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Greetings Northwestern friends from Southern California. I’m a transit planner based in Los Angeles, but a longtime follower of Seattle planning issues and reader of this blog. I’m writing today to share an animated map I made showing the planned phases of Link implementation.

Sound Transit could never make this map, obviously, because it does not show Tacoma Link. But I can.

Higher-res versions of the full buildout map are available here:

19 Replies to “Link Phasing Map”

  1. Cool! Have we heard from ST that the plan between 2030 and 2035 really is to have the West Seattle line start at Stadium? Seems like an awkward location to start (as opposed to SODO, for example).

      1. It’s just additional service hours that would be spent on not making anyone’s trips much better — Stadium is the lowest ridership station I think – so IMHO we’d be better served by turning around at SODO.

        If the train went all of the way to the International District and turned around there somehow, that’d be totally different because there’d be a bunch of new transfer opportunities there, but I’m fairly certain there isn’t a single bus that serves Stadium that isn’t already served by SODO.

      2. Between SODO and IDS is where the cross-overs between current Central Link and the new Red Line will occur. I expect that the planners intend to use them for train reversing.

      3. The West Seattle line end station is going to be affected by the design and phasing for the second tunnel. For example, if the second tunnel links to an aerial segment in SODO, ST will need to build tracks to link to the RV/Aurport/Federal Way line and feed West Seattle to the existing stations. Another option would be to have northbound trains as surface and southbound trains as aerial for both lines (with a transition track somewhere to enable train reversing), so that a West Seattle train would always be reversed on an aerial center platform (easy transfers) until the new tunnel opens. I would not be surprised that the line configurations and end stations move as construction is started and done.

        Regardless, ST Should design for center cross platform transfers between the two northbound and two southbound lines somewhere in SODO. Making a design for easy cross-platform transfers between these two lines at IDCS is going to be much more difficult and expensive.

  2. Nice work. Zach had something similar, which he had referenced from this page: Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the full size jpeg got removed. If you click on the image, you get a 404 (here: Anyway, nice work.

    If you are interested in making more cool graphics, one thing I would like to see is a map showing all of the RapidRide+ routes ( You would also include Link on there as well. In doing so, you would have a pretty good breakdown of the enhanced transit lines in the city that are built, or are being planned for the near future. Oran Viriyincy has made a fantastic transit map of Seattle ( In my opinion it looks better than the one Metro created. If you could work with him on making the RapidRide+ map, I think it would be a great way to show what will be built in the future. Of course, I have no idea how hard that is, as I have no idea how to make anything like it. I’m just throwing out ideas.

      1. Nice! Thanks for the link.

        Now Oran, if you could just extend your wonderful Seattle Transit Map to all of King County :)

        Seriously though, I think your Seattle map is fantastic, but I always end up dragging it too high or low, only for the web page to basically tell me “that’s all there is”. I am a huge fan of maps, especially hiking maps. Yours remind me in some ways of Square One Maps. It is a little known company that makes relatively small scale maps that somehow manage to show a tremendous amount of detail. Just when you assume they won’t have space for a particular feature (in your case, a library, in their case, a minor peak) you find out they do. Really outstanding stuff. Thanks again for your work.

  3. Just a friendly observation that Mount Baker Station is actually further west than TIBS is and Beacon Hill Station is actually further west than Airport Station is. The TIBS jog isn’t needed or accurate.

  4. Thanks Al (and others).

    It’s a diagram (not actually a map), so there are all sorts of geographical inaccuracies. The TIBS jog is pretty noticeable as a passenger, so I decided it was important to show it for purposes of orientation. By the same logic you could argue that I should’ve also shown the Boeing Access Rd jog, but I felt that was one kink too many.

    Note, by the way, that the ST map makes this same design choice, although there are other places where we go in different directions. (Their task was a lot harder, as that map also shows BRT and Sounder, as well as Tacoma Link.)

    1. Generally, I’m generally not a fan of showing 90-degree angles on a rail schematic because implies that it’s slower than it actually is. Even a 20 or 30-degree angle at least implies a more direct trip. Even a 45-degree line around TIBS (and more accurately at Westlake) would seem to me to be better. Showing in-direction rapidity is a good thing to me.

      I’ve seen the hub-and-spoke schematics for other lines and wondered if a modified version of that would be a good signature design for Link. The DSTT could be shown as a “C” with the new Green line being a “10-o’clock ” line (if the C was half of a click face). Then, all the major spokes could be directed into that, with angles to the spokes as one moves from downtown.

      1. Thanks Oran! That demonstrates rapidity much better. Even a 60-degree job would look better than the hard 90-degrees that ST uses.

        I’m curious what software you guys are using to draw maps. I have tried to do amateurish diagrams in PowerPoint but they don’t look very good. I submit my comments hoping I don’t appear to be too much of a back seat driver.

      2. What you want is vector graphics editing software.

        I started drawing diagrams in PowerPoint a long time ago until I took a class in school which introduced me to Adobe Illustrator and Freehand. Illustrator is the industry-standard for graphic designers but costs $$$ for a subscription (or you could use it for free on SPL computers). There are lower cost or free alternatives as well, like Inkscape.

    2. The ST3 map doesn’t show the TIBS jog as pronounced as you do. You’re showing the Airport Station as due south of the DSTT. The ST3 map shows it roughly south of the Beacon Hill Station.

    3. Thanks for rounded route curves, by the way. ST maps still lack those for some unknown reason.

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