Sound Transit is currently developing a consulting contract to oversee the process for selection of West Seattle and Ballard route alignments as part of Sound Transit 3 (ST3) light rail expansion. They’ve concluded that by selecting a preferred alternative prior to the technical work of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), they are able to simplify the study work and thus reduce the total planning time by as much as a year and a half. This means that a preferred alternative will be selected for these lines by the end of 2018.
After discussion and a vote of our board, in order to further our founding goal of building a subway system that is rapid, reliable, frequent, convenient, and useful to all, Seattle Subway is officially taking the following key positions regarding a preferred alternative for the Ballard to West Seattle corridor:
- We are concerned that drawbridges, regardless of frequency of openings, pose significant operational challenges. Not only would drawbridges open and delay trains (trains which will run very frequently in the future), but drawbridges may not close. That failure would cause catastrophic delays throughout the system. Therefore, Seattle Subway will only support a high static bridge or a tunnel across Salmon Bay and the Duwamish Waterway.
- Expansions from Ballard — northward to Crown Hill and eastward to the University District — are included in Sound Transit’s Long Range Plan. Seattle Subway’s position is that any proposed design solutions must include the potential to expand north and east, such as a wye junction. We will only support designs that provide for in-station transfers at the Market Street station and seamless system expansion beyond Ballard that doesn’t compromise future transit service.
- Likewise, an expansion from West Seattle to Burien is included in Sound Transit’s Long Range Plan. Sound Transit must design light rail to avoid a dead end in West Seattle and allow for future expansion that doesn’t interrupt transit service.
- With optimum efficiency in mind, any new additions to Sound Transit’s ST3 network must be designed to accommodate 90-second headways. Stations and track alignments must be 100% grade-separated from traffic with no rail-level crossings for passengers.
If you agree with these overarching principles, you can weigh in now by emailing the Sound Transit Board, your elected representatives at the City of Seattle, and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).
firstname.lastname@example.org (Director, SDOT)
Andrew.GlassHastings@Seattle.Gov (Transit Division, SDOT)
Seattle Subway is organizing a community of grassroots transit supporters to channel public enthusiasm for fast, reliable high capacity transit into actionable goals. We champion a vision of a connected city and region to accelerate our region’s transit investments.