Seattle City Council's wish list for light rail expansion | KUOW News and Information

Seattle City Council's wish list for light rail expansion

May 23, 2016

The Seattle City Council wants two more light rail stations added to Sound Transit 3, the expansion plan that will be on the November ballot.

Monday, the City Council unanimously passed a wish list for what they want added to ST3. It includes light rail stops at South Graham St. in south Seattle and Northeast 130th St. in north Seattle's Olympic Hills.

Council members like Sound Transit's idea about extending light rail to Ballard and West Seattle, but Councilmember Mike O'Brien says instead of the current plan to build the line at-grade with streets, they want the routes partly underground.

O'Brien said if cost savings can be found on either of those routes, potential tunneling could be considered. He says they want to have "in Ballard, specifically, a tunnel underneath the ship canal, and in West Seattle possibly [a tunnel] as it gets closer to the junction."

Both the Ballard and West Seattle light rail lines would connect to a new downtown tunnel that will be underground.

The City Council wish list also looks further into the future. Council members want Sound Transit to study how to build light rail to Burien and from Ballard to the University District.

The Sound Transit Board will put together a draft for ST3 on Thursday then release its final plan in June.

Here are details from the City Council ST3 resolution:

a. The ST3 package should construct an infill light rail station at South Graham St.

b. The ST3 package should construct an infill light rail station at Northeast 130th St.

c. The ST3 package should include a light rail extension from Downtown Seattle to Ballard, including a new tunnel through Downtown Seattle to support regional operation of the light rail system. The ST3 package should allow for future consideration and evaluation of a fully grade-separated alignment to Ballard, including the potential to shift the alignment to the west of 15th Avenue West or a tunnel alignment, if cost savings within the ST3 program or additional funding resources become available.

d. The ST3 package should include a light rail extension from Downtown Seattle to the West Seattle Junction, including a grade-separated alignment through West Seattle. The ST3 package should allow for future consideration and evaluation of a tunnel alignment through West Seattle, if cost savings within the ST3 program or additional funding resources become available.

e. The ST3 package should include funding for a robust Transit-Oriented Development program to capitalize on ST3 project opportunities.

f. The ST3 package should include funding for a robust bicycle and pedestrian access program.

g. The ST3 package should include Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit and enhancements to the RapidRide C and D bus lines as early deliverables to address current and anticipated transit demand in these corridors.

h. The ST3 package should include funding for planning to extend light rail from the West Seattle Junction to Burien and from Ballard to the University District. The results of these planning studies will enable Sound Transit to update the Long-Range Plan for future investments.