West Seattle/Ballard project updates
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The West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions will provide fast, reliable light rail connections to dense residential and job centers throughout the region. In addition, a new downtown Seattle light rail tunnel will provide capacity for the entire regional system to operate efficiently. These two separate Link extensions are part of the regional transit system expansion approved by voters in November 2016.
- West Seattle to downtown
- Adds 4.7 miles of light rail service from downtown Seattle to West Seattle's Alaska Junction neighborhood.
- Includes 4 new stations between SODO and Alaska Junction.
- Ballard to downtown
- Adds 7.1 miles of light rail service from downtown Seattle to Ballard, including a new downtown Seattle rail-only tunnel.
- Includes 9 new stations between Chinatown-International District and Market Street.
Current project status
The Sound Transit Board has identified preferred alternatives and other alternatives to study in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft EIS is the next step in the environmental review process, where we will evaluate potential impacts and benefits of the alternatives on the natural, built and social environment, and identify potential mitigation measures. The Draft EIS is anticipated to be released in mid 2021 for public review and comment.
COVID-19 has significantly impacted Sound Transit’s long-term funding projections, causing uncertainties about project delivery dates. In 2021, the Sound Transit Board will continue a realignment process to determine the degree to which plans and timeliness for voter-approved projects need to change.
In recent months, COVID-19 has also impacted Sound Transit’s work with partners to advance WSBLE environmental review work. Until the Board makes realignment decisions in 2021, WSBLE project materials will continue to reflect the original project schedule with the exception of incorporating the recent impacts to the environmental review timeline. These changes include moving the completion dates from 2030 to 2031 for West Seattle and from 2035 to 2036 for Ballard. Schedules are based on limited design and engineering at this phase of project development. Opening dates are subject to further changes under the realignment process.
As we all adapt to the challenges caused by COVID-19, we are finding creative ways to engage with you moving forward that support the recommendations to socially distance to enhance public safety. This includes shifting in-person events, such as community briefings and workshops, to virtual meetings and providing more opportunities for you to engage with us digitally. Members of the public will have an opportunity to review and provide formal comments on the Draft EIS when it is published.
Have questions or comments before then? We are always here to help. You can contact the project team at email@example.com. We encourage you to sign up for project email updates for the latest project news.
What can I expect as a project neighbor?
- If you're a resident, business or property owner near a potential WSBLE route or station alternative, signing up for email updates is the first step to ensuring you are up to speed on the project. If you have any questions or you would like to set up a meeting to learn more, contact the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Draft EIS will evaluate potential impacts to residences and businesses. You will have opportunities to comment on those findings after we publish the Draft EIS in fall 2021. The Sound Transit Board carefully considers the feedback we receive through this formal comment process, and we will respond to all comments.
- After the Draft EIS public review and comment period, the Board will modify or confirm the "preferred alternative" for the Final EIS, expected to occur in 2023. A preferred alternative is a statement of where the agency is leaning based on information available at the time. It is not a final decision.
- The Sound Transit Board will make a final decision on routes, stations and the project to be built after we issue the Final EIS in 2023.