City of Seattle
A map of current, upcoming and theoretical Sound Transit Light Rail paths in King County. Sound Transit is asking for public feedback now for their next round of work that will start in the 2020's.

Does West Seattle need light rail? Sound Transit wants your opinion

Sound Transit is in the midst of putting together their next long range plan for the future of public transportation in Seattle and beyond, and they are asking for public feedback during the early stages of the process.

The question is posed: “Where should regional high-capacity transit services go next?” and the plan developed from that discussion could be put to a vote by 2016.

Sound Transit is taking feedback until Nov. 25. You can share your thoughts in the following ways:
• Attend a public meeting Tuesday, Nov. 12, 5:30-8 p.m. Seattle University Campion Ballroom, 914 E. Jefferson St. or Thursday, Nov. 21, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St.
• Complete a survey at www.soundtransit.org/LongRangePlan
• Email: LongRangePlan@soundtransit.org
• Mail: Sound Transit, Attn: James Irish, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

The survey is rather short (will likely take 5 to 10 minutes), and includes the chance to rank high capacity transit/or rail services in a number of corridors, including “Downtown Seattle to West Seattle to Burien.”

In speaking with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn over this past summer, the Herald learned Sound Transit was actively studying the feasibility of light rail service from West Seattle to downtown.

Micheal James, SDOT Strategic Advisor to McGinn, told the Herald part of that study involves looking at future population projections. West Seattle’s population is certainly growing (someone has to fill all those apartments!), which Sound Transit will take into account.

“The process in 2013 and 2014 to update the Long-Range Plan will take a renewed look at the region's needs based on current projections for future population and employment growth,” according to Sound Transit. “By 2035, the Puget Sound Regional Council has projected that the region's population will have grown approximately 30 percent from its 2010 level.”

Sound Transit’s current long range projects will run until 2023, including light rail from the University District to downtown, a Northgate Link by 2021 and an East Link to Bellevue and Redmond by 2023.

Whether or not West Seattle gets light rail, it certainly won’t happen in the next decade. In the meantime, there is no shortage of opportunities to join the transportation conversation locally. Over the past two months several West Seattle community groups and individuals have created the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, which “now helps represent up to 34,600 peninsula residents on transportation related issues and advocacy,” according to their website at www.westseattletc.org.

Also announced during the last week of October, McGinn and the Seattle Department of Transportation launched “Neighbors for Road Safety,” described as a program that “will create a link between neighbors, neighborhoods, and the City in an effort to raise awareness about specific and local road safety issues, increase knowledge of the rules of the road, and provide neighbors with the tools they need to address road safety issues.”

Seattle is looking for citizens to sign up as “Neighbors” for the program. Those who sign up with be listed as being part of the program, receive local information on road safety and “help distribute this information to neighbors, in partnership with SDOT.”

To sign up, visit http://www.seattle.gov/beSuperSafe/nfrs/.

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