Too little internet content is about unironic appreciation for people doing the right thing. So good for Dan Strauss, trying to put the light rail station where the people are in his district:
“Placing the station to the east undermines our city’s work to create a densely connected community,” Strauss said. “This is infrastructure that will last 100 years, and we can’t afford to get it wrong.”
Moreover, Seattle’s preferred alternative presentation contains a lot of good advice for Sound Transit, particularly in the all-important tunnel north of Chinatown. Seattle Subway has written previously about the best choices for future riders. Though I don’t agree with 100% of either document, I invite you to compare results.
Elsewhere in old friend Lizz Giordano’s report for Publicola, there’s less exciting news. Lisa Herbold is extensively quoted about “impacts” without much apparent regard for future riders. Maybe Sound Transit should just build the Gray Line and no one would be impacted at all. Most notably in her district, Seattle requests a Delridge station by the steel plant to keep it away from neighborhoods, and thus from potential riders.
I don’t like this framework for thinking about the project, but at least there’s a recommended decision that can move us forward! That’s more that can be said about the City’s Chinatown advice:
The city doesn’t plan to pick a preferred alternative in the CID, and is asking Sound Transit to refrain from doing so as well. Instead, the city will recommend that Sound Transit extend the study period for another six to nine months to further engage with the community. Seattle leaders also want to see more details about potential displacement in the area, along with mitigation strategies to help the neighborhood deal with construction as well as long-term changes.
There are a lot of unanswered questions, said Betty Lau, a leader in the CID and member of the Chong Wa Benevolent Association who is pushing for a Fourth Avenue station.
She’s optimistic about this pause.
“I think with the extra time and talking with more community members, they’ll get a better idea of how these things really impact the people who live there, who do business, who depend on the tourism and on the regional draw of the three neighborhoods—Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon,” Lau said. “They also have more time to work on environmental studies.
Just one more public meeting will solve this!
It is already extremely clear that organizations representing Chinatown don’t want the Fifth Avenue Station. This is well understood. Nine months of further comment gathering is not going to change this assessment. If Seattle and Sound Transit prefer to add schedule and budget risk on Fourth Avenue to be responsive to that desire and solve other problems, then so be it. If they instead choose to build a deep station and make the experience of using one of the two most important stations in the system atrocious, that’s a choice they can make as well. Or, they could do the thing that gets the thing built, and might be good for the Chinatown of 2040, but not the one of 2030. Reasonable people can disagree. But make a choice! Nine more months of public comment is pure delay and cost inflation, which does no one any good.