Seattle’s Sound Transit Board selected an elevated light rail alignment in downtown Redmond that incorporates refinements the board recommended for further study in 2017. The action moves the Downtown Redmond Link Extension project closer to the start of construction in 2019 and service beginning in 2024, only one year after the opening of light rail to Redmond’s Overlake area.
The Downtown Redmond Link Extension extends the East Link project that is now under construction by 3.4 miles. While the Sound Transit Board adopted a previously approved route to downtown Redmond in 2011 as part of the broader East Link project, the downtown extension did not receive funding until regional voters’ November 2016 approval of the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure.
The alignment selected incorporates refinements identified through intensive work with the City of Redmond, the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, King County Metro Transit, and the Washington State Department of Transportation. The features will improve service reliability and safety by separating trains from vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Sound Transit prepared the Downtown Redmond Link Extension State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Addendum for the East Link Project Environmental Impact Statement issued in 2011. Additional information about the proposed refinements was included in the 2018 Downtown Redmond Link Extension SEPA Addendum issued on Aug. 31.
“When Downtown Redmond Link opens in 2024, people will be able to travel congestion-free to destinations across our region, from Redmond, to Bellevue, to Seattle, to Lynnwood, to Federal Way,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “With connections from Link light rail to bus rapid transit and local transit service, people will enjoy greater mobility and more places where they can conveniently live, work, and play.”
A baseline cost estimate for the project is being finalized for presentation to the Sound Transit Board in October. The initial step (RFQ phase) of selecting a contractor for this project has begun and the next phase of this process will take place later this year (RFP Phase).
Sound Transit is simultaneously working to extend light rail north, south, east and west, opening new stations every few years to form a 116-mile regional system by 2041. Starting in 2021 the Northgate project will provide reliable, congestion-free travel to Seattle’s University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate neighborhoods. Northgate Link will be followed in 2023 by the opening of service to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond’s Overlake community. Additional extensions to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Kent/Des Moines, Federal Way, and downtown Redmond are planned in 2024. Further light rail extensions are scheduled to reach West Seattle, Fife, and Tacoma in 2030; Ballard in 2035; Paine Field and Everett in 2036; and South Kirkland and Issaquah in 2041.
The agency is also working on further investments including, but not limited to, expansions of Sounder South service and bus rapid transit service in 2024 along the north, east, and south sides of Lake Washington.