Lynnwood light rail planning moves forward with release of environmental study

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Public input on Draft Environmental Impact Statement will help shape upcoming decisions on alignment and stations

Sound Transit has released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that will shape upcoming decisions on the alignment of the voter-approved light rail line between Northgate and Lynnwood along the Interstate 5 corridor. Sound Transit worked closely with the Federal Transit Administration, the lead federal agency, in preparation of the document.

The 8.5-mile Lynnwood Link light rail extension is estimated to carry 60,000-70,000 riders each weekday through one of the most congested travel corridors in the region. It is scheduled to open in 2023. Lynnwood Link will connect to the light rail segment currently under construction between Husky Stadium and Northgate scheduled to open in 2021 and bring light rail to Snohomish County for the first time. 

Lynnwood Link is the northernmost of the more than 30 miles of Sound Transit 2 light rail extensions approved by voters in 2008. By 2023 Sound Transit is also scheduled to open an eastward extension to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond's Overlake area, and a southward extension to the Kent/DesMoines area. By 2030 Link is expected to carry more than 80 million riders annually.  

Publication of the DEIS kicks off the public comment period on the routes and station alternatives to inform the Sound Transit Board as it prepares to identify a preferred alternative later this year. The DEIS public comment period closes Sept. 23, 2013. 

Public comment on Lynnwood Link route and station alternatives will play an important role in the Board's identification of a preferred alternative. Sound Transit will host four public meetings in August to discuss the alternatives and receive input from the public. Public comment can also be submitted via email to LynnwoodLinkDEIS@soundtransit.org 

The DEIS outlines 72 alignment combinations with six potential stations serving North Seattle, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood. It examines benefits and impacts associated with running at grade along the I-5 corridor, on elevated trackway, or in a trench section through portions of the alignment. Cost estimates for the project range from $1.2 to $1.7 billion.

The DEIS describes potential impacts and benefits of the light rail route and station alternatives on the surrounding area; where adverse impacts are identified, the DEIS identifies potential mitigation measures to avoid or minimize those impacts. It also includes an assessment of transit-oriented development potential for each of the possible stations, along with analysis of park-and-ride options - both of which could help local residents and regional commuters access light rail service in their communities.

The document is available for review online at www.soundtransit.org/Projects-and-Plans/Lynnwood-Link-Extension. Copies are also available for review at Seattle's Central and

Northgate libraries as well as the Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds and Lynnwood libraries. Hard copies of the Draft EIS can be purchased for $25. 

After a preferred alternative is identified, Sound Transit staff will complete the final environmental impact statement to be published in 2014. The Board could make a final decision on stations and alignment in early 2015.

When service begins, north-end commuters will enjoy fast, frequent and reliable travel to the University of Washington, downtown Seattle, Bellevue, the Overlake area of Redmond, Sea-Tac Airport and Kent/Des Moines. 

Learn more and comment in person
Four public hearings with open houses are scheduled in August 2013. At these meetings project staff will be available to answer questions about the alternatives and discuss information in the Draft EIS.

Open house / public hearings:

Mountlake Terrace
Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013
5:30-8 p.m.
Nile Shrine Golf Center, Ballroom
6601 244th St. S.W., Mountlake Terrace

Seattle
Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013
5:30-8 p.m.
Northgate Community Center, Gymnasium 
10510 5th Ave. N.E., Seattle

Lynnwood
Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013
5:30-8 p.m.
Embassy Suites, Rainier and Baker rooms
20610 44th Ave. W., Lynnwood

Shoreline
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013
5:30-8 p.m.
Shoreline Conference Center, Shoreline Room
18560 1st Ave. N.E., Shoreline