What is the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Scoping?

Sound Transit is required by federal and state law to develop an EIS. The purpose of the EIS is to evaluate the potential benefits and harmful impacts of building the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions. Decision-makers—specifically the Sound Transit Board—will use the EIS to inform their decisions about which design to build.  The EIS will also identify mitigation, or ways to avoid or minimize harmful impacts on the environment, including impacts on neighborhoods, people, and businesses.

Scoping is an early step in the process. Scoping is when Sound Transit educates community members about the West Seattle/Ballard Link project design ideas and asks for your input. They also want input on the topics they should study in the EIS. Sound Transit will use this input when they write the EIS. You can learn more about project scoping here: https://wsblink.participate.online/scoping.

How Can I participate in scoping?

The in-person Scoping Open Houses are over, but an online open house continues. Here is the link to the Sound Transit online open house: https://wsblink.participate.online/.

Scoping comments must be submitted to Sound Transit by April 2, 2019. You can send in your comments by:

  • Comment online: wsblink.participate.online
  • Email: wsbscopingcomments@soundtransit.org
  • Leave a voicemail: 833-972-2666
  • Mail Sound Transit a letter: West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions, c/o Lauren Swift, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

How should I participate in the scoping process?

Scoping is one of many opportunities to share your input about the West Seattle/Ballard Link project. That said, these open houses are important because Sound Transit is using the input from scoping to inform big decisions about which alternatives to study in the EIS. So, it is important to share your interests and concerns about the alternatives under consideration.

Many Historic South Downtown (HSD) stakeholders have started learning about West Seattle/Ballard Link project and the alternatives under consideration. They have thought to how these alternatives could benefit or impact the Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District neighborhoods. To help you think about your own input on these alternatives, we thought it would be helpful to share some common themes we have heard from HSD stakeholders. If any of these themes resonate with you, feel free to share them verbally with Sound Transit staff or technical consultants at the Scoping Open House and on your comment form.

  • The number one point we want to make to Sound Transit is to keep options available to study. Right now there are two design options for a station location on 5th Ave and two on 4th Ave. We are asking Sound Transit to study all of these to learn more about how much things cost and the environmental impacts of each choice. We are so early in the process of design that we need to study all these options to make the best choice for the neighborhood and the system as a whole.
  • Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District are home to many vulnerable people, including families with low-incomes, English Language Learners, seniors, and homeless people. It is important that the EIS identify these populations and evaluate how the project alternatives could benefit or impact them.
  • Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District are home to many small and minority-owned businesses that are at risk of displacement.  It is important that the EIS analyze the impact of the project alternatives on small and minority-owned businesses. 
  • Construction of this project will have a big impact on Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District.  I am concerned about the impacts of construction on transit and transportation, parking, noise, vibration, access to public and health services, and public safety. It is important that the EIS study construction impacts and how to avoid or minimize them.
  • There is not yet enough detail to compare the impacts of construction methods for the tunnel and station under Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District. Please study multiple construction methods in the EIS.
  • Pioneer Square and/or Chinatown-International District house precious historic and cultural resources. It is important to me that this project preserves and does not harm these resources.
  • Creating and enhancing a vibrant pedestrian environment, public gathering spaces, and transportation connectivity between Union Station and King Street Station are stated priorities for Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District. It is important that this project address this priority, including reactivating Union Station as a transit station.
  • Transit-oriented development, including opportunities in and around Union Station are another stated priority for Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District. It is important to me that this project enhance, rather than preclude opportunities for transit-oriented development in Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District.