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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: What the Stakeholder Advisory Group recommended – and didn’t

(UPDATED 10:19 AM THURSDAY with finalized Sound Transit graphics summarizing the SAG recommendations)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When Sound Transit managers insisted it would be OK to mix and match elements of a potential West Seattle to Ballard light-rail plan, they might not have envisioned the level of mixing and matching that went on tonight at the first of four milestone meetings.

Members of the all-volunteer Stakeholder Advisory Group concluded their 14-meeting role in the planning process with a jumble of recommendations – and, for a few segments, non-recommendations. So if you were hoping to hear and see something simple like “they voted to recommend the (x) line,” sorry, it didn’t go that way.

First, here are the toplines as visually summarized at meeting’s end, one set if third-party funding was available to cover costs (tunneling) beyond what the ST3 taxes/fees collect, one set if not:

We’ll get clearer versions of those tomorrow (10:19 am, finalized graphics substtuted above – from this PDF), but at the meeting we could only grab quick pics as they went by. In case you found them hard to read, here are the basics of SAG feedback for the three West Seattle segments, east to west:

-Crossing the Duwamish River – support was for doing it south of the existing bridge, no matter what

-Getting to the Delridge station – study either what was originally called the purple (Pigeon Point tunnel) or blue alignment if third-party funding is available, the blue alignment if not, and in both cases, modifying blue with the southernmost Delridge station location

-In The Junction, the with-third-party funding option would be a tunneled station at 41st or 42nd; the without-extra-funding option would be a modified version of the elevated “representative alignment” (red) that could either end at Fauntleroy or at Jefferson Square, or saving money by tunneling but consolidating the Junction and Avalon stations.

In general, the orange (some called it yellow) line was completely cast aside. So was the notion of taking the Junction end any further west than 42nd. To elaborate on the above, here’s our video of the recap at meeting’s end, when those slides were shown:

Two hours of discussion led up to all that, and we have that on a separate clip, which we’ll add in the hours ahead, along with more on how the SAG got there. So check back for more of the story But first, what’s next:

-The Elected Leadership Group meets 9:30 am Friday, April 26, to make its recommendations, taking into account what the SAG said tonight as well as the 2,700 “scoping” comments received (here’s the PDF summary/”themes” report on those).

-The Sound Transit Board has the final say in May on what goes into environmental studies. The next major public-comment period won’t be until “late 2020.”

ADDED 3:33 AM THURSDAY: If you need a refresher on the aforementioned red vs. orange vs. blue routes, see pages 22-26 of the meeting deck (PDF).

Now, here’s our video of the discussion that led to the aforementioned recommendations (as well as those on other segments of the West Seattle to Ballard line):

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Getting ready for recommendations

In two and a half weeks, the Elected Leadership Group created for Sound Transit West Seattle/Ballard light-rail planning will meet to make its recommendation of which routing/station-location alternatives should go into environmental study.

They have a lot of feedback to consider. And as we reported here, one West Seattleite on the ELG, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, expressed concern that the ELG and the Stakeholder Advisory Group wouldn’t get enough time to consider it all – the timetable said they would get a summary of the recent “scoping” comments just two days before their recommendation meeting on April. She reiterated her request for more time in this letter with her scoping comments:

She asked that both groups get at least a week’s lead time between receiving scoping-comment information and their next meetings. And now we’ve learned that will happen – Sound Transit intends to send the scoping comments to both groups today (Wednesday), which is exactly a week before the SAG meets and 16 days before the ELG meets. We had asked ST just yesterday about the status of the request for more time and were told, “Staff is working hard to turn around these comments as quickly as they can.” We’ll inquire tomorrow how and how soon they’ll be available once sent to the ELG and SAG.

Meantime, community groups are continuing their advocacy. Another of the West Seattleites on the ELG, County Councilmember Joe McDermott – who is also on the ST Board – recently walked part of the potential route – from the Avalon station vicinity to the easternmost Junction station – with members of the East Alaska Junction Neighborhood Coalition. We were along for most of the tour:

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LAST CALL! ‘Scoping comment’ deadline day for West Seattle light rail. See what two groups are saying

If you haven’t gotten your “scoping” comment in regarding West Seattle light rail – today is the (extended) deadline set by Sound Transitso go here fast! Many local organizations and groups are weighing in. We’ve heard from two more whose detailed views might interest you. First, the Junction Neighborhood Organization:

(Here’s the PDF, if you can’t read it above.)

Next, from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition:

(Here’s the PDF.) The “scoping” comments are to be summarized by ST with “themes” made available to the Stakeholder Advisory Group a few days in advance of its meeting April 19th, at which SAG members will make a recommendation of routing/station options that they think should go into environmental study. One last time, here’s how to submit yours – by end of day today.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: With 2 days left for ‘scoping’ comments, Elected Leadership Group wonders if anyone will have enough time to review them

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two days remain until Sound Transit closes the “scoping” period – the last round of official public comment before a decision on which light rail routing/station locations to send into environmental study.

The West Seattle-to-Ballard project’s Elected Leadership Group met Friday for a bonus briefing/discussion on the Delridge and Chinatown/International District station options. This is the group that will meet in four weeks to decide on what to recommend to the Sound Transit Board, which has the final say on everything from what to study to what to build.

And members expressed concern on Friday that it’s a rush to the finish line – with Stakeholder Advisory Group members (all community volunteers) scheduled to make their recommendation to the ELG two days after getting an outline of “themes” from the scoping comments, and the ELG itself getting a full report on those comments two days before its own decision is due. Here’s the timeline:

More on the time concerns ahead. First:

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Elected Leadership Group talks stations tomorrow; WS Chamber advocates for tunneling

With less than a week remaining for “scoping” comments on Sound Transit’s West Seattle light rail, the newest developments:

ELECTED LEADERSHIP GROUP TOMORROW: The slide deck is available for tomorrow’s 9 am-noon meeting of the Elected Leadership Group, which next month will make its routing/station-location environmental-study recommendations. The meeting is centered around station locations – particularly Delridge – and the West Seattle material in this deck starts on page 56 (some of it was reviewed at the Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting we covered last week). This, for example, is from page 84 of tomorrow’s 99-slide deck:

The Friday ELG meeting will include a public-comment period – the agenda says Delridge station comment will be accepted starting at 10:30 am. The meeting will be at the ST board room on the south end of downtown, 401 S. Jackson. (Added: See this comment if the “agenda” link still isn’t working.)

CHAMBER BACKS TUNNELING: Various local organizations are working to finalize their official comments before the “scoping” period ends Tuesday. The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has gone public with theirs:

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (WSCC) is committed to promoting sustainable economic growth of a diverse, viable business community. One of the biggest challenges to achieving this goal is our present transportation infrastructure. To support the future viability of the business community on the West Seattle peninsula, the WSCC has 3 main objectives by which any light rail proposal should be assessed:

Does the solution improve the quality of life for residents ( i.e. customers and business owners) who live and work in and around the proposed alignments and station locations?

Does the solution improve the movement of people and commerce?

Does the solution minimize the disruption to economic activity during and after construction as well as provide suitable mitigation measures?

The WSCC continues to have grave concerns about the present alignments that appear to moving forward for further study in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The WSCC would like to put forward the following concerns and comments from our business community here in West Seattle:

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit returns to JuNO at ‘really good time to be engaging’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Back in November 2017, the Junction Neighborhood Organization hosted a briefing with Sound Transit, at which a top ST manager promised “an interesting year and a half” ahead.

That year and a half is almost over; May is when the ST Board will decide which routing/station locations for West Seattle light rail will go into environmental studies. But as another JuNO briefing with ST showed last night, some local residents are just starting to sit up and take notice, especially since multiple locations are now in play for the Junction station.

An upstairs meeting room at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction filled to overflow capacity for last night’s briefing and Q&A. ST’s Leda Chahim reassured them that “this is a really good time to be engaging,” though the “scoping period” for public comment ends one week from today.

First – here’s the slide deck Chahim and other ST reps used to recap where things stand.

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: With 9 days to comment, what you need to know now

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What routing and station locations will be deemed “preferred” for West Seattle light rail? Key decision deadlines are headed this way fast.

With Sound Transit soon to decide what will be the focus of environmental studies, you have nine days left to comment as part of the “scoping” period. Here’s what’s happening as the April 2nd deadline nears:

JUNO MEETING TONIGHT – The Junction Neighborhood Organization is focusing its meeting on light-rail routing, 6:30 pm tonight (Monday) at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon). This is one place for you to have a say, along with the online open house.

EAST ALASKA JUNCTION NEIGHBORHOOD COALITION: We reported on this new group two weeks ago. Sunday, you might have seen their table at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market:

They’re advocating for tunneling into The Junction and, in particular, opposing the “orange” elevated routing (their materials call it the “yellow” line), not only because it could take out an entire residential neighborhood but also, they say, because it would predetermine how light rail would expand south – taking out even more homes. Go here to see the flyer they have been circulating, as well as their proposed alternative.

ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT DISPLACEMENT: Youngstown-area residents continue voicing their concerns about the southernmost option for the Delridge station; we reported in January on a special meeting they had with ST. They invited Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman on a walking tour of their neighborhood this past Thursday:

That’s Bowman at left above with Dennis Noland, a longtime area property owner who’s been leading the neighbors in advocacy against the Youngstown-area station location. She’s a member of the Elected Leadership Group, which will make a routing/stations recommendation next month to the ST board.

The ELG also meets this Friday (March 29th), scheduled to talk about the Delridge and Chinatown-ID stations, 9 am-noon at the ST board room downtown (401 S. Jackson). That’s where the Stakeholder Advisory Group (which had a member along on the Youngstown tour too, Deb Barker) met this past Thursday night – here’s how that went:

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Where should Delridge’s light-rail station be? Sound Transit ‘community workshop’ tackles the topic

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

First stop, Delridge.

When Sound Transit light rail arrives in West Seattle – projected start date, 2030 – after the trains cross the Duwamish River on a new bridge, that’s where the easternmost of three planned stations will be. And that was the topic of this past Tuesday’s “community workshop” at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, which might end up adjacent to the station if the southernmost proposed site is chosen.

As is standard for Sound Transit’s meetings, this one began with a lengthy slide-deck-accompanied presentation that plowed through the highlights of the yearlong planning process that is almost to a key destination – the decision about which route(s) and station locations will get full environmental study.

The ST board has the final say; one of its members, County Councilmember Joe McDermott of West Seattle, spoke briefly at the event’s start and underscored that “historic decisions” are ahead. He reminded the 100 or so attendees – including a sizable number of ST employees/consultants assigned as table-minders – that he and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, also there, had sent ST CEO Peter Rogoff a letter calling for a closer look at Delridge station concerns. Here’s the letter, dated late January; hosting this workshop was one response to it. McDermott says they want to be certain that light rail and its transit connections will “serve everybody in the Delridge Valley.”

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West Seattle light rail: From pricing to the ‘purple line,’ what surfaced in Q&A when Sound Transit returned to Pigeon Point

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When West Seattle light-rail construction begins, “we’re going to be the first area in West Seattle impacted,” explained Pete Spalding as he opened last night’s Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council meeting, with Sound Transit guests in the spotlight, nine months after ST’s last PPNC appearance.

The Q&A that followed shone some light on topics of major interest, including cost, and why a much-cited number is nonetheless “not a number to get stuck on.” But first:

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West Seattle light rail: East Junction neighbors organize to urge careful consideration of ‘generational decision’

(Two potential sites for elevated Junction station shown in newest ST visualizations)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two-plus years after the Sound Transit 3 vote planted light rail firmly in West Seattle’s future, a major decision nears:

Which “preferred alternative(s)” will go into formal environmental study?

With the Sound Transit board set to make that decision in May, the last major public-comment period – aka “scoping” – is under way now. And it’s bringing together groups of neighbors focused on what the decision could mean not only to their neighborhoods, but to the rest of West Seattle – and beyond.

We sat down the other day with five people who are part of the newly organized East Alaska Junction Neighborhood Coalition. They support tunneling light rail into The Junction.

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Extra time for comments, plus two upcoming meetings

(WSB photo from last week’s open house)

Sound Transit is extending its “scoping period” for commenting on the West Seattle to Ballard light-rail project. That’s according to an email announcement sent today to the project’s Stakeholder Advisory Group. The timeline for decisionmaking is NOT going to be extended, the SAG was told, but the current “scoping period” for comments is now going to remain open until April 2nd. As noted in our daily highlight list, one more “open house” (third and final in the series that started last week in West Seattle) is planned, downtown tonight; you also can get your commnts into the official record:

*Via the online open house
*Email: wsbscopingcomments@soundtransit.org
*Voicemail: 833-972-2666
*Postal Mail: West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions, c/o Lauren Swift, Sound Transit, 401 S Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

Two meetings in West Seattle next week will feature ST reps and are open to all:

*Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, 7 pm Monday (March 11th), Pathfinder K-8 (1901 SW Genesee)
*Delridge Station Community Workshop, 6:30 pm Tuesday (March 12th), Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW)

UPDATE: Sound Transit West Seattle light-rail open house, and what to do if you missed it

6:41 PM: You have until 8:30 pm to get to Sound Transit‘s West Seattle light-rail open house. Big turnout already, and a presentation is getting under way, but even after it, plenty of time will remain to “learn and share,” as the crowd has heard. The latter involves commenting on the “latest route and station alternatives,” “topics to study in the environmental impact statement,” and “project purpose and need.” County Councilmember Joe McDermott spoke briefly – he’s a member of the ST board and emphasized the importance of input now, even if you have commented before – now that it’s the official “scoping period,” they need to hear from you again. That gets you into “the official federal record,” as noted by ST’s Cathal Ridge. He also told the crowd that even though discussions and reviews have been under way for more than a year, this still is “the beginning of the process” as they move toward a board decision this May on what to send into environmental study as the next major step in the process of opening West Seattle light rail in 2030. Tonight’s open house is at the Masonic Center (4736 40th SW); if you can’t make it, you can comment via this “online open house” until March 18th.

7:02 PM: The presentation – which recapped the currently under-consideration alternatives (though you can tell ST you want to see something else considered) and where the process stands – is wrapping up. (UPDATE: HERE’S THE SLIDE DECK.) What happens next – the “open house” info tables, easels, etc., remain open. They are also inviting people to have conversations at “neighborhood forum” tables around the room, but made it clear that they are not taking notes at these tables because they want your comment(s) to be on the record, so if you want to comment here, seek out one of the official comment stations – or make it via the online open house or e-mail, postal mail, or phone. There are also two more in-person open houses, one of which is tomorrow in Ballard. Info on that and the commenting alternatives is all here.

WEDNESDAY: Tell Sound Transit what you think about West Seattle light rail

One more semi-early reminder about a major event tomorrow night: Sound Transit‘s last big West Seattle event before its scheduled decision this spring on which light-rail routing and station locations will go through environmental studies. You are invited to the “open house” at the Masonic Center in The Junction (4736 40th SW), 6-8:30 pm Wednesday. As ST explains:

Those attending an open house will hear information and have the opportunity to provide feedback on the alternatives for expanding light rail to West Seattle and Ballard. Feedback from this comment period will be shared with the Stakeholder Advisory Group and Elected Leadership Group to inform their recommendations to the Sound Transit Board of Directors on alternatives to study during environmental review. In May, the Board will identify a preferred alternative and other alternatives to study in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

If you can’t be there in person, you can also comment until March 18 via this “online open house.”

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Your next chance to comment starts now as ‘scoping’ period begins, with visualizations

(One page from new PDF of “visualizations” linked in “online open house” for feedback)

For more than a year, the process of determining a “preferred alternative” for routing and station locations of Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light rail has been under way. Today, your next chance to comment – and last major chance to do it before that “preferred alternative” is chosen for environmenal studies – begins. ST has just announced the official start of a month of “scoping,” which includes its next West Seattle meeting, and an “online open house” featuring new summaries and comparisons of what’s currently under consideration:

Scoping begins today! Share your comments by March 18

Sound Transit and the Federal Transit Administration have officially kicked off scoping for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project. Scoping is the next step in the environmental review process and provides an opportunity for you to comment on the route and station alternatives, topics to study in the environmental impact statement, and project purpose and need. This 30-day public comment period will include multiple ways for you to share your feedback and help the Sound Transit Board identify a preferred alternative and other alternatives to study in an Environmental Impact Statement during the next phase of project development.

This is an especially important time to get involved and we want to hear from you! Here’s how to comment:

Attend an upcoming open house: details below
Comment online: wsblink.participate.online
Email us: wsbscopingcomments@soundtransit.org
Leave a voicemail: 833-972-2666
Mail us a letter: West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions, c/o Lauren Swift, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

Comments must be received by March 18. Your feedback will be shared with the Stakeholder Advisory Group, Elected Leadership Group, and the Sound Transit Board prior to their recommendations on which alternatives should be studied during environmental review. The Sound Transit Board will identify a preferred alternative and other alternatives to study in an Environmental Impact Statement in May 2019.

Save the dates! Join us at a scoping open house

We’re excited to share dates for our upcoming scoping open houses in West Seattle, Ballard, and downtown Seattle. We hope you’ll join us at one of the meetings below to learn more about the alternatives being considered, ask questions and share your comments.

West Seattle on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Alki Masonic Center (4736 40th SW)
Ballard/Interbay on Thursday, Feb. 28, 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Ballard High School
Downtown on Thursday, March 7, 5 – 7:30 p.m. at Union Station

Can’t join us in-person? Our online open house is now live! Visit wsblink.participate.online and submit your scoping comments by March 18.

New year, new numbers: advisory groups review Level 3 evaluation results:

The Stakeholder Advisory Group and Elected Leadership Group recently held meetings to review the latest alternatives and hear more about the Level 3 evaluation results. The three end-to-end alternatives were evaluated based on their performance with respect to dozens of qualitative and quantitative measures, such as service reliability, travel times, environmental effects, technical feasibility and much more.

Want to dig into the details to inform your scoping comments? Explore the evaluation results, then visit the online open house to comment between now and March 18. (Go here)

Other project documents, including a Scoping Information Report, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Determination of Significance, and evaluation reports, are also available for review online.

One thing we noticed while browsing the “online open house” before publishing this announcement – you can access a PDF with visualizations of the currently proposed “end-to-end alternatives” – see it here.

P.S. We’ve been covering all the other steps in the process along the way – most recently, the Stakeholder Advisory Group‘s meeting two weeks ago.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: See how the potential components compare

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The process of arriving at a “preferred alternative” for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light rail routing and station locations will stretch further into spring than first planned.

That’s part of what was announced at last night’s Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting, which was centered on releasing and discussing how the currently under-review possibilities compare on a variety of criteria, including cost. The same information will be reviewed by the Elected Leadership Group tomorrow morning, and your feedback will be sought online and via in-person forums in a month or so.

Here’s the full slide deck from the meeting (PDF, 12 MB). First thing to remember – the so-called “end to end alternatives” that are in the spotlight for this third and final review phase are not “all or nothing” plans from which one will move into the next phase. But here they all are on a map:

In order in the legend, they are the “representative project” (outlined in the ST3 vote in 2016), the
West Seattle Elevated option, and the West Seattle Tunnel option. ST staffers stressed repeatedly that this is the time to “mix and match” components if that makes more sense. So the evaluation information emerged in segments, rather than simply scorecards for each full “end to end alternative.” Here’s the criteria on which the components were evaluated:

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit soil sampling along SW Genesee and in Harbor Island vicinity

(WSB photo, Pigeon Point, July 2018)

That’s the rig Sound Transit used last summer to collect soil samples in multiple areas as it continues researching potential routes for West Seattle light rail. They’re continuing those tests in two areas. First, we have this announcement of sampling along SW Genesee as soon as next week – note that it is also a traffic alert:

Sound Transit plans to begin drilling to collect soil samples for analysis on SW Genesee St between 26th Ave SW and 30th Ave SW. as early as January 28.

Work will occur from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and take approximately five days to complete.

The eastbound lane and sidewalk of SW Genesee St will be closed between 26th Ave SW and 30th Ave SW during working hours.

Flaggers will be present to direct eastbound and westbound traffic around the work area. Metro Route 50 will continue to operate on SW Genesee St.

Sound Transit is in the early planning phase for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project. This work, along with similar borings throughout the project corridor, will help us plan and design possible light rail alignments.

That’s near the area whose residents me with ST last week (WSB coverage here). ST also has been doing soil sampling on Harbor Island and Port of Seattle properties in the vicinity, as shown on this map:

The list provided by ST shows testing at Terminals 18, 25, 102, and 104 should have been completed by now; work in the park at Harbor Island is planned through tomorrow, and night and weekend work at 3568 W. Marginal Way SW through Sunday. The technical analysis continues as ST enters the final phase of review to choose a “preferred alternative” for environmental study; that decision is expected this spring. Next steps in the review process, two meetings next week.

‘A hard conversation to have’: Sound Transit faces residents who might be forced from their homes by West Seattle light rail

(WSB photo: Youngstown-area residents gathered to hear about light rail that might force them to move)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Light rail does not just appear one day in a neighborhood where it didn’t exist the day before.

Years of construction follow years of planning.

Some of that construction is preceded by demolition – tearing down homes and businesses that, to put it bluntly, are declared to be in the way.

That will happen to some in West Seattle. Just where, and how many homes and businesses, won’t be settled until the route and station locations for the due-to-open-in-2030 line are finalized. But some people for whom it’s a possibility are already grappling with it. This past Wednesday night, dozens of them gathered at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center with pointed questions for Sound Transit – questions that in many cases, ST reps said, it’s too soon to answer. Most of the people in attendance were from nearby streets where construction of the Delridge station might push them out, depending on what location is chosen.

The briefing/Q&A event was organized by a neighbor, Dennis Noland, who opened by saying, “It was devastating news to me” to find out that Sound Transit’s West Seattle light-rail plan might cost him and some of his neighbors their homes. Noland took it on himself to personally talk with neighbors after that revelation last fall.

The next step in that was organizing the meeting, intended for neighbors – “specifically a two-block area” bounded by, as he explained it:

SW Genesee on the south
SW Dakota on the north
West side of Delridge Way SW on the east
26th SW transecting 25th SW on the west

We recorded the 2-hour-plus event, but our video is mostly just of use for the audio as the projected slides could not be captured – they’re all in this slide deck (7 MB PDF) – and we didn’t have a separate crew member to zoom from person to person while we took notes. Nevertheless, here’s the recording:

Now, our chronicling of what happened:

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First look at potential ‘end-to-end’ options for Sound Transit light rail from West Seattle to Ballard

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“You have all officially made it through two levels of screening.”

That was the welcome last night for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle-Ballard light rail Stakeholder Advisory Group members at their last scheduled meeting of the year.

The big headline from this meeting: The first look at three “end-to-end” route possibilities drafted by ST staff. Until now, potential routing/station locations have been discussed segment by segment. The three were crafted from feedback in the first two levels of screening, which are recapped in the meeting’s full slide deck (PDF). ST’s Cathal Ridge went through that recap last night, noting major concerns voiced during that phase – including, for West Seattle, an interest in ensuring the Delridge station is a good transfer point between bus and light rail, that a location south of Andover be considered for it, and also that the Junction station be oriented north-south, possibly on 42nd or 44th. Here’s the list of what the three are being called for now, followed by maps and highlights of each:

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West Seattle light rail: Elected Leadership Group shoots down ‘Pigeon Ridge’ option

ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:04 PM FRIDAY: Nine days after the Stakeholder Advisory Group for West Seattle/Ballard light rail decided to recommend two options for the third and final stage of review, the next group up the ladder has thrown one of them out. We’ve obtained from Sound Transit the results of this morning’s Elected Leadership Group meeting:

That means the ELG did not accept one of the SAG’s recommendations, keeping the “Pigeon Ridge” alternative – which ST estimated would cost an extra $1.2 billion – in play. (The “Golf Course” etc. option is projected to cost $700 million extra.) Here are discussion points from the meeting:

Here’s the full set of ELG recommendations from todaySeattle Channel website eventually, as SC has recorded the ELG meetings because the group’s membership means the meetings technically also qualify as Seattle City Council Sustainability and Transportation Committee meetings.

WHAT’S NEXT: The third and final level of review now begins, with a “preferred alternative” for environmental study to be arrived at next spring. The next public meeting in the process isn’t until late November, when the Stakeholder Advisory Group is scheduled to meet again.

ADDED SATURDAY: Here’s the video of the meeting.

West Seattle light rail: Here’s what the Stakeholder Advisory Group wants to send to the next level of review

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two levels of review down, one to go until the Sound Transit West Seattle to Ballard light-rail-extension project focuses on a “preferred alternative” for environmental study.

At their 3+-hour meeting tonight, members of the project’s Stakeholder Advisory Group made its recommendations for which alternatives its members want to see advance to the third level of study, segment by segment – Ballard/Interbay, Downtown, Chinatown/ID, SODO, and finally, West Seattle – seated in four groups, with the results collected and announced after each segment discussion.

For West Seattle, here’s how it concluded, with two of the three Level 2 tunnel-inclusive options recommended to remain under review in Level 3:

The alternatives that are advancing are from among five under review in Level 2, including the ST “representative project” (the all-elevated plan that was originally outlined before the ST3 ballot measure).

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AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Sound Transit’s 2nd West Seattle light-rail ‘neighborhood forum’

9:13 AM: Not here at the Seattle Lutheran High School gym (4100 SW Genesee) yet? More than 50 people are, as the Sound Transit “neighborhood forum” for West Seattle light rail routing/station locations begins. This is in “open house” – circulate and look at boards, maps, etc. – mode until at least 9:30, followed by a presentation, followed by small-group conversation starting just before 10, so you have time to get here. (The format is detailed here.) Here’s our most-recent coverage, with the new ST-released “visualizations” of what some of the route/station options might look like. Updates to come!

9:32 AM: The presentation’s starting, projected on the north wall. The microphone is given first to Joe McDermott, County Councilmember and Sound Transit board member, who jokes about the ease of the commute (on a Saturday morning) and thanks everyone for turning out. He’s followed by project director Cathal Ridge providing some project backstory and timeline, starting with the planning phase (now) and moving to construction starting in 2025 to open the Stadium-SODO-West Seattle extension in 2030. (Rough count update, 100+ people here now.)

Ridge reiterates that they’re not asking people to pick their final preferred alternative today, but to help “narrow” the list down. One more level of review is ahead before that preferred alternative is finalized next April, to move into full environmental study.

Ridge notes that this is the first time “cost assessment” has entered the process (as we reported last Wednesday) – focused on “limited conceptual design” (5%, compared to 60% when they get to an actual project budget) based on “consistent methodology” including 2017 dollars. In the final level of review, Level 3, they will provide costs for “end-to-end alternatives,” compared to the current comparative segment-by-segment analysis, and those, Ridge explains, “will facilitate comparison to ST3 budget” (as approved by voters).

9:47 AM: He’s followed by Stephen Mak, ST’s West Seattle-specific planner, recapping the five West Seattle segment alternatives currently under discussion, including the “representative project” originally proposed. After going briefly over the route/station maps for the alternatives, Mak hits the info-dense tables of evaluation points that were originally presented at the Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting Wednesday (and included in our coverage – you can also see that slide deck here – but be aware that latter link includes the evaluation of all West Seattle to Ballard segments; WS is last). The highlights include the same takeaway points that ST chose to highlight, such as “visual effects” – where “low” and “high” guideways are mentioned, by the way, we asked for clarification on Wednesday, and “low” means up to 60′, while “high” means up to 160′. If you want to cut to the bare-bones summary, this is the page:

(That’s on page 106 of the presentation from Wednesday; we will ask on Monday for the WS-only deck that’s being used today.)

10:09 AM: Mak is followed by ST station planner Sloan Dawson, who talks about the by-invitation-only daylong station “charrettes” that were held in July, one for Delridge, one for Junction and Avalon. (We covered a walking tour that was part of the latter.) Someone in the crowd quickly spots the acronym TOD and asks for an explanation (answer: Transit Oriented Development). Here are the slides he showed:

10:20 AM: Presentation’s ending. That means table-by-table conversations will begin. ST has a note-taker assigned to each table.

It’s announced that City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is here. Someone asks if the slides can be made available online – the facilitator says yes. (Again, as noted above, the same slides were in the Wednesday presentations, but we’ll request today’s deck on Monday and add it here.) We’re within earshot of one table, whose note-taker/coordinator KaDeena Yerkan is asking people to introduce themselves and to say which station/route segment most interests them. One person in her self-intro says she’s interested in whatever would speed up the process. ST, meantime, tells us that the signup forms at last check showed 130 people are (or have been) here. The boards with post-it note options are still up for commenting on the other side of the room, too.

10:50 AM: Conversation continues and is scheduled to go until about 11:30 – soon shifting to “part 2, (to) share input for each sub-segment.” One participant at the table within our earshot asks what happens if the Port is not happy about a favored route – does it have a veto?The coordinator’s not sure. Meantime, all this feedback is to be summarized and provided to the decisionmakers further up the line – the Stakeholder Advisory Group will meet September 26th to make its recommendations for what to advance to the third and final review level; the Elected Leadership Group then considers those recommendations (but is not bound by them) on October 5th. (The public is welcome at all of those meetings but if you go, take note that there’s no public-comment period at the SAG meetings; there IS, at the ELG meetings. SAG meetings are not recorded on video; Seattle Channel does record the SAG meetings, which are also technically City Council meetings because the ELG has a quorum of city councilmembers.)

11:24 AM: Still talking, as the prescheduled adjournment time of 11:30 am nears, though a couple of the table groups are breaking up. We’re going to go look around at easels etc. and will add a few images later. (Update: Added below)

If you couldn’t be here, you still have a way to get involved in this round – as we reported Friday, ST has an “online open house” now under way until September 23rd, with info and comment opportunities. Find it here.

LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit’s Stakeholder Advisory Group to review 5 West Seattle alternatives in Level 2

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The road to choosing a “preferred alternative” for West Seattle/Ballard light rail has now taken the Stakeholder Advisory Group into the second of three levels of review.

When the SAG met last Wednesday at the Sound Transit board room downtown, it was presented with five West Seattle possibilities – including two new/modified versions of pre-existing options. You can see all five in the slide deck from the meeting.

ST’s Stephen Mak showed all five:

First, the “representative project” (ST’s original draft route), which is entirely elevated:

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West Seattle light rail: What Sound Transit said, and was asked, at Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council

(Sound Transit slide deck from Pigeon Point meeting)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Sound Transit‘s West Seattle light-rail line is either going to skirt Pigeon Point or tunnel through it, so the PP Neighborhood Council invited ST in for a briefing.

The briefing and ensuing Q&A took up most of last night’s semimonthly PPNC meeting, with about 50 people in the Pathfinder K-8 cafeteria to get an abridged version of what’s been unfolding over the past 5+ months.

ST’s Andrea Burnett and Stephen Mak, both working on the West Seattle line plan, were invited. He presented the backstory first on the Sound Transit 3 vote setting up a draft plan for a 4.7-mile extension to West Seattle, to open in 2030, with a new rail-only bridge over the Duwamish River, and three stations in WS.

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