Welcome

What's the latest?

Thank you to all who attended an in-person neighborhood forum or participated online this fall and shared your input on your community priorities related to station planning. Your feedback will be shared with the project team and taken into account as we evaluate alternatives in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). We hope you stay engaged as the project moves forward!

We'll continue to hold neighborhood forums and community workshops along the corridor in 2020. We'll also continue to engage with property owners and other stakeholders as the project progresses. To stay in the loop, sign up to receive email updates.

Project timeline - updated November 2019

Project timeline displaying environmental review and community outreach milestones between summer of 2019 and winter 2021
Project and community outreach milestones during the environmental review phase of the project
Click to enlarge
Passengers at a Link station, waiting to board the train.
Our region and transit system are growing rapidly. It takes a lot of planning and community involvement to make sure we're responding to community needs as we grow.

What are the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions?

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 light rail extensions are part of the regional ST3 package that voters approved funding for in November 2016.

Stay engaged!

Get upcoming project news and public involvement opportunities.


Project overview

Expanding light rail in Seattle

The West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project will provide fast and reliable light rail transit to West Seattle and Ballard and neighborhoods in between, such as SODO, Chinatown-International District, Downtown, South Lake Union, Smith Cove and Interbay.

In November 2016, voters approved the regional ST3 package, which included a representative alignment for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project. The Representative Project was our starting point, which identified the transit mode, project corridor, number of stations and general station locations. It also informed the project cost, schedule and future operating needs.

Fast facts:

West Seattle to downtown (Start of service: 2030)

  • 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 (Start of service: 2035)

  • Adds 7.1 miles of light rail service from downtown Seattle to Ballard's Market Street area, including a new downtown Seattle rail-only tunnel.
  • Includes 9 new stations between Chinatown-International District and NW Market Street.

Timeline

Graphic of the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project timeline.
Project timeline
Photograph of light rail trains entering Othello Station.
With voter approval in 1996, 2008 and 2016, new light rail, bus rapid transit and commuter rail service will come online every few years.

We heard you... “Build it quickly”

Public input provided during the development of ST3 underscored the importance of getting light rail extensions in service faster. In response to community feedback, we are engaging the public early and more frequently to build these projects more quickly. Sound Transit has established aggressive planning and environmental analysis timelines that rely on early and lasting community consensus on a preferred alternative.

Alternatives

Current route and station alternatives

At the conclusion of the alternatives development phase of the project, the Sound Transit Board identified preferred alternatives, preferred alternatives with third-party funding and other alternatives to study in the Draft EIS.

Making connections

Building light rail isn't just about moving people from place to place, it's also about building community. We will work with communities along the project corridor to help inform early station design development. It's our goal to identify opportunities that best align with your neighborhood priorities and connect more people to mass transit.

Environmental review

What's an EIS?

An Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS for short, provides agencies and the public an understanding of environmental consequences and assists in decision-making.

The project is now in environmental review and preliminary design. During this phase, technical experts will collect data out in the field and perform analysis on potential impacts and benefits of the project’s potential route and station locations on the natural, built and social environment and identify potential mitigation measures. In early 2021, this information will be published in a Draft EIS and we will collect public and agency comments. The Final EIS will include updates as needed and responses to public and agency comments. The EIS analysis and public and agency comments will inform the Sound Transit Board’s selection of the project to be built in 2022.

Environmental review

Graphic of the environmental review process. The Environmental Impact Statement kickoff occurred in the fall of twenty-nineteen. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is in development starting this winter and through Fall of twenty-twenty.  Conceptual engineering, design development and station planning will occur beginning this winter and continue through the winter of twenty-twenty one. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be published in the fall of twenty-twenty for public review and comment. The Sound Transit Board confirms or modifies the preferred alternatives in early twenty-twenty one.
Key milestones in the environmental review process. Click to enlarge.