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.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sound Transit Board - Oblivious to 1-90 Reality

The previous post on this blog opined the Sound Transit Board was apparently oblivious to the realities of congestion on the I-5.  Their ST3 proposal to add a second tunnel and set of light rail tracts to Everett is "belated recognition" of the lack of Central Link capacity (either 8880 riders per hour (RPH) or PSRC or the 12,000 RPH per "somebody").

However, they still intend to spend billions extending Central Link to Everett.  They may or may not have recognized the need to spend hundreds of millions adding P&R lots with bus connections to light rail stations to provided access to the added capacity.  If they had, they "might" have recognized they could save billions on light rail construction by simply routing buses directly into Seattle rather than light rail stations.

The Board's approach to using light rail on the I-90 Bridge center roadway for cross-lake public transit is another example of being oblivious to reality.  East Link has half the capacity of Central Link.  If the 12,000 RHP Central Link capacity isn't sufficient for the extension to Everett, then 6,000 RPH is surely not sufficient to Mercer Island, Bellevue and beyond.

If Sound Transit insists on installing light rail across Lake Washington the only way to do so is another bridge.  Their recognition of the "reluctant support" for a second bridge is presumably what led to their proposal for a second light rail system between Totem Lake and Issaquah to appease voters.

The real absurdity of East Link is not only will it never have the capacity to meet cross lake requirements, it will preclude the only way to do so; namely two-way BRT on the I-90 Bridge center roadway.  Move the non-transit HOV traffic to the 4th lanes on the roadways and divide the center roadway into permanent inbound and outbound bus only lanes.  A bus only lane can easily accommodate more than 1,000 buses per hour with capacity far beyond foreseeable future transit needs.

Use light rail money to pay for the buses needed to take advantage of this capacity for thousands of additional commuters.  Provide access to the capacity by spending more of the money adding thousands of parking spaces at existing and new P&R lots.  Giving commuters the option of parking their car near where they live rather than where they work will ease congestion throughout the area.

In conclusion, commuters have already paid dearly for the Sound Transit Board failure to recognize some 15 years ago they could have moved non-transit HOV traffic to added 4th lanes on the the I-90 Bridge outer roadway and initiate BRT on center roadway.  The tragedy will be if Sound Transit remains oblivious to this reality and continues with their plan to close the center roadway in 2017 to install light rail.

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