The West Seattle Transportation Coalition Light Rail Workshop shares their results
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) has shared the results of a workshop they held in June to gather input on the Sound Transit light rail proposal, specifically the package called ST3. They sent an open letter to Dow Constantine King County Executive, Joe McDermott King County Councilmember, Harold Taniguchi King County Transportation Department Director, Dave Somers Sound Transit Chair and others including the media. Here's their letter:
Dear Sound Transit Board Members:
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) sponsored and conducted a peninsula-wide, public workshop on June 22, 2017, to inform the community and gather their input on the ST3 light rail proposal for service to West Seattle.
Following an introduction on light rail by Tom Linde, P.E., and supported by traffic engineers Larry Wymer and Mark Jacobs, the WSTC shared the representational ST3 alignment for West Seattle, as shown in Sound Transit’s documents dated July 19, 2016 (C-03a2, Downtown to West Seattle Elevated, Rev. 1, Sheets 1-5), including station areas at Delridge, Avalon, and the West Seattle Junction. Workshop attendees were asked to complete a comment card and answer survey questions. The comments are attached.
In general, attendees expressed the following preferences:
- Run the rail line underground through the West Seattle Golf Course, and into The Junction—the central, historic West Seattle business district,
- Include a Park & Ride and a bicycle garage at each station
- Conduct more community meetings to gather public input,
- Regular Sound Transit must provide timely reports on options, decisions, and progress toward implementation
- Sound Transit and other transportation agencies are strongly encouraged to examine less expensive options that are not slope-challenged, and can be delivered faster, such as aerial tramway, app-centered van pools, and driverless vehicle systems.
To arrive at their results, WSTC workshop organizers and attendees identified several factors that they want taken into account, including:
- Maintain economic health of the historic Junction business district during the 2-3 years of construction, which will severely impact this area, and is not addressed in the current ST3 design
- Incorporate detailed traffic management planning in the ST3 project scope, for all roadways connecting to the north mile of Fauntleroy Way S.W., including S.W. Alaska St., 35th Ave. S.W., S.W. Oregon St., connecting residential streets, and the south three miles of Fauntleroy. Fauntleroy Way links to Seattle’s busiest traffic zone, the West Seattle Bridge Transportation Corridor, which carries 120,000 vehicles per day,
- Resolve visual and practicality issues around the proposed construction of a Duwamish River light rail bridge that will tower over the West Seattle High Bridge, and proposed elevated structures that will tower over and crowd the new construction and historic buildings along the proposed route, and within The Junction,
- Sound Transit (ST), and the Seattle Departments of Transportation (SDOT) and Planning & Development (now Construction and Inspections (SDCI)) must include cooperative planning in the ST3 scope. So far, there is no evidence the agencies mutually planned for the introduction of light rail to West Seattle. The SDCI has allowed the built environment to crowd rights of way needed for rail alignment and station construction, ST3 is being routed over SDOT’s proposed Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, and ST3 costs have risen astronomically,
- Social equity issues must be addressed around business and residential disruptions during construction, costs to riders on the completed light rail system, and taxing structure for ST3 financing,
- Connectivity issues with other public transportation modes are not adequately addressed, within West Seattle, and between there and White Center, Burien and SeaTac Airport.
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is a Peninsula-wide, non-profit organization, working to address transportation and mobility issues for Seattle’s largest constituency—nearly 100,000 people who live and work in the 10 square mile area between the Duwamish River and Puget Sound. We help drive our elected officials and government agencies to improve travel within, into and out of West Seattle. The WSTC holds public meetings on the fourth Thursday of every month at High Point Neighborhood House.
We look forward to working with Sound Transit Board, and City and County Council members, to create the best possible rapid transportation options for West Seattle.
Michael Taylor-Judd, Chair / Martin Westerman, Vice Chair
For The West Seattle Transportation Coalition Board