Action Network Letter by Transit Equity for All, First Hill Improvement Association, Historic South Downtown, Seattle Subway, and The Urbanist: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/buildcidbuildmidtown
Email the Sound Transit Board firstname.lastname@example.org,
WSBLE Community Outreach email@example.com
CC: King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair, Dow Costantine firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: Seattle Mayor, Bruce Harrell email@example.com
CC: Seattle City Council firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: Seattle Equity Team Lead, Nicole Kistler email@example.com
1. Begin with: To Sound Transit Board Members [and Seattle City Council Members],
2. Introduce yourself as a resident, visitor, business owner, or other relation to Seattle and the Chinatown International District
3. Advocate by including 2-4 points about the impacts, concerns, and opportunities in choose 4th Ave over 5th Ave and North/South options. Feel free to use the findings on the home page.
4. Conclude with telling Sound Transit to take 5th Ave. and North/South options off the table in order to "Move Forward on 4th!"
Subject Line: Move Forward on 4th Ave for Seattle's Chinatown International District!
To Sound Transit Board Members,
I am reaching out to comment on the WSBLE project as related to Seattle's Chinatown International District.
Since the 1870s, the resilient and multi-generational neighborhood has endured the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the Jackson Street Regrade through 1910, Executive Order 9066 in 1942, Interstate 5 completed in 1969, the construction of Kingdome through 1976, and finally the International District/Chinatown Station built in 1990 as a bus tunnel and renovated to accommodate the light rail since 2007. In its current location, the C-ID could very well be Seattle’s third and final Chinatown and its preservation is vital to
Seattle’s cultural identity and socioeconomic fortitude.
Based on the information that has been studied by Sound Transit and reported out publicly – and vetted by urban planning professionals and community groups and members alike - it is clear that a 4th Ave S station delivers the greatest benefit to the community. Since its mention as an option nearly five years ago, it remains as the only option on the table that has been fully studied, and then further refined, based on community input. On the other hand, 5th Ave S alternatives have been a nonstarter from the beginning, bisecting closest to the heart of the C-ID affecting the Chinatown Gate, Hing Hay Park, two National Register-listed or eligible buildings, dozens of small local businesses and housing/retirement structures - and the North/South options have only been proposed only two months ago.
If Sound Transit moves forward with North/South alternatives, then promises that were committed to with the 4th Ave alternative regarding transit ease and accessbility will be broken:
1. Instead of building a new station on the 4th Ave S, Sound Tranit will bypass that site to put the station at James Street, near the jail, almost a mile away from other transit connection in and by the C-ID.
2. Sound Transit will drop the Midtown Station, where the connection to hospitals and health clinics would be.
3. Sound Transit will cut back services at the current C-ID Transit Tunnel Station for people coming the south side, where future trains from the south will skip the C-ID.
4. Future riders from the eastside traveling south will have to travel in the opposite direction for the extra stop and spend an additional 10-15 minutes to transfer to travel south.
If moving forward with North/South alternatives, Sound Transit trains from Pierce, South King County, and the airport, Ranier Valley, Beacon Hill will go into a different tunnel starting just north of the SoDo station and end as a new proposed tunnel between the C-ID and Pioneer Square. Northend neighborhoods have not been subjected to inconvenience and divestment, only the south and eastside neighorboods which exacerbates our socioeconomic divides between Seattle's historically marginalized neighborhoods. Those plans ultimate violate principles of equity and racial and social justice justice, including immigrant, refugee, and disabled community members.
We recognize that there are no options that do not harm the C-ID, of which the community-preferred 4th Ave S options still require careful implementation and meaningful mitigation commitments while ensuring equal or expanded connectivity at the existing station. Yet, North/South alternatives as proposed while appealing to a more “hands-off” approach to the physical boundaries of the C-ID, bring new concerns to the historic Pioneer Square to the north, where our current Chinatown was relocated from over a century ago and is still an edge condition towards Japantown today – and to the south is the former historic Immigration and Naturalization Services building, current home of the Inscape Arts and Cultural Center. In some ways, the introduction of North/South options this late in the decision-making process is a reprimand, pitched as a compromise, for the community’s initial rejection of the cheaper but more destructive 5th Ave option.
We do not support North/South options without additional and substantiated
analysis and consistent community engagement, to which Sound Transit has already noted Motion 2022- 57 approved last July that “A delay in confirming Preferred Alternative to be studied… would delay the start, Preliminary Engineering, and subsequent publication of the Final EIS” ultimately driving up the cost of the overall process, making up the difference in preferring 4th over 5th Avenue options in the first place.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Please move forward on 4th Avenue S!