Last Thursday, Sound Transit unveiled a new website about future rail expansion in the region. It’s pretty slick; if you haven’t seen it yet, it worth checking out. At the same time they also opened a survey, asking what people would like to see in a future ballot measure: http://soundtransit3.org/survey
While the survey has its flaws (why do we have to support parking garages to support sidewalks and bike trails?), it’s a great way to let the agency and Sound Transit Board know what you want to see on the ballot next year. If you haven’t filled it out yet, here are Seattle Subway’s suggestions.
First off, these types of surveys have a hard time capturing nuance. If you want to have an effect, you need to push at the extremes. Rate outcomes that you don’t like very low (1) and ones that you do very high (5).
1. We recommend rating all the Seattle options that say “at-grade” a 1 and all the Seattle options that say “elevated/tunnel” a 5.
2. Top 3 projects. Here are the four best options (pick 3.)
- Ballard/Fremont/Wallingford/UW subway line
- New Downtown Tunnel
- The 2nd listed elevated Ballard to Downtown option
- Elevated West Seattle
These projects are the best bang for the buck while avoiding unacceptable compromises.
3. Missing projects that need to be studied.
- A Metro route 8 Subway from Belltown to South Lake Union/Denny to Capitol Hill to the Central District/23rd corridor. This is an extremely high demand corridor that has never been studied by Sound Transit before. It would add the dense, high demand, locations of South Lake Union, Denny Triangle, Capitol Hill, and the Central District to the system. This line is the missing link that would, with other investments (Madison BRT, First Hill Streetcar, SLU Streetcar), give the densest neighborhoods in Seattle an integrated transit network.
- A bypass line to the airport via Georgetown to speed up service to downtown Seattle for South King and Pierce extensions and speed up airport service. In addition to adding Georgetown and South Park to our regional system, this line serves a very important function as a bypass of the slow section through the Rainier Valley. We estimate a time savings on this bypass line versus the Rainier line of 12-15 minutes per trip. This matters some for airport trips but is extremely meaningful for trips from South King and Pierce. Without this bypass light rail will be painfully slow for commuter trips to downtown Seattle.
- An Issaquah to Kirkland line that connects in South Bellevue to improve transfers and access to transit supportive destinations. The only studied Kirkland to Issaquah line slows transfers to Downtown Seattle and direct service to Downtown Bellevue. We wrote an article here on this subject last year.
- A line that extends from Ballard to Crown Hill, Greenwood, North Seattle, Lake City and out to Bothell. This line was identified in the transit master plan and would connect areas that are currently dense and may be upzoned in the Seattle 2035 plan. The connection at Aurora would allow direct connections for buses traveling south to fast, reliable, transit.
This is the just the beginning of the process, not the end, but we need come out strong and get it started on the right track.