Sound Transit shares options for light rail stations in Draft EIS
By Patrick Robinson
While the full EIS from Sound Transit regarding the Ballard and West Seattle light rail extensions is not coming out until Jan. 28, in a community advisory group meeting online Jan. 11 they shared their current thinking and some early design options for the West Seattle segment.
The full plan timeline calls for service to begin in 2032 to West Seattle. Planning will extend through 2023 with design to then take an additional four years until 2027. Initial construction would start in 2026 and service to Ballard would begin they project sometime between 2037 to 2039.
The Draft EIS is looking at four route alternatives for the West Seattle extension. Three of them cross the Duwamish River south of the existing West Seattle Bridges while a fourth under consideration would cross north of the bridges.
NOTE: This review won't cover equity issues or bicycle or sidewalk improvements. Those can be found in the full presentation linked above.
Once across the river the first station would be in the Delridge Neighborhood. The preferred alternative is an elevated station at Dakota Street SW.
As outlined by Sloan Dawson. Land Use Planning Manager for Sound Transit, this alternative, which is preferred by Sound Transit would have two entrances. One where Nevada Street "T"'s into 26th Ave SW. There would be a north station entrance on the southwest corner of Dakota Street and Delridge Way SW. This station would top out at 110 feet with the station platform height at 85 feet. It would be the tallest station in the entire system if built.
Metro access would be by the Rapid Ride H Line that would deviate off Delridge on to 25th SW. The southbound H Line would remain on Delridge Way SW and have a stop near the station. Other local bus routes would also service the station.
As part of the development here there would be an opportunity for 34,000 Sq. Feet of commercial space or approximately 400 apartment style homes as well as public spaces under the tracks.
If third party funding is obtained, it would mean a tunnel could be built in that location. That would mean the structure height would be approximately 60 feet with the station platform height at 35 feet.
Another alternative for the Delridge Way Station would be elevated and slightly more north and east just adjacent to DSHS and the Bartell Drug headquarters. This choice would have two entrances, one on the east side of Delridge Way SW and another on the west side between Dakota and Andover Street SW. The height would be approximately 90 feet with the platform height at 65 feet. A crosswalk over Delridge would permit station access.
The metro bus access would be north and southbound curbside.
The furthest north alternative would be on Andover Street SW just adjacent to Nucor Steel. It would have two entrances, with one on 23rd Ave SW. The primary entrance would be on the south side oriented to Andover Street SW. It would have a 90 foot height with a platform height of 65 feet. Transit would have stops on Andover just west of Delridge Way SW and two others on Delridge Way SW. This alternative would offer some opportunity for Transit Oriented Development (TOD) with 260,000 square feet of commercial space or 160 multi family apartment homes.
The preferred alternative for this station is located just west of 35th SW. south of Genesee Street SW. Two entrances, with one oriented toward 32nd Ave SW and a west station entrance oriented toward 35th near Genesee Street SW. It would have a height of 80 feet with the platform height at 55 feet. Transit would travel along 35th and Avalon.
The site in this configuration would have 10,000 square feet of commercial space and room for 325 homes on a conceptual basis. There would also be room fro creative public spaces under the tracks such as trails or landscaping.
With third party funding a tunnel configuration at this site becomes possible. It would be a bit further west than the prior concept. There would be two entrances and the station would be at a depth of 90 feet. A corner east entrance would be located at 35th and Avalon and a west station entrance at Fauntleroy Way SW and 35th Ave. SW.
Transit would be similar to the elevated platform choices but clustered around the east entrance.
There would be 13,500 square feet of commercial space on this site with room for 260 homes.
Another alternative would be an elevated form labled WSJ4 has the same configurations and opportunities as the preferred alternative Avalon station but connects to different stations in the Alaska Junction and Delridge.
A final alternative is referred to as the Retained Cut Station. It follows a different alignment and is a bit farther to the north.
It would have a depth of only 30 feet with an escalator, stairs and elevator for access. There would be two entrances, on either side of 35th Ave. SW. Transit would east bound and west bound stops on either side and west and east bound stops on 35th Ave SW.
There's room for 200 homes in this configuration plus 3000 square feet of commercial space. There's also an opportunity for a signature "gateway plaza" as an entrance to West Seattle in this design.
Alaska Junction Station
Finally the Alaska Junction station was presented. Five alternatives are being considered.
The first preferred alternative is an elevated station located between 41st Ave SW and 42nd Ave. SW and Alaska and Edmunds Street. There would be two entrances, one oriented to the southwest corner of Alaska Street SW. and 41st Ave SW and the southwest entrance at the northeast corner of Edmunds and 42nd Street SW. It would stand 80 feet high with the station platform at an elevation of 55 feet. Most transit routes would be operating on California Ave SW. and Alaska Street SW. All routes would converge on either side of Alaska Street SW. An addition stop would be on 42nd near the south station entrance. The station would be located where the current Jefferson Square development is. This design would have space for 10,000 square feet of commercial space and room for 240 homes. There would be a public plaza and spaces for landscaping or other uses under the tracks.
The second preferred alternative would be an elevated Fauntleroy Way Station.
This concept would be two blocks to the east and span Alaska Street SW closer to the Trader Joes location across the street from Whole Foods and the Whittaker apartment complex. It would be 60 feet in height, with the station platform height at 45 feet. Two entrances with one located in the Triangle where the gas station is now located between Fauntleroy, Alaska Street SW and 38th Ave SW. The other entrance on the south would be at the southeast corner of Alaska Street and Fauntleroy Way SW.
Buses will operate primarily on Alaska Street SW with stops a few blocks to the east between 38th Ave SW and Alaska on Fauntleroy Way SW. Other stops for north and south bound passengers would be on Fauntleroy Way SW. There's room in this design for 300 housing units and 3,000 square feet of commercial space. Also included would be a transit street and a "festival street" on 38th Street SW just east of the entrance. Dawson said that "the book is pretty open on that" regarding how that space might be used or allocated with ideas from places such as the City of Miami, and elsewhere like skateparks or trails or park space. "It's something to continue to explore."
With third party funding the preferred alternatives start with a tunnel concept on 41st Ave SW.
This design would span Alaska Street SW below grade. It would be slightly west of the elevated station on Fauntleroy Way. It would have two entrances on either side of Alaska Street. It would be down at about at 70 foot depth underground. Transit stops would be right outside the entrances to the station on Alaska Street SW. There would be a mid block crossing to a planned public park on 40th Ave SW.
400 future housing units are possible here with 6000 square feet of commercial space.
Another tunnel concept that might be possible with third party funding would be one on 42nd SW. It would have an entrance on the southeast corner of 42nd and Alaska Street SW. and sit at a depth of 80 feet underground. The platform would span Alaska Street. Transit would also be on Alaska Street and 42nd Ave. SW. There could be a mid block crossing. There's a substantial opportunity for TOD, with room for 500 housing units and 6,000 square feet of commercial space.
Other alternatives include a "Short tunnel" option on 41st that connects to an elevated station on Avalon Way SW. This concept would have three entrances. Two on either side of Alaska Street SW and a third on Edmunds Street SW. It would sit at a depth of 55 feet. Similar transit options as listed above would serve this concept.
The final Draft EIS alternative would be a "Medium tunnel" on 41st Ave SW. This concept would be slightly shallower. Transit would be integrated in much the same way. The tunnel would be longer.