connecting West Seattle with Seattle's
Photo Doppelmayr USA
Imagine stepping into a cabin in the Alaska Junction (or Avalon or Delridge), taking a seat, then gliding over tree tops and traffic, arriving at the SODO Link Light Rail station in just 14 minutes.
From SODO, you are 26 minutes on Link from SeaTac Airport or you can continue your gondola ride for 3 minutes to the International District Transit Hub.
At the International District, you can board Link for a quick ride to downtown stations, a 13 minute ride to University of Washington, or a 20 minute ride to Bellevue. Or you can catch a bus, train, or street car.
SkyLink is an urban gondola we propose as an alternative to the expensive, intrusive light rail system that Sound Transit is planning for West Seattle. Once approved, it can be built in just two years, at a cost that is 1/10th of Sound Transit's plan.
As West Seattle has grown, its traffic congestion has increased, and the West Seattle high bridge failure has only made the problem worse. Sound Transit’s Link light rail connection from West Seattle to its regional network was supposed to provide relief by 2030. But with COVID-related revenue drops, and construction and real estate cost increases, Sound Transit says the West Seattle Link may not open until 2031 or later.
Residents are increasingly concerned about Link’s proposed designs. The elevated tracks, big stations, and the years of construction will disrupt their lives, displace up to 200 people, close businesses, and adversely impact their neighborhoods. Tunneling has been suggested to mitigate some impacts, but that will require extra funding and more construction, and further delay completion.
Mayor Durkan said that West Seattle needs mobility redundancy. We agree. We think connecting with Sound Transit’s regional rail network is the most urgent part of West Seattle’s mobility plan now. Rather than wait more than a decade to connect with light rail, we are asking Sound Transit to use an urban gondola instead. It can carry as many riders, and be built in two years with far less disruption and displacement to our neighborhoods.
We are a group of residents who have seen and studied efficient transportation systems worldwide.
We think an urban gondola is a great way to connect hilly West Seattle over the surrounding waterways to Sound Transit’s main Link line.