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.

Friday, July 24, 2015

BRT Reduces East Side Congestion and More

On July 22nd I emailed the below to the Bellevue Reporter in hopes they might print it to support my claim in the 7/17 “letter to the editor” that two-way BRT on I-90 center roadway was the only way to ease areas congestion.  It also details other benefits.  They didn't.  I also sent it to the Bellevue City Council in an attempt to dissuade them from approving East Link permits.  While the BR may use it at a later date, the BCC July 27 meeting agenda includes more details of their MOU agreements with Sound Transit, “suggesting” they’re plans to proceed to final East Link approval.  I decided to post it as an example of what the BCC continues to ignore.

BRT Reduces East Side Congestion and More,
The way to reduce congestion in our area is for Sound Transit to expedite their long planned 4th lane additions to the I-90 Bridge outer roadways for non-transit HOV and initiate two way bus rapid transit (BRT) on the bridge center roadway.  The center roadway lanes would each accommodate more than 1000 buses an hour, with far more transit capacity than what's needed to reduce the area's congestion

Access to this capacity could be achieved by dramatically increasing parking along the entire I-90 corridor.  Existing P&R lots could be expanded and new ones added, presumably at less cost than  additional parking in Seattle or downtown Bellevue.  Each P&R would have dedicated bus routes not only into Seattle, but to Bellevue and Overlake T/Cs.  Thousands of commuters would be able to leave their cars near where they live reducing congestion throughout the east side.

Reduced congestion is only one of the benefits.  BRT would eliminate the need to close the South Bellevue P&R next March.  The added parking further east would eliminate the need to expand the existing capacity and BRT wouldn’t need the massive light rail station.  (The fact Sound Transit has no viable plan to accommodate those who currently use the P&R makes it even more “beneficial”)

While initiating BRT would necessitate some temporary disruptions to I-90 center roadway, East Link would shut it down for 6 to 7 years.   BRT would eliminate the outer roadway congestion that will inevitably result from center roadway closure, even with the added 4th lanes. 

BRT would eliminate the need for Sound Transit to disrupt those who live or commute along the route into Bellevue during the 5-6 years required for construction.  There would be no need to devastate a tree-lined boulevard to construct light rail tracks, high voltage power lines and an elevated roadway.

Downtown Bellevue would be spared the disruption from light rail construction and there would be no need to pay $100M to fund a tunnel.  Cross-lake BRT would end Sound Transit’s plan for a huge maintenance facility in Bel-Red and allow far less intrusive and more accessible “South Lake Union” streetcars providing an attractive “urban village” ambience to the area.

Again, this can all be done, but time is running short.

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