Light Rail is coming to the South Sound
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Light Rail is coming to the South Sound

October 11, 2019

Regional Link light rail is coming to the south sound for a faster and more reliable way to get around the Puget Sound region, including to and from the airport and downtown Seattle. Today, we, at Sound Transit, are introducing an initial set of route and station ideas to connect Federal Way, Fife, Milton, Tacoma and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. Your input will help us narrow options for routes and stations. Before we jump into the details, let’s review where we started. Earlier this year, we began with a representative project from the 2016 Sound Transit 3 vote. It included stations at South Federal Way, Fife, East Tacoma and the Tacoma Dome Station area. Plus a bridge crossing the Puyallup River and new parking at two stations. This project also showed it needed an operations and maintenance facility to keep the entire system running efficiently. In spring of 2018, we asked for ideas about where the stations and tracks should go. We received over 550 comments from the public, Tribe, cities, and agencies in the corridor that helped create a universe of possible routes and station locations. Next, we considered all of these ideas by first asking two simple questions through a “pre-screening” exercise: Does the alternative (or station idea) meet the project purpose and need? Is it consistent with the Sound Transit 3 plan? Here’s an example of all suggested station locations we received in the Fife station area. In this pre-screening example, one of the suggested locations was removed as it was inconsistent with Sound Transit 3. This site was not in Fife. It was in Milton. Next, we grouped nearby suggestions into proposed station options. In South Federal Way, several people suggested a station near 352nd street. We combined them to form this initial station option. The team did this for all the stations that you’ll see today. Here are the rest: Fife, East Tacoma and Tacoma Dome. Fife East Tacoma and Tacoma Dome There’s a lot to look at, and there are pros and cons to each station option and route. So far, we’ve looked at several evaluation criteria to help us understand the differences. These criteria were formed with help from the tribe, local elected leaders, local city staff, and a stakeholder group for this project. Take the Land Use and Transit-Oriented Development, criteria as one example. For Transit-oriented development, we evaluated the potential for housing and business development around a given station option. This is a good example of transit oriented development completed by the Korean Women’s Association near the Federal Way Transit Center, in conjunction with the transit center’s construction. Whether you take an online survey in each of the station areas, or come in person to one of our open houses, this input will help the project team assess which options have promise, have challenges, and what can be further studied. We’ve offered initial thoughts for you to react to. We’re also asking the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the cities of Federal Way, Fife, Milton, and Tacoma to provide input. In October, after looking at feedback from everyone, the project’s Elected Leadership Group will recommend which alternatives should move forward. Some stations and routes are likely to be refined and improved. Later next year, the Sound Transit Board is expected to identify a preferred alternative for the entire project. So tell us what you think, now through September 21st!

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