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Sound Transit Light Rail Expansion

Ballard Link Extension

Why are we involved?

Historic South Downtown supports transit as a valuable part of an equitable, sustainable future. We believe that well-planned, well-designed transit can benefit our existing neighborhoods, residents, and businesses.

Ballard Link Extension is

A planned light rail expansion project that would connect SODO to Ballard with a new tunnel running through downtown, South Lake Union, Seattle Center, lower Queen Anne, Interbay, and Ballard. It may have 9 stations.

This page is a work in progress. Links are being added regularly. Looking for the page that used to be here? See our archived page.

Sound Transit 3: A Plan to Keep our Region Moving

When voters passed the Sound Transit 3 package in 2016, it included 62 miles of light rail between Everett and Tacoma, Ballard, West Seattle, Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah. It also included Sounder commuter rail expansion, with parking and access improvements, Bus Rapid Transit service, bus reliability projects, and planning studies. 

The Sound Transit 2 package included East Link light rail from the Eastside, with new stations at Judkins Park and running into the current downtown Seattle transit tunnel at the existing International District/Chinatown station.

For South Downtown, ST 3 may include changes at the Sounder station, and the Ballard Link Extension project would add one light rail station (now perhaps two just at the edges of South Downtown). This page focuses on Ballard Link Extension only.

Want to read about other transportation project planning? Check out our library of planning documents.

Timeline for the Ballard Link Extension Project

2015
2016
2018
2019-2021

Sound Transit 3 is put forward to voters with a package of transit expansion projects.

Voters approve ST3, the region's largest transit expansion project in history.

Project scoping begins, outlining possible alternative alignments for the West Seattle and Ballard Link extension projects, as well as potential station locations. At this point, the two expansion projects are linked into one for the environmental processes.

Sound Transit and Federal Transit Administration oversee contractors preparing documents for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) processes required for the project to proceed.

These processes require research to determine how a project that the federal government will fund and permit will affect natural and cultural resources -- agencies must seek to minimize or compensate for harms caused by the project.

January - April 2022
July 28, 2022

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for West Seattle Ballard Link Extension (WSBLE) combined projects published 1/28/22 for a 90-day public comment period. Read the comment summary.

Sound Transit Board votes for a further study period on CID segment station locations. To continue the process, the Board identified a "preferred alternative" for the West Seattle line, and split the two extensions apart again. This split is finalized in July 2023.

Further study period for the Ballard Link Extension project. In south downtown, this included 4 public workshops for the CID segment. In December 2022 and January 2023, a new set of station options were proposed. The "North of CID" and "South of CID" stations would replace the planned CID and Midtown stations. Midtown stakeholders were not part of the CID segment discussions, as the Midtown station was in the Downtown segment in the DEIS.

October 2022 - January 2023

Sound Transit Board identifies the "Station North of CID" and "Station South of CID" as the preferred alternatives in South Downtown, as well as directing further study of the station option "CID 4th Avenue Shallower."

March 23, 2023
January 2024

As of the publication date for this timeline, we are waiting for a firmer timeline for the new draft environmental impact statement process for the now solo Ballard Link Extension. Public input is being sought through workshops, beginning November 15, 2023 and planned to run through 2024. The Ballard Link Extension is currently slated to open for service in 2039.

November 15,2023

Sound Transit open house on Ballard Link Extension and the transit hub around Union Station -- called Jackson Hub or South Downtown Hub.

Briefing Book in English & Traditional Chinese.

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