Uhh, so to shave off 6 years (3 years x 2) it costs $4-billion? I'd rather keep the original timelines. For that cost I was expecting to see at least 5-10 year reductions.
Go ahead and do the math on how old you will be when this opens.

It's depressing that something like this takes more than a decade.
@ 2/3,

A monorail network that hugged the city like a favorite sweater and made our chest look great was my dream, too. But that's not what's on offer. This is a good plan that meets many people's needs and will be a boon to the region for generations.

@ 5,

So how old will you be if it doesn't get built?
The timing of this is still fucking insane and I think will be a hard sell in November. And it means cars will still be on the roads for years to come: and lots of them.
I'd like to point out that they're splitting the cost of the downtown tunnel based on *sub-area ridership*, so that to the degree a Redmond-to-Downtown_Tunnel line is used by people from Redmond going to the tunnel, Redmond will help pay for it...they're not just having everywhere pay for it out of the main pot (like "general fund" or something). Which, really, is the fairest way to do it. (All the suburbs want a train from their area to Seattle...why should Seattle pay for the part that ends in Seattle instead of getting an actual line within Seattle, which is what Seattle actually wants?)
I daresay I'm older than anyone who has commented thus far (I'm almost as old as Dan Savage!) but I'll still vote for this. Mostly because we need this, but also because perhaps I could someday toddle onto a train here on Beacon Hill (with my walker and Life Alert button) and go to someplace like Ballard
I disagree with many commenters...the timing of it is frustratingly far away in the same way that Christmas is frustratingly far away when you're a child. I want it now, too. But we will get a new line and/or new critical stations *every few years* with this plan starting in 2024 (and we will see benefits between now and then thanks to ST2). Each one of those openings will take traffic off the streets, benefiting the whole region.
I don't know, the capitol hill stop was well worth the wait.
Not being facetious here, but this definitely seems like too little too late if thinking about it from an environmental impact perspective.
It's hard getting excited, as a Seattle resident, about this because 2035 for the Ballard line (I'm assuming this is inclusive of the interbay stop and the Seattle Center stop) -- as opposed to 2038 (YAY! 3 years sooner. Not) is sufficiently far in the future that but for the fact that I always vote for these sorts of things, I'm not sure if I would vote for it.

Reading the suburban build out of LRT -- and I say this as a former suburbanite -- and also reading about the complaints of Renton in the Seattle Times (and how Kirkland doesn't want LRT. Hey, Kirkland -- look at Georgetown in DC and their opposition to the Metro 30 years ago. How's that workin' for ya?), here's my meek suggestion.

Seattle needs to go it alone. Let's fund the West Seattle line. The Ballard line. Expand the UW line all the way to the northern border of Seattle. And tell the burbs -- "here's the deal -- we're/we've built our part out. You want to connect? You pay for it." Because there are competing issues here. Seattle needs a dense, Boston/NYC/Chicago type system. Suburbanites need a commuting system to get into the city. It's hard for Sound Transit to balance all of these issues.

Factor in the bluish nature of Seattle and the reddish nature of the surrounding suburbs, and you have ST that is a bit too meek in asking for "too much money," whereas Seattle residents would approve a huge increase in property taxes tomorrow to get the system built out within 10 years. I want our suburban friends to be part of the light rail. But let's build out our part ourselves, and not pay for their part. If Issaquah wants to connect in 2038, hey, cool, great. You build out the line from the Seattle border to Issaquah, and we'll pay for the celebration party.

But to talk about "regional transportation" issues when it's truly "suburbanites who hate traffic coming to Seattle" and "Seattle residents who haven't been to the suburbs in years" is to misstate the issue entirely. Further, insofar as Seattle proper is the driver behind the local economy (e.g., Amazon; e.g., Expedia is moving to Seattle from Bellevue, not vice-versa), we have the money to go our own way. Let's build this stuff out *now*, and not be beholden to the suburbs.
The damage to the environment by not seriously compressing the completion date in half is completely insane. We love to say how bad cars are (and they are) but to wait a generation to get this up and going is the same problem that's caused the environmental problems we are facing.

This is an emergency and needs to be treated like one. Cut the schedule in half, fund the fucking thing and put your money/efforts where our mouths are. And stop crying about the damage to the environment when one of the major infrastructure solutions to help with that damage we're willing to put out 20 plus years (assuming there are no hiccups)
BTW, to the "kids waiting for Christmas" comment? That's total bullshit. This isn't a fucking toy a bunch of spoiled kids are waiting for: it's an enormously important piece of infrastructure that will help us survive as a fucking region.
Just wondering... Did it take this long to do the MAX expansions down in Portland?
I love how the argument now is that it isn't enough when just a few years ago it was if we should have it at all.

This is how the sausage gets made and expanding on what we have already makes a lot of sense. If you think more should be done, pass this and then lobby for more.
@17 Amen. Also, if you want this shit to happen faster, then fucking pony up for it you cheapskates.
There is also a lot of potential to bring in the timelines further. Cooperation from city governments, reducing EIS requirements, and federal grants could bring this in several more years. These numbers are basically the worst case scenario. Federal grants in particular were very conservative. And I think local govt will hear the populace screaming for prioritization and streamlining normal processes for this rail expansion. I think you can take 3-5 years off every estimate in here, especially towards the tail end.
@15: you took the analogy too far. I was not calling light rail a toy, and I think you're the only one that read it that way. The truth is, we will not get rail faster by voting no on this plan. We may get it faster than this plan by voting yes and then having Seattle add additional segments on its own concurrently, or by electing a congress and president that is willing to fund infrastructure (or a state government that is willing to stop prioritizing roads), but we cannot go back in time and grab our grandparents by the scruff and tell them to vote yes on Forward Thrust. Going back in time is the only way you're going to get the outcome you, specifically, want (i.e. light rail faster than we get it by voting yes on ST3 -- let alone the much, much faster you say you expect). We can't vote "no" and go back to the drawing board and expect faster results. We can't wait for the political climate to be just right to get this done immediately (honestly, this is the best political climate for passing this that we may see in our lifetimes: the whole region recognizes the crisis of traffic congestion, the region is growing, the region just saw recent successes with our light rail, and the economy is strong so there is appetite for spending). This is our best opportunity. And passing it does not eliminate the possibility of taking advantage of an advantageous change in federal or state policy, rather it positions us to be able to take advantage of it if and when it happens.
@17 exactly
Sorry, but getting a poorly designed system a bit faster is still a mistake. The timeline isn't the problem, the routes are. Good transit -- the kind of transit this kind of money should buy -- works for everyone who ever wants to go anywhere in the area. To do that, it does a couple things. First, it has lots of stops relatively close to each other in densely populated areas. Second, it works really well with the buses. This does neither.

There are examples of good transit if you visit our nearest big city, Vancouver BC. They have roughly three times the transit ridership of Seattle, yet more people ride buses than rail. The two work together really well. Their system was modeled after Toronto, which also doesn't have a hundred miles of track, but a core system that works really well with the bus system.

A good example of both weaknesses of our system can be seen with the latest improvement; U-Link. Without a doubt this is the most important line that will ever be built. UW to downtown was always the most important connection you could make, and it still is. Serving Capitol Hill of course is essential. But they left out most of the Central Area. This is not a trivial omission. Check out a census map, and you can see this is huge ( Now imagine a stop in First Hill, as well as 23rd and Madison. Suddenly the BRT that is being built has a great connection with Link. The entire Central Area does. Run buses every six minutes on 23rd, and you can get to so many places so much faster. Unfortunately, we won't have those connections, and this does nothing to try and rectify the situation.

It gets worse with this proposal. Ignore the suburbs for a second, and ask yourself which trips get a lot faster. Lower Queen Anne to Capitol Hill? Definitely. Ballard to the UW? No. Fremont to Capitol Hill? No. Lake City to Wallingford (or Ballard or Fremont)? No. Even most of West Seattle -- where a couple billion will be spent, is really no better off. To get to South Seattle College, you will take a bus. Likewise with Alki, or the most populous of the peninsula's neighborhoods, High Point. This means a typical trip -- say First Hill to Alki -- will require, at best, three vehicles (bus, train, bus). Is that better? Not really.

Now compare this to this plan:…. Every scenario I mentioned (and then some) is better. Buses run unimpeded where the most congestion is (downtown and on the freeway) and go straight to their destination (e. g. the bars in Ballard, Alki, South Seattle College). Buses run in the tunnels the same way that trains run -- without delay caused by folks paying their fare, cars or traffic lights. They can run more often in that core area, because unlike trains, buses can tailgate. The result is more frequent service in the core area, as well as fewer transfers to the places people want to be.

Meanwhile, the light rail we do build is very much like Vancouver's. It connects to the bus routes in a logical way. Not only does this deliver very fast service from Ballard to downtown (only two minutes slower than the ST3 plan) but it delivers all of that to the entire north end. Fremont, Wallingford and Ballard to downtown are much faster. But it isn't just based on getting downtown. All those places (along with places like Greenwood) have much faster service to the UW, Capitol Hill and Rainier Valley.

That is what good transit does. It isn't about just getting to downtown, it is about getting from neighborhood to neighborhood. This will, undoubtedly, be better than nothing. But so too will the changes that SDOT is making, for a hell of a lot less money (…). The big question is whether this will be worth it. Is it worth the billions and billions when we have other, arguably more important needs? Should we spend this money so that a handful of people have a faster ride for a handful of their trips, or should we try and spend the money more wisely. It isn't like we don't have other things to spend money on (social services, education, day care, and -- dare I say -- cops). We can do better. We should do better. Otherwise, I would rather spend the money on something else.
@22 - Vote no like Ross if you believe that the region wants more busses instead of rail and that a plan made up of ideal scenarios can pass the state and three counties worth of governments as well as the public itself.

Make sure to spend lots of time explaining to West Seattle why busses are better than rail. Also, why we should trust an agency that we demonize for not getting it right to deliver said plan of ideals.

"Whee! Trains are magic! Pay no attention to the overwhelming majority of trips that everyone will still drive -- because the poorly-routed trains are objectively no faster or easier -- even after the decades have elapsed and the billions of dollars have disappeared!"
@23 >> Make sure to spend lots of time explaining to West Seattle why busses are better than rail.

Because there is one less (infrequent) transfer for almost every trip off of the peninsula.

[That was exhausting -- so time consuming]
@25 - What happens when the BRT lanes are converted to HOT lanes because of political pressures related to traffic on the bridge? How do you prevent the BRT from being watered down in the first place based on "neighborhood concerns?"

What about regional history? When was the last time a BRT plan was successfully launched without being watered down? How many Rapid Ride BRT lines stayed true BRT and didn't get watered down between the vote and launch of the line? Finally, when is the last time the region successfully launched a project with the level of BRT that you believe would be necessary to make the West Seattle BRT project a success?

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