Seattle’s Sound Transit board identified a preferred alternative for the light rail route and station locations for the Ballard Link Extension. The proposed 7.1-mile extension includes nine new stations from downtown Seattle to Ballard, including a new rail-only tunnel through downtown Seattle.
The board weighed community priorities, regional needs and input from agencies and the City of Seattle, analysis of alternatives included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and results of further studies and engagement directed by the board in July 2022. A final decision on the project to be built will not occur until after environmental review is completed and the Final EIS is published.
"Today, we are closer than ever to realizing a connected regional light rail network that will serve transit riders and become the template for our region’s future success," said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Through extensive engagement with community members and collaboration with key partners we have identified a preferred alternative for the Ballard Link Extension that is affordable, accessible and equitable."
The preferred alternative includes stations South and North of the CID and shifts the Midtown Station to the location North of CID. The board also directed that the CID 4th Avenue Shallower option be carried forward for additional environmental review.
The board did not modify the previously identified preferred alternative for the Denny Station located on Westlake in the Draft EIS alternative. However, the board directed staff to also carry forward the Denny Station on Terry (i.e., South Lake Union Mix and Match) alternative as part of ongoing environmental review and to further clarify the technical, financial, schedule, and risk implications of both alternatives.
Stations at Westlake, South Lake Union, Seattle Center, Smith Cove, Interbay, and Ballard were confirmed based on recommendations forwarded from the System Expansion Committee on March 9.
Acknowledging that south downtown would benefit from Union Station activation and Jackson Hub improvements regardless of the location of the CID station, the board directed staff to work with the City of Seattle, King County, and other potential partners to clarify the potential scope and schedule of such improvements as well as funding and partnership opportunities; and to conduct further community engagement. The board specified that the scope of the improvements should extend beyond the CID to the abutting stations and transfer points to improve accessibility.