As the Sound Transit Board gets closer to choosing a West Seattle/Ballard light rail “modified preferred alternative” for the final phase of environmental study, its Executive Committee just got its first look at an “example” drawn up by staff. You can see it in its entirety in the full slide deck; here’s the slide with the West Seattle section:
The “example” includes the West Seattle Junction “medium tunnel” (41st SW) option that the city is also supporting (as reported here earlier this week). While a Junction tunnel previously was expected to require “third-party funding,” this is now considered to be comparable in cost to an elevated option. As for Delridge, the “example” proposes the Andover lower-height option, aka DEL-6, which has been at the center of a lot of discussion lately because its displacement would include Transitional Resources, which provides supportive housing and behavioral-health services, and the Alki Beach Academy child-care center. TR’s CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker was among the speakers at the meeting-opening public-comment period, saying, “Not all displacements are created equal,” saying DEL-6 would take out two of their buildings housing formerly homeless people living with mental illness, as well as their headquarters.
Meantime, ST’s Cathal Ridge, while presenting the “example,” also made note of previously presented modifications that are still in play for cost-saving consideration, including eliminating the Avalon station, which he said could save $60 million:
Board chair Kent Keel took pains to stress that the “example” is a starting point for board discussion, not a fully shaped proposal awaiting approval or rejection. Some discussion ensued at today’s meeting, but rather than opinions on specific sections, it focused on the fact the board probably needs extra time before making a decision – so that may not happen at their July 28th meeting after all. Next discussion will be one week from today, when the board’s System Expansion Committee meets (1:30 pm July 14th). Whatever “modified preferred alignment” the board settles on, that still won’t be the final decision – that would follow the final Environmental Impact Statement next year.