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.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dear Bellevue City Council

(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.

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