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  • Marie McKinsey

How Many West Seattle Businesses Will We Lose Because of Sound Transit's Light Rail?

Updated: Nov 19, 2022

Delridge Way parcels affected by light rail ST3
Some of the Delridge Way parcels that will be affected by Sound Transit's light rail extension to West Seattle.

Sound Transit's light rail extension to West Seattle will mean the closure or relocation of many businesses. How many and which ones?

That information is in their Draft Environmental Impact Statement. But it isn't easy to locate. You'll find the addresses of affected properties in Appendix L. There are three Appendix Ls, so be sure you open the L4.1 version. The titles of these documents don't tell you what's actually in them - you have to open them one by one to see what's there.

Business names are not listed in Appendix L, though, only the addresses of affected properties. If you want to find out if a business is affected, you have to get the address and look it up.

About 60 pages into this document, you will find drawings like the one above, showing sections of the 6 proposed alternatives. These maps will also help you identify businesses that may be lost and give you a sense of the scale of the project.

If a property is on the affected list, that doesn't necessarily mean that the building will be demolished. Depending on which alternative is finally chosen, it might be. Or it might survive, but be heavily affected by construction. Or it might be missed altogether if a tunnel alternative is chosen.

Construction of light rail to West Seattle is expected to take 6 years. It will be far more disruptive to the community than the two-year West Seattle bridge closure. During that time, businesses nearby that are still open can expect to lose revenue, because road closures and detours will make it difficult for customers to get to them.

It has been 5 1/2 years since this measure passed. Home and business owners have been waiting all this time to learn their fates. It will be at least another year before they know what which alternative will be built and whether they have to move or not. Many are looking for places to relocate, if that's even possible. There's very little space available in West Seattle - where could you put another Trader Joe's? Many small businesses will have to choose between moving out of the neighborhood altogether or going out of business.

On April 8, Sound Transit made a presentation to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce to engage with West Seattle businesses. The first 20 minutes of this video is the presentation. After that, you'll see questions and comments from local business owners. It is worth watching.

This is a map of Sound Transit's preferred alternative for the Alaska Junction Light Rail Station.

Here's a list, which is by no means complete, of West Seattle businesses that may be lost to light rail:

  • Alki Beach Academy

  • Bob's Boat Shop

  • Buddha Ruska

  • Budget Blinds

  • Carpet & Flooring USA

  • Frye Commerce Center

  • Global Diving and Salvage

  • Harbor Island Marina

  • Island Tug and Barge

  • Jefferson Square businesses including: Safeway, Bartell's, U-Frame-It, UPS Store, School of Rock, Sharetea, Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate, AT&T Store, West Seattle Liquor, Supercuts, etc. And in the preferred alternative above, all the housing above the businesses will be demolished.

  • Jiffy Lube

  • Jones Barbecue

  • LA Fitness

  • Mode Music Studios

  • Ounces Taproom & Beer Garden

  • Pacific Terminals Moorage

  • PCC Logistics

  • Pecos Pit BBQ

  • Puget Sound Packing and Crating

  • Rudy's Barbershop

  • Seattle Integrated Martial Arts

  • Skylark Cafe & Club

  • Sky Printing

  • Sound Physical Therapy

  • Spectrum Information Services

  • Subway

  • Taco Time NW

  • Tom's Automotive

  • Tideworks Technology

  • Trader Joe's

  • United Motor Freight

  • US Bank

  • West Seattle Brewing

  • West Seattle Wonder Dogs

  • Whole Foods

This list doesn't include the apartment buildings that will be affected. Some of those buildings opened in just the past 1- 6 years and provide housing for hundreds of people.

Reminder: You have until April 28th to comment on Sound Transit's DEIS. By law, your comments have to be entered into the public record, and ST is required to address them in the final draft of the Environmental Statement. But there's a catch! You must address each of your comments to a specific section of the DEIS document. Otherwise your comments won't count.

Here's info on submission. And here's the full document.

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1 Comment

Apr 19, 2022

The sad thing, if we had gone with SkyTran instead of light rail, which can be routed way more flexibly and would have 20x more coverage for the same cost and probably 80x more stops none of this collateral damage would be necessary.

It would have been something that people would give up their cars to ride, vs. light rail that is expected to handle at most 30% of the commuting traffic. It's just a waste and our hills and other geography make light rail even more expensive and harder to route.

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