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Mayor Harrell Statement on Sound Transit Substitute Motion No. M2023-18 

Seattle – Today, Mayor and Sound Transit Board Member Bruce Harrell released the following statement after proposing substitute Motion No. M2023-18 to amend the proposed modified preferred alternative for Ballard Link Extension: 

“I am proposing a substitute motion that will advance the North of CID and South of CID stations to serve the Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square. It will also support further study of the Denny (Terry) station in South Lake Union, while maintaining Denny (Westlake) as the preferred alternative. The substitute motion carries forward station alternatives previously approved by the System Expansion Committee along the rest of the alignment, including Ballard, Interbay, Seattle Center, and Downtown. 

“The CID is not a monolith and the views of its residents are nuanced and complex. In our countless conversations with neighbors, many have raised genuine concerns. These are concerns that are not theoretical but based on history and past harm caused by large infrastructure projects. Constructing a new station in the heart of the Chinatown-International District would continue that tragic legacy and risk irreparable harm to the community with over a decade of disruptive construction and displacement pressure on neighbors and historic small businesses. 

“This neighborhood should not once again bear the brunt of disproportionate construction impacts. With viable alternatives in the North and South of CID stations to provide local and regional mobility needs to thousands of daily transit riders while creating new opportunities for equitable transit-oriented development, we can make a better choice today.  

“When I took office, I committed to a new approach of leading by listening – the North of CID and South of CID option avoids making the mistakes of the past by centering the voices of community concerned about equity and displacement and offers a starting point for repairing the historic harm that large transportation projects have caused on this community. Thank you to all community members who dedicated their time engaging and sharing their perspective on this project, whether they agree or disagree. 

“This decision is not an attempt to preserve an entire neighborhood as it is today forever, but instead to envision a more resilient, connected, and safe neighborhood. To support that vision, I am committed to working with the CID and Pioneer Square communities to ensure that this project will bring meaningful investment to the existing CID station, revitalization of Union Station, significant transit-oriented development and needed new housing, while also investing in projects to improve access between the two new stations.    

“A meaningful commitment to equity requires hard choices – choices that are critical for creating new opportunities for those who have too often not been at the table. That is what this entire West Seattle and Ballard Link Extension project is about – difficult decisions regarding station locations today that open doors tomorrow. There are many reasons to be optimistic – and we will continue to listen to our communities and work in partnership with Sound Transit to ensure station design, transit access, and rider experience are prioritized in our efforts moving forward across the entire West Seattle and Ballard alignments. 

“I look forward to the Sound Transit Board’s consideration of this substitute motion, and to our continued transformative work to expand fast, reliable, carbon-free transit to communities across our city and region.”