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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Shoreline Hearings Board Appeal Should Stop East Link

On April 27th the Shoreline Hearings Board is scheduled to begin Primary Hearings of case number S14-025 filed by Dr. Don Davidson et al. “Appeal of Shoreline Development Permit and Variance issued by the City of Bellevue for construction of East Link light rail extension”.

It should be an easy case for the board to decide. Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act precludes approval of a transportation project that adversely affects waterfowl and wildlife refuges unless the impact is de minimis.  Surely the Mercer Slough Natural Park falls into that category.

The Sound Transit response to that requirement is included in the East Link Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact (SDEIS) document they submitted to the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway Administration.  The FTA and FHA used that document as the basis for their approval via Record of Decision (ROD) later that year. Chapter 3, "Environmental Consequences" included the following regarding the current light rail route into Bellevue:

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.    

Sound Transit presumably used that same document to demonstrate compliance with the State environmental Policy Act (SEPA).  Given these inputs about lack of light rail noise impact, its no surprise the FTA, FHA, and SEPA all agreed East Link would comply with federal environmental law (and presumably similar state law). 

Apparently all three organizations neglected to consider Appendix G in the SDEIS.  It goes into explicit detail about all the mitigation efforts for all the properties along Bellevue Way and 112th Ave. They include:

1) Sound Wall on structure    
2) Sound wall on west side of tracks (up to 12 ft high)
3) Sound insulation, if required

Surely the millions Sound Transit is promising to spend shielding homes across a major roadway and hundreds of feet away from tracks belies their claim light rail noise impact on Mercer Slough would be de minimis. Thus, it should be an easy case to convince the Shoreline Hearings Board to disallow the East Link Shoreline Development Permit. 

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