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, June 25, 2014

Bellevue City Council Lacks Credibility

The Bellevue Reporter article  “Bellevue crafting opposition letter to Sound Transit” is another example of  Bellevue City Council's lack of credibility.  It doesn’t take "crafting opposition letter" for the council to insist ST locate the maintenance yard elsewhere if they want approval of the 10 permits needed for East Link.

Another example is Deputy Mayor Wallace’s claim it “wasn’t part of the memorandum of understanding in 2011”.  The Bel Red locations were included in the 2008 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).   Its difficult to believe the council wasn’t aware of Sound Transit plans, particularly since Mayor Balducci was also on the Sound Transit Board. 

Even more dubious is the council’s belief that East Link without the maintenance yard will attract development to Bel Red.  They required ST develop extensive plans to “mitigate” light rail noise for properties along the route into Bellevue.   (ST has been forced to “sound proof” homes more than 300 ft from their Central Link tracks.)  Yet, ST makes no attempt to mitigate noise in the Bel Rel area even though parts of the route will be elevated likely exacerbating the problem.   It’s difficult to believe noisy light rail trains trundling through every 4-5 minutes for 20 hours a day will be a “magnet”.

In conclusion, even if the council succeeds in relocating the maintenance yard, South Lake Union streetcars would be a far better way to meet  Bel Red transit needs (see 5/25/14 post).  (520 is a far better route for Seattle's "Microsoft Commuters".)  The council’s failure to even consider that option is another reason they’ve been inducted into the Light Rail Hall of Shame.

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