- Surface/Transit in the form of dual three-lane one-way streets (the so-called couplet) on Alaskan Way/Western.
- Elevated Highway in the form of two separated spans that allow commuters to bypass downtown.
You can view the plans online at WSDOT’s website. (Thanks for the online transparency WSDOT, it’s greatly appreciated!)
Both options include I-5 and transit improvements, however the exact series of improvements is very much subject to change since funding beyond the state’s $2.8 billion has yet to be identified (the surface/transit option ranges from $3.1-3.5b and the elevated option ranges from $3.2b-3.8b the West Seattle Blog reports). Mayor Nickels and King County Executive Sims have both favored a surface/transit option over an elevated highway in the past, and they must now bring the state along.
Both plans include encouraging news for transit. Each include the Central Streetcar along 1st Avenue, new bus lanes in the city, and a new RapidRide BRT route from Delridge to Downtown. The Surface/Transit option includes a RapidRide route along Lake City Way, but both plans seem to have a strong investment in transit capital improvements. Surface/Transit funds about $206m more transit improvements, though, with more trolley wires being installed and additional bus service hours. Here’s the transit section of the Surface/Transit’s overview document (pdf):
Transit improvements include more all-day service than the elevated hybrid scenario. This would include increased service on Metro’s RapidRide routes for Ballard/Uptown, Aurora Avenue and West Seattle and new RapidRide routes on Delridge Way and Lake City Way. The waterfront streetcar would be replaced with a new First Avenue line between King Street and Seattle Center. Park and rides would be expanded in Burien, White Center and Shoreline. The Rapid Trolleybus Network would be expanded with new connections such as Madison Park to Colman Dock, Queen Anne to Capitol Hill, and Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill. Moderate investment would be made in other express and local routes in Seattle.
Apparently The Seattle Process is facing some difficulty at completely ruining the timeline for this decision further: last-minute additions by Chopp and downtown business owners have both been outright rejected from consideration, and tunneling indeed proved too costly to pursue. By the way, the Surface/Transit couplet gives us a 104 feet of open space on the waterfront.