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.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bellevue City Council “Dances” with Sound Transit on East Link

A recent Times article “Bellevue Citizens Group Propose Deep-Bore Tunnel” is a clear indication Bellevue citizens recognize the devastation resulting from East Link construction and operation.  The BCC's response “After you dance with someone for long enough, you understand the moves their willing to make” is a clear indication of the East Link problem.  The BCC has already spent far too much time “dancing with Sound Transit about East Link”.   (To be fair, some council members are also concerned but don’t have the votes to do anything.  I’ll leave it up to readers to find out which ones.)

Build a Better Bellevue, residents of Surry Downs, Enatai and other South Bellevue neighborhoods should not have to look forward to “living with East Link”.  The BCC could put an end to East Link by simply refusing to approve the 9 permits (identified in 2008 DEIS) ST needs to begin construction.  They have more than ample reason for doing so.   

ST has lied for years about East Link benefits with claims that light rail will provide the equivalent of 10 lanes of freeway with 60% more cross-lake capacity.  They used these claims to convince voters to approve Prop 1 in 2008.  East Links promised service (in 2023) for one 4-car train every 7 minutes will never have the capacity or the accessibility to carry more than a fraction of cross-lake commuters.

Prior to the 2008 vote they also claimed their plans to add a 4th lane to the outer roadway for bus and HOV traffic would enable it to accommodate all vehicular traffic without increasing travel time.  They’ve used that claim to convince a Kittitas judge to allow them to install light rail on the center roadway.    Their own 2004 studies concluded that claim was false.  East Link even violates federal environmental law (US Code Sec 138) with train tracks and 5000 volt power lines that encroach on the Mercer Slough Park.   

Its clear if  ST is allowed to go ahead with East Link, it won’t be because the BCC couldn’t stop it, but because they wouldn’t.  They need to change “dance partners”.

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