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Now that Sound Transit has released its Draft System Plan – a 25 year, $50B behemoth that would build Link from Everett to West Seattle, Ballard to Tacoma, and Bellevue to Issaquah – it’s time for you to come out and provide feedback on project selection, project phasing, financing, and more. In addition to Sound Transit’s online survey, there are 7 public meetings scheduled for the last couple weeks of April, spread throughout ST’s 4-county service area. All meetings are 5:30-7:30pm, with the exception of the April 28 meeting at Union Station.

64 Replies to “7 ST3 Public Meetings Scheduled for April”

  1. When filling out the survey, remember to give everything a “1” unless it’s one of your absolute priorities. ST will only look at the average across all results.

    1. Ballard to UW doesn’t even make it into the survey. (short of using he write-in candidate option at the end)

      1. Write-ins are better than no write-ins. I couldn’t even find a write-in or comment field in the last ST survey, and I was unhappy at not being able to express my support for Ballard-UW.

      2. Oh, I did write it in. But it makes you wonder how many write-ins it will take to get this on ST3

  2. No open houses in the evenings in central, NE, or SE Seattle? I guess only residents whose neighborhoods are getting projects (or who have flexible work hours near downtown Seattle) are encouraged to comment.

    1. There’s none at all for Issaquah to Bellevue for a line in our backyards, so it’s not surprising there aren’t more in Seattle.

  3. Wow, Sound Transit, way to go to put the Federal Way open house not anywhere near the Federal Way transit center, but at Todd Beamer, which is only on Pierce Transit route 402 or a longish walk from route 500.

    Sound Transit execs all drive, and it shows.

    1. it’s like the KC Council putting the bus meeting in magnuson park a few months ago. ridiculous.

    2. So much for the Federal Way Commons being a commons. This is just the kind of public-affairs meeting crucial to Federal Way’s future that you might expect to find at a commons next to the town’s transit center.

    3. Or – geniuses – they put it where the actual ST3 project station will be, cuz maybe, FW commons area has had DOZENs of public meetings on the current EIS being done under ST2.

    4. It’s the equivalent of push polling–put your meetings exactly where people will get the benefit, then return with “Look at how many people love us!”

      They won’t like my responses to their survey. They also won’t care.

  4. You know, I think ST should maybe partner with local governments and non-profits to put meeting rooms in all future stations. The government or non-profit would fund it and ST would build it into the station. This gives an automatic ideal location for public meetings about transit, or any other community issue or event.

    1. Better yet, put stations in the middle of urban villages, or put urban villages around the stations, and community centers within a short walk of the station, so that they can be the place for transit meetings and open houses.

    2. Integrating community centers (with meeting spaces) into stations isn’t a bad idea. Everett Station was built on that principle and works fairly well; I can only imagine how much better it would work if it wasn’t surrounded by acres of parking and industrial warehouses.

  5. So, go to the meeting, sit thru a long presentation full of stuff that everyone on this discussion board already knows (and probably knows better than the presenter), and then only have a tiny amount of time slated for public comment. Believe me, I’ve been to these kinds of things before.

    They should have two sets of meetings in each location, one for the uneducated and one for the hyper-engaged.

      1. Where can I put my boots on the ground toward pulling Seattle out of the Sound Transit taxing district?

      2. @Joe

        Honest question, as I don’t know the answer, did Snohomish or Pierce Counties pay for any significant part of Seattle’s light rail? My impression was that, due to subarea equity, Seattle paid for the current light rail with its own tax revenues. And even if other areas paid for a bit of Seattle’s rail infrastructure, I think that’s completely fair, as many pieces of the Seattle light rail provide many benefits to residents of other areas (e.g., light rail from Lynnwood to the county line is pretty worthless without connections in Seattle).

        I don’t have any issue with permitting Snohomish and Pierce counties to pay for their own light rail, but I don’t see what Seattle’s continued participation in ST has to do with it, as Seattle’s funds would only be used for Seattle projects. (For the record, I think most of the suburban rail projects in ST3 are a poor use of funds, but if that’s what the suburbs want, so be it.)

      3. @Joe Huh? Sub Area Equity is supposed to mean that no one has to do their “fair share” for anyone else. Unless you mean that Seattle should vote for this steaming pile because it helps the suburbs?

        I am very interested to see how sub area equity supposedly “held” here. Unless ST is charging the entire cost of the second DSTT to North King, even though it has significant benefits to South King/Pierce – assuming the spine gets split as ST has described.

      4. Not sure how going alone may help Seattle in this case. Based on the project estimates released yesterday, North King is roughly keeping the revenue it is projected to generate. If we want to add UW – Ballard and expedite the timelines, it would require a much higher tax rate (assuming we get the necessary authority) to get it done. Not to mention the overhead to setup the planning and designing infrastructure Sound Transit already has (This is assuming actual construction is outsourced to Sound Transit which has a pretty decent track record)

        We are getting broadly what SDOT and City Council demanded – Light Rail to West Seattle, Ballard and early victories. The only thing we are not getting is funding for Madison BRT and 130th Station.

        If we hope to get UW – Ballard and downtown tunnel done sooner, we need to reach out and push our case with not only Sound Transit but also SDOT and Seattle City Council. It has been proven time and again that ST defers to the city councils and elected officials more than it does to public opinion. And it has to be done in this round of public outreach.

      5. I’m OK with higher taxes for Seattle if that’s what it costs to build the transit Seattle actually needs. ST is limited by what it can convince the suburbs to accept, and that’s never going to be enough. We need a Seattle-only transit agency focused on Seattle priorities that can ask for as much funding as Seattle voters are willing to accept.

        So far as I understand it, Seattle has been paying for light rail in Seattle, because that was the whole point of subarea equity, and the money contributed by the other subareas has been spent on Sounder and express buses and that sort of thing. If that’s not true, please educate me, because right now my belief is that nobody owes anybody anything, and this is fundamentally a problem of hitching wildly disparate areas with wildly disparate needs onto a single funding and planning mechanism that ends up serving everyone badly.

      6. The funny thing about ST being limited by what it can convince the suburbs to accept (and something Frank and Martin hinted at in yesterday’s podcast) is that ST3 probably won’t pass in the more suburban sub-areas (like previous measures) and Seattle will carry it again. Seattle might be the reason the suburbs will be taxed against their will (or at least the will of the majority of the voters) for projects Seattle doesn’t care about either. Lovely set up we have here.

      7. The problem is that so much of Seattle’s money is being sucked up by West Seattle. If West Seattle could use the existing bus lanes on the viaduct, rather than building a whole new bridge, that would pay for a good chunk of Ballard->UW right there.

      8. Folks, I’m just against secession of Seattle from Sound Transit. Not going to work.


        You can handle paying for transit to/from the suburbs. Suburbians paid sales tax and other embedded taxes in Seattle to help Seattle out, and rightfully so.

      9. Sticking with Sound Transit clearly isn’t going to work for Seattle either, Joe, so what do you propose we do if not secede?

        If suburban people want urban amenities, they can pay for them, just like the rest of us. Moving to the suburbs was a choice, and people who moved to the suburbs chose to pay for their access to the city with time instead of money. There’s nothing wrong with that choice, but it’s not reasonable for people who chose to live far away from the economic center to expect those of us who are sticking with the city and helping pay for its vitality to make things easy for them at our own expense.

      10. Mars;

        Shoulda thought about that in the mid-1990s…

        Why pull the rug out from under the suburbs now?

        I’m more into building broad coalitions FOR transit, instead of the divide & conquer you seem to seek.

      11. I probably would have thought about it if I hadn’t been living a cheerfully modern, transit-based, car-free existence in Antwerp at the time the original Sound Transit referendum passed, dooming Seattle to decades of mediocrity. By the time I moved back here in late ’99, the mess was made. I paid as little attention to ST as I could and threw my support behind the monorail project, not because I cared about the technology or the specifics of the route, but because they were actually trying to accomplish the goal I care about, which is the construction of an urban transit network for the city of Seattle good enough that we can claim with a straight face to have caught up with what forward-thinking cities were doing a generation ago. When the powers that be finally managed to squelch that hope, I basically just griped a lot, until Ben S. convinced me that we could get where we needed to go by working with ST and persuading them to build the transit network we actually need instead of the pointless suburban sprawl-train their charter originally called for. It has been a frustrating few years watching ST continue to refuse that opportunity. So here we are: I give up on Suburban Transit, having never wanted what they had to offer in the first place, and now I am back to the search for a transit agency which will build the same thing I have been wanting all along, which is an ordinary urban transit network like the ones every European city worth visiting had managed to build long before the Berlin Wall came down.

      12. Joe,

        Seattle won’t be contributing to the other sub-areas, at least, not as of the end of the project. There are lots of folks here like me who think that “Spine Destiny” will have been properly fulfilled and more when Link reaches Lynnwood, West Kent and Redmond.

        Grant that Pierce will be “left out” in such an eventuality if being “in” is measured solely by the presence of Intercity Link trackage within a certain subarea. But Snohomish will have gotten a fair share of project expenditures as of the end of SoundTransit 2 construction, because of North Sounder. Bad as it is, it’s what the elected officials of Snohomish County wanted as a “quick win”. So it’s not like you “built a subway for Seattle”. North King revenues and Federal grants built a subway for Seattle.

        What people in Seattle are mad about is the low quality of the projects proposed and excruciatingly long duration to get them. If they vote “No” it isn’t because they don’t want Sno and Pierce to have the “link sausage”. It’s because they don’t want the tripe that the Board is proposing for them.

      13. European cities also have most of their population and jobs in the central city, and they don’t give the suburbs the majority of power and leave their cities to decline, or build exurban freeways instead of city transit, or treat tolls as anathema. That’s why ST is the way it is, because the region and country are the way they are.

      14. Mars, I couldn’t agree more.

        Let us also not forget that NOBODY would have any shiny trains or express buses or giant new parking garages without Seattle voters. NOBODY. None of this passes without them. We’ve done our share, and we have constantly voted for things that helped other areas that didn’t vote for it, only to get our teeth kicked in by their legislators when we try to help ourselves. “No! You can’t tax yourselves! No! The monorail taxing authority can be used for any type of rail transit you can possibly imagine EXCEPT the one actually being built!” Hell, this goes back to 1968 when the state mandated a very undemocratic 60% supermajority to fund a much better system, and the fact it passed by 7% meant nothing.

        No, it’s time to find a way to decouple. I too will pay higher taxes for better transit in the city. If other areas want to do the same, more power to them; if they don’t, that’s cool too. What this does is force areas that are tax-adverse and may not even need this particular immense investment to pay high taxes just so that Seattle can raise enough money to build something necessary–and then puts the necessary components to the back of the line.

        Decouple the funding mechanisms. Contract with ST to build/operate the system if you like (they seem to do well at that, anyway), but they suck at planning and network building, which is what the city most needs. Don’t force things down people’s throats just to spend money; don’t stop people who need it from raising the money themselves.

      1. Ha ha ha ha ha….

        No but give Geoff Patrick a lot of moral encouragement to get Snohomish County to trade light rail to Paine Field for BRT to the Boeing factories, the Future of Flight and Mukilteo. Start there.

        Plus type, type, type send is not the same as face forward.

      2. Boeing does not deserve a direct connection to light rail using taxpayer dollars after this last stunt they pulled on jobs. If they want benefits they need to show some initiative but with the threats to workforce in this area why build a fixed rail link that may not be used if Boeing continues its moves?

  6. I went through the survey and the new map yesterday, and what really struck me from the new documents (with all costs) is that subarea equity appears to be officially out the door. Specifically, I added all the projects (max cost) up in each sub-area (I may have missed a few small things, so someone should probably double check) and got the following:

    Snohomish: $4.6B
    South King: $1.7B
    Pierce: $3.4B
    East King: $3.9B (this includes all 522 BRT, which makes sense to attribute to East King, and 405 BRT, which should be partially attributed to Snohomish and South King)
    North King: $6.8B

    This adds up to ~$20B – I’m assuming the rest of the costs are for O&M? In any case, I’ll just work off this.

    There was an analysis on here of tax revenues by sub-areas last year, and from there what we should get is that for every dollar in Snohomish, $1.04 in South King, $1.32 in Pierce, $1.72 in East King, and $2 in North King. If we take that total and assume subarea equity, then Snohomish should cost $2.9B, South King $3B, Pierce $3.8B, East King $5B, and North King $5.8B. That basically means over $1B was taken from each East King and South King and sent to North King and Snohomish.

    Please someone say if I did anything wrong here or missed something.

    Personally, as a resident of East King, I’m fine with spending money on North King since it will benefit many people here. But I really wonder how many people from East/South King will be benefited by having their money shipped to Snohomish.

    1. The prices you’re quoting are 2014, the $50B figure is year of expenditure dollars.

      1. Sound Transit board members and staff need to be clearer on this point when speaking to the public and the media.

    2. I’ll share a thought. First, for the “early wins”, almost none of them are Snohomish County. Some access improvement at the ferries, and a stop on 405 BRT that doesn’t even require any construction in Snoco. I suspect the Rapidride improvements in Seattle are relatively extensive by comparison. Just a thought.

      1. Or it could be a reflection of how expensive Link to Everett and Paine Field is, that Snoho has no money for early wins. If the Paine Field detour really makes the difference in Everett getting Link in 15 years vs 25 years, then Everett might just want to ask for a gold-plated BRT loop after the Link extension rather than an LRT detour within it. (Since of course, if Snoho sets its sights downward to 15 years, that spells trouble for Ballard-downtown and DSTT2.)

      2. Or, Everett could ask for a direct to Everett now and a spur to Boeing later.

    3. Quit throwing us (Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore) into Eastside. We are not Eastside. I live in Kenmore and there are City of Seattle neighbourhoods _east_ of us. Most of us had Seattle addresses before the GMA, for that matter.

      And 522 BRT has some support in Bothell and we’re glad to have it, but north King is not “eastside.”

      1. Per Sound Transit’s definition, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are in the North King subarea and Kenmore is in the East King subarea. So as far as the subarea equity calculations go, you are considered part of the eastside.

      2. :), Dara. My dad was raised in Kenmore and went to Bothell High–and he would never have considered those places ‘eastside’ despite sub-area equity boundaries and the like. That was always ‘north end’ to us, probably because for over a century the main route of travel in and out was down through Lake City to town.

  7. I hope they share a breakdown by subarea the costs of these projects because my back of napkin calculation shows massive transfers from E King, S King and a bit from N King to Snohomish and Pierce County.
    I know in the presentation to the board they said Sub-area equity general holds, but unless I cannot add, I don’t see how. E King’s projects all together don’t come close to Link to Everett via Paine field.

    1. Those details are supposed to be among the documents ST released Tuesday, under ST3 Document Library. Are they not? Oh, “THIS PAGE IS CURRENTLY BEING UPDATED WITH NEW CONTENT – STAY TUNED!” It also wouldn’t hurt to send ST emails prodding them to release this. It’s a material issue in the ST3 decision, and ST is legally required to disclose it anyway eventually — or at least a summary of how much of each subarea’s dollars benefit the subarea.

      1. Yeah, I already emailed them about it. I hope they respond, because I cannot figure it out, and I don’t think I have enough info to.

        The phasing of the projects also affects how much they cost, so there’s too many variables.

  8. Thanks for the link to the survey. I just wrote them a novel. I suppose no one will really read it, but at least it made me feel better!

  9. This is of course token public involvement. Does anyone even get to see other comments? Is there a structure to these meetings beyond speak into the microphone after 100 people do? With so many interactive tools part of our daily life, why we tolerate a pre-web 2.0 version of involvement is beyond me. This isn’t 2001.

    It’s almost tempting to have a PRR-meeting workshop, talk through things interactively, then show up at one of these meetings en masse with the results and dump them on the table along with putting them on line.

    1. They do publish the comments and I’ve seen them in the past, although I haven’t always found them for all comment periods. With verbal comments the biggest problem is people saying off-topic things and saying nothing about whether the proposed projects are the right ones. Either that or they just say a general “We need light rail” with nothing specific. I attended a Lynnwood Link meeting where I was the only one to speak on anything on-topic about the proposal.

  10. Took the survey! Voted 1 on everything except for Ballard–Downtown and TOD. Used the comment section to remind ST of the importance of Ballard–UW light rail over any other proposed ST3 project.

  11. One concern I have with these “presentations” is will the public be able to ask questions or is this another “talking at” festival to send us TAXPAYERS the f-ing bill for THEIR mortgages….

    If that goes on, I want a concerted effort to make Sound Transit employees squirm in retaliation. Oh I don’t know… bring up the fact one of the planners has no light rail experience pre-Sound Transit, see how many Sound Transit employees actually use transit, post their names & salaries, that kinda thing.

    Let me be clear: I don’t see the harm in Sound Transit PUBLIC EMPLOYEES taking a few hardball professional questions from guys like us face forward in the strike zone like a baseball game… or if you, like me, are a Seahawks tragic, put the political football question on the numbers right at the chest.

    1. PS A list of few hardball professional questions I have in mind:

      *Will Sound Transit staff have the gumption to give the Sound Transit Board BRT to Mukilteo and the Boeing Factory with a study for a ST4 light rail spur to Paine Field?

      *Will Sound Transit recruit a light rail car factory to the Puget Sound?

      *What is the holdup to building more light rail more often?

      *Would the pluses and minuses to have light rail go along I-5 and the park & rides instead of cut through neighborhoods?

      *What difference does it make having two cars of light rail versus FOUR?

      *What planning is being done for a ST4?

      *With the tunnels drilled for ST2, why not launch a link to Lynnwood in say 2020?

  12. I’m not voting for it if its as proposed. The only thing I strongly support is Downtown Subway – Ballard (although not as proposed with operable bridge, at-grade and via Interbay). Somewhat support (think worthwhile though I’ll rarely use) Link to Redmond, 522 BRT, 130th & Graham Infill, Improvements to C & D. Issaquah Link if it actually crossed the slough and allowed for more direct travel to Seattle.

    I do not support West Seattle Link, Link to Everett especially via Paine Field and Link to Tacoma especially south of Tacoma (both with very good express bus service now), I-405 BRT, Sounder platform extensions/ped improvements/parking (this isn’t increased service).

    I want to see UW-Ballard, Sounder service improvements (weekends/nights/all-day service, more frequency, infill stations at Broad St & Golden Gardens), higher quality Ballard-Downtown line (all underground). Bus or Rail on CKC to Kirkland. Faster timelines. If they add some of these wishes, I could support it. But otherwise I’m not voting to tax myself a significant amount of money over the life of this for crap projects.

    1. Based on the Draft Plan it would be at grade in the 15th Ave ROW and they admit having level crossings. This plan is DOA

    2. Rail and Bus on the CKC isn’t possible now. Kirkland is pulling the plug since ST keeps insisting on rail which Kirkland is against. Besides Google, the rest of the adjacent structures on the CKC are single family homes for which rail is a poor investment.

      Kirkland insisted on buses for this reason, but ST told them rail or nothing. Kirkland is choosing nothing and they’ll focus on Metro providing bus service via existing routes and maybe 405 BRT. An example of another city that thinks ST3 is worthless. This whole thing is going to blow up in ST’s face. So far the only party that seems to actually benefit from the proposal is Boeing and they seem intent vacating the entire region anyways.

    3. Kirkland can’t pull the plug: ST has an easement the CKC and a mandate from the state to build regional transit which is higher than the city’s authority. Kirkland’s only leverage is construction permit details and delays, and suing ST and hoping it wins. ST voluntarily walked away from the CKC because it didn’t want a lawsuit battle with the neighbors if it built anything or Kirkland endorsing a no vote on ST3 if it built light rail; it had enough problems like that with Surrey Downs and Kemper Freeman’s lawsuit over I-90. So Kirkland gets nothing, except 405 BRT which is mostly because the other cities want it.

  13. State legislators want Everett Link prioritized, suggesting allocating money from other jurisdictions to make it happen sooner. They argue light rail is more important to workers in Snohomish County than other areas proposed for light rail expansion.

    Prioritizing expansion into an auto-centered area as opposed to an area more reliant on transit (Seattle) seems completely backward. Someone needs to address these foolish legislators and their asinine views.

  14. STB and Seattle Subway should host a public get together where we white board better ST3 solutions. Keep it organized, respectful, and inclusive so it doesn’t devolve into a shi*t show. Invite Sound Transit and other officials to attend and participate. If we can enough pub on this thing it might make it hard for them not to attend.

    1. Sound Transit has time and again showed it will only defer to the opinion of elected officials and not general public. If we wish to see any changes to the current proposal, invite Mayor Murray, CM Johnson, Mike O’Brien and even Frank Chopp. If we can convince them, Sound Transit will listen to what they say.

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