(Since the media has ignored my previous emails concerning my County Executive Candidacy I decided to do so “publicly” with the below presentation to the Bellevue City Council during the “public comment” period prior to their April 24th meeting)
Dear Bellevue city Council,
My name is Bill Hirt and I live at 2615 170th SE. I’m here tonight to announce my candidacy for King County Executive. I do so with no expectation or desire to win and will not ask for nor accept any financial support. I’m doing so because the council has failed to represent the best interests of the entire eastside with its slavish support of Sound Transit’s policies.
Your decision not to require ST comply with your MOU means countless commuters will lose access to transit when they close the South Bellevue and Overlake P&R. You rewrote the land use code requirements allowing them to begin ripping out hundreds of trees along the route into Bellevue. They’ll spend the next several years creating an ambiance-destroying elevated roadway with light rail tracks and high voltage power lines along what was a tree-lined boulevard. Meanwhile they’ll permanently close the I-90 Bridge center roadway without demonstrating the outer roadway lanes can accommodate cross-lake vehicle traffic. A sure recipe for inevitable gridlock,
It could have been avoided. You could’ve used the permitting process to require ST comply with the Revised Code of Washington by considering BRT on the I-90 Bridge center roadway. By now BRT could have been operating for years providing 10 times East Link capacity at 1/10th the cost. You even allowed them to delay adding 4th lanes on outer roadways forcing cross-lake commuters from both sides of the lake to endure years of needless congestion.
Instead ST will spend 6 years and $3.6 billion creating East Link. At best it will reduce I-90 Bridge traffic from 160,000 to 159,500 vehicles daily. Those years and billions will do absolutely nothing to ease the miles-long congestion I-90 corridor commuters already face. When East Link does begin operation the vast majority of commuters won’t even have access. Instead they’ll be forced to choose between very expensive HOT fees on HOV lanes or gridlock on GP lanes. You even helped pass ST3 forcing eastside residents to spend thousands more on transit that will do nothing to help cross-lake commuters.
It’s only fitting I announce my candidacy to the council whose complicity enabled this debacle. While it’s unlikely to change ST plans, residents will be alerted to what’s coming and that it could have been avoided.