Sooner Rather Than Later: Support Builds for Eastside-Only Light Rail in Seattle

The Eastside Link light rail route, now known as Line 2, is delayed. A Sound Transit board officials is suggesting that some of the route can open soon, while the rest of the route is prepped to open later.

2 minute read

November 10, 2022, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Transit Planning

Sound Transit / East Link Light Rail

A planned light rail line connecting Seattle’s urban core east to Mercer Island, Bellevue, and then north to Redmond, has been significantly delayed. But what if the delivery of transit service to the first few stations could move ahead while the rest of the route catches up?

Mike Lindblom reports on the new idea of an Eastside-only light rail link in Seattle. According to the article, Seattle Sound Transit officials are presenting the idea as a stop gap for the delayed East Link Light Rail route, now known as Line 2, once scheduled to open in 2023 but now expected toward the end of 2024.

“Trains could go from south Bellevue near I-90, through downtown Bellevue, to the Microsoft campus near Highway 520,” explains Linblom of the proposed route.

Sound Transit board member Claudia Balducci, of Bellevue, was the first to pitch the idea, writing in an opinion piece published by the Seattle Times in August 2022.

Balducci is quoted by Lindblom saying the idea has more support than any other idea put forward by the board member. That’s far from a sure thing, but Lindblom also reports that “Sound Transit’s new CEO, Julie Timm, said the staff is gathering facts about how to make it happen.” A report can be expected this month, and a decision in January or February of next year. Mayors at the end of the route, which wouldn’t gain complete light rail service until later, also support the proposed phased approach, saying it would reduce travel times along the corridor sooner, rather than later.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 in The Seattle Times

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