I presented the following to the Bellevue City Council at their 1/11/15 meeting. I’m cautiously optimistic the Stokes led council will be more receptive to concerns about the devastating effect of East Link. While the closure delay will not stop it, it will at least delay the loss of P&R access until the ST3 vote this fall. I’m hopeful voters will recognize the utter futility of giving Sound Transit an additional $1B annually to "fix" the area's transportation debacle. The loss of funds would likely force ST to “reconsider” the financial viability not only of East Link, but all of the Prop 1 extensions.
Delay South Bellevue P&R Closure.
I’m here tonight because of Sound Transit plans to close the South Bellevue P&R in early March. Both Bellevue and Sound Transit recognized the devastating effect of the closure on transit commuters who used any P&R on the east side with the following provision in their joint MOU:
At least 60 days prior to the closure Sound Transit will identify and implement alternate parking and transit access for the commuters who utilize the existing park and ride in consultation with the Transportation Department Director and King County Metro.
The last public discussion about the closure was nearly a year ago at a February 9th council presentation. It listed the following 4 reasons for the closure:
1. Site preparation
2. Build the garage and guide way station
3. Complete the garage and station finishes
4. Add systems which include the electrical and safety components of the garage
They talked in general terms about their “replacement strategy” including maximizing existing park and rides, leasing 500 parking spots elsewhere, and modifying existing bus routes to accommodate replacement parking. More details were promised later.
I don’t recall seeing Sound Transit doing so. Instead, typical of Sound Transit, they’ve lied. The March closure has nothing to do with building the P&R. It isn’t needed until 2023. It can’t possibly take more than two years to create a garage and guide way station. It’s all about using the P&R for their construction equipment. Apparently they believe the large parking area near the Humane Society they’re currently using for at least part of their equipment is “less convenient”.
The council has an obligation to give Sound Transit the choice of either satisfying the requirements of the MOU or delaying P&R closure until at least 2020. At least that way commuters will have only a two-year problem rather than 5 or 6 years with a March closure. Anyone on the east side who uses a P&R will pay a heavy price if you don’t.