What’s the latest?
- Sound Transit is currently studying multiple light rail routes and station locations (called alternatives) for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions (WSBLE) project.
- You will have an important opportunity to provide your input during a public comment period in early 2022 when we expect to publish the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS).
- To help you prepare for the publication of the document, you can:
- Learn about the environmental review process and the topics we are studying in the Draft EIS.
- Learn about the alternatives we are studying in the Draft EIS.
- Learn about each station location and review maps showing potential station entrances and connections for people walking, rolling, biking and taking transit.
- Learn about how to comment on the Draft EIS and share your feedback.
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.
Learn about the WSBLE project in this video.
What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?
The EIS for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project will help Sound Transit, as well as partner agencies and the public, better understand the potential impacts and benefits of the project. It will describe the multiple alternatives being considered, and how each alternative might affect the natural and built environment and transportation systems.
We need your input later this year
You will have the opportunity to review and comment on the Draft EIS which is expected to be published in early 2022. Your comments on the Draft EIS will be important. Based on the Draft EIS analysis and your comments, the Sound Transit Board will confirm or modify the preferred alternative. The preferred alternative, along with the other Draft EIS alternatives, will then be included in the Final EIS, which is expected to be published in 2023. After publication of the Final EIS, the Sound Transit Board will select the project to be built.
We will share information about the comment period in our email updates. Sign up!
2016 Voter Approval
- Alternatives development
- ST Board identifies preferred alternative
- Draft Environmental Impact Statement (We are here)
- Final Environmental Impact Statement
- Preliminary design
- ST Board selects projects to be built
- Federal Record of Decision
2023-2026 (West Seattle Extension) and 2023-2027 (Ballard Extension) Design
- Final design
- Procure construction contracts
- Obtain land use and construction permits
- Property acquisition / relocation
- Advanced utility relocation / early work contracts
2026-2032 (West Seattle Extension) and 2026-2037/2039* (Ballard Extension) Construction
- Ongoing conversations with property owners
- Construction updates and mitigation
- Safety Education
- Testing and preparations
2032 (West Seattle Extension) and 2037-2039* (Ballard Extension) Start of Service
*Ballard Link Extension: Sound Transit is managing the Ballard Link Extension toward a 2037 delivery target by working to close a project affordability gap most recently forecasted at approximately $1.8 billion. The agency is seeking to reduce or eliminate this gap by increasing funding and support at the local, state and national levels, and by reducing costs as the Sound Transit Board considers and adopts project alignment options with input from partners and the public. If it is not possible to close the gap, current financial assumptions reflect Sound Transit’s ability to affordably open service to Smith Cove in 2037, and to Ballard in 2039. Learn more about realignment.
Draft EIS sections
The Draft EIS will describe the multiple alternatives being considered, and how each alternative might affect the natural and built environment and transportation systems, both during construction and final operation of the light rail line. Below are examples of what the analysis for each topic will include:
Community Comment Guide
Want to learn more about how to comment on the Draft EIS?
Check out one of our neighborhood specific guides with details on how to share your thoughts on the alternatives being studied below:
Equity and inclusion during environmental review
Sound Transit is committed to inclusively engaging communities along the project corridors, striving to engage communities of color and low-income populations throughout the public involvement process. During the environmental review process, Sound Transit will conduct an environmental justice analysis, which will be included in the Draft EIS. The analysis will:
- Describe the demographics of the project corridor.
- Evaluate whether the project would disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities.
- Consider potential project benefits such as improved access to opportunity.
- Document our efforts to involve communities of color and low-income populations in the planning process and what we hear from outreach efforts.
Along with the Draft EIS environmental justice analysis, Sound Transit and the City of Seattle have partnered to apply a Racial Equity Toolkit (RET) for each planning phase, including the previous alternatives development phase and the current environmental review phase. The RET offers a framework and process for centering people of color, low-income and other vulnerable populations in project development and project outcomes. The goals of the environmental justice analysis and its focus on evaluating how a project impacts communities of color and low-income populations are in alignment with and form the basis of the RET report. The report documents potential project impacts and benefits and is informed by community feedback.
Choose a segment to view maps and descriptions for the DEIS alternatives.
Draft EIS alternatives - Interbay/Ballard segment
Draft EIS alternatives - Downtown segment
Draft EIS alternatives - Chinatown-International District segment
Draft EIS alternatives - SODO segment
Draft EIS alternatives - West Seattle segment
We are studying multiple station alternatives in each neighborhood. Below is a snapshot of some initial concepts around neighborhood station access and connectivity, which is based on our community engagement and agency feedback from late 2019. We will share more information about the stations, including initial station planning concepts, when the Draft EIS is published. In the meantime, click on a station below to view maps showing potential station entrances and connections for people walking, rolling, biking and taking transit.
What we have heard from the community
Sound Transit held a series of neighborhood forums as well as an online open house in fall 2019 and asked for input on the following:
- What do you value about your community today?
- How could a light rail station best serve your community?
- What are key destinations in your community? Where do your daily activities take you?
- How do you move around the area to these destinations?
- In the future, when you get to the station, what is included at and near the station?
Check out the summary (24MB PDF) for more details on what we heard. After the Sound Transit Board provides feedback on the Draft EIS in 2021, we anticipate reaching out again to communities to share and engage around our initial station concepts.
Learn about WSBLE project station planning in this video.
Choose a station to view maps, including potential station entrances and connections for people biking and taking transit.
In order to build the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project, Sound Transit will need to purchase and use private property. In some cases, this means moving people from their homes or businesses.
Sound Transit’s property acquisition process treats affected property owners and tenants fairly, provides appropriate Just Compensation and relocation benefits, minimizes hardships and provides communications with all parties involved. We realize that the possibility of being relocated from your home or business may be difficult and we are here to answer questions and provide support throughout the process.
Sound Transit has specific policies and procedures that describe how the agency will work with property owners and tenants throughout the acquisition process. We follow federal, state and local laws in our property acquisition process, more specifically, the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, as well as state law.
Frequently Asked Questions
Property acquisition timeline
Mid-2021 Pre-Draft EIS release
- Sound Transit contacts potentially affected property owners
Early 2022 Draft EIS release
- Draft EIS available for public review and comments
- Sound Transit Board confirms or modifies the preferred alternative following close of comment period
2023 Final EIS release
- Sound Transit Board selects project to be built
2023-2027 Final Design
- Sound Transit identifies property rights needed to construct, operate and maintain the system
- Sound Transit Board authorizes property purchases
- Sound Transit will prepare an appraisal to determine fair market value of property needed for the project
- Sound Transit will provide relocation assistance to people and businesses displaced by the project, including referrals to comparable properties and payment of moving costs
- Sound Transit staff are available to support property owners and tenants through this process
With final decisions still years away, we know this period of uncertainty can be stressful and are here to help. If you have additional questions or would like to set up a virtual meeting, contact our outreach team at email@example.com or 206-903-7229.
Need more info?
For more information about property acquisition and relocation, please refer to the following resources:
Property Owner Meeting Scheduling
Are you a potentially affected property owner or tenant?
Learn more about what to expect as the project progresses and schedule a briefing with our team.
We are currently studying multiple light rail routes and station locations (called alternatives). The public will have an important opportunity to provide input during a public comment period in early 2022 when we expect to publish the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and offer a variety of ways to engage, including through public meetings, by phone, mail, email and online.
In addition, Sound Transit is forming Community Advisory Groups (CAGs) to provide another forum to share information and to collaborate with community members around issues and tradeoffs as we work to deliver a project on time and within scope. The feedback from these groups taken together with all the comments received from the public comment period will be provided to the Sound Transit Board before it confirms or modifies the preferred alternative for the WSBLE project early next year.
We want to provide you with useful and meaningful engagement materials to help prepare you to comment on the Draft EIS in early 2022. While we have some opportunities to stay engaged, you may have ideas for us on how best to engage you now. Feel free to share your engagement ideas with the project team below.
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Help us share this information
- Share this site with your friends, neighbors and community.
Have more questions? Want to engage further?
- Request a virtual briefing for your group.
- Email us firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the project line to speak with an Outreach Specialist (206) 903-7229.
Ideas for how we can best engage you now?
Note: If you have a question about our project, please email us.