Sound Transit to conduct further studies and community engagement for Ballard light rail plans

The Ballard light rail plans will remain foggy for several more months it seems.

Sound Transit announced yesterday that while they have identified the preferred light rail route and station locations for the West Seattle Link Extension, they want to see further studies and community engagement for the Ballard Link Extension.

The Sound Transit Board has directed further study in specific areas from the Chinatown-International District through Downtown, Interbay, and Ballard.

The board requested further study “to recognize past harms, minimize displacements and potential loss of cultural identity; conduct additional engagement between community and agency partners; support investment in public spaces; improve experience for riders; minimize construction impacts and risks; and determine potential third-party funding needs.”

As we reported earlier this year, the previously preferred high bridge option was scrapped due to the U.S. Coast Guard’s bridge-height requirements over the Ship Canal. That means the tunnel option is back on the table, with alignment looking likely along 14th or 15th Avenues NW.

Sound Transit says staff will provide updates to the board on progress in Nov. 2022 and again in Feb. 2023, after which the board may confirm or modify the preferred alternative for the Ballard extension.

Photo: SDOT