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, December 10, 2014

Joint Transportation Committee Presentation

(I had hoped to present the following to the Joint Transportation Committee at the Dec 11 meeting.  I decided to post it since they "declined" my offer yesterday.)

Joint Transportation Committee.
I recently sent you an email urging you use the upcoming legislative session to commission an Independent Review Team (IRT) to evaluate the efficacy of Sound Transit plans for easing the area’s congestion problems.  However, it really shouldn’t take an IRT study to conclude ST plans for light rail are not the answer and that any delay in reaching that conclusion wastes additional millions on fatally flawed light rail extensions.  

For example the I-90 bridge center roadway could be divided into inbound and outbound bus rapid transit lanes (BRT) with capacity for up to 1200 buses per hour.  A 70-foot articulated bus can accommodate 119 riders.  East Link will provide one 4-car train every 8 minutes.  The PSRC limits each 74-seat car to 148 riders although ST claims 200.  BRT is the only way to meet ST DEIS projection “transit demand across Lake Washington is expected to double in the next 30 years.”

The BRT lanes could provide every eastside P&R with direct bus connections into dedicated drop off locations in Seattle.  Each bus could reduce the number of cars on eastside highways by 119.  East Link will do nothing to relieve I-90 and SR-405 congestion since the only access to I-90 corridor riders will be the South Bellevue and Mercer Island P&R lots.  Both of which are already full by 7:30.  

East Link closure of center roadway will increase outer roadway vehicle congestion, inevitably leading to future gridlock. East Link construction will devastate the route into Bellevue and force closure of the P&R with no viable alternatives for commuters.  East Link operation will result in noisy light rail trains trundling through the area for 20 hours a day.  The ST plan for a Maintenance yard in Bel Red  will add additional hours of noise from empty trains traveling to and from yard. 

Stopping East Link would be a “no-brainer” in retired Boeing Engineers parlance.  Use the East Link funds for a light rail connection to West Seattle.  The extension needn’t affect surface traffic and the 5-6 mile extension would be far less expensive to operate than the 22-mile East Link extension.

The Central Link extensions are flawed because the billions spend will do nothing to increase the capacity of I-5 and light rail operating expenses over the longer tracks will bankrupt the area’s transportation funding.  The way to reduce I-5 congestion is to attract more commuters to buses.  Again a single bus can reduce the number of cars on I-5 and in downtown Seattle by 119. 

An HOV lane can accommodate up to 5000 vehicles an hour.  If 200 of them were added buses I-5 traffic (and downtown congestion) could be reduced by more than 20,000 cars per hour.  Central Link extensions will never have that capacity and will primarily replace existing bus routes.  Reducing the number of buses on I-5 will do absolutely nothing to ease congestion.

Again, it should be a “no-brainer” to use Central Link money to add a T/C near University Station for 520 commuters and to add P&R lots and more buses to existing and new bus routes throughout the area.  It shouldn't take an IRT study for the JTC to determine that ST should be stopped.

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