I submitted the below “Letter” to the Bellevue Reporter in hopes of informing the area’s readers more about Sound Transit. This morning I noticed they chose to ignore it so decided to post it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since they have also ignored my candidacy for King County Executive
The June 9th opinion page letter “Sound Transit has done nothing to address parking crisis” reflects only the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to Sound Transit’s failure to address east side commuting concerns. The recent increased cross lake travel times with the closure of the I-90 Bridge center roadway are clear indication the 4th lanes Sound Transit added to the bridge outer roadways don’t have the capacity to make up for the loss of the two center roadway lanes.
For example, the June 8th, 8:10am travel times between Issaquah to Seattle increased from 30 to 46 minutes, June 12th, 7:10am travel times between Bellevue and Seattle increased from 15-24 minutes. Both are a clear indication Sound Transit should not have ignored a 2004 FHWA ROD conclusion the center roadways were still needed for vehicles with the R-8A configuration that added HOV lanes on outer roadways.
The current increased travel times are only the beginning. Sound Transit claimed East Link was needed because “transit demand across Lake Washington is expected to double in the next thirty years”. Yet East Link, which will only provide at most one 4-car train every 8 minutes, can’t accommodate current peak transit demand let alone future growth.
Sound Transit plans to use East Link to reduce cross-lake congestion by replacing buses with light rail for the commute into Seattle. However, during peak commute, its limited capacity can only accommodate riders from about 50 buses an hour. Even that reduction will be limited to the HOV lanes rather than the far more congested GP lanes. In fact, East Link operation may increase GP lane congestion since bus riders may decide to drive rather than ride to avoid the hassle of transferring to and from light rail
In conclusion, East Link capacity is never going to increase, so outer roadways must have the capacity to accommodate future growth. Sound Transit needs to delay their plans to start light rail construction until an independent assessment assures outer roadway lanes have sufficient capacity. They surely have no reason to object since it was their delay in completing the 4th lanes that prevented an earlier demonstration.