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ST3 Plan Update: Ballard may receive grade separated light rail…in 19 years

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on May 27th, 2016


Sound Transit released changes to the ST3 Draft Plan yesterday, which includes some updates on the Ballard transit plans.

After listening to feedback from about 35,000 surveys, updates were made which includes Ballard receiving light rail three years sooner in 2035 as opposed to 2038.

In addition to the updated time frame the updated ST3 plan for Ballard, while sticking to the 15th Ave W route through Interbay, will include grade separated light rail.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff confirms that it might be possible to speed up the timeline even more with a series of process changes which include favoring a design/build contract instead of a design/bid/build contract, having senior staff meet with stakeholders first to address concerns upfront, and finally, having local municipalities make zoning changes to allow light rail sooner.

To deliver the light rail options in the tighter time frame, Sound Transit believes that the overall cost of the project will increase by $4 billion.

The proposed updated projects and timelines are scheduled to be voted on by the Sound Transit Board at a special meeting on June 2. The completed language of the plan is scheduled for final adoption on June 23 to meet November ballot submission deadlines.

If approved, the project is estimated to add $400 a year in taxes for a typical household, Sound Transit says.

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25 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 skipoar // May 27, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Yep, just as soon as they move all the RVs off the tracks! Go get ’em, Eddie!

  • 2 Chris Warner // May 27, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    19 years is a joke. Complete the whole project in 3 years working 24/7/365 straight time 12 hour shifts with big bonuses for the workers for on time/early/completion under budget.

    Better yet use a Straddling Bus concept. See:

    It uses existing rights of way allowing them to be used as usual, is a fraction of the cost of light rail
    and can be implemented quickly. It also is more effective than light rail for moving people in urban areas.

  • 3 fred // May 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    F YOU Seattle. Just F YOU. We need this NOW. Morons.

  • 4 deke // May 28, 2016 at 7:50 am

    We don’t need light rail to Everett…or Tacoma for that matter. If you live in Tacoma, work in Tacoma…same with Everett. Pass a law saying if you work in Seattle, then you have to leave in the vicinity. And then give people who do work here priority for housing here…and stop selling houses to Chinese looking to park their corrupt money.

  • 5 Uncle Pete // May 28, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Why always raise house taxes? Raise sales tax to pay for this rubbish. Everytime i hear of any initiative it always ends with it will cost this amount of money for an average home owner. FOH!

  • 6 TJ // May 28, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Hey Deke I work in Ballard and live in Everett! The only reason I live in everett, is because I can’t afford to live in King county because it’s too FN expensive. If I was to take a bus it would take me 3 hrs to get to ballard. I don’t like the rail idea either. It really shows how much people make to affordable living! So shut your mouth!!

  • 7 OJ // May 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    The monorail would be up and running by now. J/S.

  • 8 deke // May 28, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    TJ. In a just world, if you worked in Ballard, you’d have priority for a place to live in Ballard…and your living cost would be based on your income.

  • 9 JoeBallard // May 28, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Deke – you are on crack.

  • 10 MC // May 28, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t understand why it is a dead end “spur” to Ballard. Connect it to Northgate at least…

  • 11 Obsequious // May 28, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Mom’s rent went up $900 last year, solely due to tax increases.

  • 12 Scrambled Egg // May 28, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    “Mom’s rent went up $900 last year”

    A month? Is she living in a mansion?

  • 13 deke // May 28, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    What’s in crack is a system where people pay $2000 a month for a 300 sq. ft. apartment. That’s on crack. And all the light rail in the world won’t change it. San Fran has a great rail system but people still pay through the nose to live in the Bay Area.

  • 14 Marianne // May 29, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    @#3 fred

    “We need this NOW. Morons.”

    You sound like a little crybaby.

    Do you have any idea how long it takes to implement this kind of system? Maybe not 19 years, but no less than a decade to plan, permit and construct

  • 15 Biff Sparky // May 30, 2016 at 6:36 am

    I didn’t see anything about “accountability” in this story. Does that matter any longer? Or is just having that “D” beside your name make everything OK? Seems to me the ONLY way to accountability is to stick an “R” beside names. Then, and only then does it matter. You are all being used here. Wake the F up people. Lucy ALWAYS moved the football before Charlie Brown could even kick it. Social engineering is so much fun though, as you get to blame your neighbors and friends yet never who YOU all elected. I see dumb people

  • 16 KS // May 31, 2016 at 6:59 am

    I participated in all of the ST3 surveys and get and read their emails. Having moved here 15 years ago from a city with a major rail network, I wanted (and continue to want) light rail to Ballard as part of a hub and spoke network connecting downtown to the major neighborhoods.

    That being said, with the current funding plan relying disproportionately (again) on home assessments and de prioritizing major rail links within the city I am not supporting ST3.

    I also have concerns about accountability and that was part of my motivation to vote against the last transportation levy.

    Noted that the city has already reneged on portions of that plan pertaining to bike infrastructure. I am not a regular cyclist but I was wary of the pork in the plan for every major neighborhood and related interest group and suspected that was intended to coopt opposition to the plan. The city needs to be realistic and honest about what it promises. I can’t continue to ignore the city’s prior history of delays and broken promises

    I might be persuaded to change my mind on ST3 but that would take measures to distribute the costs more equitably and prioritizing the plan more rationally to start at the hub and move outward plus assurances of accountability written into the plan.

  • 17 Sam I am // May 31, 2016 at 8:03 am

    “Pass a law saying if you work in Seattle, then you have to leave in the vicinity. And then give people who do work here priority for housing here…and stop selling houses to Chinese looking to park their corrupt money.”

    Wow, how wonderfully authoritarian of you. Turn America into China.

  • 18 Truth // May 31, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Once again, you are living in a prospering city, county and state, where a lot of the politicians have a (D) behind their name. Not sure what someone with an (R) could do different, besides screwing that up.

  • 19 fred // May 31, 2016 at 11:11 am

    @14 Marianne. Go fuck yourself, Marianne. I voted for the 1995 Transit Plan, paid my taxes on it, and got little for it. We all got burned big on that. Voted for every monorail go round, and every single idea to expand transit, and continued to pay the requisite taxes, like extra fees on the auto and other increases. I voted, paid, attended meetings, weighed in, wrote letters, advocated, spoke with elected representatives, and in general put my money where my mouth is. 21 years later, we are a joke compared with most every major city on the West Coast, and are an embarrassment compared to Vancouver, British Columbia and a lot of the developed world when it comes to mass transit. Marianne, you are a fucking moron for assuming you know anything about me at all. Stupid idiot.

  • 20 Marianne // May 31, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for confirming that you are a crybaby.

    That’s all I need to know about you

  • 21 Catherine // May 31, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    19 years, when I’ll be long gone, but my property taxes went up over 10% this year to pay for this- with no end to the increases in sight. Someone’s getting the benefit of this and it’s not the residents of Ballard. Ridiculous.

  • 22 Jamie // Jun 1, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    This is bananas. At the end of the medieval period, early Ottomans built an entire fort (that still stands, unharmed) and sacked Constantinople, thus changing the World, in 6 months – how can it take 19 years to implement a system that marries cars and above ground metro while they dig for a stronger metro.. If that’s even necessary. Seattle doesn’t even have a population of 1mill… Yet.
    The issue is that Seattleites are married to their cars, and they simply hate each other. One look at the comment thread with neighbors talking to one another makes me re-think how safe I’d feel standing next to many of you. Maybe the car sounds better.

  • 23 Scott // Jun 3, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Another outrageous Rogering for Ballard. Seattle’s largest/most populous unserved neighborhoods need service first, not last, or equal to other cities. We pay the most taxes, and we should get the best service first. I worked in Sodo and my colleagues who lived in Edmonds got to work faster than I did from Ballard, paying half the taxes. They gave the the bird from the Sounder as they flew by at the end of my street, NW Market St.
    Why not just make a Sounder stop for Ballard around NW 57th St and 37th Ave, where the giant blackberry-drug-bum vacant lot is, all along the track? They could even add a parking area, and a Ballard Bus Loop that made a big loop around every 10 minutes? I suggested this in every formal feedback session, and it’s ignored. Whoever is making these plans does not have Ballard’s best interests at heart, and they will not get my vote on this plan.
    Just pay your taxes Ballard, get on your abysmally slow buses, and shut up.

  • 24 bolide // Jun 3, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    KS–you from Philly?

  • 25 fred // Jun 4, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Shut the fuck up; he adults are talking. Got any solutions, or are you just a little child insulting people at a keyboard? Having fought for good victories, people like yourself are seriously part of the problem. So stay the fuck out of my way, little child.

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