Sound Transit Board identifies preferred alternative for Ballard light rail

The Sound Transit Board has announced its preferred alternative for the new light rail route and station locations for the Ballard segment.

The preferred alternative for the 7.1-mile extension from downtown Seattle to Ballard is the 15th Ave tunnel under Salmon Bay just north of W Nickerson Street. The tunnel would continue east of 15th Ave NW to the Ballard Station, which would be in a tunnel east of 15th and south of NW Market St.*

According to a press release from Sound Transit, the board chose the design based on “community priorities, regional needs, input from agencies and the City of Seattle, analysis of alternatives included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and results of further studies and engagement directed by the Board in July 2022.” The board will make a final decision on the project after the environmental review is completed and the Final EIS is published.

“Today we are closer than ever to realizing a connected regional light rail network that will serve transit riders and become the template for our region’s future success,” Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “Through extensive engagement with community members and collaboration with key partners we have identified a preferred alternative for the Ballard Link Extension that is affordable, accessible and equitable.”

Photo: SDOT

*This story has been corrected with the preferred alternative as clarified by Sound Transit.