(I presented the following to the BCC Jan 26th meeting Sound Transit attended to update plans for mitigating light rail noise. My impression was both the BCC and ST were immune to the realities of East Link debacle. For example ST officials later told the council they intended to acquire up to 91 properties along 112th, presumably for noise concerns. Yet not one bothered to ask about this noise impact on Mercer Slough Park)
Why BCC Should Rescind Shoreline Permit Approval
My name is Bill Hirt and I am here tonight to again object to your approval of Sound Transit’s Shoreline permit. Typical of ST, their permit application begins with two fallacious “findings”.
The first is the claim “Regional Light Rail Transport is an essential public facility”. East Link will provide at most, one 4-car train every 8 minutes, or 30 light rail cars an hour. No one can rationally argue what amounts to a single 74-seat car every 2 minutes, constitutes an essential public facility.
The second is the claim “East Link will bring long-term economic gain and environmental benefit to the City and the region by improving access to transit and transportation facilities”. East Link will provide less cross-lake capacity than what’s currently available with buses. Access to this limited capacity will be a nightmare with ST plans to force thousands of commuters to transfer from East Gate buses to light rail at the South Bellevue station.
Even these fabrications pale in comparison with the mendacity in their next finding, “No long-term adverse effects on the shoreline are anticipated.” They presumably base that “finding” on two claims in their Supplemental DEIS.
1) Preferred Alternative B2M would not impact noise levels in the park.
2) Preferred Alternative B2M would not substantially affect park use, the park’s features, activities, and attributes, or diminish the park’s value.
Yet Appendix G of the same document identifies homes on the west side of Bellevue Way that require “Sound walls on their structure”. Along 112th” they plan to install a “Sound wall on the west side of the tracks”. ST is basing their Shoreline permit application on the totally absurd claim light rail noise, sufficient to require shielding homes on the other side of a major roadway hundreds of feet away, will have no impact on the quiet solitude of the Mercer Slough park.
In 2008, the ST DEIS concluded federal environmental law stipulated approval of any transportation project required it have a de minimis effect on the Mercer Slough Park. In 2010, their noise mitigation efforts in the SDEIS demonstrated, despite claims to the contrary, East Link noise would surely violate that requirement. The bottom line is ST has spent nearly a billion dollars on a light rail program they’ve known for years will violate federal environmental law. It’s time for the council to justify the trust of those who elected them by rescinding approval of the Shoreline permit application and end this debacle.