WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit Board committee backs Junction tunnel and Andover station options

This afternoon, the Sound Transit Board‘s System Expansion Committee gave its unanimous support to a recommendation for the light-rail “preferred alternative” from West Seattle to SODO. As for the rest of the West Seattle/Ballard stretch, various studies will push back that part of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, so West Seattle to SODO will basically have its own FEIS. The “preferred alternative” supported by the committee today includes the same options in the “example” shown to another board committee one week ago (WSB coverage here) – these two slides (here’s the full deck) tell the story:

Support for the DEL-6 option comes despite the Seattle City Council passing a resolution saying it can’t support any of the Delridge options, Meantime, the proposal (read it in full here) that received committee support today also keeps in play possible modifications including a Junction-station entrance at 42nd and removal of the Avalon station:

While removing the Avalon station could save $60 million, that savings is not needed for the West Seattle segment to remain “affordable,’ ST staff clarified at the request of West Seattle-residing board member Joe McDermott of the King County Council. McDermott also asked the board to reiterate that this decision still sends all the previously studied alternatives ahead in the Final EIS – the others just wouldn’t have the same level of engineering study as the “preferred alternative.” That was as he voiced concerns about the two organizations that say they and their clients would be displaced by the Andover station option, mental-health/supportive-housing provider Transitional Resources and child-care provider Alki Beach Academy. McDermott expressed hope that some sort of design modification might be possible to spare them.

WHAT’S NEXT: Today’s vote was a recommendation to the full board, which meets on July 28th. They will decide on the “preferred alternative” to send into final environmental studies, which would be followed by a decision next year on what to build. The West Seattle segment is projected for completion in 2032.

31 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit Board committee backs Junction tunnel and Andover station options"

  • Derek July 14, 2022 (7:55 pm)

    Yesssss! Excited and glad this was the chosen option.

    • Casey MacDonald July 15, 2022 (11:58 am)

      .. and also happy to hear that West Seattle will have it’s own FEIS.  This should allow West Seattle to proceed onto the next steps while other gnarly issues (eg. ID station) will need to be re-thought. 

  • MF July 14, 2022 (7:57 pm)

    Can you provide better pictures so I can actaully see the streets?

  • Avalon Resident July 14, 2022 (9:26 pm)

    what is the point of removing Avalon for ‘ cost savings ‘ – where is these savings going too??? 

    • WSB July 14, 2022 (11:35 pm)

      The rest of the West Seattle/Ballard package could cost more than budgeted – see the slide deck – so it could theoretically apply to that.

      • Avalon Resident July 15, 2022 (12:30 pm)

        I guess a better question is if 80million really a good way to save money when you consider that a station will cost much much more expensive in the long run. With all the development in the Avalon area the next 50 years is going to be very different. I won’t be surprised if a lot of the houses behind the main Avalon Street get rezoned for more high density. I am more on the boat that more stations the better. 

  • Martin July 14, 2022 (9:32 pm)

    Interesting to see that Sound Transit chose to ignore most of the city’s concerns about missing mitigations such as for Pigeon Point slope and heron colony and marine impact. ST3 includes planning for a southern extension, but the DEIS does not address how a tunnel could be extended south and at what additional cost. The Del-6 station has the worst bus access of all alignments and provide the worst location for transit-oriented housing as such would be sandwiched between the steel plant and major roadways. I don’t see any way to spare Alki Beach Academy daycare.I wish the city would work on their carbon reduction goals and not endorse a plan to generate an additional 600,000 ton of carbon constructing a rail line while a gondola could be built with a fraction, meet the same goals, and avoid the issues above.

    • My two cents July 15, 2022 (3:01 am)

      Wait for it … wait for it … there it is! The passive aggressive SkyLink model to try and end ST3.

      • Graphic Wench July 15, 2022 (8:40 pm)

        Well stated! I was waiting to see that mentioned as well.

  • WTF July 14, 2022 (9:40 pm)

    Why not just improve bus transportation? What is the purpose of MASS transit in a small nested infrastructure like West Seattle? This will do nothing but ruin West Seattle and everyone of you knows it (especially those who own and actually pay property taxes) … half of the people paying for it won’t live long enough to see it finished at twice what it will be estimated and twice as long. Don’t champion this horrible idea, then complain about it later (so Seattle of you). The city is just creating gross urban sprawl and ruining a quaint neighborhood that everyone of you sees is slowing dying. Oh, but wait. That is exactly what “Seattle” wants, no more neighborhoods; instead high density small living spaces with 80 people per 10sf. Does this city EVER learn from other’s mistakes. How’s that work for you California?  

    • DC July 15, 2022 (8:51 am)

      What is your answer to this? Ban people from moving to Seattle? A city wide moratorium on companies hiring new employees? Limits on how many children people are allowed to have? If you don’t want to live in a growing city, there are plenty of places to move. Further, increasing density is exactly the opposite of sprawl. People have to move somewhere and if not to dense neighborhoods in the city, further out in undeveloped areas.

    • Kathy July 15, 2022 (8:56 am)

      Very frequently I get an email that a 50 bus or a 56 bus or sometimes a Water Taxi run is cancelled due to lack of drivers or some other reason. A crash somewhere on your route has you sitting trapped on a bus for hours.  An elevated rail line will not be subect those delays caused by accidents and heavy car and freight traffic on the roads in and out of West Seattle.

    • skeeter July 15, 2022 (9:21 am)

      WTF – Busses are not a good option when our roads are clogged with cars.  Grade separated transit offers reliable travel times.  Maybe you’ve got hours and hours to sit in traffic but many of us don’t.    

      • StuckInWestSeattle July 18, 2022 (4:25 pm)

        Actually I disagree somewhat. A bus with dedicated lanes like Amsterdam that does not share lanes would be imo much cheaper and faster. you are correct about the obstacles but if you ditched the rail and just made it a dedicated bus route then that becomes much more sustainable. 

    • MyThruppence July 15, 2022 (9:21 am)

      That ‘quaint neighborhood’ is well on it’s way to being gone already. It will not remain the way it is currently, just as it hasn’t remained the same over the 20+ years that I have happily lived here. The goal is to manage the growth in a way that preserves all the things we love about our neighborhood, while also adding the density and ‘best use’ of land that the free market dictates. The growth will happen; well-managed or not. Light rail best manages the imminent, and virtually unavoidable, massive growth that is yet to come over the next few decades.

    • Wseattleite July 15, 2022 (11:40 am)

      These more finalized plans are highlighting the limitations of light rail, and showing that it will not be a panacea for all.  As some worry about the additional walking time to transit a few blocks from where a proposed station had been identified, that vast majority of West Seattleites will not be anywhere near walking distance from a station.  Very limiting service.  Put the money into dedicated bus infrastructure so that people can walk to a nearby stop and go where they want.

      • Y2 SkyLink July 15, 2022 (1:18 pm)

        One of the potential benefits of the gondola proposal, was the more realistic possibility of future expansion. Imagine links to Admiral, Alki, Fauntleroy, and White Center. The more minimal impacts to land/homes, faster build times, and lower costs, are some reasons it would be easier to expand.

  • HappyCamper July 15, 2022 (7:15 am)

    Granted it’s not perfect, etc etc. But I bet all of the people that are SO against light rail, if honest REALLY wishes people would’ve passed and built forward thrust all of those years ago. 

  • Kathy July 15, 2022 (8:45 am)

    I wonder who is going to use that Andover station? Nucor employees? It looks like the health club and strip mall will be gone.  Won’t coordinating the heavy truck traffic in and out of Nucor with assumed frequent bus deliveries of riders to the station plus entrance ramp to the WS bridge be problematic?  I understand it is an easier location from an engineering standpoint due to lower height, but does it really make sense for traffic conditions on the ground at that site? 

    • eddiew July 27, 2022 (3:49 pm)

      Route 21 riders would use the station.

  • JP July 15, 2022 (9:48 am)

    Wow, really horrified that in the face of the unhoused crisis in our region, Sound Transit is choosing to disrupt Transitional Resources, who provide actual permanent housing for so, so many people in need. So many people are at risk of losing the only stable homes they’ve ever held, some of whom have lived there for years and years. Really disappointing. I cannot imagine what they think will be an acceptable replacement facility, as the cost to acquire and build new equivalent properties will be enourmous, and the community integration is irreplaceable. 

    • Mark P July 15, 2022 (10:31 am)

      If housing truly is your concern, then you should be elated that the DEL-6 alignment was chosen, as it removes the fewest houses of any of the other Delridge alignments.

      • JP July 15, 2022 (11:39 am)

        Maintaining housing for people who are unhoused or at risk of becoming unhoused is my priority. I am sympathetic to any homeowner who is at risk of being displaced but there’s a big difference between the transit authority’s ability to fairly compensate SFH owners to relocate versus hundreds of long term tenants that would lose their homes from the apartments and shared houses that this would displace.

  • WSLongtimer July 15, 2022 (4:20 pm)

    I just wish they would leave West Seattle alone and be satisfied with the Metro system we already have.  It works, it’s not broken so stop trying to fix it.  Quaint neighborhoods need to stay small so that we remain family friendly and a desirable place to live.  Adding something that most of us voted against just seems like a really bad idea.  Us long timers here didn’t ask for our taxes to be raised and raised and raised to pay for something we don’t want.  If you want to live like New Yorkers, move to the East Coast and have at it.  West Seattle does not need to become denser in population.  We already have apartment buildings that are empty, rent and mortgages are too high and now you want to tax us more, NO THANK YOU!!!  I work hard to pay for my house, my car and my kids to go to college and I’m tired of paying for everyone else’s transportation and other needs.  Take the Metro and be happy about it.  You can catch the light rail downtown. 

    • James July 18, 2022 (10:38 am)

      Disagree 100%. We voted for this. Transit is desperately needed in this isolated area and this is Seattle and the city. If you want a quiet life there’s a lot of suburbs around here to move to IMO. I think we need to expedite this. I am excited about lightrail as a new member of West Seattle. I feel transit is sorely lacking here.  I live in Junction Flats and I rely on public transit. A train could get me to my downtown job in a quarter of the time it takes now. You can do that “move to New York” attitude with yourself and move to Snohomish if you want a quieter area. This city is growing and will be a serious major city soon. We need better/faster transit yesterday!

    • StuckInWestSeattle July 18, 2022 (4:27 pm)

      I agree with you.

  • Junction Lady July 15, 2022 (10:37 pm)

    I’m all for progress but my heart sinks when I think about years of demolition and construction, followed by a monstrosity structure to be viewed for the unforeseen future all riddled with crime and graffiti.  

  • Junction Lady July 15, 2022 (10:43 pm)

    In 30 years will people say, “that light rail ruined West Seattle” or will people say, “thank goodness for light rail in West Seattle”??

  • thomas July 16, 2022 (12:56 am)

    Ummm will there be adequate PARK and Ride options?  If you cannot PARK and Ride then the whole P & R thinjg is just shiney smoke and mirrors,.  Yaknow something that isn’t full at zero dark thirty AM?  Nuts and bolts matters to real people.  Dogma spouting droolers do not change the math of cost benefit.  The stations have to have secured parking or very few will ride.  Thi sis not rocket sceience.   Where’s the REAL beef?

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