Monorail to displace, affect local businesses; question of which ones still up in the air

Seattle Monorail Project planners released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement last week, and it lists for the first time businesses and private properties that might have to make way for the proposed 14-mile route from Ballard to West Seattle.

No fatal flaws were identified that could derail any of the many alternatives for track alignments or station locations, said Ross Macfarlane, the monorail staffer in charge of compiling the Draft EIS.

"It's going to show a lot of impacts, but those impacts are relatively small in my mind compared to other projects of this size," he said at a monorail board meeting announcing the Draft EIS release.

"The thing to stress is all these [business displacements] are potential locations," he said in a later telephone interview. "We're talking about options."

In some cases, those options are worst-case scenarios, according to Monorail Project spokesman Paul Bergman. Still, a number of businesses and residences stand to get hit and hit hard by monorail construction around the Interbay station near 15th Avenue West and West Dravus Street.

In one proposed alignment, the monorail would travel south from the Lake Washington Ship Canal, cross over Fishermen's Terminal and shoot down 16th Avenue West before veering over to 15th Avenue West south of Dravus.

That particular alignment calls for a station to be built on the eastern half of the parking lot at the newly remodeled QFC on Dravus. One scenario in the Draft EIS includes getting rid of the grocery entirely, "depending on design and construction issues."

A second proposed alignment would see the monorail head south from the Ship Canal along 15th Avenue West before taking the exit that leads to the turn on West Dravus.

In that case, according to the Draft EIS, the 7-Eleven, Chuck Dagg's State Farm Insurance office, the Academy Press and J&L Houston Inc., two homes and a fourplex would be whacked to make way for the monorail.

Macfarlane said he was confident everyone affected by potential route alignment and station location had been contacted, but Dagg disputes that.

"There's been no official meeting of Interbay business affected by the monorail," he said. "It was total news to me that there was a station on 15th," he said, adding that he did go to some of the community meetings about the monorail project.

"I personally don't have a good feel-ing about what's going down," Dagg said. "It's sort of like, 'What's going on?'"

Bill Low, director of real estate for QFC, said Monorail Project staffers informed him that a station might end up in the parking lot at the Interbay store. "We had had some conversations with them and other real-estate folks," he said.

"We're hopeful we can work with the monorail folks in a way that can ... minimize impacts to our store," he said. Asked about the possibility of the grocery being demolished, Low said: "We don't want to lose that location there." He also said the loss of the grocery would be of great concern to the Queen Anne and Magnolia residents who shop there.

The Seattle Monorail Project has the right of eminent domain, meaning the agency can force the sale of property as long as fair-market prices are paid. But Low is hopeful that the grocery won't have to be torn down to make way for the monorail. "I think a lot can be done between now and then," he said.

Also on the Draft EIS list of properties that potentially would need to be acquired in the area are: the Interbay Animal Clinic, Blackstock Lumber, Magnolia Self Storage, Northwest Center and the Lee Chee Garden Restaurant.

The final call on alignments and station locations is still months away, but Dagg is nonetheless nervous about his future. "The whole thing to me is kind of scary," he said. "I really don't think the people of Queen Anne and Magnolia understand the impacts."

Staff reporter Russ Zabel can be reached at

[[In-content Ad]]