(Another undoubtedly futile effort to influence the BCC)
Dear Bellevue City Council
My name is Bill Hirt and I live at 2615 170th Ave SE. Last time I was here I explained how East Link had already resulted in Sound Transit devastating 112th Ave and that next March their closure of the South Bellevue P&R will make it impossible for many commuters to use P&R lots for access to transit.
In 2017 ST will close the I-90 Bridge center roadway to begin light rail installation. The chart I’ve given you from a PSRC May 5 “Stuck in Traffic: 2015 Report” should be a warning as to the result. It shows that the large number of vehicles using the two HOV lanes have increased peak commute times between Everett and Seattle to 75 minutes in the morning and near 70 in the afternoon.
The council can assure that won’t happen on I-90 by making permit approval contingent on ST expediting the 4th lanes on the outer roadways and temporarily close the center roadway. If, as the I-5 data suggests, the resulting outer roadway congestion is excessive the FHWA will never allow ST to close the interstate highway’s center roadway. Instead, it could be divided into two-way, bus-only lanes with far more capacity than needed to meet foreseeable transit requirements.
However, if you neglect to do so, I-90 commuters will likely be forced to endure 6 years of increased travel times. When completed in 2023 East Link service will consist of one 4-car train every 8 minutes or thirty 74-seat light rail cars an hour. Thus it will be able to replace between 40 and 50 buses an hour on the outer roadway. Doing so raises two questions, “Does anyone believe the I-5 congestion is due to too many buses"? and "Will eliminating 40-50 buses an hour on I-90 outer roadways have the slightest impact on congestion"? ST must, they’re planning to spend untold billions on Central Link and $3.6B on East Link doing just that.
You can stop East Link by refusing to approve the permits until they demonstrate the outer roadway can accommodate all cross-lake vehicles. The entire east side may pay a heavy price if you don’t.