I thought I would use my “Soon to be former candidate for BCC” status for a final pre-election post to make two points.
First, I am confident in the end my Sound Transit concerns will be vindicated. If ST is allowed to proceed, life for many eastside residents will change forever. In three short years many cross-lake commuters will be “surprised” when they finally realize that East Link means closing off the center roadway forever for vehicles. They will be less than happy when faced with the increased congestion that results.
Residents along the route into Bellevue will see a beautiful boulevard devastated and their commutes by car or by transit disrupted by light rail and elevated roadway construction The so-called “tunnel” will really require a huge trench through the city center that will wreck havoc on many businesses. Light rail construction and the creation of a huge maintenance facility in the Bel-Red area will do little to attract development.
When light rail operation finally begins (2023?) cross-lake commuters will be enraged when they realize that the years and billions spent on East Link will have a miniscule effect on their commute. East Link’s limited capacity and accessibility will restrict the number of riders to a fraction of Sound Transits predictions with many of those former bus riders. Those living up to 500 feet from the tracks will likely be disrupted by noisy trains for 20 hours a day. It’s hard to believe light rail noise will enhance Bel Red area.
The second point is Sound Transit can be stopped. There’s an old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. This blog, which has attracted over 11,000 page views, is my attempt to show people “the water”. My hope is that those who agree with these concerns would commit to “drink the water”. My suggestion for doing so (in addition to supporting a BBB appeal mentioned earlier) includes emailing the Seattle Times and Bellevue Reporter asking they critique not only Sound Transits East Link but also their Central Link extensions.
Contact your local legislator, in particular, Rep. Clibborn, the head of the legislative transportation committee to demand they use their oversight of the WSDOT to force Sound Transit to justify their policies with rational cost/benefit assessments. Email Lynn Peterson, the new head of the WSDOT, to ask for a “fresh” review of their support for Sound Transit policies. Her position on the Sound Transit Board makes her a critical player in ending this debacle. I think other board members could also be responsive to constituents concerns.
The hundreds of millions Sound Transit has already “invested” in the Prop 1 extensions pale in comparison to the billions they will “invest” in the near future. Their East Link program will devastate Bellevue and increase cross-lake congestion. Their Central Link extensions will create a perpetual financial “black hole” for transportation funds. This blog will continue to argue its way past time to stop it.