About this blog

My name is Bill Hirt and I'm a candidate to be a Representative from the 48th district in the Washington State legislature. My candidacy stems from concern the legislature is not properly overseeing the WSDOT and Sound Transit East Link light rail program. I believe East Link will be a disaster for the entire eastside. ST will spend 5-6 billion on a transportation project that will increase, not decrease cross-lake congestion, violates federal environmental laws, devastates a beautiful part of residential Bellevue, creates havoc in Bellevue's central business district, and does absolutely nothing to alleviate congestion on 1-90 and 405. The only winners with East Link are the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington and their labor unions.

This blog is an attempt to get more public awareness of these concerns. Many of the articles are from 3 years of failed efforts to persuade the Bellevue City Council, King County Council, east side legislators, media, and other organizations to stop this debacle. I have no illusions about being elected. My hope is voters from throughout the east side will read of my candidacy and visit this Web site. If they don't find them persuasive I know at least I tried.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

BCC could stop East Link but won't

My May 14 BCC Presentation
My name is Bill Hirt and I live at 2615 170th SE.  At my last appearance I discussed the results of 2004 Federal Highway Administration document which evaluated several cross-lake configurations.  The study concluded that single lanes on either the center roadway or the outer bridge would not have the capacity to accommodate both bus and HOV traffic. 

Sound Transit could have provided the needed capacity by moving the HOV traffic to the outer bridges to leave two-way bus only lanes on the center roadway.   With 3 second, intervals each bus lane could accommodate 1200 buses per hour, more than enough to meet any cross-lake transit requirement.

Instead Sound Transit announced to the world the bus/HOV lane they planned to add to the outer bridges would enable them to carry all the cross-lake vehicular traffic.  The 2008 DEIS Executive Summary included the following; “Travel times across I-90 for vehicles and trucks would also improve or remain similar with East Link”.  Sound Transit used the same argument to convince a Kittitas judge to allow them to continue with light rail.  They simply ignored the results of their own 2004 study.

I left the council a copy of relevant pages from the study.   I later read the council continues to work with Sound Transit to finalize the route through Bellevue and to decide on how much Bellevue is going to have to pay to get a tunnel.   What part of this story don’t you get?  Would any of you care to explain why you continue to allow ST to proceed with East Link when you have a copy of a document that concludes it won’t work?
Which is it?  Didn’t you read it, don’t you believe it, or don’t you care?  Recent emails from council members lament you can’t do anything about East Link’s cross-lake configuration.  While true, its also true the council has no legal obligation to grant Sound Transit the permits they need for construction, particularly in view of the fact they lied so blatantly prior to the 2008 vote. If Sound Transit proceeds with an East Llnk program that devastates a beautiful part of residential Bellevue, wrecks havoc in the business district, and creates gridlock on I-90 bridge it will not be because the council could not stop them, its because you chose not to stop them.

In conclusion, your constituents, cross-lake commuters, the entire eastside deserve better than this.   I intend to raise these concerns here every 2nd and 4th Monday for the next four years or until the council uses the permitting process to stop this debacle.

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