HERBOLD: Sound Transit light rail recommendations resolution


District 1 Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold shared this news via her constituent’s newsletter.


The Transportation and Utilities Committee adopted the amended resolution this week.  it moves to the Full Council next Tuesday.  Amendment 1 listed on the agenda was adopted by the Transportation & SPU Committee; the amendment addresses the Delridge segment, and other portions of the line (Chair Pedersen combined separate amendments into one Chair’s Amendment).

My comments from the meeting are below.

For the West Seattle Junction, there is strong community support for a tunnel option. I support that. A tunnel would minimize impacts to the neighborhood and businesses and provide the best approach for long-term success and the health of the West Seattle Junction community.  An elevated alignment into the heart of the West Seattle Junction Urban Village, and on Fauntleroy Way SW would be unprecedented for light rail in Seattle. It would include impacts that could not be mitigated. 

The Medium Tunnel has a comparable cost estimate to elevated options in the Junction, an important consideration for a regional project.

For the Duwamish crossing, there’s a divided community perspective, and both north and south crossings have clear impacts, so it’s important the resolution notes the south crossing it “conditioned on adequate mitigation of impacts to parks, recreational areas, and natural habitat at Pigeon Point and the West Duwamish Greenbelt”

For Delridge, there is no clear community consensus. All alignments have impacts on residents and businesses, that is evident, as noted in the Draft EIS.

I appreciate the Executive’s addition to the draft version of a request for a transit access study for the communities identified in the Racial Equity Toolkit, including South Delridge and White Center (the Environmental Justice study in the Draft EIS only covers ½ mile from station locations). The resolution also added mention of the importance of protections for Longfellow Creek. These are great additions.

The Del 5- and 6 options were developed to minimize the impacts on the Youngstown community adjacent to Genesee; they were added late in the scoping process at the Board level, so potential impacts of these options weren’t discussed during the scoping process. There are a couple of impacts for Del-6 that have come up since the Draft EIS was published.

First, as noted in public comment the Draft EIS does not mention the existence of Alki Beach Academy daycare center in the Social Resources section in Appendix L, where other daycare centers on the line are noted. The importance of a daycare center of this size on the peninsula has been magnified by the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, and this center provides care for over 120 children, and plans to expand to be able to care for 300.

Another impact would be on Transitional Resources, which offers 24/7 services to persons with serious mental illness, through both living facilities and a service center. The living facilities depend on the 24/7 service center—it is a holistic system—and the Draft EIS doesn’t address the integrated nature of this program. Up to 31 high needs individuals could be displaced, with 122 persons per month losing access to treat acute, long-term mental illness (most clients were formerly homeless). The property deed includes a covenant requiring that the property be used for the provision of these services for the foreseeable future.

To address these deficiencies, I developed the West Seattle portion of a Council amendment to the resolution. The amendment states that for the Delridge segment, the City is not able to state a preference given the inadequate DEIS analysis of impacted social resources, and notes it a) did not identify the Alki Beach Academy as a potentially impacted social resource, and therefore did not fully analyze the project’s impact on child care services, and b) that while the DEIS identified Transition Resources in the list, it relies on co-located services to provide comprehensive transitional housing services; and c) states the City’s future support for Del-6 is conditioned on avoidance or mitigation of impacts, or relocation, of impacted child-care and transitional housing service providers.

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