On its way to producing a single “preferred alternative” in early 2019, Sound Transit is in a year-plus process of collecting public input and screening a number of variants on the Seattle “representative alignment” voters saw before the 2016 vote. These “Level 1” alternatives are getting some basic, qualitative analysis across a wide series of metrics (below). The Stakeholder Advisory Group is reviewing these alternatives and will make its recommendations on April 24th. An Elected Leadership Group will consider this and make its own recommendations, and in May the Sound Transit Board will move a subset of these alternatives forward for further technical analysis and public comment.
In West Seattle, the representative alignment is elevated tracks from Sodo to the Alaska Junction, with two stops at Delridge and Avalon. These three stations intersect the three main north/south corridors in West Seattle, each with frequent transit service.

Public comment and further analysis spawned five alternatives. If you stare at it a while, the map below actually makes them pretty clear:

click to enlarge

It’s self-evident how these alignments try to address different concerns, like:

  • moving away from activities at the port;
  • moving track away from certain neighborhoods
  • burying the track near Alaska Junction
  • orienting the terminus North/South to ease a future extension to White Center

Notably, all of these alternatives increase the cost except the light blue line that eliminates Avalon to tunnel to the Junction. As one might imagine, this also serves fewer riders and moves the stations further away from relevant activity centers. Briefly:

  1. The Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel alignment (purple) is easier to extend and has fewer curves to slow down trains. But two tunnels, and a water crossing at a potential superfund site, adds lots of risk.
  2. The West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy alignment (dark blue) also points south, but the Junction station is a few blocks too far east, Delridge is in the middle of nowhere (and not well integrated with buses), and it might mess with port operations. It does avoid some environmentally sensitive areas.
  3. The Yancy Street/West Seattle Tunnel alignment (pink) basically just adds a (long) tunnel to the dark blue line with a consolidated station by the Nucor plant. This is expensive, low-ridership, and messes with the port, but will appeal to people who want light rail to have as little “impact” on West Seattle (in every sense) as possible.
  4. The Oregon Street/Alaska Junction alignment (gold) is the smallest change, but improves bus integration and worsens port impacts while pointing the line south.
  5. The West Seattle Golf Course/Alaska Junction alignment (light blue) tunnels into the Junction and straight-up eliminates Avalon Station. By going over the golf course, it keeps tracks away from houses but also triggers a Section 4(f) review, where FTA has to certify that there is no significant impact to recreational areas.

I suspect that most STB readers will care very much about long-term transit outcomes, and may have mixed feelings about whether elevated track is such an eyesore or not. From this perspective, it’s pretty straightforward to conclude that Oregon Street/Alaska Junction (gold) or Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel (purple) provide the most useful train for future residents. The purple line has fewer turns and the best placement of Delridge Station*, but with a substantial increase in project risk. The summary slide (below) also hints that the purple line is way more expensive, requiring “3rd party funding”. The Yellow line moves Alaska Junction to the West, increasing the line’s walkshed. Without numbers, and an understanding of what other important projects might trade off here, it’s hard to make a final judgment between the two.

* by being further South, the purple Delridge station is closer to more people and keeps buses out of the mess around the West Seattle bridge.

57 Replies to “ST3 Level 1 Alternatives: West Seattle”

  1. I was surprised to see the West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy option emerge as one of the “alternatives with more potential.” I imagine this has mostly to do with the construction feasibility and costs, but the Delridge location is abysmal here. It’s about the least walkable location with absolutely no TOD potential (besides hoping Nucor relocates some day and a 20 year cleanup and construction project follows). This alignment reminds me of the I-5 routing choices, selected to appease loud interest groups, ultimately severely limiting station function. I would be really upset if an alignment was chosen to cut costs at this station, shoving all the Delrdige riders into a noisy, isolated station just to retain some aesthetics for folks up the hill. Early comments from the advisory board are somewhat hopeful on this, but it’s still concerning that such a bad station location made it this far.

  2. I like the purple line (1) a lot.

    Serving Delridge Station in a space that doesn’t make bus access to the station time-consuming is a must. Some will have to back-track, but many more will have a shorter time getting to the rest of the region.

    Serving 35th Ave SW is a must, and the purple line does it best.

    Having buses jog a block east from California Ave SW isn’t terrible, and I expect that station to get the lowest ridership anyway.

    Having the station near the Junction point south is a must. The representative red line fails in that regard.

    While I would prefer a scenic, findable elevated track, avoiding neighborhood lawsuits will save some expense, and tunnels will last longer than superstructure.

    A lot more people will consider riding through a tunnel to be an “eyesore”, compared to taking in the majestic view tens of thousands could have had every day, but that is a minor consideration.

    As far as the superfund site risk, I assume they will study that thoroughly over the next yearish.

    That the purple line gets the most people off the peninsula and connecting to the rest of the region the fastest is what makes it a winner for me.


    The pink line (3) fails for totally skipping Delridge, and then the two stations end up serving essentially the same bus corridor. It should be discarded quickly.

    The navy line (2) should be quickly discarded for similar reasons, even if a station almost serves Delridge, but misses.

    The cyan line (5) fails by serving neither the California Ave SW corridor nor the 35th Ave SW corridor, and then doesn’t point south. Discard.

    The gold line (4) and red line (0) should both go forward along with the purple line. The red line’s main weakness is not pointing south, and its station location is not ideal, forcing a multiple-block jog for California buses. The gold line’s station location is on the wrong side of California to serve the population density, but at least it points south.

    Three good options, and three duds.

    1. >> Serving 35th Ave SW is a must, and the purple line does it best.

      How is it any different than the default? From what I can tell, the locations would be the same.

      1. It’s a bit farther west than the at-grade stations which are both east of 35th. That would, at least potentially, allow entrances on both sides of 35th for no-cross bus transfers.

        Of course, who knows if it would be built that way. ST refuses to build an entrance on the south side of 65th or one on the east side of 12th, so either they don’t mind making people cross major arterials or simply haven’t studied any other urban subway systems.

        Given the frequent lapses with station design, I’m going with Door “B”.

      2. OK, that makes sense. Also worth considering is how deep the tunnel will be. Any ideas, and how that compares to other stations? If it is deep, then folks spend a lot more time going vertical, even if they save a little on the horizontal distance. Throw in a broken escalator or two and folks would prefer being closer to street level.

  3. So which is the most walkable/transfer-friendly alternative, and where on the cost scale is it? I’m concerned about these factors more than I am about elevated/tunnel or station-area interface. Martin says the purple alternative has the Delridge station out of the way but then recommends it in the top two. Does that mean there’s no great option?

    Also, I think it’s time to consider what are the most essential one or two stations, and can we adequately get buses from the other corridors to them without significant delays? (I guess we can because all the existing routes have to go the same direction to get to the bridge, so the only new overhead is diverting from their existing route to wherever the station is. That would be longer than a theoretical meet right at the junction, but that was all just on paper anyway.) So, I submit, can we get away with just one station, either near Delridge or 35th? Or what about RossB’s suggestion of two stations at Delridge and Avalon? That would face heavy pushback for not going to the Junction, but if it keeps the cost in budget while offering a little enhancement over the representative alignment, it may be possible to get it approved, especially if the most-widely-desired altternative is beyond the budget and no third party steps in to fill the gap. (Are there any rich businesspeople in West Seattle? Or only moderately-paid councilmembers?)

    1. The opposite – Martin says the purple option has the best placement of the Delridge station since it has a much more useful walk shed than the other options. The others all lose a huge chunk of it to the port, steel mill and bridge. Plus the purple line Delridge station should still be straightforward to interface with buses coming up from the south on Delridge.

      The navy blue option has an awful Delridge station that virtually no one but those living at the very north end of Pigeon Point would consider walking to, but it would disrupt fewer houses and there’s a lot of land under the freeway that could be used for a bus transfer station for Delridge and 35th/Avalon bus lines, but it would require those buses to slog through several frequently backed-up intersections to get there.

      With regards to potentially eliminating a station, the Avalon one seems most redundant with the other two. Delridge is a necessity to interface with buses in that section of West Seattle, since there’s a huge hill and limited connecting streets going west toward Avalon until you get to Spokane St. I’m not sure an articulated bus can even make it up Genesee to Avalon without bottoming out. Buses headed up 35th can turn west on Alaska St to connect with a Junction station, particularly if it’s moved a few blocks east of California Ave like several of the ideas propose.

    2. If there is to be only one station, it should be on Delridge, which will leave open the possibility of serving 35th Ave SW directly in the future. Backtracking from Delridge to Avalon has no easy path, which is why route 50 can only run 30-foot buses.

      If two stations, the second should be on 35th.

      The point of the Alaska/California junction is to serve a bus corridor (route 22) that currently has disappointing ridership. But having routes from both south and north divert onto Alaska to reach the second station wouldn’t be the end of the world. Just make sure the Triangle walkshed has walkable access to that station. If it is a tunnel station, look to Beacon Hill for an example of how pedestrians should get on-demand crossing to get to the station and absolute priority over traffic (save for the occasional emergency vehicle). No beg button needed.

      West Seattle politics being what it is (They helped elect the least-pro-transit member of the city council), I don’t expect a Junction station to be a hotbed for future TOD.

    3. “The point of the Alaska/California junction is to serve a bus corridor (route 22) that currently has disappointing ridership.”

      It’s not just the 22 but also the 50 and 128, and the California portion of the C, and Fauntleroy and Lincoln Park. There’s a latent north-south RapidRide corridor that’s already in Metro’s LRP.

      1. And except the 128. While it crosses 35th, it’s not close enough to the Link station to transfer to it.

        In any case, I’m not sure what your point is. The 22 terminates at the Junction because it’s a shuttle route and the Junction is where the transfer to the C is. If Link terminated at Avalon, the 22 could easily be extended there. That still doesn’t mean that the 22 is the only reason for Alaska Junction Station. The reason for the station is all those other things that are higher priority than the 22 (going south on California to Morgan Junction, going north on California to Admiral and Alki, the many businesses/apartments/condos along California within walking distance of the station). I don’t know that the 22 in its current structure is even needed in ST3, but I accept it as a placeholder until that’s confirmed or an an alternative routing for it is identified.

      2. Isn’t the point of getting to the Junction that it is *the* place people want to go to in West Seattle? (well, besides Alki, which will have to be a bus transfer)).

    4. Just to be clear (since Mike referenced an earlier comment) I would go with what they originally planned (elevated to the Junction). I would modify it slightly to move the Delridge station to the other side of Andover (a bit farther away from the steel mill, but not that close to the park and golf course). Two of the proposals have that stop.

      My point was that if folks were seriously freaking out about running an elevated train through the junction, then the best alternative is to simply stop before it gets there. It is actually better than some of these proposals (Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle tunnel is terrible) and would save a lot of money. It could be extended in the future, and at least has two decent stops.

  4. “A lot more people will consider riding through a tunnel to be an ‘eyesore'”

    Tunnels are also loud, as can be heard in the U-Link tunnel, or in BART crossing the Bay.

    1. BART under the bay is loud mostly because the doors that BART bought and accepted in the 1990’s were not to spec for noise insulation. It was too late to reject them for several reasons.

      It’s just one of many reasons why ST needs to get more input on what possible mistakes they are making today that will affect the success of the expanded system. Building a light rail system with people at the helm — especially in project design — that haven’t lived with mistakes elsewhere is like letting a car driver drive a bus. It can be done, but it’s a very stupid and risky thing to do.

    2. Got to give our Tunnel arts program some credit, Mike. The fire-zone signs and station direction-pointers along the walls, were designed by an artist named Vicki Scurri. Think she did the patterns in the tiles at Westlake, too.

      But more than one shameful waste- worst being the waterfall fountain that was supposed to run from the sidewalk across from the Paramount into a little garden along the northbound platform at CPS. About two weeks in, the substandard pump blew out. Channels full of nothing but garbage for years.

      Along the sides of the tubes were two rows of highway reflectors in blue and white. With gold ones entering stations. Driver had to use high beams to make them light- and then drop the beams on entering stations. Awesome effect.

      Hardly any driver either knew or cared. Point being that in addition to mis-design and bed specs, major causes of failure are bad information, laziness, and system too cheap to do maintenace. #BARTANDDCMETRO 2. Did I get that right?


  5. Any argument about this being one of the hardest lines in Seattle history- and probably a lot of other places too? But would someone also remind me when construction is expected to start? Because a few years could possibly introduce some new tunneling and structural equipment. Technique being used in Bellevue doesn’t go back very far, does it?

    To me, it’s worth some extra years and a lot of money not to pass up anyplace with a heavy passenger load. Or at least possibility of one. Like if future transit-friendly neighborhood could someday fill in difference between station and existing development?

    Any chance we can at least get the station back on campus at Highline Community College before we start construction? Like Ransomware, could be worth paying some modest extortion to fix. But around West Seattle Junction, possible to locate entrances some distance from the tracks and platforms, with sloping ramps?

    DSTT engineers told me that possible LINK line out Marginal past Boeing was known as “The Superfund Alignment.” Hell no period, under, on, or on pillars dug into.

    But maybe DSTT-experience fixation- but way, or need, to do Ballard-West Seattle in phase, with buses, and fast ferries, filling in while rail’s being worked out, and built?

    Mark Dublin

    1. I’ll argue that U-Link was more risky than any of these proposed alignments, FWIW.

      I’m all for waiting until 2035 rather than rushing to open in 2030, if it results in a superior line. I foresee most of the buses going from downtown to West Seattle to continue doing so until 2035, as the temporary transfer to another line in SODO is likely to be poorly-designed, and a psychological barrier to people using it when they could get a 1-seat ride on a bus. I’m open to being convinced the forced transfer in SODO could be designed well, if ST offers a sketch or two. Since there will always be people transferring there to head south, I hope it isn’t designed as if it were temporary.

      I’m curious what the main concerns are on the superfund sites. Is it that workers installing the pillars will be put at risk? Is it that contaminants will be disturbed, and end up back in the water? Is it legal costs? Is it construction cost? Is it risk of long delays?

      1. A shared, stacked station with east side platforms directly above one another and in-direction transfers at a single platform is by far the best solution for SoDo if the deviation to First proposed by The Urbanist is not chosen. That means some rebuilding around the MF for the Green Line, but I believe I have worked out a usable geometry. I’m now working on a Page 2 proposal which should be finished in a couple of days.

        Putting the platforms on the east side of the new “Red Line” means that should the Duwamish Bypass ever be constructed off the Red Line and Burien become a reality, the Green Line trains (plus Renton?) could be returned to a parallel elevated structure built above the existing Central Link tracks. The platforms at SoDo would then become “two-sided”, serving the Green and Renton lines on the opposite side of the Red and Bypass lines.

        Grant, this is pie-in-the-sky, thirty-years-down-the-road expansion capability, but the design allows it with almost no modification at that time except tying the new structure into the Green Line turnouts to the north and south of SoDo.

      2. If the SuperFund site is a deal-breaker for the purple line, Diagonal Avenue offers an unimpeded access to the east bank of the Duwamish Waterway with a truck parking area unlikely to be badly polluted directly opposite. Granted, the Pigeon Ridge tunnel would than have to be longer and the overall length would be perhaps 3/4 of mile longer.

      3. Brent, compared to Ballard-West Seattle, can you tell me what made U-LINK harder. Seems to me it was a bored tunnel, with no time on either surface of elevated at all.

        Remember early on an engineer told me there was a very large-bore sewer along the north edge of the Ship Canal that we had to get under. Also some problems with UW instruments. So seriously, please fill me in.

        As I understand the “Superfund” reference, the soil is badly enough poisoned that any contact with it, or release from underground, can’t be tolerated. The fund is for cleaning up such places. But doubt any transit system would do anything but leave it alone.


      4. I’m not totally versed on the Duwamish Superfund site, but a big part of that NPL designation is the in-water sediment contamination. There’s a lot of what ifs here, but often sediment cleanup work includes capping and armoring the impacted sediment. So if there are supports in the waterway, and there is capped contamination, they run the risk of remobilizing the contamination through compromising the cap. There are worker concerns but those risks can be id’d with some fairly straightforward document review.

        But if they don’t have to disturb it, by all means life is simpler to avoid those areas.

    2. Ideally we’d do DSTT2 and Ballard first and then come back to West Seattle. That stub won’t be popular, and the existing bus routes will have to continue running until the full rollout opens. The only thing sillier than a West Seattle stub to SODO is a Ballard stub to Elliott Ave W. It’s just not worth it to ride light rail for just 5-10 minutes in the outer section and then transfer to a train for another five minutes or a bus for twenty minutes. The inner section is where grade-separated rail is most needed, not the outer section, so there’s no reason to open the outer section first. ST is just doing that for an “early deliverable”. We need to tell them it’s not a worthwhile early deliverable.

      1. Mike, would still like to see a section drawing, soils, geology…to see what will be ahead of the TBM. Because to me, especially next generation or two of tunneling equipment, we might be able to do that tunnel while Ballard to West Seattle is being built.

        Wonder if Water and Water Quality have drawings showing this information?


    3. I am really at a loss why a stacked aerial station option for trains from and to Rainier Valley and West Seattle did not even get a mention! Why must every rider between NE Seattle/Snohomish and SE Seattle/Seatac/South King have to take an escalator or stairs or elevator to change trains in the future, rather than be able to change trains on the same level? ST claims to want “integration” but they are proposing more difficulty in transferring after 2035! This issue affects the entire city and region!

      The only variation on the table in these first alternatives is to put both stations at grade and elevate Lander. That appears more expensive because it requires elevating a fIve-lane Lander Street in a very short distance from Fourth. It means the SODO busway would go away. I’m not sure how pedestrians would get to the station or make a transfer; would they have to walk up the proposed Lander viaduct and back down again?

      A stacked station would be so much more functional for rail transfers, less disruptive, probably cheaper and it could provide enough room for the busway,

      Several people have mentioned this to ST in the last comment period. They got ignored. I guess it’s going to take a louder public response to get them to see the light.

      Shall we start an advocacy group: the Level-Headed Link Riders?

  6. I think the alignment preferences will change once it is clear what blocks will get leveled and what streets will get closed during construction.

    Unlike other parts of Seattle, West Seattle strikes me as a place where sacrificing the existing character is more of an issue.

    The alternative station locations at Alaska between Fainterloy and California are particularly challenging because local traffic on Alaska will face closures on top of the few blocks of land needed for station construction.

    1. Al, I think that in the hands of a skilled designer who cares, the existing character of an area can not only be conserved, but also improved by a transit station.

      In Chicago, even the ones that were old and unassuming, in addition to news stands, elevated stations often had little cafes ( though unless he’d just fought in Europe, to a 1950’s Chicagoan, an espresso was a really fast train.) And so was an important past of the character of the neighborhood.


  7. I cautiously ask this question (knowing it wasn’t in the ST3 conceptual project): Dud ST make an error by not having a station near First Ave S or Fourth Ave S. When I see an option running along the edge of the SODO Costco store, i have to wonder. The ability to feed buses more directly to Burien or White Center via the First Ave Birdhe could also be useful.

    1. Are you suggesting a 1st Ave S Station on West Seattle Link? If cost weren’t an issue, I’d support that. The pedestrian-hostile no-mans’-land between 1st and 4th makes it something to seriously consider, and perhaps more useful than a Junction Station.

      Riders from South Park and Georgetown have reasonable access to SODO Station via 4th Ave S. Riders from Burien do, too, if their buses end up on 4th. Burien riders will also have express access to TIBS when ST’s I-405 S BRT opens. (The F Line is too loop-de-loop to be considered quick service to TIBS.)

    2. I had the same thought when viewing the lines on the map. With cost overruns already highly likely and this not part of ST3 scope, I can’t see it being added. However, I would hope that the track could be built through south Seattle in a way that would permit the construction of an infill station in the future with minimal disruption.

    3. An infill station appears to be wishful thinking right now, but the situation could change. Who would have thought that having Expedia on Elliott would warrant a station several years ago? Had ST3 not happened in 2016 but 2012, the plan could have been completely different.

      One of the great cultural problems with ST3 planning is that if it’s not in the referendum, it is ignored. Thus, locations for possible future infill stations and extension branches are never included. It’s why we won’t have a Ballard branch from UW, for example; they didn’t design the tunnel to allow for that.

      Many comments about this latest West Seattle Ballard study talked about both branches and extensions. The extensions concerned got some recognition but the infill stations didn’t. Even though there isn’t funding for infill stations, the locations should be identified now as we are building the track — so that the designs will have level, straight segments that could allow for an eventual platform.

      1. >> Who would have thought that having Expedia on Elliott would warrant a station several years ago?

        I don’t Expedia had anything to do with it It is merely a case of having miles and miles of track, and figuring “what the heck, might as well add a station”. It is a bad station as stations go, but not that expensive to add, since the train is running elevated (it would be even cheaper if the train was running on the surface).

    4. If you want to have the potential for a future station, by all means tell ST now. It may or may not cost any more in the ST3 phase, but the only way to know is for ST to study it in concrete alternatives.

  8. Is there a quick reference to potential construction footprint impacts?

    I suspect any tunnel station will need a larger construction box, making it tricky to build in the Triangle without demolishing multiple multi-story buildings.

    Would the proposed tunnels be bored, or cut-and-cover?

    1. Stations can be mined. That’s the usual method when the station box must extend beyond the street right of way (including the sidewalk).

  9. It is likely that the final alignment will borrow from several of these alternatives in segments. I am intrigued by tunneling through Pigeon Point if it works environmentally and cost wise. It would take the least houses in Delridge and offers a great station location. The Delridge Station can’t be north of the bridge as that has a terrible walkshed and poor bus/rail integration. The alignment should be elevated through Delridge to the side of the hill where it enters a tunnel..A tunnel station at 35th and Avalon could be built with TOD over it where the Taco Time/Starbucks drive thru is now. This would offer great bus rail integration with the current very busy 35th and Avalon stop. The tunnel should then continue under Oregon to and then bend to a north-south orientation tunnel stop at the Junction with a north station entrance in the parking lot behind Key Bank at 44th and Alaska and a south station entrance where the Chase drive thru is on 44th and Edmunds. This alignment would offer the most TOD potential and the best walkshed.

    1. >> It is likely that the final alignment will borrow from several of these alternatives in segments.

      I agree. I mentioned the Delridge spot location, and noted that a couple plans had it farther to the south (just south Andover). There is no reason why those plans in particular need to have the station there, or why the original route can slide the station that far south. That sort of mixing and matching makes sense.

    2. Well said, but why 44th? That’s right at the edge of SFH-ville and I seriously doubt that the neighborhood is going to allow the five blocks to the west to be upzoned significantly. The Purple Line station at 42nd and Alaska is better because it straddles Alaska, allowing the residents north of that street to access the station without crossing it.

      The tunnel could then continue south by swinging over to California to Morgan with a station just north of Morgan and make the swing east under Morgan through High Point and on to White Center and Burien. Again, pie-in-the-sky, but the most desirable future line. Someone proposed such a complicated but complete line for the West Seattle/White Center/Burien corridor here on STB about five years ago, and no one has been able to improve on it.

      Expensive? Yes, certainly, but you want to put density on top of the north south ridges wherever you can and a station in the Junction has attained the top of the ridge, so continue south along it and build TALL buildings with spectacular views obscuring nobody else’s at the stations.

      1. Essentially 44th means California. I suggest the station box locations because they are not built out and could offer affordable land. I doubt the city would rezone five blocks to the west, but perhaps at least to 46th. There is already some multifamily on 45th.

  10. The Oregon Street/Alaska Junction is not a good idea. It makes way more sense to just run it as originally planned, and buy up the land around there. You can keep the land as is (or even develop it). If fifty years from now you decide that you want to extend that line, then you are ready to go, and have made money off of it. If you find that you don’t want to extend that line (and want to make a spur off Delridge, or simply need the money for something else) then you can sell the land. But if you buy up the land, and put track on it, it is there forever.

    Meanwhile, the station is worse. 44th is on the western edge of development. Areas a few blocks away are single family, and will probably be the last places in Seattle to move from single family. If that sounds like hyperbole, talk to Lisa Herbold, who represents the district.

    As far as bus integration goes, it is true that buses run on 44th. But I don’t know why they do that little jog, or why we would want to encourage it in perpetuity.

    I can understand why the underground options are oriented north-south (might as well). If it turns out that running on Oregon is cheaper, then I am fine with that choice as well. But my guess is the turn adds a lot more cost (to buy and demolish a lot more buildings) which would be silly if it turns out we never actually use it’s main feature.

    1. I don’t know if ST can hold onto land for fifty years, for an extension that’s not voter-approved yet. And when it does get rid of surplus land, it has to give it away for free or low cost to whoever can build affordable housing, if the lot is buildable, per a state law that was enacted with the ST3 authorization.

      1. >> I don’t know if ST can hold onto land for fifty years, for an extension that’s not voter-approved yet.

        But it is OK to buy land and lay a track for an extension that’s not voter-approved yet? That seems like a rather arbitrary distinction.

        It also begs the question. Why not just do it all now, if we are so convinced that it is needed? Why not run as originally planned, but also build a (non-functioning) track that makes the same turn as the Oregon proposal? The obvious answer is that doing so is crazy — you are better off waiting. Well, the same thing can be said for the Oregon Street/Alaska Junction proposal. You are building something (a turn) that serves no function now, but might in the future. Unless doing so is cheap and non-disruptive (which I doubt is the case) you are better off waiting.

        Let’s talk specifics. Assuming you do have to take property to make the turn, it would probably start here: https://goo.gl/maps/ecmTFZRLWVC2. You want to tell the folks there that the senior center has to move, because they *might* eventually, send the train to Burien? Are any of the other businesses going to be eager to give up their property? I think an elevated line that makes a turn *for no immediate good reason* is going to be ridiculously unpopular.

    2. Tunnels do not need to “buy and demolish” buildings. They’re called “tunnels” because they are under the ground. Now, yes, the stations are usually larger, but they can be mined to widen the boxes. And in fact, they don’t have to be bigger. That’s just the Sound Transit way. The stations on the IRT line on Central Park West fit entirely within the none too capacious street right of way (including the sidewalk) simply by stacking the track and platfoms.

      1. Who is talking about tunnels? I’m talking about the Oregon Street/Alaska Junction proposal. The one that heads down Oregon, and then *turns* onto 44th. I really don’t see how you make that turn without taking property and demolishing it.

    3. U-District Station also fits into the street ROW, with something like six inches to spare.

      1. This point can’t be over-stressed, Mike. When DSTT construction got underway, I visited Pittsburgh a couple of times, because was probably first example of joint bus-streetcar ops. Though turned out most of this right of way was on the surface, using old coal-days right of way.

        But several major office buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh had tunnels, and also mezzanines and platforms drilled and chiseled into the rock like dental endodontics. Reason why our own stations sometimes seem like we need customer assistants named Gandalf. There and here, really wasn’t enough room by the book. So skill counts.

        And escalators that we’ve go the right spells for….we’re probably just stewing the frogs at the wrong temperature. But it really is possible to literally tunnel an entrance a good walk away- like a linear underground shopping mall on the way to the platforms.


  11. I can understand why you want to move the Delridge stop farther south, but the stop suggested by the purple line goes too far. You have terrible walk-up ridership potential from that spot. From what I can tell, this would be a stop at roughly Delridge and Genesee. There is a park on one side, and a greenbelt on the other. The golf course also eats up some of the land within a five minute walkshed. Overall, there just aren’t that many people that live close to that spot, nor will there ever be.

    Not that there are great options in the area, but I would say just south of Andover is the best option. This is different than the default, but proposed as part of the gold and light blue plans (Oregon Street/Alaska Junction and West Seattle Golf Course/Alaska Junction). A stop there has good walkshare close by, and potential for more in the future (if the hillside gets rezoned). Again not great, but as good as is possible I believe.

    Meanwhile, you’ve moved the stop far enough back to avoid the West Seattle freeway mess. I’m not sure what a bus on Delridge does after passing the Link stop though. Metro’s long range plans call for the RapidRide to continue serving downtown (via the freeway). They also have a bus serving South Seattle College, then going under the freeway and back around to serve Alki. Either option (getting on the West Seattle Freeway or going underneath) make sense to me (more so that trying to terminate or loop back around). But if a bus did terminate there, then it could do so by turning and ending at Andover.

    If it weren’t for the potential walk-up riders I would say that moving it as far south as possible makes sense. Unfortunately, that would just put it in a very bad spot.

  12. The alternatives, for the most part, are not promising for bus/rail integration. For bus connections to have any possibility of being good, there HAVE to be stations at 1) Delridge, somewhere south of the bridge; 2) 35th; and 3) California. Trying to have buses connect at Fauntleroy/Alaska or by Nucor just won’t work, because lots of time will be added to bus trips with no corresponding savings in the train trip.

    1. Agreed, David. And let the frequency of stations be a template for future extension to the south. The more stations, up to a point, obviously, the better, because the more TOD nodes which are created. California and Morgan, 35th and Morgan, 27th and Holden, 25th and Trenton, Delridge and Roxbury, somewhere in “South White Center” (around 104th) and then every three quarters of a mile down Ambaum to Burien.

    2. I think Fauntleroy/Alaska could work for buses. For instance, I could see the 21 turning left at Alaska, pulling into the station where the gas station currently is located, then going to Avalon to get back to 35th.

  13. Why does the “Golf Course” option delete the 35th street station? That seems to be it’s biggest drawback, and it seems straightforward to add it back.

    I was envisioning a “portal station” similar to the Bellevue downtown station, where the station shares the same footprint as the portal. It would be south of Avalon & lose much of it’s walkshed into the park, but it would provide the key bus transfer, which is the primary purpose of the Avalon station.

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