I intended to present the following at the 11/28/16 Bellevue City Councill meeting. Unfortunately others had a higher priority for the 30-minute public comment period so I was unable to do so.
Bellevue City Council “Ignorance or Deception?”
Alexander Hamilton once said about those who opposed the Jay treaty with Britain “If we suppose them sincere, we must often pity their ignorance: if insincere, we must abhor the spirit of deception which it betrays”. I’m here tonight to question whether it was council ignorance or deception that has resulted in East Link light rail for our area.
For example, was it council ignorance or deception they didn’t recognize Sound Transit had made a major blunder when they neglected to consider BRT for the I-90 Bridge. That Sound Transit’s claim East Link was the equivalent of 10 lanes of freeway was belied by its one 4-car-train-every 8-min operating schedule. That rather than the promised 60% increase in cross-lake transit capacity East Link will have about half the current bus capacity. That East Link will do absolutely nothing to reduce the congestion along the I-90 corridor and its confiscation of the center roadway will inevitably lead to gridlock on the bridge outer roadways.
Was it ignorance or deception the council made light rail “permitable” when they rejected their staff recommendation that the revised land use code require "light rail minimize environmental and neighborhood impacts and not be contrary to the best interests of the citizens and property owners of the City of Bellevue". That the council approved Sound Transit Shoreline Permits apparently agreeing light rail noise would have no impact on the Mercer Slough Park despite the fact the council insisted they spend millions on noise barriers for properties across a major roadway and hundreds of feet away. That doing so made a mockery of environmental law and will end the quiet solitude of the park.
The Fall/Winter edition of the "Bellevue, It’s your City” newsletter, described how Sound Transit will close the South Bellevue P&R and begin construction along Bellevue Way. Was it ignorance or deception the council allowed Sound Transit to ignore their MOU agreement to provide replacement parking and connecting bus routes for those using the P&R. That, despite “a traffic committee’s proposed mitigation tools”, the planned roadway closures for construction will create a nightmare for those who live in or commute in the area.
The bottom line is next year Sound Transit’s closure of the South Bellevue P&R will end many commuters access to transit at their P&R, their construction along Bellevue Way will end Bellevue’s persona as the “city in the park”, and their closure of the I-90 Bridge center roadway will lead to frequent gridlock on the outer bridge roadways. That, adding "salt to the wound", the WSDOT will likely use the congestion to justify HOT and +3HOV for the 4th lanes Sound Transit has finally added.
There wouldn't be an East Link if the council had rejected any of the ten permits Sound Transit needed for construction. Whether their decision not to do so was the result of ignorance or deception, the entire area will pay a heavy price.