Photo by Zachariah Bryan
Residents from Ballard and beyond came to the Ballard-Downtown transit study open house to consider what routes they would prefer.

Residents ponder route options for Ballard-Downtown rapid transit

While optimistic, some concerned about cost at open house

At the transit study open house last night in the Ballard High School Commons, where Sound Transit and city officials unveiled eight possible routes for high capacity transit to Ballard, residents expressed a mixture of optimism and concern for cost of some possible routes.

Options include routes that go through Fremont, through Interbay, over the canal via a new bridge or an existing bridge, under the canal via a tunnel and more. (See bottom for a breakdown of the different routes.)

"These eight routes include a variety of different alignments –- using tunnels, elevated tracks, and also existing streets -– and they have important tradeoffs for the public to consider," said Mayor McGinn in a blog post. "These include ridership, travel time, cost, impact on automobile, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic, potential support for future development, connection to a regional transit system, and impact on the environment."

The cheapest options, such as using the Fremont Bridge as a crossing, cost $500 million, while the most expensive, featuring a tunnel, cost $2.5-3.0 billion.

For Ballard resident Mark Blitzer, who has lived in Ballard for 28 years, the cost of the tunnel routes just about blew him over.

"I was just shocked by these numbers," Blitzer said. "It certainly shocked me when that's what they were talking about in some of these routes. ... I just want this to be realistic and not pie in the sky."

Still, he said, Ballard has been waiting for reliable transit for a long time, whether it be a Sounder station, monorail or something else.

"I try to take the bus as much as possible. If we ever get a streetcar to Ballard, boy I'll be taking it just about every day," he said.

People from other neighborhoods also have a stake in the transit line.

"I'd like something that goes by Queen Anne," said Chris Boggs, a Queen Anne resident.

Boggs said he didn't have the highest stake in transit consideration, but he did say that he would like to see a better connection between Fremont and Ballard and would like to see the line go through there.

"Getting from Fremont to Ballard is a huge pain in the ass right now," he said. "I was in Fremont for Solstice and I wanted to get to Ballard. I ended up walking over, which was not fun."

Brie Gyncild, who lives in the Central District, said she visits Ballard to see family and would like a more reliable connection from downtown than just buses.

"I would like us to have actual transportation options," she said.

Others said they would like to see the line go through Interbay, seeing it as a more direct connection.

Overall, people at the open house were just getting familiar with the route ideas proposed.

"I'm just learning the details," said Ben Lee, a resident of Ballard for three years who, while he thought some routes seemed too expensive, had no strong opinions. "I like the idea in general. I think it's cool."

For more info and maps of different routes, visit http://projects.soundtransit.org/Projects-and-Plans/Ballard-transit-expa...

Here are the different options:

Corridor 1: Interbay West/New Bridge

Cost:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: $750 - $1,000 M
85th St to Market St: N/A

Peak Period Travel Time:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: 14-19 min
85th St to Market St: N/A

Ship Canal Crossing: 140’ Fixed Bridge

Corridor 2: Interbay West/Canal tunnel

Cost:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: $2,500 - $3,000 M
85th St to Market St: N/A

Peak Period Travel Time:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: 12-17 min
85th St to Market St: n/A

Ship Canal Crossing: Tunnel

Corridor 3: 15th Ave/Elevated bridge

Cost:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: $1,500 - $2,000 M
85th St to Market St: n/A

Peak Period Travel Time:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: 11-16 min
85th St to Market St: n/A

Ship Canal Crossing: 140’ Fixed Bridge

Corridor 4: 15th Ave/At-Grade Bridge

Cost:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: $500 - $750 M
85th St to Market St: Approx $100 M
Peak Period Travel Time:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: 13-18 min
85th St to Market St: Approx 5 min
Ship Canal Crossing: 70’ Movable Bridge

Corridor 5: Queen Anne tunnel/New Bridge

Cost:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: $2,000 - $2,500 M
85th St to Market St: n/A

Peak Period Travel Time:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: 15-20 min
85th St to Market St: n/A

Ship Canal Crossing: 70’ Movable Bridge

Corridor 6: Westlake/Ship Canal tunnel

Cost:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: $1,000 - $1,500 M
85th St to Market St: Approx $100 M

Peak Period Travel Time:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: 14-19 min
85th St to Market St: Approx 6 min

Ship Canal Crossing: Tunnel

Corridor 7: Dexter/Fremont Bridge

Cost:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: <$500 M
85th St to Market St: Approx $100 M

Peak Period Travel Time:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: 18-25 min
85th St to Market St: Approx 5 min

Ship Canal Crossing: Existing Fremont Bridge

Corridor 8: Westlake/New Bridge

Cost:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: <$500 M
85th St to Market St: Approx $100 M

Peak Period Travel Time:
Market St to Downtown Seattle: 17-24 min
85th St to Market St: Approx 6 min

Ship Canal Crossing: 70’ Movable Bridge

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