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, November 20, 2012

Five BCC Questions for Sound Transit

I intend to present the following at the Bellevue City Council’s 11/26 extended session meeting.

Bellevue City Council
My name is Bill Hirt and I live at 2615 170th SE.  I’m here tonight to urge the council to ask Sound Transit five questions as part of your permitting negotiations.

1.   Why didn’t the ST Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) ever consider Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as the “no-build” option for the I-90 bridge center roadway?  BRT had 10 times light rail capacity, at 1/10th the cost, 10 years sooner, and was far more accessible.
2.   How did ST conclude in their 2008 DEIS that a 4-car train every 9 minutes could accommodate up to 24,000 riders per hour?  If you crammed 200 people into each of the 74-seat cars the maximum possible capacity is less than 11,000.
3.   Why did ST claim single lanes on the outer bridge roadways could accommodate all the bus and HOV traffic  when they close down the center roadway to install light rail.  Their own 2004 study showed one lane wouldn’t have needed capacity for both bus and HOV traffic.
4.   Why didn’t ST add the 4th lane to the outer roadways 15 years ago?  All cross-lake commuters, but particularly reverse commuters have had to endure years of increased congestion because of the delay.  Their plans to delay the lane for another 4 years are particularly onerous in view of the added traffic from those avoided 520 tolls.
5.   Why didn’t ST ever consider a tunnel from the South Bellevue P&R to 116th?  They recently agreed to tunnel from the University to Northgate, a far greater distance.  The Bellevue tunnel would have eliminated the devastation along the route into downtown and the encroachment on Mercer Slough Park that violates federal environmental law.  

The council owes Bellevue residents and the entire eastside satisfactory answers from ST to these 5 questions before approving any permits.  The sooner the council recognizes that’s not going to happen the sooner this debacle can end, the $200 million tunnel expenditure driving the cities capital budget problem will disappear, and East Link money can be diverted to BRT reducing congestion for everyone.  It would also eliminate the recent concern about a maintenance yard in Bel-Red area.

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