Sound Transit 3: Could it improve commute near JBLM?

Sep 22, 2016, 5:31 AM

DuPont Station is right beside railroad tracks, but no trains stop here.

Buses are the only option for commuters to Tacoma or Seattle, and they get stuck in ever-worsening I-5 traffic by Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“No matter what day of the week it is, there’s traffic,” said DuPont resident Chris Elfrank.

Sound Transit 3 would extend Sounder south line commuter rail service, which now ends in Tacoma and Lakewood, to Tillicum and DuPont.

The agency said it would serve military families and a community that could see 75 percent growth in the coming decades.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Elfrank said.

A DuPont extension would cost around $300 million and would serve between 1,000 and 1,500 riders each day by 2040. Because that number is so small, the cost of the extension for every new rider brought to transit, $171, is the highest in all of ST3.

Compare that with the $33 per new rider for a second Downtown Seattle light rail tunnel that could cost billions, but far more people would use.

“It strikes me as a bizarre disregard for costs,” said Mark Ahlers, of the group Smarter Transit, which opposes ST3.

“It’s not a census-based or data-based rail map, it’s a political alignment,” said Troy Serad, of Smarter Transit.

KIRO 7’s Graham Johnson asked Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff if the project map was designed to get votes.

“No,” Rogoff answered. “I think it’s designed to create a regional mobility plan to actually give people the opportunity to go from one corner of the region to another.”

ST3 includes light rail expansions in less-dense areas, like south Kirkland, where trains would run to a park and ride, and Northeast 130th Street in Seattle, where the station would go in a neighborhood of what’s now single family homes.

An agency analysis last spring showed a 130th Street station would cost $79-85 million and serve fewer than a thousand riders a day.

Sound Transit passed over a 130th Street station in its draft plan, but added it to the final plan in June after intense lobbying led by city council member Debora Juarez.

Rogoff said the station was added to the final plan because Juarez, “in combination with a great many people in the community, called our attention to the fact that the zoning was going to change.”

City planners tell KIRO 7 there’s the potential for rezoning near 130th Street to create a dense urban village, but no changes would be made without an extensive public process.

The already-dense Seattle neighborhood of Belltown will be passed over for light rail.

“It literally goes around the neighborhood,” Serad said of the proposed alignment.

Serad said other parts of Seattle don’t have enough people to justify light rail.

“The city is largely pocketed with single family homes and light population densities so there is not some extraordinary need for gold-plated subway lines, no, not at all,” Serad said.

Local News

(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Theresa Robinson, KIRO 7 News

Hundreds participate in Seattle Big Climb to raise money for blood cancer research

1,300 people climbed up Columbia Center’s 69 stories on Sunday to raise money for cancer research.
1 day ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Lauren Donovan, KIRO 7 News

‘They don’t care about our safety:’ Kentucky Amazon workers fly to Seattle to protest

Kentucky Amazon workers determined to unionize flew into Seattle for a protest outside The Spheres in South Lake Union.
1 day ago
Lakewood Police...
Lisa Brooks

Suspect arrested after infant grazed by bullet in Lakewood

An infant was grazed by a bullet and hit by broken glass after a shooting Friday night in Lakewood. There is no information on a suspect.
1 day ago
Dan Rocha...
Gwen Baumgardner, KIRO 7 News

Community honors fallen Everett police officer Dan Rocha one year after line-of-duty death

Online tributes continue to pour in on the one-year anniversary after the death of Everett police officer Dan Rocha.
2 days ago
Tacoma homicide...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Homicide detectives investigating after man found dead in Tacoma

Homicide detectives are investigating after a man's body was found dead Saturday morning along South Tacoma Way.
2 days ago
March Madness...
Nate Connors

Weekend Traffic Report: NCAA March Madness comes to town

NCAA Women's Basketball is heading to Climate Pledge Arena Friday through Monday. Friday's game starts at 4:30 p.m.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Sound Transit 3: Could it improve commute near JBLM?