Mayor Durkan signs agreement for ‘expedited’ Ballard light rail

Ballard’s light rail project initially was slated for completion in 2038. But under a new Sound Transit partnership agreement signed by Mayor Durkan today — which we previewed last week — the target date moves to 2035.

The agreement aims to identify a preferred alternative in the next 18 months as well as expedite the Environmental Impact Statement. Mayor Durkan is also joining the Sound Transit Board of Directors in an effort to improve coordination.

“We need better transit as quickly as possible. By expediting light rail to West Seattle and Ballard, we will be transforming our city for decades to come,” Durkan said in a news release. “As both mayor and a member of the Sound Transit Board, I will work to cut red tape to provide faster, more reliable transit service to neighborhoods sooner.”

West Seattle’s target date moves up to 2030 instead of 2033.

Of course, these are just targets, and 17 years is a long ways away. The Ballard project is particularly complex, relying on two new tunnels — one downtown and another in South Lake Union/Lower Queen Anne — and a movable bridge over Salmon Bay.

5 comments on “Mayor Durkan signs agreement for ‘expedited’ Ballard light rail”

  1. > See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

  2. Wow a savings of three years! Break out the Champagne!

    Probably complete it by 2025 (or sooner) by simply making a spur off of the current University District line. Run it on Pacific, 34th, and 36th to Leary. It would give Wallingford and Fremont access to Light Rail and speed up the process by decades.

    Or run it as a subway along 45th to Market. It’s a long bore but it still would be faster than trying to build an additional bridge at Fisherman’s Terminal.

  3. This process should be put to a vote. I’m not convinced that tunnels and moveable bridges are the best option. So convince me and then let me vote, rather than shove a crazy expensive scheme down our throats.

  4. A time savings of 3 years is laughable. But I’m not actually laughing; it’s pathetic and absolutely not acceptable. With the exponential growth in Ballard, Ballard deserves far better. Publicizing Durkan’s plan on this is like promoting a 3 cent savings on a 6 dollar grocery item. Give us a break! If this is the best the city is willing to do, they should be ashamed to publicize it. In addition, the plan is ridiculously cumbersome – the line should be run west from the UDistrict, something similar to the 44 bus.

  5. It took 6 years to build a railroad across the ENTIRE UNITED STATES in the 1860’s.

    The time schedule for this as well as most modern projects is astounding.

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