Snap Judgment

Should We Dig a Light Rail Tunnel to West Seattle?

Are forthcoming stations, like the one in West Seattle, a potential $700 million project, worth more construction woes?

By Philip Kiefer May 29, 2019 Published in the June/July 2019 issue of Seattle Met

Construction crews excavate the downtown Bellevue tunnel 24 hours a day, six days a week. Could West Seattle be next?

“Everyone wants fast transit [that’s] high quality and low impact. Just find three quarters of a billion dollars and sweet.… But Shoreline and Everett ain’t gonna pay. To get tunnels, [neighborhoods] need to pay for them.”

—Mark Hallenbeck, director, Washington State Transportation Center, UW

“On the equity and fairness scale, [a tunnel] would be the best outcome for this, as far as I’m concerned. Sound Transit has a tremendous effect as far as being a catalyst for needed development in the Delridge neighborhood.”

—Willard Brown, Delridge environmental activist, ST3 Stakeholder Advisory Group

“We would be setting ourselves up politically for a fight that would hurt transit riders—if [an unfunded tunnel] happens, it would likely cause delays for alignment or construction, which would impact the time the stations open.”

—Owen Pickford, executive director, The Urbanist

Show Comments