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.