Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Here Are The Ground Rules

 It's clear from the response to this blog so far that I need to set some boundaries. So here are the rules.

1. What you should submit for posting here should already be in the public domain. This includes: the comments you submitted to Sound Transit in response to the DEIS, copies of letters or emails you have sent to public officials, and written copies of the comments you made at any of the public hearings held regarding light rail in West Seattle. If you belong to a community organization, minutes from meetings or statements sent to public officials are welcome. 

2. I will not post anything anonymously or under a pseudonym. This is a place for people to use their authentic voices, not hide behind fake names, which is so common in social media. 

If you have any materials described in item #1 above, your name and your ideas are out there, anyway. Be proud of the fact that you have exercised your rights and responsibilities as a citizen. 

3. I have disabled reader comments so no one can offer their opinion of what you have to say. Cross talk is poisonous in spaces like this. We've all seen it on social media and in the comments on the West Seattle Blog. Trolls hide behind fake names and belittle and bully people, offering nothing of value to the community. Before long, neighbors are trading insults and arguing with one another. No one is better for it.

Now people are hesitant to submit things for me to post because they fear being attacked. I'm not going to give the trolls an opportunity.

4. If someone contacts me, and says they want to get in touch with you, I will not give them your contact information. Instead, I will ask for their contact information and tell them that I will pass it along to you. You can choose whether to contact them or not. This blog can be a good way for people from different parts of the neighborhood to connect, but I want to assure safety for those involved. 

Have questions? Email me. 

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Looking Forward to a New Year

This was a popular sign in the neighborhood while the West Seattle Bridge was closed. 

Transportation was a hot topic in West Seattle in 2022. 

The West Seattle Bridge, linking the peninsula with the rest of Seattle, reopened in September, much to the relief of local residents. The bridge had been closed for more than two years.

But the hottest topic of the year was, and still is, Sound Transit's proposed light rail link to West Seattle. The concept was approved by voters in 2016, with an estimated completion date of 2030, and a price tag of $1.7 billion. No plans had been drawn - these figures were estimates.

On January 22, 2022, Sound Transit finally published their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), a document that described possible alignments and station locations, and the environmental implications of the project. 

This was the first time West Seattle residents had been given detailed information about what could happen in their neighborhood. They were given until April 28, 2022 to comment on the DEIS. Their comments are supposed to provide guidance for the creation of a final plan, which is expected to begin in 2023.

Residents who took the time to wade into the dense amount of information in the DEIS, and who asked questions to get more information, were taken by surprise. The scope of this project has more far-reaching consequences than anyone expected. 

Another popular sentiment in the neighborhood. Click on image download logo. 

Among the eye-openers: 1,400 people received letters advising them that their homes or businesses could be affected to make way for the train; the completion date was pushed out to 2032, unless a tunnel option is chosen, which will take longer and cost more; the cost of the project had ballooned from $1.7 billion to between $3 and $4 billion; and the massive amount of CO2 this project will produce was never fully accounted for in the DEIS. 

The purpose of this blog is to provide a place for West Seattle neighbors and neighborhood groups to share their comments and concerns about ST's proposal. This includes: copies of letters you have written, comments you've presented at hearings or in response to the DEIS, notes from neighborhood meetings you've had, responses you've received from officials, descriptions of how the project will affect your life, ideas you have for alternatives - whatever you want to share with the community at large to provide a picture of the project from your point of view.

Sound Transit's plans affect parts of West Seattle differently - Pigeon Point, Native American Tribes, Delridge neighbors, Avalon and Junction residents, and businesses throughout the corridor - each has their unique set of concerns. The rest of the community hears about these concerns in isolation - a story here, and a meeting notice there. There isn't a place you can go to see The Big Picture of how West Seattle people feel about the project.

The hope is that this site can be that Big Picture place -

with the stories told in your own words.

To provide context, this will also be a place to gather information from blogs, newspapers, public records, and other sources.

If you would like to submit information from your household, business or neighborhood group,  let me know.  There is no cost to you or your neighbors to post your information here. I have disabled comments, so you don't need to worry about trolls. 

Also, let me know if there are more categories you want to see here. If your neighborhood organization would like a page, that can be done easily. I welcome any comments that will make the blog better and more useful for you.