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, February 18, 2015

I-90 Center Roadway Closure Debacle

The previous post explained how anyone who viewed the video of the Sound Transit Feb 9th presentation to the Bellevue City Council concerning their plans for replacing the South Bellevue P&R they plan to close next March will realize ST has no idea as to how to viably do so; something the council failed to recognize. 

As a result hundreds of cross-lake commuters will be faced with a choice of trying to arrive very early at the Issaquah, East Gate, or Mercer Island P&R lots or join those who arrive too late to find parking and are forced to drive into Seattle and find potentially very expensive parking there.  (It’s hardly worth mentioning the loss in fare box revenue from those unable to find access to ST550, their most lucrative route, along with ST555, 556, and 560.) 

The most likely result will be hundreds of additional cars carrying former transit riders adding to the I-90 bridge congestion.  That increased congestion is just a precursor of the problems with ST’s next stage in the East Link debacle: closure of the I-90 center roadway in 2017.  (Many of those I talk to still don’t recognize that reality)

By then, they will have finally added 4th lanes to the outer roadways, something they could have done 15 years ago.   This is the so-called R-8A configuration they told a judge would make up for the loss of the two center roadway lanes.   Typical of ST, they lied.   The FHA I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations Project, Record of Decision, Sept 2004, they claimed allowed closing the center roadway included the following description of the R-8A:

Alternative R-8A will provide HOV lanes on the outer roadways.  It will retain the existing reversible operations on the center roadway, with both lanes operating in the same direction.     

The bottom line is that while the South Bellevue P&R debacle will affect I-90 corridor transit riders who currently use P&R lots in the area, closure of the center roadway will affect all cross-lake commuters.  Even those who manage to find access to buses will find increased commute times because of lack of capacity on the single HOV lanes to accommodate both buses and car pools.  The likely result will be 3+ riders required for HOV lane exacerbating the already increased congestion from former transit riders.

What’s amazing, believe it or not, it gets worse.  Stay tuned!

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