Light rail extension to Interbay-Ballard engages area residents in planning phase

Transportation officials say the Ballard rail extension won’t happen until 2037 or 2039 at the latest. But that hasn’t stopped the public’s interest.

SEATTLE — On Monday night, Ballard and Interbay residents had the opportunity to help in the planning phase of their own light rail expansion, as Sound Transit hosted the first opening of the proposed project.

It comes just days after it was announced that Sound Transit was again delaying Tacoma’s Hilltop electric vehicle expansion. But despite this, residents in the area expressed optimism about the Ballard project, with two main hopes: an increase in property values ​​and a decrease in the number of cars on the road.

Transportation officials say the Ballard rail extension won’t happen until 2037 or 2039 at the latest. But that hasn’t stopped the public’s interest.

“We are very excited,” said real estate agent Scott Richey. “That it takes a little longer is just that. But we think it would be smart if we knew when we were together so we could better advise people.”

Tahys Richey, also a real estate agent, added: “It can help with traffic because these days the traffic is very busy.”

Scott Richey said he “really” believes the light rail expansion will enhance property values ​​in Ballard. “And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?” He added, “It would be nice to get to places easier and faster without having to drive.”

About 60 people attended the opening ceremony at Lawton Elementary to share their feedback on how the route was built, including when to cross Salmon Bay into Ballard.

Sound Transit’s drawing of a permanent bridge over Salmon Bay extending from NW 14th Avenue shows a design that places the bridge at 136 feet, but in the spring the US Coast Guard told them it needed to be at least 70 feet taller to fit the bridge higher than the boat. That is something they will have to comply with.

Although Sound Transit had to push back their target date for Tacoma’s Hilltop tram extension on the T line, a spokesperson assured KING 5 that the Ballard-Interbay extension was on the way.

“It’s happening, yes, we’re all here tonight to make sure this happens. It’s been a long process from here. I mean, it’s not going to happen overnight, but hey, we’re in the early stages where people can provide input.”

To extend the light rail line across Salmon Bay to Ballard, Sound Transit says there are two “preferred” options: the first, an overwater bridge, and the second, an underground tunnel– but the second option would require third-party funding.

If you want to see the plans in person and provide input, tick your calendar: the second part of the series will be held on January 11.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/ballard-light-rail-extension-sound-transit/281-517565f1-7067-43f0-88d5-8af8ebbf2ced Light rail extension to Interbay-Ballard engages area residents in planning phase

Edmund DeMarche

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