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.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Response for LWVWA Voters Guide- I'll Be Vindicated in the End

  My response to the League of Women Voters of Washington request to participate in their 2012 online voters' guide.

               How will you prioritize Washington’s infrastructure needs? (Max of 500 characters)
         My candidacy’s goal is to inform voters about the infrastructure problems commuters will encounter with Sound Transit’s current East Link light rail plan.  The 6-7 billion spent on East Link will cause gridlock on the I-90 bridge, devastate a beautiful part of Bellevue, create havoc in downtown Bellevue and do nothing to relieve the serious congestion on I-90 and 405. 

         Fifteen years ago ST could have added a 4th lane to the bridge outer roadways to accommodate non-transit HOV traffic.  The costs would have been minimal with immediate benefits to commuters, particularly “reverse” commuters.  At the same time they could have safely divided the 40-foot center roadway into inbound and outbound bus lanes capable of 20 buses per minute.   

         Instead ST currently plans to delay adding the 4th lane until 2016.  They also require the added lane accommodate buses to allow them to close down the center roadway for light rail construction.  Their own 2004 studies concluded HOV traffic reduces the number of buses the lane can accommodate resulting in excessive congestion.

         When light rail begins operation in 2023 cross-lake service will consist of one 4-car train (each car with 74 seats) every 7 minutes.  ST makes the absurd claim this very limited service would provide the same capacity as 10 freeway lanes and increase ridership by 60%.  East Link’s second problem is the only access for most 1-90 commuters will be the South Bellevue P&R.  This P&R will never have the capacity or the access needed.

         Conversely, bus-only lanes would allow direct routes between every east side P&R and downtown Seattle with better connections for Seattleite commutes to Bellevue.  It could be in operation in a year at a fraction of light rails cost.   The entire east side would benefit from the reduction in congestion that would result from allowing commuters to leave their car near where they “live” rather than where they “work”.  The remaining money could be used to help fund the 520 bridge and improvements to 405 and I-90.

          Again my goal in running is to inform the entire east side about the East Link debacle to the point where ST will be forced to “reconsider”.   If I fail, I know in the end, I will be vindicated.  The I-90 congestion and the devastation to Bellevue that begins in 2016 with center roadway closure will make people unhappy.  However, after 7 years of construction, cross-lake commuters will be enraged when they see the miniscule benefit from light rail. 

         When that happens, I hope my candidacy will have informed voters who to hold responsible for this debacle.  Those who’ve ignored my attempts to raise these concerns include Sound Transit, WSDOT, Bellevue and King County Councils, east side Republican and Democratic legislators, Seattle Times and Bellevue Reporter, King and Kiro News, and others.  The only beneficiaries from their complicity are the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington and their labor unions.  New York City garbage haulers could only hope for such a deal.

No comments:

Post a Comment