Sound Transit seeks public comment on East Link light rail options

Publish Date

Sound Transit and its planning partners have published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the voter-approved East Link light rail line connecting downtown Seattle and the Eastside across Interstate 90. Sound Transit has opened a 75-day public comment period on the Draft EIS, including the route alternatives examined in the study to inform the Board as it prepares to identify a preferred alternative next year.

East Link is Sound Transit’s voter-approved project to expand light rail from downtown Seattle to the Eastside with stations serving Mercer Island, south Bellevue, downtown Bellevue, the Bel-Red corridor, and Redmond’s Overlake area.

East Link will connect to the Link light rail system between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport, currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2009. Sound Transit is also conducting environmental review on a future extension to downtown Redmond. The Draft EIS describes the potential impacts and benefits of the light rail route, station and maintenance facility alternatives on the surrounding area. The project also supports continued environmental review and preliminary engineering work on a future extension to downtown Redmond.

The East Link line will serve up to 48,000 daily riders with fast, frequent and reliable light rail service through one of the region’s most congested travel corridors. East Link is scheduled to open to downtown Bellevue in 2020 with service to Overlake by 2021.

The DEIS outlines 19 route alternatives with up to 13 stations. The study examines benefits and impacts associated with running the line on surface streets, on an elevated trackway or in a tunnel through portions of the alignment.

The Sound Transit Board is expected to identify a preferred alternative next spring and staff would then complete the final environmental impact statement to be published in 2010. A final decision on the project would be made in 2010 after the Final EIS is published.

Public comment on the current alternatives will play an important factor in the Board’s identification of a preferred alternative. Sound Transit will host five public meetings to discuss the alternatives and receive input from the public. The Draft EIS is available for public review in a variety of formats and locations, including online.

The public comment period runs from Dec. 12 – Feb. 25, 2009.

Learn More and Comment in Person

Five public hearings with open houses are scheduled for late January 2009. At these meetings project staff will be available to answer questions about the alternatives and discuss the information in the Draft EIS.

Public Hearings:

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009
Open House 4-7 p.m.
Public Hearing starts at 5 p.m.
Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center
16600 NE 80th Street, Redmond, WA


Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009
Open House 4-7 p.m.
Public Hearing starts at 5 p.m.
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School
2401 S Irving St, Seattle, WA


Mercer Island
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009
Open House 4-7 p.m.
Public Hearing starts at 5 p.m.
Community Center at Mercer View
8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island, WA

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009
Open House: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Public Hearing starts at: 6:00 p.m.
Bellevue High School
10416 Wolverine Way, Bellevue, WA


Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009
Open House: 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Public Hearing starts at: 4:30 p.m.
Bellevue City Hall
450 110th Ave. NE, Bellevue, WA


The Draft EIS Executive Summary and a CD of the complete Draft EIS are available for free. A printed copy of the Draft EIS, drawings and technical reports are available for a fee ($25 each for the Draft EIS or Drawing and Maps, and $15 for each technical report). Contact Elma Borbe at 206-398-5445 or to request copies of any environmental documents.

A printed version of the Draft EIS is also available for viewing at the following libraries:

  • Bellevue Regional Library
  • Mercer Island Public Library
  • Newport Way Library
  • Library Connection at Crossroads
  • Redmond Regional Library
  • Seattle’s International District /Chinatown Branch Library
  • Seattle’s Douglas Truth Branch Library
  • Seattle’s Central Library

The full Draft EIS can also be found online>>>