Sound Transit Board identifies preferred route for central Link light rail

Publish Date

Culminating an extensive public outreach effort that included numerous meetings, open houses, hearings and considered hundreds of public comments, the Sound Transit Board today identified the preferred route and stations for the 24-mile central Link light rail system that will connect the cities of Seattle, Tukwila and SeaTac.  Known in federal terms as identifying the "locally preferred alternative"(LPA), the Sound Transit Board's action is the next step in developing a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the central Link light rail line.  After the release of the final EIS this fall, the Board will make their final decision on the route. 

The Board's identified LPA was distilled from nearly 40 potential routes that were initially considered, many of them suggested by local communities and citizens.  A separate analysis of routes and stations has been conducted for Tacoma's 1.6 mile Link light rail system.

Consistent with the voter-approved Sound Move transit system plan, the Board recommended waiting to extend the light rail line to the Roosevelt and Northgate neighborhoods until Phase II funding is approved.  The identified LPA route and stations focuses on the central Link light rail system from south SeaTac to the University District, divided into five segments north to south:

  • University District to the downtown Seattle transit tunnel's Westlake Station:  Tunnel under 15th Ave. N.E., Portage Bay, Capitol Hill and First Hill into the downtown Seattle transit tunnel.  Stations located at N.E. 45th St., Pacific St., E. John St. and First Hill at E. Madison St.
  • Westlake station in downtown Seattle transit tunnel to S. McClellan St.:  Existing downtown Seattle transit tunnel; street level on the existing busway located in 5th Ave. S.; tunnel under Beacon Hill.  Stations include downtown Seattle transit tunnel stations at Westlake, University St., Pioneer Square and International District, stations located at S. Royal Brougham Way, S. Lander St., S. McClellan St. and if funding is available also building a Beacon Hill station.
  • S. McClellan Street to Boeing Access Road (Rainier Valley):  Street level on Martin Luther King Jr. Way S.; elevated across I-5 to Boeing Access Road.  Stations at S. Edmunds St., S. Othello St, S. Graham St., S. Henderson St., and Boeing Access Road.
  • Tukwila:  Elevated from Boeing Access Road; street level on Pacific Highway S. (SR99/Tukwila International Blvd.); elevated north of State Route 518.  Stations at S. 144th St. and S. 154th St.
  • SeaTac:  Elevated from S. 154th Street; west of Washington Memorial Park; north of Sea-Tac International airport terminal; 28th/24th Ave S. to S. 200th Street.  Stations at proposed Port of Seattle North End Airport Terminal and S. 200th St.

Sound Transit is on track to implement a three-county region-wide transit system plan known as Sound Move.  Approved by voters in 1996, Sound Move will be a seamless blend of three regional transportation systems.  Along with Link light rail, Sound Move includes Sounder commuter rail, running 81 miles from Everett to Tacoma/Lakewood and Regional Express, a bus transit system that will connect the major metropolitan areas of Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma and Seattle with numerous cities and communities with 17 new, fast, limited-stop bus routes and numerous improvements to transit centers, park-and-ride lots and HOV lanes throughout the region.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.