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Source : Don Barret
May 19, 2022
Author : Pratigya Dhali
With the newly announced expansion project of the Sound Transit light rail system, commuting across Seattle effortlessly and conveniently is no longer a pipe dream.
Budgeted at $12 billion, Sound Transit's West Seattle and Ballard Link Extension (WSBLE) project is touted as being the most significant infrastructure investment in the city’s history.
The project will help locals by providing better access to densely populated communities as well as job centers, supporting burgeoning neighborhoods and economic development. Plus it will provide a wide range of sustainable and climate-friendly transportation options.
Two Link extensions have received approval: West Seattle Link Extension and Ballard Link Extension.
The former will be responsible for 4.7 miles of connectivity from downtown Seattle to West Seattle's Alaska junction and will include four new stations between SODO and Alaska Junction.
The Ballard Link Extension will add 7.1 miles of light rail transportation from downtown Seattle to Ballard, including a new downtown Seattle rail-only tunnel. Nine new stations from the Chinatown-International District to Market street will be part of this extension.
Light Rail Transit(LRT) is a faster, cost-effective, and ecologically-friendly service for inter-region transportation, better than even heavy rails and metro systems, and public buses.
The Sound Transit Board has identified a wide array of light rail alternatives with various station location being looked at. Thoroughly researched the variety of options are discussed in a recently published Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The report published by the Sound Transit Board in January of 2022 analyzed the project's potential impacts and the necessary adjustments that will need to be made to help locals during the construction phase.
A 90-day period has gathered comments from the public and more than one hundred experts from across seventeen city departments.
Work will begin after a final report is issued, with Mayor Harrell and Seattle City Council President Juarez, representing the City on the Sound Transit Board, helping to resolve potential pitfalls.
After the Sound Transit Board identifies the final station locations based on the recommendations of the city and the public, the project's staff will go to work. Part of the plan is to create better biking and automotive access to the stations.
City planners will also evaluate the housing, retail, and open space opportunities to develop economic, sustainable neighborhoods surrounding the new stations. Mass sustainable transportation will provide a major boost for the city, benefiting a wide array of businesses and communities