Project purpose & need

The purpose of the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions is to expand the Link light rail system from downtown Seattle to West Seattle and Ballard and to increase capacity and connectivity for regional connections in order to:

  • Provide high-quality rapid, reliable, and efficient peak and off-peak light rail transit service to communities in the West Seattle and Ballard corridors.
  • Improve regional mobility by increasing connectivity and capacity through downtown Seattle to meet projected transit demand.
  • Connect regional growth centers as described in adopted regional and local land use, transportation, and economic development plans and Sound Transit's Regional Transit Long-Range Plan.
  • Implement a system that is consistent with the ST3 Plan that established transit mode, corridor, and station locations and that is technically feasible and financially sustainable to build, operate, and maintain.
  • Expand mobility for the corridor and region's residents, which include transit-dependent, low income, and minority populations.
  • Encourage equitable and sustainable urban growth in station areas through support of transit-oriented development, station access, and modal integration in a manner that is consistent with local land use plans.
  • Preserve and promote a healthy environment by minimizing adverse impacts on the natural and built environments through sustainable practices.

The project is needed because:

  • Increasing roadway congestion on transit routes between downtown Seattle, West Seattle, and Ballard will continue to degrade transit performance and reliability.
  • Regional population and employment growth will increase operational demands on the downtown Seattle transit tunnel.
  • Regional and local plans call for High Capacity Transit (HCT) in the corridor consistent with PSRC's VISION 2040 and Sound Transit's Regional Transit Long-Range Plan.
  • The region's citizens and communities, including travel-disadvantaged residents and low income and minority populations, need long-term regional mobility and multimodal connectivity.
  • Regional and local plans call for increased residential and employment density at and around HCT stations, and increased options for multimodal access.
  • Environmental and sustainability goals of the state and region include reducing total vehicles miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions.

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