Updated Feb 15, 2024 - Transit

What Seattle-area light rail stations are coming, and when

One Sound Transit light rail train pulls into a station while another pulls away.

Light rail trains pull into the Mount Baker station in Seattle. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

Sound Transit's light rail system is about to expand, starting with a new line slated to open between Bellevue and Redmond in late April.

Why it matters: Since 2008, Seattle-area voters have approved more than $65 billion to grow the region's light rail system. But some projects are behind schedule, making it hard to track what's next.

The big picture: The projects on deck are expected to expand the local light rail system from 26 miles to about 116 miles by 2041, adding dozens of stations from Everett to West Seattle to Tacoma.

Here's a look at what's coming and when, according to the latest timelines.

Eastside

Light rail service over I-90 to Mercer Island and Bellevue was once expected to start last year, but construction quality problems have delayed the openings until sometime in 2025, Sound Transit says.

Yes, but: The agency plans to open a shorter, 6.5-mile line on the Eastside between the South Bellevue and Redmond Technology stations on April 27.

  • Trains will run every 10 minutes for 16 hours a day.

What's next: Once the full East Link route opens in 2025, it will serve Seattle's Judkins Park, Mercer Island, Redmond and multiple stations in Bellevue.

Lynnwood

The light rail north to Lynnwood is slated to open this fall.

  • It will include four new stations — two in Shoreline, one in Mountlake Terrace, and one in Lynnwood — and will connect to Sea-Tac Airport and (eventually) the East Link line.

Federal Way

Like the Lynnwood and Eastside extensions, light rail to Federal Way was part of the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure Puget Sound voters approved in 2008.

  • It's supposed to open by 2026, with new stations planned in Kent, Star Lake and downtown Federal Way.

West Seattle

The schedule is less firm with the rest of the planned projects, which are bankrolled by the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 ballot measure voters approved in 2016.

  • Service connecting SoDo and West Seattle's Alaska Junction neighborhood is tentatively scheduled to start in 2032.
  • Officials are still looking at multiple potential routes as the project goes through an environmental review.

Ballard

Service isn't expected to begin from downtown Seattle to Ballard until 2039.

Zoom in: A debate is underway about where to place proposed stations around the Chinatown-International District (CID).

  • Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher told Axios the agency "is really cognizant of what the construction impacts are going to be to the community," which has been affected by several major building projects over the years, including I-5 and stadiums.

Details: Two main options are being studied right now.

  • One would put a new station north of the CID, at the site of the mostly vacant King County Administration Building at Fifth and Jefferson, plus a second station slightly south of the historic neighborhood.
  • Sound Transit's board and Seattle's mayor have said they'd prefer this setup, but transit advocates have argued it would require riders to walk too far to switch trains.
  • The other option under review would place a station near Madison Street/First Hill (Midtown station) and another at Fourth and Jackson, in the heart of the CID.

Of note: There's also a tug-of-war about where to place a station in South Lake Union, with Amazon opposing building one on Westlake Avenue.

Tacoma and Everett

Light rail service from Seattle to Tacoma won't start running until around 2035, while the line to Everett has a 2037–2041 opening date.

Editor's note: This story was updated on Feb. 15 to include firm timeline details from Sound Transit.

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