by Guy Oron
(This article was originally published on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Speculation over the location of a new light rail station in the Chinatown-International District (CID) neighborhood ignited a fierce debate over accessible transportation, displacement, and equity in regional government planning and decision-making. Some community advocates say that divisive online discourse about the various proposals may have caused lasting harm to progressive movements, with traditionally allied groups backing different sides of the increasingly polarized issue.
Continue reading Placement of Future CID Light Rail Station Sparks Heated Debate, Strains Relations
by Friends of Little Sài Gòn Board of Directors
Sound Transit has the power to shape equitable development in neighborhoods south of Seattle’s downtown for generations. The political discourse over where to site a station essential for light rail expansion and potentially other non-car modes of transportation has become another existential battleground, falsely pitting our community’s fears of displacement, gentrification, and desire for transit equity in a city experiencing hyper wealth inequality against the simultaneous and very urgent need for connected, reliable, efficient transportation options that also support climate resilience.
Continue reading OPINION | From the Other Side of I-5: Little Saigon Weighs In on Sound Transit’s Light Rail Expansion in the CID
by Alison Jean Smith
For community activists in the Chinatown-International District (CID), the date of March 9 looms large. That’s when Sound Transit will make a recommendation to its powerful board of directors on the location for the new CID light rail station, an anchor for the future line connecting West Seattle and Ballard. On March 23, the board will then pick its “preferred alternative” of four current options, which Sound Transit will write up in its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). As Paul Wu, an architect and cofounder of Transit Equity for All (TEA), says, once the EIS happens, “the train has left the station.”
Continue reading As Deadline to Decide on CID Light Rail Station Approaches, Community Groups Speak Out
by Chetanya Robinson
(This article was originally published on the International Examiner and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
The Sound Transit Board deferred recommending a preferred location for a second light rail station in the Chinatown-International District (CID) during a July 28 meeting, opting to conduct months more study and engagement with the community first.
Continue reading Sound Transit Will Do More Study Before Recommending Where to Build Second CID Light Rail Station
by Lizz Giordano
For more than a decade, light rail trains have whizzed through the Rainier Valley, but the development along the corridor that many expected would follow has lagged behind.
The 2008 recession combined with a negative perception of the South End by developers are both blamed for some of that lethargic growth around the South End stations. Though the pace of development has picked up in recent years, swaths of land still lie vacant near many stations. Meanwhile, frustrations over Sound Transit’s decision to build the line along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South at street level linger because of increased safety concerns.
“The big story with light rail is that some parts of the corridor saw the kind of development that was anticipated and some didn’t, notably Rainier Beach,” said Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales. “The things that were anticipated were delayed substantially, but they are coming.”
Continue reading Light Rail in the Rainier Valley, 10 Years Later
by Lizz Giordano
While other Sound Transit projects face delays, all three future light rail infill stations — stations to be inserted along existing rail lines — including one planned for South Graham Street, remain on time or early, the agency decided Thursday, Aug. 6, as it confronts a $6.5 billion budget deficit.
At the beginning of 2021, Sound Transit declared much of Sound Transit 3 (ST3) “unaffordable” as the agency faced a shortfall. The agency blames rising land costs, declining sales tax revenue due to COVID-19 shutdowns, and pricey project add-ons for the budget gap, which has since narrowed in part due to increased tax revenue projections.
The board approved a plan Thursday that placed projects into four tiers, prioritizing those in the top two tiers, which are mainly light rail and bus rapid transit extensions. Most of these are facing a two- to five-year postponement. Sound Transit estimates items in tiers three and four, mostly parking and Sounder train projects, could be delayed up to 10 years. On top of a financial setback, some ST3 projects face a one- to two-year planning lag which the agency attributes mostly to the pandemic.
Continue reading Graham Street Light Rail Station Dodges Delay