Let’s get moving on a gondola for West Seattle NOW

Sound Transit Board

Better Transit for West Seattle - West Seattle SkyLink

The bridge closure has highlighted the urgent need for West Seattle to have more public transit options. Light rail is not scheduled to be running until 2032 to the SODO station and won’t connect to other stations directly until 2037. Plus, the project is already 73% over budget.

A gondola could be up and running by 2026 for $2 billion less than light rail. It has the capacity to carry twice the number of riders Sound Transit projects for 2040. It would eliminate the 5-plus years of disruptive construction and the demolition of 100-200 homes and businesses required for light rail. And it would not scar West Seattle with a huge, concrete viaduct – which even tunneling would only partially reduce.

Due to the threat of climate change, King County has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions 50% by 2030. The emission-free gondola would start the reduction this decade. In contrast, light rail will not be available until beyond 2030, and the concrete used in its construction will release significant carbon into the atmosphere.  

In summary, a gondola would provide a congestion-free route on and off the peninsula and cut carbon emissions YEARS SOONER than light rail. And Sound Transit could use the gondola’s $2 billion savings to accelerate expansion of a regional transit system that reaches more destinations and serves more people.  

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We ask Sound Transit to immediately commission gondola experts to conduct a technical engineering study on using a gondola as the West Seattle connection to the Link light rail spine.

We further ask the Sound Transit Board to use the results of the study to compare the gondola to light rail alternatives in reaching a determination on the best way to connect West Seattle to Link.