On Tuesday, we have a great opportunity to take the next step building rail transit for Seattle.
The city and Sound Transit have been working together to accelerate basic planning for rail alternatives between downtown and Ballard. Ballard has grown by more than 25% since 2000, three times the city average, and any line to Ballard would improve service to the rapidly growing north end of downtown. With RapidRide expected to be over its peak capacity the day it opens, and bottlenecks preventing faster or more frequent bus service from being effective, this is one of the corridors that most needs a better solution.
You may have read a few months ago that money was budgeted to do this alternatives analysis – but the City Council withheld it with a proviso, requiring that a plan be in place to extend the First Hill streetcar to Pioneer Square before any steps were taken toward Ballard.
Now that plan is in place – and the city council’s Transportation Committee will consider lifting the proviso on Tuesday afternoon. If it’s lifted, planning will begin that will benefit any rail transit to Ballard. The sooner this work is done, the sooner we’ll know the costs of different alternatives.
Whether you support our efforts with Seattle Subway, or support extending the streetcar up Westlake to Fremont and Ballard, this is a necessary precursor to both, and it’s an important partnership between Seattle and Sound Transit that will set the stage for future projects.
Next Tuesday the 26th, at 9:30am, we’d like you to join us at city hall, and show the city council your support – simply saying “We want to get the ball rolling on rail to Ballard and support lifting the proviso” is plenty. Even showing up at all demonstrates interest! Showing the council that there’s public support will help them feel comfortable funding transit – not just this time, but the next, too. Please let us know in the comments if you can join.