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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

East Link Without the "Link"

The 4/19/15 post identified three major deficiencies with the Sound Transit/Bellevue City Council “Memorandum of Understanding”.  They included the lack of viable alternative parking for commuters who use the South Bellevue P&R, the impact of light rail noise on Mercer Slough Park, and concern over the lack of East Link capacity and potential limitations because of I-90 bridge/light rail compatibility problems.

The final MOU agreement ignored these concerns.  However, the 4/20/15 council meeting finalizing the Bellevue agreement had an “interesting” question by council member Robertson as to what happens if Sound Transit is “unable to install light rail across I-90”.    Her question was presumably prompted by the fact that ST seemed “less confident” about their ability to be the first to “install light rail on a floating bridge”.

The Jan 16th ST presentation to the council showed they still had not finalized the I-90 bridge design.  However, Mr. Lewis, the East Link director, explained they had done a risk assessment and expressed confidence the final design would be acceptable.  At the Feb 9th meeting he “corrected” his earlier statement saying they had done a “qualitative but not quantitative” assessment.  He promised to complete the risk assessment by the “end of the month”.   The fact that Robertson chose to ask the question more than 2 months later “suggests” a lack of confidence with ST ability to address concerns dating back to 2008.

The response to her question was that “possibility” was dealt with in Attachment or Appendix C, which wasn’t “readily available”.  However the implication was Bellevue and Sound Transit would still use the MOU as the basis for light rail on the east side.  While eliminating the “Link” in East Link would eliminate the I-90 gridlock from lack of light rail cross-lake capacity, spending up to $2 B devastating the route into Bellevue to create a noisy light rail system connecting Overlake and South Bellevue P&R is beyond absurd. 

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