The previous post was presented to the Bellevue City Council at their 2/09/15 meeting. It detailed my concerns that Sound Transit mendacity, regarding the East Link impact on the Mercer Slough Natural Park, made a mockery of the entire environmental review process and their implementation of light rail on I-90 will result in total gridlock for cross lake commuters. As the post mentions, both the BCC and ST simply ignored my concerns in the video of the proceedings I viewed the next day.
Once they did get beyond all the platitudes about the “out reach efforts” the video finally hit on an item that should be of concern to any cross-lake commuter. While they’re not closing the I-90 center roadway until 2017, they plan to close the South Bellevue P&R next March. The P&R has nominally 519 spaces but commuters use parking around the periphery for an additional 200 spaces, all of which are full by 7:30 AM. During the peak commute an ST550 bus stops to pick up riders every 5 minutes. The P&R also provides access to ST555, ST556 and ST560. It, along with the East Gate P&R provide the major access to transit for I-90 corridor commuters; the ST550 route having more riders than any other ST route.
One would have thought ST would have well developed plans for accommodating the thousands of commuters when they close the P&R in 13 months. I can only suggest anyone who uses these routes for their commute view the video to see the status of ST plans to accommodate them. (It starts at 03:04 on the video where it appears the vast majority of the audience has left.) They start out by explaining “why we need to a replacement parking strategy" and the goals and their “strategy” to “maximize existing park & rides”.
Their preferred alternative “existing P&R” was for I-90 commuters to drive to South Kirkland P&R. Typical of the council, no one seemed to recognize the total insanity of forcing cross-lake commuters to join the already mile long line of I-90 corridor commuters attempting to get on a crowded I-405 and drive to South Kirkland to get on a bus into Seattle. The ST suggestion they could ride a 520 bus to the University light rail station to connect with Central Link ignores the fact that, in another example of blatant incompetency, ST chose not to locate a T/C near the UW station, making any transfer "problematic".
Their other general comment was they intended to use multiple small “Satellite P&Rs” to replace South Bellevue. No mention was made of how they intended to route buses to all of these “Satellite P&Rs” and what that would do to commute times. To be fair Mayor Balducci attempted to get some clarification of these “details” with vague promises of results. The fact ST has spent millions detailing station designs that aren’t needed until 2023 but can’t tell commuters where they will catch a bus in 13 months is another example of their monumental incompetence.
The BCC needs to recognize ST will never have an adequate plan for replacing the P&R. The resulting chaos from closure in 2016 for transit commuters will simply be a precursor to the disruption that awaits the entire area when they close the center roadway in 2017 and begin 6 years devastating the route into Bellevue. All to create a light rail system with the capacity equivalent to a single 74-seat light rail car every two minutes, a far cry from current transit demand, let alone any future growth. It's way past time for the council to end this debacle, rescind the permits.