I posted the 8/09/13 post “The End of Blog” because I thought the previous 120 posts were sufficient to detail Sound Transit’s incompetence. The below information explaining how Sound Transit apparently justifies their predictions for 50,000 riders recently prompted me to add one more post.
East Link is scheduled to open in 2023 and serve 10,000 new riders per day plus 40,000 who are already riding buses that will be eliminated in favor of the trains.
Think about that for a moment. Sound Transit is spending $2.8 billion on a light rail program that will devastate major parts of Bellevue and increase cross-lake congestion for vehicles. Their EIS claimed it would increase I-90 “person-moving capacity across Lake Washington on I-90 by up to 60%”. Yet 80% of their projected riders for their $2.8 billion light rail system are not the result of increased capacity but from terminating competing cross-lake bus routes. Moving riders from buses to light rail does very little to increase cross-lake capacity. The most effective way to increase I-90 Bridge capacity and to alleviate 1-90 and 405 congestion is to attract more riders to mass transit. The best way to attract more riders is to provide commuters with P&R lots near where they live with direct bus rapid transit (BRT) service to where they work
Instead ST is spending the money confiscating the bridge center section, precluding any BRT option to install a light rail system with a tiny fraction of bus capacity, higher operating costs, with less accessibility and flexibility to accommodate future requirements. Instead of attracting more transit riders with improved service their plan to terminate all I-90 Bridge bus routes at the South Bellevue P&R will make public transit less appealing. Sound Transits most popular route ST550 between Bellevue T/C and Seattle will be cancelled. ST554 along with all the Metro bus routes (e.g. 211, 212, 214, and 218), which currently provide 20-30 minute commutes from eastside P&R lots into Seattle every 7-15 minutes, will face the congestion associated with exiting I-90 to P&R.
Instead of a 10-15 minute cross-lake bus ride directly into Seattle, commuters will be faced with the time required to reach the P&R, exit their buses, wait for the next light rail, and probably end up standing for a 20 minute light rail ride into Seattle. Their return commute will undoubtedly be extending similarly. Hardly a recipe for attracting new riders.
Again, it’s still not to late to stop this debacle. Contact the Sound Transit Board, the King County Council, the legislators and the media. Sound Transit should be “persuaded” to spend a tiny fraction of the $2.8 billion on BRT that will make cross-lake congestion a thing of the past rather than a certainty for the future.