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CALL TO ACTION ON LIGHT RAIL: January 28, 2016

Please click here for the Facebook Event page.

Dear West Seattle, South Park, White Center, and Burien Residents,

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) is made up of your neighbors. We are community volunteers who have been tracking mobility issues for the Peninsula and White Center since September 2013. We have been successful in bringing attention to our transportation challenges by banding together and asking for solutions.

In the Sound Transit 2 package, money was set aside to study potential corridors for Sound Transit expansion (ST3). Sound Transit has been studying the Ballard transit expansion since 2012. The three years of comprehensive citizen outreach and planning sessions have culminated in multiple routing and delivery options for Ballard. However, West Seattle and points south have not had the benefits of the same planning sessions. On December 4, 2015, Sound Transit presented to the Sound Transit Board (STB) a proposal for expansion of Sound Transit light rail:

http://soundtransit3.org/document-library

The WSTC has raised a question to the STB and the City of Seattle. The proposed three options are in direct conflict with projects voted on in Move Seattle. With a draft proposal set for March 2016 and a final draft set for June 2016, how can we get three years worth of planning done in three months?

Click here to read the letter that we sent:

http://www.westseattletc.org/letter-on-proposed-plans-for-sound-transit-3/

We need your help. Our next meeting is Thursday, January 28, 2016. We want to have a brainstorming session on ways we can help Sound Transit and the Cities of Seattle and Burien hold successful accelerated planning sessions.

You don’t need to be a transportation planner, you just need to want light rail to come to West Seattle, White Center and Burien!

Join us.

Date: January 28, 2016
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: (new location) The Kenney, 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW

Who are we?

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (the WSTC) is a Peninsula-wide organization working to address transportation and mobility issues for Seattle’s largest constituency. We represent up to 100,000 people in the 10 square mile area between the Duwamish River and Puget Sound. We are a unified voice for transportation issues to drive our elected officials and agencies to stop overlooking West Seattle.

Meetings are held at the High Point Neighborhood House at 6400 Sylvan Ave SW from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM on the fourth Thursday of every month.

The panel at our January 2014 forum.

The panel at our January 2014 forum.

What we are:

A huge crowd discussed West Seattle’s transportation problems at our first meeting, which was recorded by the West Seattle Blog. The WSTC originally formed in September 2013, in response to looming 27% cuts to King County Metro to West Seattle. We came together because of the threatened 27% cuts to King County Metro our peninsula was facing in September 2013. That was our galvanizing moment to become a formal advocacy group on all transportation issues affecting our area. You can watch it here:

West Seattle was getting a double hit: in addition to the 17% cuts the entire county was facing to King County Metro, we were also facing another 10% in cuts because of the “Viaduct mitigation money” from the WSDOT running out. This was a special fund for us, due to the massive disruption to our commutes from the Deep Bore Tunnel and Bertha digging. Unfortunately, the State only funded that through June 2014! At the end of that first meeting, with nearly all of the leaders of nearly all of the West Seattle neighborhood and community groups present, we unanimously formed the WSTC, and started working on our other problems as well…

  • The reduction of mass transit services: The current insufficient level of service will be compounded by the proposed cuts in our already under served area.
  • Loss of infrastructure: The scheduled removal of the SR-99 Viaduct without sufficient replacement capacity on other routes to and from our Peninsula.
  • Density without transportation capacity: The region’s commitment to increased density is not matched with equivalent increases in transportation capacity to serve the Peninsula’s steadily growing population.
  • Natural barriers: West Seattle has only limited routes connecting it to downtown and beyond for the vast majority of its commuters. Mass transit is the only option that can move us across these choke points to keep our transportation systems functioning.

Want to see our Current Issues that we’re chasing? Go here.

Building the WSTC:

Joe Fitzgibbon speaking at the WSTC rally.

Joe Fitzgibbon speaking at the WSTC rally.

In October 2013 we sent out a Call to Action to every single elected official related to West Seattle, up to the Governor’s level, and to every single transportation related agency that touches us, detailing our long standing frustration at being ignored and overlooked. Between October and the end of the year a huge array of West Seattle groups endorsed the WSTC and joined us. We learned in November from speaking with Sound Transit that an overwhelming majority of West Seattle residents favor bringing light rail to our area, and informed Sound Transit that we fully endorse it.

We finished the structure of the WSTC into four committees to drive us to solve our problems and finished our by-laws to make this group solid, to handle our growth into the future. We held a rally that was covered on all the major TV news stations (West Seattle Herald report, West Seattle Blog report). We’ve got a mailing list setup for everyone to use.

In January 2014, we hosted a Q&A Panel and forum with representatives from the Governor’s office, the County Executive’s office, the Mayor’s office, and the City Council. You can watch it here on the Seattle Channel:

 

In the wake of this, with all the extra media attention we helped stir up and conversations with many State and County officials, the mitigation money came through Governor Inslee’s office, and was funded another two years through 2016. The 10% “West Seattle Penalty” was eliminated, but we still had the looming 17% cuts that failed in a Proposition 1 county-wide vote — which passed overwhelmingly inside of Seattle. We’ll be voting on that again in November 2014 on the city level. Now, we’re working on the rest of the issues impacting West Seattle, South Park, and the stretch of King County between Seattle and Burien.

What now?

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition formed to deal with one specific problem, and will now continue to move forward until all the major West Seattle peninsula transportation issues are resolved to our satisfaction.

Do you want to endorse and join the coalition, or does your group want to? Go here.

Do you want to volunteer for the coalition, and come to our meetings? Go here.

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