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, February 13, 2013

Permit Approval Meeting Disappointing

Permit Approval Meeting Disappointing
I and about 200 others attended the February 11th Bellevue City Council public meeting concerning proposed changes to the approval process for East Link light rail.   The “Planning Staff” used most of the first hour to explain in “considerable detail” why they were making the revisions, what the revisions would and would not do, and how they were going to incorporate the revisions.   I don’t think I was the only one who was less than favorably impressed.

The oral presentation was  little about what the revisions actually "said".  In particular two requirements in the written Feb 11 Staff Report that should be critical in approving any permit.  These were in Section V, Applicable Decision Criteria-Land Use Code Part 20.30J.  Sub-Section A includes TR-75.1, which requires the permitting process to 

Develop a light rail system in collaboration with the regional transit provider that advances the City’s long-term transportation and land use objectives, minimizes environmental and neighborhood impacts, and balances regional system performance.

And Sub Section C, which states: 

The amendment is not contrary to the best interest of the citizens and property owners of the City of Bellevue.

The planning staff report proposed 30 ft. of screening along the route for residential property, 20 ft for non-residential property, and 15 feet for those willing to agree to less screening (presumably via compensation).  Any fence along the route will be limited to 10 ft in height.  No one could possibly argue that the construction and subsequent operation of light rail within these guidelines will not adversely impact the environment for the residents in the neighborhoods.  No one could also argue about the environment damage to the Mercer Slough Park and the entire route into Bellevue from the devastation associated with replacing a beautiful tree-lined avenue with train tracks and 5000 volt power lines.  The only way to avoid this damage with light rail is with a tunnel.

The question should be whether any light rail route is "not contrary to the best interest of the citizens and property owners of the City of Bellevue".   Other posts (e.g. 5/15/12 and 8/08/12) explain in detail that the selection of light rail for cross-lake mass transit was an historic blunder that has already wasted hundreds of millions and forced cross-lake commuters to endure years of added congestion.  Approving the permits would result not only in devastation along the route into Bellevue but with gridlock on the I-90 Bridge; obviously contrary to the best interests of Bellevue citizens and property owners.

Those living along the route along with commuters throughout the east side need to urge the BCC to use the permitting process to stop this debacle.

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