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, July 30, 2014

The Human Face of the East Link Debacle

The 7/27/14 post detailed the financial debacle of Sound Transit’s $285 Million operating deficit from East Link operation.  This post is an attempt to show why East Link will “change” forever the lives of eastside commuters.

It was prompted by my impressions during a recent bus ride into Seattle to see the Seattle Art Museum’s “Modernism in the Pacific Northwest” exhibition. (I thought it was great).  I caught the 9:13 AM Metro 212 bus at the Eastgate Freeway Station.   It was an articulated hybrid electric bus that was already “standing room only” before at least 10 of us got on.  (I must be getting old because someone offered me their seat—which I declined)  

My guess is there were around 90 riders, even though it was not considered a “peak commute” route.  The bus made several stops along the route but still took less than 20 minutes to reach my 4th and Seneca destination.   What struck me was the lives of those riding that bus will change forever with East Link. 

The M212 bus didn’t even stop on Mercer Island, yet when East Link begins operation, the route will be terminated at either the South Bellevue or Mercer Island light rail stations.  What was a 20 minute commute into Seattle will instead be 90 riders forced to get out at one of the two stations and wait to get on a light rail train.   Those riding on routes that end on Mercer Island will have a particularly difficult time since light rail trains will likely be full well before they get there. 

What was an easy commute will be a transportation nightmare for many.  Some will be forced to endure the transfer since driving into Seattle and finding parking will be prohibitively expensive.   All this from a nearly $3 billion East Link light rail system ST promised voters would increase cross-lake capacity by 60%. 

I challenge the Sound Transit board members and all those either actively supporting if not quietly acquiescing to East Link ride M212 and see those whose lives will be devastated by these policies.  They're one of the reasons I chose to run.

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