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1929 black and white photo looking south from Smith Tower down 2nd Ave Extension with King St. Station tower.

What is a "Preferred Alternative?" Why doesn't the CID segment have one?

Alternatives, defined. Before a draft environmental impact statement is done, there is a long process called "scoping" which is basically when agencies figure out what the project is and how it can be built. They come up with "alternatives" which are ideas of where to put that project and what it will consist of -- in the CID segment, a tunnel for the trains that starts in SODO and goes north to Ballard.

Preferred alternatives: Usually, in the scoping process, one idea stands out as the best one from the point of view of the engineers and transit planners. It connects up better to other segments, or is easier to build. A little more study usually goes into those segments.  

In the CID segment, the communities requested that Sound Transit study possible ways to build on both 4th Ave and 5th Ave. So NO PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE has been chosen. All ideas are on the table still. 

[photo above taken in 1929, looking south along 2nd Ave Ext from Smith Tower. Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives, item 3454]

Sound Transit IN PERSON OUTSIDE event this week!
Thurs., March 17, 12-6 PM (drop in any time)
International District/Chinatown Station Plaza
(5th Avenue S and S King Street)
Seattle, WA 98104
How can I understand the station depths?
Here's a chart! The "stations" in blue are the proposed ideas in the CID segment, plus the new proposed stations in Midtown and Westlake. The green "stations" are existing stations that you might know or can visit today. We think this makes the numbers easier to compare.

There are two potential locations for station entrances: either on 4th Ave or on 5th Ave, both just south of S. Jackson St. Options at these station entrances include different depths for the tunnel.

For additional information on each station option -- including how they will connect with other transit lines, including the existing ID/C station -- look at the Station Planning Report. HSD highly recommends starting with this document, which has many graphics and has helped many people we've talked with to wrap their heads around this project.
Drawing of the alternative routes from S Holgate St to the left to James Street on the right. North is left.  This map shows the Stadium Station and all three alignments for the CID station.
Understand that the tunnel for the station is likely to go down 4th Ave S or 5th Ave S. (The 5th Ave S diagonal is a little different).

EACH idea has benefits and drawbacks. They will change the neighborhoods in different ways. What do you need to know to understand how properties, transit networks, traffic, or your neighborhood will be affected? No decision has been made -- now is the time to ask questions.

Please check out our Advocacy Page for more resources, including our new map tool! When you get lost in this map tool, just reload the page.
WSBLE Advocacy
Each different station idea has impacts to our neighborhoods, and we have until April 28th, 2022 to comment on these impacts. Every comment counts!
HSD is here to help. Please check out our website to find great resources. Share this email. Follow us on social media. Send us questions. 
Advocacy | HSD (
NO final decisions about where the tunnel and station will be located have been made yet. Your comments count.

We'll be sending weekly emails throughout the comment period.
Historic South Downtown is a state-created agency that exists to mitigate the impact of large, public projects on the two historic neighborhoods of south downtown Seattle. Our work is exclusively focused on Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District. For more information on our work, visit our website at
Copyright © 2022 Historic South Downtown. All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Historic South Downtown, 409B Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104.

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