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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top Ten Reasons to Stop East Link

I created this list for the recent Rotary Candidates Forum.  I only got to No 5 so thought I’d post the rest.

1.    Sound Transit made an historic blunder in the ‘90’s when they decided on light rail for cross-lake mass transit.  (Any competent analysis would have concluded Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) had more than 10 times light rail capacity at less than 1/10th the cost)
2.    ST 20008 DEIS didn’t even mention BRT as a “no-build” option prior to selecting light rail.  (Its hard to believe they could spend 10 years looking at every conceivable East Link option and never consider BRT on the center roadway)
3.     ST lied in their 2008 DEIS when they claimed a 4-car train every 9-15 minutes could carry 24,000 riders per hour.  (If you crammed 200 people in each of the four 74-seat cars the maximum capacity is less than 11,000.)
4.    The only access for most cross-lake commuters will be the South Bellevue P&R.  (The Bellevue P&R will never have the capacity or accessibility needed while BRT would provide access from every eastside P&R.  The lack of capacity and accessibility will force most cross-lake commuters to use the bridge outer roadways and inevitable gridlock-see below).
5.    ST lied in their DEIS when they claimed the 4th lane on the outer roadway could accommodate all the Bus and HOV traffic.  (Their own 2004 studies showed a single lane wouldn’t have capacity needed.)
6.    The 4th lane for HOV could be added immediately to the bridge outer roadways.  (ST has proposed adding the 4th lane since the 90’s yet their East Link plans delay the lane addition until 2016.  The added lane would immediately reduce cross-lake congestion, particularly for the “reverse’ commuters, with the added traffic from those avoiding 520 tolls.) 
7.    BRT could begin service on the center bridge roadway.  (Moving the non-transit HOV traffic to the outer roadway would allow BRT service to be added to the current bus schedules.  Every P&R lot could have its own express bus route into and out of Seattle during the peak commute hours.)
8.    The billions ST is planning to spend on East Link could be used to reduce congestion not increase it. (ST has a moral if not legal obligation to spend the 40% of their funds they get from the eastside on eastside transportation improvements.  In addition to BRT, the funds could be used for 520 bridge (possibly eliminating tolls), SR405 and I-90 improvements.)
9.    Enatai and Surrey Downs residents would not have their lives devastated by light rail construction and subsequent operation and Bellevue could avoid coming up with $200 million for a tunnel.  (Both of these problems could have been avoided if ST had agreed to tunnel from the South Bellevue P&R through city center as they recently committed for University/Northgate extension.)
10.Stopping East Link would enhance Bel-Red development.  (There would be no need for a large maintenance yard the BCC has recently objected to and a South Lake Union type streetcar system would be more esthetically appealing, have greater flexibility to meet local needs, and far more accessible than East Links two light rail stations.)

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