Sound Transit laid out a new process to streamline project development for the Ballard and West Seattle Link Extensions, emphasizing the need for key decisions to be made this year to expedite the delivery of light rail. Major considerations include two water crossings, the configuration of the new downtown transit tunnel and the locations of the future stations.
To reach consensus on a preferred alternative by mid-2019, ST convened two new advisory groups to facilitate public engagement. One, an elected leadership group, is comprised mostly of Sound Transit Board members and Seattle city councilmembers. The other, a stakeholder advisory group, will consist of transit riders, residents, business owners and community organizations. The agency announced ths Thursday during a joint meeting of the Seattle City Council Sustainability and Transportation Committee and Sound Transit’s elected leadership group on January 4.
Of the 25- to 30-member stakeholder advisory group, 5 will be chosen by an open application process and confirmed by the elected leadership group. The rest will be appointed by the elected leadership group, 19 of whom were announced during Thursday’s meeting. (See below for names)
The stakeholder group is scheduled to meet roughly every two months beginning in February and will be tasked with recommending a preferred alternative to study during an environmental review phase to the elected leadership group. The group’s application deadline is January 22 at 5pm; for additional questions contact Sound Transit at 206-903-7229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The agency said in a statement, “The West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions Stakeholder Advisory Group will provide a forum for community members to inform the development of alternatives for extending light rail to West Seattle and Ballard. Advisory group members will work through project issues and build consensus around key project decisions, highlight specific issues and trade-offs in the corridor, and make recommendations to help identify alternatives to study during environmental review.”
During the joint meeting, Mayor Jenny Durkan asked that more diversity be added to the stakeholder advisory group moving forward.
“In the recruitment for the next step, we really have to — within our guidelines — be looking to involve more people of color,” Durkan said.
The elected leadership group is charged with making its own recommendation of a preferred alternative to the full Sound Transit board, based on input from the stakeholder advisory group.
ST has set a goal of having a preferred alternative approved by the Sound Transit board by April 2019. In the past, this has generally taken 2-3 years.
During his opening remarks, Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit, hinted that the schedule for the two light rail extensions could be sped up even more.
Referring to a partnering agreement reached with the city of Seattle, Rogoff said, “It’s a great first step on how we can move forward to stay on schedule and even tee up a conversation on how we might, through a permitting process, be able to expedite the schedule further.”
Stakeholder Advisory Group:
- Becky Asencio, Seattle Public Schools
- Willard Brown, Delridge Neighborhood Development Association
- Lynn Dennis, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce
- Abigail Doerr, Transportation Choices Coalition
- Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club
- Dave Gering, Manufacturing Industrial Council
- Ginny Gilder, Force 10 Hoops/Seattle Storm
- Erin Goodman, SODO Business Improvement Area
- Paul Lambros, Plymouth Housing
- Steve Lewis, Alliance for People with Disabilities
- Mark Nagle, Expedia
- Greg Nickels, former Seattle Mayor
- Savitha Reddy Pathi, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience
- Scott Rusch, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Jon Scholes, Downtown Seattle Association
- Peter Schrappen, Northwest Marine Trade Association
- Mike Stewart, Ballard Alliance
- Maiko Winkler-Chin, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation & Development Authority
- Bryce Yadon, Futurewise
Elected Leadership Group:
- Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
- Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell
- Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
- Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien
- Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez
- Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson
- Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman
- Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers
- Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan
- King County Executive Dow Constantine
- King County Councilmember Joe McDermott