Sound Transit asked for public comments concerning their December 2008 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) promising to respond in the final version of the EIS. Typical of ST, their July, 2011 EIS attempts to respond were less than satisfactory.
Table 7-1 in Chapter 7 listed the most widely held concerns as “Common Comments” along with Sound Transits response. As I pointed out in the previous post their response to 1-90 floating bridge structural concerns, CC3n, that “issues identified as potentially affecting feasibility can be addressed” leaves many questions.
The number 1 “Common Comments”, CC1a, was “Why is bus rapid transit (BRT) or increased bus service not included as an alternative?” Sound Transits response “BRT, as an alternative for East Link, was eliminated during the Sound Transit Long-Range Planning and ST2 process” along with their comment “light rail provides the highest level of ridership and the shortest travel times of all technologies evaluated in the corridor” exemplifies their incompetence or worse.
BRT has been successfully reducing congestion for years with up to 20 buses per minute on each lane, dwarfing East Link capacity. Sound Transits EIS response suggests they seriously considered BRT. The 1990’s study they referred to had initially included Configuration R4 which moved the non-transit HOV traffic to 4th lanes on the outer roadways and used the center roadways for two-way, bus-only BRT lanes. The 40 foot wide center roadway would have been ideal for BRT with two bus lanes separated by a third lane for increased safety and maintenance. It was dropped from serious consideration, apparently because of Mercer Island concerns they would loose their exclusive access to center roadway, a concern ST subsequently ignored for East Link.
The reality is ST was surely aware of BRT superiority over light rail. They just didn’t like that answer. This 15 years and hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on light rail was not just the result of incompetence, ST was also mendacious.
The response to my question, EL530-1, concerning their failure to consider “no-build” options that would have eliminated environmental damage along the route was “Your opposition to the East Link Project has been noted”. (That response was probably ST answer to any question they didn’t like.) ST was not only incompetent and mendacious they were also arrogant. They simply ignored the fact that failure to consider the BRT option violated federal environmental law because of East Link’s encroachment of Mercer Slough Park.
Again, that’s why I run