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Sound Transit to study rail link between Ballard and the Eastside

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on September 30th, 2014

According to Seattle Subway, between now and December Sound Transit will study the costs and ridership potential for the Sand Point crossing rail link (see purple line in map below) that would connect Ballard to the Eastside.

Back in July, Seattle Subway advocated for Sound Transit to study a direct rail corridor connecting North Seattle to the Eastside. The Sand Point crossing rail option would link Ballard, Fremont, the U District, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Kirkland, Redmond and the Microsoft Campus.

rail

According to Seattle Subway, this rail link option offers time savings and ridership advantages over crossing a retrofitted 520. Through avoiding the south detour to a new Mountlake bridge required of the 520 option, the Sand Point crossing reportedly has potential to beat vehicle travel times at all hours of the day.

The study of the Sand Point crossing was previously undertaken in 1998, prior to the 520 replacement project. According to the study, the department concluded that a rail link in this corridor was a concept “to be further evaluated” and that service between the two urban centers “would clearly have good ridership potential.”

“This is a win for Seattle and the region. This means taking a serious look at a fast route between very high density residential and work areas—including the UW, Children’s, and Microsoft,” says Jonathan Hopkins, Seattle Subway’s political director.  “These areas already have an overwhelmed transit system and suffer from our region’s most clogged roadways.”

By December, the Sound Transit Board will have to decide which corridors to add to their Long Range Plan, referring to the routes that they would consider building in future as funding becomes available.

According to Seattle Subway, a survey of residents in the Sound Transit area showed that 85% of residents want transit options to expand in our city.

“Building sufficient transit makes it possible for companies to bring more jobs to the region, in addition to the 100,000 jobs that Sound Transit construction has directly created since it was formed,” says Hopkins.

The My Ballard team will keep readers updated with new developments as the study progresses.

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