7 Replies to “Comment period for West Seattle – Ballard link ends today”

    1. I know someone who’s in the study group for this, and they assure me that not only are the comments read, they typically don’t get very many, so a well-worded comment in the community feedback form can have outsized influence.

      Go fuck ’em up

  1. I added my comment. I used Al’s advice, and tried to make an environmental case for my suggestions. I made it simple, sticking to the two things I see as most important:

    1) Study interlining between SoDo and Westlake, while retaining the same frequency. I even mentioned that this would require an infrastructure investment (but would still likely save money). I emphasized that interlining would reduce the environmental impact, while also increasing ridership (which in turn reduces the environmental impact).

    2) Study a station at 20th NW. I suggested they look at a range of options, including orienting the station east-west. I emphasized that the crossing would not have to occur at 20th; it could occur to the east or west of there. Similarly, I suggested that they study both an elevated or underground option for crossing. A very early proposal involved crossing above ground at 24th, then curving east (which would be ideal for future expansion from Ballard to the UW). A combination (above ground, then a trench) should be considered as well.

    In short, they need to study a wider range of options (with those two areas being the most important).

    1. Thanks for the reference Ross!

      I can’t help but call out how the DEIS is mostly silent about how the system alternatives will be used — instead obsessing about how it will be built. It’s a huge omission that needs mentioning!

      Another issue is the Purpose and Need statements, which state things like how a second tunnel is needed — without any explanation as to why. Commenting on those is very important.

      It’s as though the preparers are only building a rail line and not caring about how riders will use it.

  2. ST doesn’t care about the comments but spend your time as you wish. Just look at their planned schedule.

    They should be more concerned about their new fare enforcement “policy”. We’ve gone full stupid. If rules are “racist” we can’t have a society.

  3. Here’s what I submitted, informed by our spirited dialogue. I submitted this despite little faith that any of these comments will have much impact. Making lemonade from this basket of lemons will take vision combined with leadership. The current path of least resistance leads to the cheapest, least effective alignment that technically “serves” the two endpoints of “Ballard” (really West Woodland) and West Seattle (or a sliver thereof), while consuming our resources for a generation to commit to forcing ourselves and future visitors to navigate lengthy deep station transfers for the rest of time. To wit:

    – Cancel West Seattle Link

    West Seattle would be better served with frequent and more direct BRT service that leverages the SR 99 tunnel and does not require a transfer to serve the majority of trips to downtown. The West Seattle Bridge and SR 99 provide nearly continuous transit priority already. Sound Transit should study transit trips that serve SLU and the north end of downtown via the SR 99 tunnel and Republican Street exits. The Delridge neighborhood should be saved as-is instead of largely destroyed to build a guideway and a giant elevated station. The climate impact of building West Seattle Link will be a net negative; Sound Transit should make this calculation. At what point in the future does West Seattle Link become a net positive for the climate versus a well-designed BRT network?

    – The second downtown tunnel is redundant and counterproductive

    Sound Transit has already granted that headways as short as 90 seconds in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel (DSTT) are achievable with additional investments. Even with some temporary construction impacts, it must be tremendously cheaper and more climate friendly to leverage the existing DSTT rather than construct a second, parallel tunnel that serves the same or similar station locations.

    It must be possible to get West Seattle trains in the existing tunnel, even though West Seattle Link should really be cancelled, as suggested above. The constructability issue is on the north. There is an engineering solution that allows for a southbound track to merge in from Ballard just north and east of Westlake Station (near the Pine Street ramp off I-5). There is also an engineering solution for a new southbound split between Westlake and the University Street Station that then continues west to 2nd Ave., goes north to Virginia, and east to Denny/Minor to serve a station there. Sound Transit should investigate asymmetric routing options for Ballard Link that take advantage of this that do not require a northbound split.

    Sound Transit should also look into a stub line from Ballard that terminates or loops back at Westlake.

    The Center City Connector Streetcar should be completed to add additional north-south capacity through downtown. Stations at the surface are muchmore accessible than deep stations which makes the streetcar more appropriate for short downtown trips than Link.

    All configurations that introduce deep station transfers between lines in the downtown section are worse than the status quo for many, many trips. All transfers should be made at the same platform if possible.

    – The “SLU” station should be moved to the east

    Consolidating stations in SLU is a bad idea. SLU and Denny Triangle deserve two stations, but Westlake/Denny and SR 99 / Harrison are really too close.

    SR 99 / Harrison is a bad location for a station. The station vicinity is lower density. The Gates campus and ventilation stacks for SR 99 are hostile to pedestrians. SR 99 bus transfers are of low value because the bus service on SR 99 goes downtown, as does Link. A better location for this station is further east, in a more pedestrian friendly area, closer to the center of employment density.

    – The Denny station should be moved to the east

    Sound Transit should forego serving Westlake/Denny which is already a short, level walk from Westlake Station, or a short ride on the existing streetcar. This station is much better located around Denny/Minor. Note that Virginia street makes a straight shot from 2nd Ave. to Denny/Minor in public ROW the entire way.

    – 14th Ave. is not in Ballard

    14th Ave. is actually in the West Woodland neighborhood of Seattle, not in Ballard. There must be a station entrance on the west side of 15th Ave., preferably around 20th Ave., to serve Ballard well. The West Woodland area is lower density with many new townhomes and no major employment.

  4. The official public comment period for the Draft EIS for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions (WSBLE) project closed on April 28, 2022. The Sound Transit Board is now analysing remarks from the public, agencies and Tribes – an essential step in the project that will assist to shape the future of light rail in Seattle. The West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions will offer quick, staunch light rail networks to compact residential and job canters across the region. Additionally, a new downtown Seattle light rail tunnel will offer volume for the whole regional system to work easily.

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