Skip to main content

You make this possible. Support our independent, nonprofit newsroom today.

Give Now

Where does Amazon want Sound Transit to build a new Seattle light rail station?

caption: The Amazon spheres at its Seattle headquarters.
Enlarge Icon
The Amazon spheres at its Seattle headquarters.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Amazon officials breathed a sigh of relief after the Sound Transit Board decided to keep its options open for the location of a new light-rail station near the company’s headquarters.

The board voted on Thursday to move forward with Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s proposal to shift the station north, while also studying the possibility of moving it west. In a blog post Wednesday, Amazon urged Sound Transit board members to consider the “shifted west” option so that Westlake Avenue can remain open during construction.

“We encourage the Board to not rush their decision and at least be willing to consider and study alternative options so we can ensure the expansion of public transit in the neighborhood without having to shut down economic activity in the area for several years,” the blog post says.

In June, a coalition of transit advocates sent an open letter to Sound Transit urging the board to stick with its original location.

That plan “efficiently balances the impacts of construction with the benefits of reducing emissions and economic insecurity through increased ridership,” the letter stated.

At issue is the location of the station that will ultimately connect with planned light-rail service to Ballard.

The original plan would require Westlake Avenue to close for at least four years while the light-rail station is under construction. That had Amazon and other businesses in the area up in arms during the Sound Transit Board hearing. They said those closures would hurt a downtown already struggling to recover from COVID.

“We are doing our part to bring downtown back and we hope this board will do theirs,” said Amazon’s Tom Florino during public comment.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell agreed with Amazon and sought alternatives to fully closing Westlake Avenue.

“If we don’t do this right, this could be irreparable for the city and the state,” he said during the hearing.

Ultimately, the board voted to study the possibility of moving the station north or west, with north being the preferred choice.

Transit advocates oppose the “shifted west” proposal because Sound Transit initially said the plan would mean consolidating the Denny-area station with another one planned for South Lake Union. But Sound Transit approved an amendment Thursday that would only allow the “shifted west” plan to move forward if both stations are maintained.

Why you can trust KUOW