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Reminder: April 2 Deadline for Sound Transit 3 Scoping Comments; Ballard Locks Update; Alki Beach Comfort Station Open House – Tomorrow; Fairmount Ravine Cleanup – April 6

Reminder: April 2 Deadline for Sound Transit 3 Scoping Comments

The deadline for providing comments on options for Sound Transit’s West Seattle/Ballard light rail line is on Tuesday, April 2nd. You can comment at the online open house or by e-mail at wsbscopingcomments@soundtransit.org. This is part of the formal comment period for developing which options will be studied in detail in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft EIS is scheduled for 2020, with the Final EIS due in 2022.

I’ve heard strong community support for tunnel options both for the West Seattle Junction as well as Delridge. I support options that minimize the impact and maximize the benefits of light rail in West Seattle.

Here’s the schedule for selecting the options in the EIS:

  • On April 17, the Stakeholder Advisory Group will make recommendations
  • On April 26, the Elected Leadership Group will make recommendations
  • On May 23rd, the Sound Transit Board will select the alternatives

Today’s Sound Transit Elected Leadership Group meeting focused on the Chinatown/ID and Delridge station areas.  I raised questions about residential and business impacts in Delridge; the impact during construction of a crossing to the south of the West Seattle Bridge (an issue raised by the West Seattle Chamber), and noted the Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel “purple” option best addresses the concerns we’ve heard. I also noted the $1.2 billion extra cost includes the $700 million for a tunnel in the Junction; the estimate for a tunnel through Pigeon Ridge is $500 million. I supported this option in the previous round in October.

Ballard Locks Update

Over the last two years, a broad coalition including the City and Port of Seattle, other cities and towns around Puget Sound, the maritime industry, and environmental groups, have joined forces to advocate on behalf of the Ballard Locks. The Locks are the busiest in the U.S in vessel transits and the 12th busiest in the nation for commercial transits.  They generate $1.2 billion of economic activity, including 3,000 jobs and payroll for those jobs of $129 million a year.  They are also 100 years old and in need of $30-60 million in major maintenance.

Last year, my Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts committee we received a presentation from this coalition.  We were joined by Eugene Wasserman, President, North Seattle Industrial Association; Charles Costanzo, Vice President, Pacific Region American Waterways Operators; Lindsay Wolpa, Regional Government Affairs Manager, Port of Seattle and Northwest Seaport Alliance; Roque Deherrera, Office of Economic Development; and Peter Schrappen, Washington Maritime Federation Board Chair.

Soon after the presentation, the Seattle Times reported on the efforts of this coalition to get funding for major maintenance as well as the fact that the “machines used to raise and lower the water levels inside the Locks, for instance, have had to last since the Army Corps of Engineers installed them in 1917.”

The news is that because of all of this coordinated effort, in September, a contract to fund replacement of the original large lock chamber’s 100-year-old filling culvert gates at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard was awarded by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This year, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin replacing the filling culvert valves – the mechanism that fills and empties the Locks. The new filling culvert valves will improve the reliability of the facility and will also allow for easier fish passage and greatly improve survival rates of juvenile salmon that need to pass through the Locks. This work is scheduled to begin in October and will be followed by additional critical repair work. The Ballard Locks and the local maritime industry are important drivers of economic development and economic diversity in Seattle. I will continue to promote these efforts at the Locks to restore critical infrastructure, improve conditions for Puget Sound salmon, and support an important economic driver for our region.

Alki Beach Comfort Station Open House – Tomorrow

The Department of Parks and Recreation is installing a new restroom at the Alki Beach Comfort Station on 57th Ave SW and Alki Ave SW.

The proposed structure includes three all gender facilities with individual access and will meet ADA standards.

  • When: Saturday, March 30 between 10am and 12pm.
  • Where: 2501 Alki Ave SW at the intersection of 57th Ave SW and Alki Ave SW

Fairmount Ravine Cleanup – April 6

The Fairmount Ravine Preservation Group will sponsor the 27th Annual Spring Cleanup and Reforestation of Fairmount Ravine, Saturday April 6th at 8:30 am.  Meet at top of ravine (Forest St. and Fairmount Ave).  As in past years, this year’s cleanup will focus on removing garbage and debris from homeless encampment under the bridge, removing ivy from trees in the ravine and cleaning sidewalks on the Admiral Bridge.

What to wear: boots and gloves.

Things to bring (if you can): a pruning saw and/or large loppers (to help remove ivy from trees), a flat shovel and push broom to help clean the sidewalks on the bridge.

Refreshments will be provided. All the organizers ask is that you donate a couple of hours of your time to keep this greenbelt clean, healthy and natural. I hope to see you there!

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