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, June 23, 2015

Why I'm A Candidate

I read the following to the Seattle Times Editorial Board at their “recommendation interview” for the Bellevue City Council Pos 7.  They appeared interested though didn’t ask any follow-up questions.  I was later contacted and agreed to meet with another Times reporter which could be promising.

Why I’m A Candidate,
I’m running to use my candidacy for the Bellevue City Council to make people aware that the East Link the council is about to approve will devastate the route into Bellevue, forever changing the “City in the Park”.  It begins next March with the closure of the South Bellevue P&R ending easy access to transit for thousands of commuters.

A year later, ST closure of the center roadway to begin installing light rail tracks will increase congestion for all commuters from both sides of the lake.   ST will spend the next several years disrupting those who live or commute along the route into Bellevue.  Doing so will involve ripping out hundreds of trees, installing light rail tracks and power lines and an elevated roadway on what was a scenic tree-lined boulevard. 

What’s worse is that after years of disruption and increased congestion, East Link operation will require thousands of those who commute by bus to switch to light rail trains that will never have the capacity needed to accommodate them.  The fact that light rail operating costs will far exceed any fare-box revenue requiring a huge subsidy to cover the shortfall adds to the insanity.

The only way to meet cross-lake demand is to move non-transit HOV to 4th lanes on the I-90 Bridge outer roadway and initiate two-way bus only (BRT) on center roadway.  They could do that in 6 months for a few million and avoid the devastation to Bellevue.  They could make Bel Red area a magnet for development with South-Lake-Union types of streetcars circling through the area with connections to Bellevue T/C.  

If the council allows East Link to proceed, the 6 years of construction and subsequent light rail operation will very quickly be recognized as an historic blunder.

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