[UPDATE 7:30pm: We were just contacted by John Chelminiak, a city councilmember who let us know that no formal votes were cast regarding a preferred B segment. Instead, the council was merely unanimous in agreeing to further study of a B7 modified segment. A vote, however, will be taken on January 25th to authorize Mayor Davidson to draft a letter to Sound Transit requesting the study and for the segment to be included in the Supplemental EIS.
So no, the council did not choose or favor a particular segment. I've changed the title and the story in accordance with that. Publicola has more reporting.]
Last night, the Bellevue City Council had a regular study session discussing the B segment of East Link. As we’ve hinted before, the council was apt to change their preferred alternative from B3 modified, and as was expected, it looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Commenter Mike Skehan posted a short update following the session last night in our notification thread:
Update: Bellevue council 7-0 in favor of B7 modified (S. Bellevue P/R, then cross Mercer Slough to BNSF ROW). Letter being drafted to ST to that effect.
A B7 modified route appears to be a compromise alignment between the original B3 and B7 routes. As Mike said, the route would serve South Bellevue, but would have to cross Mercer Slough to meet up with the BNSF tracks, leaving a big question about the potential environmental impacts.
While none of the blog staff were able to show up at last night’s meeting, we’re asking any commenters who attended to report on the session. For my part, I was able to catch a few public comments off the live stream near the end. Most B7 supporters largely constituted a Surrey Downs neighborhood committee, which has been attempting to push light rail far away, even more so than the compromise alternative the council picked last year (which would curve around the neighborhood). However, there were also a few comments speaking out against B7 from residents living near the BNSF right-of-way and from Enatai commuters.
These next few months will bring a barrage of East Link relevant meetings, some more important than others. We will be reporting on the dates soon and a potential meet-up in Bellevue.