WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: City Council finalizes recommendations – and, for Delridge, non-recommendation

As of minutes ago, the City Council is now officially on the record as supporting a West Seattle Junction tunnel station for Sound Transit light rail, and taking no position on a Delridge station/routing option. The unanimous vote was for the same resolution amended and passed by the Transportation and Utilities Committee last week (WSB coverage here). From the resolution as passed today, here’s what the city goes on record as saying about the West Seattle segment:

A. West Seattle Junction Segment (Avalon and Alaska Junction stations): Preference for WSJ-5, medium tunnel to Alaska Junction station at 41st Street SW with retained cut Avalon station.

B. Delridge Segment (Delridge station): The City is not able to state a preference given the inadequate DEIS analysis of impacted social resources in this segment. The DEIS did not identify the Alki Beach Academy as a potentially impacted social resource, and therefore did not fully analyze the project’s impact on child-care services. The DEIS identified potential impacts to Transitional Resources, which relies on co-located services and housing to provide comprehensive transitional housing services. The City’s future support for DEL-6 is conditioned on avoidance or mitigation of impacts, or relocation, of impacted child-care and transitional housing service providers. The City encourages additional refinements to optimize transit integration and user experience for commuters arriving from Racial Equity Toolkit (RET)-identified communities including South Delridge and White Center. The additional refinements should include the creation of a transit access study for areas further south in the corridor that will access the new station by bus, include protections for Longfellow Creek, and minimize potential conflicts between pedestrians and freight movements.

C. Duwamish Crossing Segment: Preference for DUW-1a, South crossing, conditioned on adequate mitigation of impacts to parks, recreational areas, and natural habitat at Pigeon Point and the West Duwamish Greenbelt.

The next step for the Sound Transit Board is its System Expansion Committee meeting this Thursday (July 14th) at 1:30 pm – here’s the agenda. Last week, ST staff presented a board committee with an “example” to start discussing (WSB coverage here); it too has the tunneled Junction but also proposes the DEL-6 “lower height Andover” station alternative.

30 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: City Council finalizes recommendations - and, for Delridge, non-recommendation"

  • Anthony A Avery July 12, 2022 (3:53 pm)

    Sure, the tunnel would be great, but why even build a Delridge Station if we’re just going to put it there at the base of the bridge? Who is accessing that station? All those 120 riders headed to SoDo or Beacon Hill? In no event should a Delridge Station be sited north of Andover. That’s an automatic disqualifier for DEL-6 because it takes away station access for North Delridge residents. 

    • East Coast Cynic July 12, 2022 (5:12 pm)

      The 120 doesn’t go to SoDo or Beacon Hill.  But some of them may need to connect to link going to North Seattle, i.e., University District, Northgate, and eventually to the eastside via east link.  We need a Delridge station for those people.  We also need an Avalon station for all of those condo owners and apartment dwellers on Avalon.  Are they supposed to walk uphill to Alaska Junction or take a long walk to the Delridge Station?  At least give them a shuttle bus that will get them to one of the link stops.

      • James July 13, 2022 (2:41 pm)

        Stations aren’t supposed to be so so close. The point is efficiency. Yes bus routes will go through Avalon/35 and take you to the train hub. This isn’t difficult. 

    • Nate July 12, 2022 (10:38 pm)

      We absolutely need a delridge station. Not having easy access from north delridge will isolate the area and will require people to walk a long distance to catch a train that goes right past their house. Idk why people are against it, it’s also an accessibility issue, Genesee is super steep and not everyone can make it up it.

  • Huh July 12, 2022 (5:28 pm)

    Curious that the city’s support for a South Duwamish Crossing Segment “is conditioned on adequate mitigation of impacts to parks, recreational areas, and natural habitat at Pigeon Point and the West Duwamish Greenbelt,” as that is not possible with an elevated south rail crossing. Building such a crossing can only result in a new eyesore from Sodo to at least Delridge, destruction of greenbelt space at the top of Pigeon Point (supposed to be left per of the Olmstead Brothers’ vision), demolition of numerous homes, and removal of the existing heron rookery.

    The only possible mitigations for a south crossing are beyond an elevated rail line and include:
    a) mode change such as Bus Rapid Transit or aerial gondola
    b) no build
    c) development of the improperly cast away “Purple Line” alternative, essentially crossing the Duwamish further south, tunneling through Puget Ridge

    • MyThruppence July 12, 2022 (6:10 pm)

      I am interested in the referenced Olmstead Brother’s ‘vision’ which involved Pigeon Point. I’ve never heard about this before and would appreciate any information you have about this. Thanks. PS. I have an affinity for the North of the Bridge route myself.

      • Huh July 12, 2022 (7:42 pm)

        Sure thing, the link below provides a cursory overview. The north of the bridge alignment will likely never happen due to Port interests, as it would require demolition of many maritime and industrial businesses, greatly impede Port operations during construction, and be a permanent eyesore even closer to downtown. That said, it would spare many of the unique elements that currently exist just south of the bridge. My vote is for something far more creative than the elevated rail alignments currently on the table.


        • MyThruppence July 14, 2022 (11:14 am)

          Thank you kindly for this link. I found it of great interest. As tempting as it is for me to believe that our area’s appeal is all about it being a natural wonder, there was an amazing foresight behind the beauty we see around us everyday.

    • Look Both Ways July 12, 2022 (9:18 pm)

      Agreed on the gondola. Other than no build, it’s easily the most mitigating option; as well as the most efficient and least expensive. Truly hope this gets seriously considered by City Council.

      • heartless July 12, 2022 (10:13 pm)

        The gondola is a dumb idea–so dumb it has never even made it close to being on a ballot, let alone had anyone vote for it.  It is a dumb idea that’s so dumb the council has already laughed (politely) and rejected it.

        Go back to complaining about train horns and speed humps–actually, don’t, that’s also annoying.

        • Sound Transit Sucks July 13, 2022 (7:22 am)

          @heartless, are you implying that our city council doesn’t like dumb ideas?  It seems like ALL they like is dumb ideas.

      • James July 13, 2022 (9:34 am)

        The gondola is eternally bad idea. I am against this and someone used to keep putting those signs on my business and I had fun putting them in the recycling bin. Manufactured support. Majority does not want it. 

        • Y2 SkyLink July 14, 2022 (4:23 pm)

          Hey gondola proposal haters, how about instead of calling something a ‘dumb idea’ and being insulting, just voice why you don’t like it, why it wouldn’t work for you, or why you feel light rail is a better option. Not everyone has the same perspective, but do we need to call each other’s ideas dumb? Some still see the gondola idea as worth further study and consideration.

          • Jort July 14, 2022 (5:11 pm)

            We don’t like it because it’s literally a dumb idea and it does not require any justification beyond that. It’s not happening, move on.

          • heartless July 14, 2022 (5:55 pm)

            but do we need to call each other’s ideas dumb?”

            Uh, yeah, sometimes we do.  Otherwise we wind up spending money on dumb things.

            Look–if you gondola people had pushed for your niche version of mass transit, gotten it on the ballot, and all the rest–would I get behind it?  Probably, because decent beats good, when no alternatives are on the horizon.

            But ya didn’t, and now you’re just trying to slow down/stop light rail–which was vetted and voted on.  So, yeah.  

            And to answer your question, if curtly: I don’t like it because not only did nobody vote for it, but you folks didn’t even get it on a ballot.  That’s on you.

          • Y2 SkyLink July 14, 2022 (8:39 pm)

            ‘Otherwise we wind up spending money on dumb things’

            Oh, do you mean like spending too much money on a transportation solution that will take too long to build and for numerous reasons J’

            not an ideal mode, will be destructive to WS community, landscape, environment, like light rail?

            Simply calling something dumb doesn’t make it so. There are literally numerous reasons why considering a gondola option for WS is not only not dumb but smarter than light rail, which has been outlined many times. But all most of you can respond with is ‘ stupid.’

            Have a hunch many in the ‘dumb idea’ crowd have a fear of heights or claustrophobia. It’s not a dumb idea just because you don’t like it.

  • Derek July 12, 2022 (7:21 pm)

    This was always the best route to go! Good job City Council getting it right. Let’s expedite this! 

  • JAG July 12, 2022 (8:37 pm)

    So after all this waiting and delay after delay pushing back the decision date several times we still do not have a decision about where the Delridge station is going to be? Any idea when we might get a decision? Does this mean they are still considering the even worse options up Genesee? 

    • WSB July 13, 2022 (12:44 pm)

      The decision is up to the Sound Transit Board, which may vote as soon as this month (July 28th meeting). But that’s still not the final-final decision – that happens after final EIS release (expected next year). This vote is just regarding what the city is going on the record as supporting (or not), but the ST Board (which includes two city reps – Mayor Harrell and City Council President Juarez) is free to entirely disregard it. – TR

    • skeeter July 13, 2022 (12:49 pm)

      JAG – the final decision will be in 2023.  This website has a nice summary of the timeline.  West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions | Timeline and milestones | Sound Transit

  • Yep July 12, 2022 (9:39 pm)

    What does this mean for Delridge and the entire planning process? I understand moving a daycare is not easy, but it is not worth relocating an entire train station or the delay this will cause. 

    • JAG July 13, 2022 (7:50 am)

      You can thank your representative Herbold for that. She keeps saying there wasn’t support which is NOT true and wants to look like she’s doing something. The city was all set to approve until she hijacked it. 

    • Dan July 13, 2022 (1:22 pm)

      The daycare option is one of six options.  The city doesn’t get to pick the location, sound transit does.  The city was simple going on record with preference, which ultimately mean nothing.  So this doesn’t stop, restart or delay anything. 

  • Pessoa July 13, 2022 (7:12 am)

    An expensive, colossal absurdity.  You know the old adage that you can’t kill a good idea?  The same can be said for a bad idea, as in this West Seattle light rail extension.   

    • James July 13, 2022 (12:48 pm)

      It is 100% happening. Just embrace it. 

    • Jort July 13, 2022 (6:14 pm)

      The expense may be absurd, but the utility and necessity are not. Seattle will not be the first city in human history to build a rail transportation network and regret it.

  • Ian David July 13, 2022 (5:15 pm)

    I can’t wait for this thing to be built as fast as possible, preferably in a tunnel. We all know commuting from west Seattle is a nightmare and this will be a huge boon. Before the UW station opened opponents went on and on about how it wouldn’t be utilized, and it was at maximum capacity virtually over night. Grade separated rail is the holy grail of transportation in big cities.

  • Honey July 14, 2022 (7:36 am)

    WE OPPOSE DEL6 – VOTE TO NOT HAVE A PREFERRED ROUTESound Transit’s WSBLE DEIS is vague, superficial and incomplete. It is also callous with regards to West Seattleites and our precious eco-systems. Seattle City Council has wisely chosen NOT to have a preferred route for the ST WSBLE. We ask that the System Expansion Committee to also vote to NOT have a preferred route. A more comprehensive and honest look at the Delridge segment including the refinements to DEL6 is clearly warranted. Until then we support the NO BUILD option. 

    • MyThruppence July 14, 2022 (11:28 am)

      Can you speak up please? Your font choice(s) means you didn’t capture these eyeballs for even a split-second. Why would I, for any reason whatsoever, wade through that garble to try and assemble any sort of cogent argument?
      Shame too, because I’m sure your your insight was unassailable. 

    • heartless July 14, 2022 (6:00 pm)

      Who’s ‘we’?(Also I don’t think the people in the back heard you, try bigger letters next time.)

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