Gwen Davis
Michael Taylor-Judd, a WSTC board member, kicked off the event Thursday evening.

WSTC light rail workshop sought feedback locations, routes and more

By Gwen Davis

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) hosted a community-led workshop Thursday evening, so the public could offer its thoughts about future light rail plans.

“Light rail at its core is part of an integrated transportation system,” said Tom Linde, one of the community organizers at the beginning of the meeting. “Luckily, even with limitations, our problems aren’t unique. They have been solved already by our joining neighborhoods.”

Around 50 people attended the event. Councilmember Lisa Herbold was in attendance. Light rail is to be completed in West Seattle by 2030.

The crowd was shown a powerpoint presentation, which generally explored how trains work. There are three types of train modes engineers can choose from: build rail on flat ground, above ground or below ground. Flat is the least expensive option, and the fastest to build, but obstacles include hills and water. The light rail stretch on Rainier Ave S. is an example of rails installed on flat topography. Above ground or elevated rail is the second-least expensive option, and second-fastest to build. However, it doesn’t work as well on hilly terrain and leaves a larger footprint. An example is Angle Lake Station. The beauty of below ground rail or subway is it can be installed under busy urban cities with minimal interference to property owners and pedestrians. However, it is two to four times more expensive than other modes, and it takes longer to build. An example of subway is UW Station.

Questions were taken from audience members. Then the event delved right into the breakout session, where attendees could provide feedback on six potential light rail sites or issues:

1. Delridge Station Area
2. Avalon/35th Ave SW Station Area
3. Junction Station Area
4. WS Route Maps and Bird’s Eye View
5. The “Kitchen Sink”
6. Anything else

WSTC will assemble the results into a formal document and present it to Sound Transit, the King County and Seattle City Councils, the Seattle Department of Transportation and local stakeholders. As this will be West Seattle’s first ST3 design review process, the WSTC will urge Sound Transit to combine West Seattle’s preferred routing options with ST3 overall plans.

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