WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit Board looks ahead to next month’s ‘preferred alignment’ decision

The Sound Transit Board‘s June meeting just wrapped up less than an hour ago – last one before it’s tasked with “confirming or modifying” a “preferred alignment” for West Seattle/Ballard light rail. ST staff is working on a proposal for that, board members were told, and will present it at the Executive Committee‘s meeting in two weeks. The board in the meantime were presented an overview today of the 5,195 comments received regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement between January 28th and April 28th. You can see them all here. Today’s meeting also featured a substantial amount of public comment from people in West Seattle, primarily expressing opposition to the DEL-6 station location/alignment (see page 10) for its prospective displacement of Transitional Resources – which provides supportive housing and mental-health services – and Alki Beach Academy.

Board chair Kent Keel insisted that when staff presents its draft alignment, that will not be “the final say” – the board will consider it over the course of three meetings, with a vote expected during the full board meeting on July 28th (for which the ending time has been potentially stretched to 5 pm, an extra hour). The two committee meetings at which this will be discussed before then are the Executive Committee meeting at 10:30 am July 7th and the System Expansion Committee meeting at 1:30 pm July 14th. ST has moved to hybrid meetings, so you can attend online or in the board room at Union Station downtown. One other thing to watch in the meantime: The city is drafting its official recommendations for the routing and station locations – which, when previewed earlier this month, included DEL-6.

27 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit Board looks ahead to next month's 'preferred alignment' decision"

  • WS Guy June 23, 2022 (7:31 pm)

     included the unpopular DEL-6”

    You mean, unpopular among those that commented at todays meeting.  It may be very popular among those who didn’t attend because they agree with the city’s recommendation.  Had DEL-2 been the city’s recommendation you’d likely have seen many people commenting against that.

    The transitional resources business can move easily.

    • WSB June 23, 2022 (8:33 pm)

      Yeah, that adjective needed more of a qualifier, I will just remove it.

      As for Transitional Resources, they have multiple supportive-housing apartment buildings in the vicinity, including the one just opened on Yancy. That would seem harder to replace in-kind than, say, other kinds of residences.

    • Judah June 23, 2022 (11:19 pm)

      “The transitional resources business can move easily.”You mean, easily according to someone who hasn’t bothered to investigate what transitional resources is or does. They provide counseling, treatment, and living assistance to an incredibly underserved population. There are very few facilities that offer comparable services and their resident and patient population is not limited to West Seattle but all of King County. Even putting aside that no business can “easily” move an operation that includes multiple, specialized residential properties, there is nowhere for those residents and patients to “easily” move to but it’s not hyperbole to say that many of them will “easily” end up back on the streets. It’s a county wide impact that deserves much more study and consideration than Sound Transit gave it in the DEIS, which is zero.DEL6 is a spectacularly bad idea for a station for more reasons than just the displacement of transitional resources too.  But implying that it’s easy for any business to move against their will, let alone something like transitional resources is simply not accurate. 

      • DEL 6 fan June 24, 2022 (4:16 pm)

         You mean someone that hasn’t bothered to investigate when that place was built.  AFTER the Yancy line was being studied and a viable option. They had their chance to build somewhere else. And yes they can easily move compared to the thousands of people the other routes will affect up Genesee. For some reason family size was not included in the draft even though ST  asked all affected property owners who lives at the address. DEL 6 is by far the best alternative for multiple reasons. That is why The City of Seattle supports it even if  pathetic excuse for a city council member does not. RECALL HERBOLD!

        • WSB June 24, 2022 (5:05 pm)

          For accuracy’s sake:

          -Transitional Resources’ project first appeared February 2018.

          -The “initial assessments’ for possibly adding the Yancy/Andover option to the environmental studies were released a year and a half later.

          Transitional Resources has other buildings nearby, primarily on Avalon. (We covered the dedication of one in 2011.)

        • Judah June 24, 2022 (6:27 pm)

          Completely inaccurate “Del 6 fan”. Transitional resources began their Yancy expansion long before sound transit ever indicated light rail might go through there. And the key word is “might”. There is no certainty to which line will be chosen. That’s why we participate in the public comment process, such as speaking at a sound transit board meeting where the public is invited to share their thoughts about sound transit projects. You’re also welcome to join those meetings and second guess the strategic decisions of an organization like Transitional Resources and shame them for not having a crystal ball. Seems a little vindictive to me but the process is open to everyone, even if you haven’t bothered to do any research. 

    • Ron Swanson June 24, 2022 (9:31 am)

      Yep, unpopular among those who had time to show up to this meeting, but likely to be very popular among those who submitted written comments, including the City of Seattle’s own.  Understandable, as it’s clearly the best route.

      • Judah June 24, 2022 (6:34 pm)

        “Those who have the time to show up.” This made me laugh. The idea that anyone “has the time” to just sit around attending Sound Transit board meetings. You make it sound like an indulgence. Anyone who is commenting at those meetings, pro or con, has carved the time out of their day to do it. You can comment at those meetings too, but if you haven’t bothered to I bet it’s because there isn’t anything important enough at stake for you to bother, including your support of DEL6. But there’s always time for a blog comment…

  • Francisco June 23, 2022 (9:17 pm)

    So funny to see ‘Avalon Neighborhood’ not reach out to any of the apartments or townhouses actually on Avalon. As they know we are the ones who will benefit from an Avalon station. Classic NIMBY stuff. 

    • Joe Z June 24, 2022 (8:52 am)

      That’s not true at all, there are a number of active participants in the Avalon neighborhood group who live in townhomes and condos on Avalon. And there are renters living on 32nd Ave as well as Avalon. 

    • Judah June 24, 2022 (7:01 pm)

      Not true! That group is made of residents on both sides of Avalon. And the arguments being made against that station are not about saving houses they are about avoiding the expense of a poorly placed station that won’t even serve enough riders to justify its existence according to Sound Transits own estimates. Those millions of dollars could be better allocated to refinements that improve the overall light rail extension for all of west seattle. It’s fine to support that station if its proximity would be convenient for you, but an expensive, disruptive project like this has to do more than just provide a little convenience for a few people to justify itself. By sound transit own findings in the DEIS it’s ridership estimates don’t come close to justifying it. You shouldn’t denigrate those  arguing against it as nimbys just because they aren’t prioritizing your convenience over good design. It’s hostile. 

  • WTF June 23, 2022 (9:21 pm)

    Do we (really) need rail into West Seattle?  

    • Aaron June 23, 2022 (10:23 pm)


    • Amused June 24, 2022 (6:13 am)


    • Also John June 24, 2022 (6:20 am)


    • East Coast Cynic June 24, 2022 (6:53 am)

      Yes we do.  With increasing density in West Seattle and cars that will be jamming the entrance to 99N when the high bridge comes back, we will need a right of way transit option that gets peninsula residents all over Seattle and King County in a timely fashion.

    • Corla June 24, 2022 (8:27 am)

      We don’t.  It’s so simple to catch the bus to downtown and then catch the light rail.  Why do we have to displace anyone or mess with the green belt or whatever other impacts it will have in the surrounding area. 

      • Jay June 24, 2022 (9:55 am)

        I used to be a bus commuter but I gave up. It’s so unreliable and gets stuck in traffic. It was about a 25% chance that my bus would get canceled, and sometimes it took an hour to get back to Admiral from 3rd and Pine. It was an absolutely awful experience that drove me to become a daily bike commuter year round, because riding my bike in the cold rain is better than our AWFUL bus and water taxi system that kept stranding me. It got to the point I’d rather be cold and wet than to be standing on the corner of 3rd and Pine or Admiral and California for an hour waiting for buses that never come. Bus commuting in the Seattle metro area is awful.

      • skeeter June 24, 2022 (2:25 pm)

        Corla – busses get stuck in traffic.  It is frustrating to sit through cycle after cycle of a traffic light and move only a few feet.  Asking people to take transit and then giving them no option other than to sit in traffic is crummy.  

    • Keith Mackin June 24, 2022 (10:38 am)

      We absolutely don’t. Get on a bus. It’s easy. You can be on the 1 line in minutes. Even without the bridge for two-plus years now.

    • StuckInWestSeattle June 24, 2022 (12:09 pm)

      in my opinion no. I think we could do this much cheaper and faster by just using dedicated separate bus only roads similar to what I have seen in the netherlands. This means adding routes and dedicated roadways that are completely isolated from other vehicles etc. Similar to the ST3 but with busses and no tracks or trains.

      • skeeter June 24, 2022 (2:30 pm)

        I don’t disagree with you StuckInWS.  If we had the political will to turn Delridge, 35th, Avalon, Harbor Avenue, Fauntleroy, and California into bus only lanes then we could have truly fast/reliable transit at 1/100th of the cost of light rail.   And we could be done in 10 months, not 10 years.  But you can probably guess the problem with this approach.  The majority of Seattle residents want road to be used primarily by cars.

    • Judah June 24, 2022 (6:45 pm)

      Honestly, back when we voted for ST3 my answer was yes. My answer now is sure, but not so desperately that it justifies the terrible options Sound Transit has frankensteined together during this convoluted process.

    • Wil Dizon July 6, 2022 (5:40 pm)

      Don’t need it for that price?  Have they figured out how to fund this which I think will be localized.  How about we save ST a huge one by, having a transit bridge about half a mile south of current bridge which then gives WS three ways to get in and out.  Top bridge for private cars and light trucks.  Lower bridge stays the same, exclusive for freight only, and then you have transit bridge.  Remember South Park bridge, built for just $250 million.

  • Mike June 24, 2022 (8:55 am)

    When does inter-county goal become paramount?

  • RLS June 24, 2022 (9:26 am)

    Per Sound Transit current budget, the cost for the rail line  into WS is approximately $350,000 per household, or approximately $165,000 per WS resident.     Sound Transit has a history of substantially underestimating costs  

    • hj June 24, 2022 (8:36 pm)

      The projected total lifetime cost of the repairs (repairs + monitoring) to the WS bridge per the SDOT CBA is app. $33K per WS resident. So paying only 5x that much for a permanent modern transit system that will reduce travel times and decrease both pollution and carbon consumption? Sounds like a good deal to me, I’ll take it!

Sorry, comment time is over.