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, April 16, 2014

Sound Transit Board Can Atone for Past Mistakes

In some ways it’s unfair to induct all the Sound Transit Board members into the “Hall of Shame”.  They're all obviously well respected as leaders in the “communities” that elected them.  However, with the exception of Lynn Peterson the head of the WSDOT and Claudia Balducci, the chair of Regional Transportation Board, many apparently don’t have the background to effectively “guide” Sound Transit policies.  My hope is their "membership" will persuade them to take a “second” look at some of the transit concerns in my blog.   They also have a real opportunity to atone for past mistakes.

Sound Transit currently plans to shut down the I-90 Bridge center roadway in 2016 to begin installing light rail.  They are able to do so because they convinced a federal judge that adding 4th lanes to the bridge outer roadways (R8-A configuration) would eliminate the need to use the center roadway for vehicles.  Sound Transit is “assuming” the modified outer roadways will provide adequate capacity for all cross-lake vehicles for the 7 years required to create East Link.  When light rail is finally completed the outer roadway capacity will still be needed since East Link will likely accommodate only a fraction of the “up to 24,000 riders per hour” promised. (The 2/20/14 post explains why East Link operation may exacerbate outer roadway congestion.)  Of course if the added lanes don’t have needed capacity, cross-lake commuting will be a nightmare for everyone.

The Sound Transit Board has been remiss for years in not requiring some sort of demonstration of modified outer roadways' capacity prior to shutting down center roadway.  Particularly since a 2004 FHWA study concluded the center roadway was needed for vehicles even with the added outer roadway lanes.   Expediting the restriping of the outer roadways to add the 4th lanes and shutting down the center roadway for a week could easily do it. (Cross-lake commuters from both sides of the lake have already endured years of increased congestion because of ST “reluctance” to add the lanes earlier.) 

The Sound Transit Board should recognize confirming the modified outer roadways will have adequate capacity before 2016 surely has a higher priority than allowing Sound Transit to continue spending millions creating extensive engineering drawings depicting details of light rail stations some 7-8 years before they need to begin construction.  (Of course they could still stop the Central Link extensions and avoid that financial debacle.)  

Obviously, the sooner the better!  Allowing ST to continue current plan delaying the 4th lanes until they close the center roadway in 2016 will be an abdication of their responsibility to constituents that surely justifies their induction into the "Hall of Shame".  

No comments:

Post a Comment