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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

East Link Obscenity

This morning I made another of my weekly futile attempts to improve my golf game at the Bellevue golf course driving range.   Afterwards, as I frequently do, I headed south towards Chase’s Pancake Coral for one of my favorite breakfasts, potato pancakes.   As I drove along 112th Ave I was once again reminded of its idyllic nature.   After breakfast I headed south along Bellevue Way to I-90 and home, passing the Winters House and the Mercer Slough Park.  I challenge anyone to travel along 112th Ave and Bellevue Way and not regret the devastating effect of Sound Transits East Link light rail on the area.

This obscenity doesn’t have to happen.  Sound Transit’s plan to gouge out the landscape, ripping out hundreds of trees and other flora to install two sets of train tracks and 5000-volt power lines can be stopped.  Build a Better Bellevue is suing to block East Link because it encroaches on the Mercer Slough Park.  This may or may not be effective in stopping East Link devastation along 112th Ave.

The best way to stop East Link is to expose the fact it not only devastates a beautiful part of Bellevue, it results in gridlock on the 1-90 bridge.   Sound Transit’s own studies show they lied with claims adding the 4th lanes of the outer roadways would enable vehicles to cross I-90 bridge with no increase in travel time when they closed down the center roadway to install light rail.   

They also lied with their claim light rail on the center roadway was like adding 10 lanes of freeway across the lake that would allow 60% more cross lake commuters.  At best East Link will provide one 4-car train every 7 minutes.  Most cross-lake commuters access to even this meager capacity will be the South Bellevue P&R: a lot too small and inaccessible for most commuters.  The majority of commuters who ride East Link when completed in 2023 will be those with access to the P&R who switch from buses to trains.  Hardly a boon for cross-lake congestion.

For more than 15 years Sound Transit has refused to publicly accept the fact bus rapid transit (BRT) on the center roadway and HOV traffic on the outer roadways 4th lane is the answer for cross-lake commuting.   Millions have been wasted and thousands of commuters have already endured far too much congestion as a result.   Eastside residents need to support the BBB suit and to urge the Bellevue City Council to use the permitting process to end this obscenity.

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