation” that is not in itself treated as a view impact.  In plain English, a view of housing is considered equal to a view of concrete track and wire.  When you submit your comments you may wish to dispute this on some aesthetic grounds.  Maybe it should be treated as one step down in view quality for example.

  • Joe Z January 19, 2022 (6:50 pm)

    The short/medium tunnel options appear to be cheaper than the preferred alternative. 

  • admiral admirable January 19, 2022 (6:55 pm)

    and WSJ-1 points the line to take out the entire neighborhood along 42nd ave as it extends south! I guess the engineers would rather have views from the train than maintain a neighborhood with views. There’s like one decrepit old house and maybe an empty lot near 42nd and Edmunds so they identify the entire area as ripe for destruction. Classic Robert Moses mentality.

  • Andrew January 19, 2022 (6:57 pm)

    It seems like the Fauntleroy station WSJ-2 is the only way to not destroy hundreds if not almost a thousand apartment units and houses near the junction.

  • Bob WS January 19, 2022 (7:11 pm)

    Just an FYI…It looks like you can’t make a public  comment until the 28th. I’d recommend everyone make comments on that date based on what’s in the DEIS document and based on what you’d like to see happen in West Seattle as far as the proposed stations and tracks go…that way your voice can be heard by Sound Transit and not just on this blog 

    • WSB January 19, 2022 (7:36 pm)

      That’s what ST told me – the official comment period still isn’t open until the 28th – and I’ve updated above.

  • InSouthDelridge January 19, 2022 (7:33 pm)

    I haven’t lived in Seattle that long but am curious why neighborhoods south of The Junction are completely left out of this plan? It would seem to me that folks further away, some with less access to public transportation than the umpteen buses that go through The Junction now, would benefit from this as well. As is, we southerners would still have to bus to the light rail to switch to a bus again once we get downtown.

    • East Coast Cynic January 19, 2022 (7:44 pm)

      We may simply change to another rail line rather than a bus when one reaches downtown, particularly if one is going to Bellevue, University District, or further up in North Seattle.

    • Martin January 19, 2022 (9:13 pm)

      Yes, isn’t it interesting that the 3 stations in West Seattle are in the least diverse parts of the peninsula?!? When Sound Transit selected those stations in 2015, equity wasn’t on their radar. Now they talk about it a bit, but they never looked at the former red-lined portions or more diverse Southern peninsula. The SkyLink gondola team pointed this out to the Sound Transit Board and proposed to serve the whole peninsula with a combined light rail and gondola solution: West Seattle SkyLink – Posts | Facebook

    • CAM January 19, 2022 (9:14 pm)

      Early in the planning for this the residents that attended the meetings pointed out that the terminus of this line needed to be oriented south so that it allowed for the possibility of expansion farther south in the peninsula. It was also pointed out that the Delridge station on this line needed to be as far south as possible to increase walkability to the station as well as transferring from buses. I believe other plans have been put forward that a completely separate line could be spurred off in the future to serve South Delridge and some say that might be more effective. As to why it was not part of this plan, Sound Transit has gathered the money for these projects through voter approved measures that lay out the specific lines/neighborhoods that the increased transit will go to. There are plans out there, if you search the web that may or may not be accurate for what may or may not be in ST4 or beyond. 

    • Also John January 19, 2022 (9:15 pm)

      That’ll be the next phase of the light rail.  For this phase the light rail stops where shown.  The next phase (20 years give or take) will continue south.  

    • WL January 20, 2022 (12:22 pm)

      It’s partly the inefficient way these alternatives are structured. It really should be for x amount of money does one want 10 miles at-grade/5 miles elevated/ 1 mile tunneled. But the route is chosen first and then the neighborhood just chooses the most expensive choice leaving the next extension leg without money. These are the past plans fyi https://seattletransitblog.com/2014/05/10/sound-transit-presents-some-options-for-west-seattle-south-king/.For extending from West Seattle to Burien (Elevated) it’d be around 2.7 billion https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/C-13_WSJunction%20to%20Burien%20TC_FTemp.pdf adding 6 stations, around the same amount of money people are asking to tunnel just the Junction section

  • admiral admirable January 19, 2022 (10:59 pm)

    I really don’t understand why we absolutely MUST have THREE stations – when we voted “yes” we all understood that the actual line was TBD. We weren’t given an option to vote for a certain number of stations – it was all or nothing. No other part of the system has three stations so close together. You could walk from the Fauntleroy station to the Avalon station in a couple of minutes. And then another ten minutes at an easy pace to Delridge. Meanwhile, Capitol Hill has only one??? North Beacon: one.  Even downtown they’re further apart. With the money saved from removing a station we could easily pay for the tunnel and also reduce transit times. We don’t want stops every 3 blocks! They’re literally three (or five at the furthest) blocks apart.

    • Agree January 20, 2022 (8:01 am)

      I agree!   Why have both an Alaska Junction and Avalon station.  Just combine the two and put in a single station on Fauntleroy and Alaska…or where Trader Joe’s is now.

    • Agreeing January 20, 2022 (1:00 pm)

      Agree with Agree that a Fauntleroy station would make more sense. It’s close enough to the Junction to walk and also makes more sense for a southbound extension in the next phase (although 35th or Delridge would make more sense for a continued southern route). 

  • eric January 20, 2022 (12:18 am)

    Can’t wait for the notice that says “Dear Homeowner, a train will be going over your roof,  this is just a notice so we can serve you better”

    • 38thAve January 20, 2022 (7:52 am)

      Notices of potential impacts went out to potentially affected property owners a couple of months ago.

    • AvalonTom January 20, 2022 (8:29 am)

      Us who are in the path have already received that letter. Its a little more dry then your concept but yeah, we got em!

      • sam-c January 20, 2022 (11:41 am)

        Do any of the appendices include a list of potentially impacted properties?ie, What if you are a renter (business or residence)?  The property owner must have gotten a letter but it’s not necessarily shared with others that live in or work at the property.

  • Ron Swanson January 20, 2022 (1:42 am)

    Looks like the package deal of the medium tunnel WSJ-5 and lower-height Andover station DEL-6 are the pretty clear winners here.  Low cost, low construction impact, low displacement of residences and business and the same ridership.

    • WS Guy January 20, 2022 (5:32 am)

      Agreed.  Ship it.

    • Agree January 20, 2022 (3:09 pm)

      After reading through the options and prices I agree!

  • AnnoyedonAvalon January 20, 2022 (8:56 am)

    I wonder what they are going to do the many people they are kicking out of their homes to build these monstrosities. According to the renders they will be bulldozing many houses/apartments/condos to put these up, including some that are still under construction and/or brand new. Most of these “options” are very unrealistic and massively invasive all in the name of convenience? 

  • Saul Notgoodman January 20, 2022 (9:53 am)

    The impact presentation of the 41st/42nd preferred alternative is as dishonest as you can get. In hundreds of pages of potential impacts, only one rendering of the visual impact is presented and it’s one of “from Genesee looking east to Avalon”!!! This despite the fact that this alternative includes tearing down the entire Spruce building and bulldozing down Jefferson Square to make space for massive double columns all the way from Avalon, over Fauntleroy, Alaska, to 42nd to allow for pointless meandering of the line from Avalon further south through single family blocks. Unnecessary turns and two stations within 700 yards for some reason would slow down the supposedly fast transit to a crawl, and create a constant breaking/accelerating noise that comes with it. Visuals would be stunning in their Soviet style brutality.It is beyond belief that in one of the richest cities in one of the richest countries, we are unable to properly conceive and fund a mass transit system that the next generations will be proud of and instead we’re seriously considering this neighborhood destroying eyesores.Either build a short tunnel or do single columns along Fauntleroy with one merged Avalon/Alaska station. Everything else is a nightmare.

    • justme January 20, 2022 (11:34 am)

      Saul, I completely agree. If we actually had complete & honest visuals of those missed areas people would be in an outrage. 

    • Peter January 20, 2022 (12:59 pm)

      I couldn’t agree more with this comment. The 41st/42nd preferred alternative just doesn’t make any sense to me compared to the option on the corner of Alaska and Fauntleroy. Genuinely curious if the cost estimate will impact the decision making. 

    • Also John January 20, 2022 (3:11 pm)

      Totally agree.  What an eyesore!  How could they calls this a preferred route?

      • WS Guy January 20, 2022 (7:39 pm)

        It was preferred by the ST governing body that commissioned the study.  Bear in mind that the representatives from Everett, Tacoma, Bellevue etc. do not want to spend one penny more than needed outside of their district.   At the time it was the nearest to the “representative alignment” that was on the voter ballot and was also the cheapest.  Now the detailed study has revealed that it is not the cheapest AND it bears a significant impact.  The purpose of the EIS is to report this to the ST governors so you should be pleased by that.

      • CAM January 20, 2022 (8:05 pm)

        Because it’s not about what it looks like. It’s preferred because it does the most benefit for the people that need to use it. This is what cities look like. 

        • Saul Notgoodman January 21, 2022 (1:02 pm)

          Your logic is absurd and infantile. If this was the only metric, we would end up looking like post-apocalyptic concrete slums of deserted ex-communist cities. That’s without even considering how you would implement the “most benefit” measurement to begin with. I, for one, would like to keep living in an urban area that offers enjoyable experience and doesn’t make me want to blow my brains out as soon as I step outside into your “alternative” full of massive  graffitied concrete blocks whose only benefit is saving people two minutes of walking.

  • Derek January 20, 2022 (9:57 am)

    What does this do for brand new apartments just put up? They now need to be demolished? Does 7/11 and Taco Time know they’re going to be a lightrail station now on Avalon?

  • Andrea January 20, 2022 (10:55 am)

    I believe there is just a concentrated effort to ruin West Seattle views by the developers and city planners. If Beacon Hill can afford a tunnel , so can West Seattle. There is no need for these concrete  structures that just dont respect the views of thepeople that live here. There has been alot of push back about this by the people that live here but the planners and developers only seem to listen to the loudest , greedest voices. Stop building up West seattle. Take your darn Sound Transit and start developing burien or south park. I’m beginning to hate this place and all the new comers that claim they love it here , and yet want to make it just like the dirty crappy place they came from. 

  • WS Res January 20, 2022 (12:25 pm)

    If there is not a tunnel i feel like we should just scrap this whole thing. 

    • Jort January 20, 2022 (3:28 pm)

      Yeah that’s not how this is going to work. 

      • james January 21, 2022 (8:59 am)

        “Not how it’s going to work” yeah we’re not going to make the city ugly just so people from the Junction can get down town 5 minutes sooner than the C line bus either. Concrete is also a failing material and more and more expensive now that it’s scarcer.  Either do streetcar style up the turn lane using Avalon or existing WSB or tunnel. No other way makes sense.

        • Jort January 21, 2022 (10:10 am)

          We voted on this and it’s settled. We’re not going to be “scrapping” anything, that’s not how this will work. “No other way” is actually “what is going to happen” and this is not up for debate.

          • James January 21, 2022 (10:33 am)

            Actually ST can change many things. We voted on it but implementation is still up in the air and people won’t be kicked out of homes. They have to properly acquire the land. Your cynicism is usually something I agree with but it’s getting in your way and you’re talking way out of your depth. The ST plans can and will most certainly evolve and change. Tunnel makes more sense and is similar in costs. That’s why ST themselves are considering it. Did you not see?

    • pem January 22, 2022 (1:12 pm)

      I do not know of any elevated rail in the existing light rail system
      that passes through a dense neighborhood like in west Seattle junction.  The closest examples are Capital Hill and Roosevelt stations. 

  • Build Ballard first January 20, 2022 (12:41 pm)

    Let’s build the Ballard extension first and see if there is any money left.  Perhaps we can integrate more transit options when the replacement WS Bridge is built.

    • K January 20, 2022 (3:17 pm)


    • Jort January 20, 2022 (3:29 pm)

      Yeah that’s not happening, sorry.

    • Peter January 20, 2022 (5:23 pm)

      That would be illegal. The ST3 ballot measure specifically approved light rail to West Seattle, and ST is legally required to build it. 

      • CCrider January 20, 2022 (7:12 pm)

        Not illegal.  The deficit announced last January triggered the ST3 realignment clause  which allows the board to approve changes to the plans if they are unaffordable, infeasible, and impractical.  It’s an excellent opportunity to examine whether the benefits to be derived are worth the cost and whether there are other options that make more sense.

  • James January 20, 2022 (2:47 pm)

    The tunnel makes way way way more sense. Elevated is fine to Delridge/Pigeon Point. Tunnel under the big hill up Genesee to the Junction. Surely concrete and its provably bad lifespan and what not and the property costs/etc. will be similar or comparable in pricing. Tunnel is the way to go. Use Jefferson Square or Les Schwab for the station. Two stations. N. Delridge and Junction. If you live in other parts of the peninsula, get on a Rapid Ride to those stations. Can’t rip up the whole city for this. Just go to major economical and entertainment hubs.     

  • 1994 January 20, 2022 (8:19 pm)

    Concrete can fail, remember the West Seattle Bridge. Looks like a lot or raised concrete. I feel bad for those homes located near the future elevated light rail. And it will be noisy!

    • Jort January 21, 2022 (10:12 am)

      Weird how people have so much concern about concrete when it comes to light rail bridges but absolutely, totally 0 percent when it comes to concrete freeway and road bridges, overpasses, trenches, cuts, repaving, etc. Is there something different about the composition of the light rail concrete vs. the millions of tons of roadway concrete we spread all over this green earth without a second thought? Note to anti-rail, pro-car partisans: “I don’t like concrete” isn’t quite the slam-dunk argument you think it is. 

      • James January 21, 2022 (10:35 am)

        Use the existing bridge and freeway for the lightrail. Down the middle or on one side. Make the other side two lanes. Voila.  Streetcar style down Fauntleroy from there to a station around Jefferson Square or Les Schwab. You’re doing straw man arguments now. No one cares about car traffic as much as you think.  We just want to use existing infrastructure as much as possible or not waste time demo-ing newly built apartments. Also I don’t think any of the developers would have built all these if they knew they’d be wrecked. You’re anti-tunnel just to spite a few commenters, and not actually arguing in good faith. Tunnel is similar in costs. ST proposed three tunnel routes because it’s very feasible. Stop trolling.

        • Jort January 21, 2022 (2:54 pm)

          I am fine with the tunnel. I am not fine with the argument for the tunnel being, “but there’s concrete above ground.” If the tunnel is cost-effective and the funds are found to pay for it, then great, more power to the tunnel.  And yes, actually, I have found that most people care about car traffic far, far more than I do. Not having parking for cars, or space for cars, or cars taking a long time to get places, or the road conditions for cars are almost a universally shared major issue occupying the minds of people in this city and in most places in America. People don’t want apartments or dense housing built because of parking. People spend tens of thousands of dollars per year on cars, often one for every adult in a household. Nearly every television commercial break has an advertisement for a car (driving, of course, on completely traffic-free roads at high speed). People are willing to sacrifice tens of thousands of lives each year, many of which are children, in completely preventable deaths because they think the benefits of driving outweigh the costs. In fact, when it comes to the light rail, I have long proposed completely shutting down Fauntleroy and Avalon to vehicles and allowing trains to run down it, with no way for cars to cross. But, again, cars are more important than anything else in the city to most people. So we have to hide the train or put it in the sky so that car traffic can continue, undisturbed. So, please. Don’t act though nobody cares about car traffic. For most people, it’s all they care about. It’s their whole lives.

          • K January 21, 2022 (4:02 pm)

            Nailed it, Jort.

          • skeeter January 24, 2022 (1:13 pm)

            This is some great Jort content.  When it comes to transportation in the U.S., I’m beginning to agree that Jort is right.  We’ve painted ourselves into a corner and now we’re yelling our frustration at the top of our lungs.  

          • anonyme January 24, 2022 (1:56 pm)

            This is the best Jort comment yet.  European and Scandinavian cities are social, livable, and walkable in no small part due to constraints on driving.  Cars are not treated as deities and driving is not treated as a human right.  American cities are built around and for the automobile – not for the humans who live in them – and it shows.  It’s time to start changing the infrastructure to reflect a sustainable future.  I’m tired of hearing that life is not possible without a car.  If that were true I’d be dead, as I’ve never owned one.

          • James January 24, 2022 (1:58 pm)

            He’s wrong about implementation. We can do Avalon as a dedicated streetcar road or the existing WS Bridge up Fauntleroy. Or tunnel. Concrete is NOT the answer. We all want train. We just don’t want crap.  Why is there no room for nuance outside of trolling and fake strawman nonsense?

  • StuckInWestSeattle January 21, 2022 (3:34 pm)

    As someone who lives in the neighborhood this is awful. Its going to destroy Delridge and create a massive eyesore. I hope they kill this project. I voted against ST3 and still am very much against this. We could have a better option with a dedicated bus corridor similar to what they do in the netherlands.

    • Jort January 21, 2022 (9:09 pm)

      If you are looking to The Netherlands as an example, man, you are in for some big, big surprises about your ability to own a car and drive places. We absolutely could do a dedicated bus corridor here — if 80 percent of the citizens here traded their car trips in for alternative transportation (with its partner, dense zoning). Part of the reason the light rail has to be the way it has to be is because Sound Transit has to go out of its way to make a million accommodations mostly to cars! Look in this very thread. How many houses are going to get torn down vs. how many streets are going to be closed to cars? Hundreds vs. zero. That’s why you’re getting this the way it is. 

    • James January 21, 2022 (9:23 pm)

      We need train. We just need tunnel. Best of all worlds.

  • CCrider January 22, 2022 (7:09 am)

    Over $3 billion to get a projected 13,000 riders from the Junction to SODO in 2032 — with incredible damage and disruption to West Seattle and the environment and without removing any cars from the road for over a decade??!!!    Sound Transit should study the gondola proposal to connect the Junction all the way to the ID in just a few years for $2billion less.  Use the savings to build light rail along east side of peninsula to serve more diverse neighborhoods to the south. 

  • pem January 22, 2022 (1:04 pm)

    what about house sales for those on or near the proposed paths , and after they finalized the design, for those houses not acquired but very close to the construction, are they stuck for the next 10 years not being able to sell ?

  • Marie January 23, 2022 (9:22 pm)

    This may or not be built. I am old enough to remember the Monorail project. Even after properties were bought for the project, it got canned. I am guessing that the property values of the 700 people who got letters, advising them that they may be affected, have seen their property values drop like a rock. No one is going to buy a house or a business  in the path of this project. And the project is many years off. So those property owners are going to live with the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads for probably a decade. 

  • natinstl January 25, 2022 (11:28 am)

    Reading all the comments, some I agree with and some I don’t, but man the thought of giving up my Subie makes me very sad. I love my car. I took the bus every day Mon-Fri the first ten years I lived here for work, I do miss the good old 54. The rapid ride was always so crowded getting home and my work offered me a parking space so I started driving. Man, being able to listen to my podcasts without earphones, heated seats and not having to sit next to people dripping from the rain has been heaven. Getting to work could be hit or miss, some days quick, some days long depending on traffic, but getting home never more than 20 minutes. I respect that some people think we should get rid of cars, but without an alternative to get me around in the shitty weather other than a bike and that also gets me to great hiking, camping, fishing and all the various wonderful parts of this beautiful state I’ll always have a car and I think many will too if they want to experience life off the rock. 

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