[This is a live-blogging post from Bellevue City Hall. Keep refreshing for continued updates.]
5:57pm: I’m at the Bellevue City Council extended study session for tonight’s decision on the B segment of East Link. Thank goodness there’s wi-fi. Turnout is mediocre. So far, I don’t recognize any attendees from our meet-up, but I may be wrong.
5:59pm: Conrad Lee, deputy mayor, opens the executive session.
6:02pm: There’s pending litigation items, so the meeting won’t start for another 30 minutes. Check back soon.
6:05pm: Surrey Downs is, by far, showing the largest contingency. Martin Paquette, an Enatai resident who has spoken out against B7 in the past, has joined me.
6:26pm: I’m now hearing that representatives from Surrey Downs are giving some kind of a presentation on B7. That would explain the extraordinarily disproportionate representation of residents we see.
6:36pm: The Council is still in executive session. Things should be telecast on BTV, so check the link in the post below.
6:41pm: The council is finished with executive session and has entered the conference room. Whether we move to the main council chamber for comments remains to be seen.
More below the jump.
Tonight will play host to a very important meeting, when the Bellevue city council is expected to make its pick for the B segment. We’ve repeated again and again that the reconsideration of its preferred alternative of B3 modified made last year will possibly change to B7. We’ve also endorsed the B3S alignment over B7/BNSF, an alternative we feel the city has no business changing its mind about, simply because a few council seats changed.
For anyone (South Bellevue residents in particular!) who is available tonight from 6-10pm, we’d urge you to attend this meeting. Comments will be at the held at the beginning of the extended study session, so if you want to speak up, tardiness will not be in your favor. The meeting will be held at Bellevue City Hall in the Council Conference Room.
Comments can also be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org. A live feed of the meeting will likely be up at BTV.
For those speaking out in favor of B3, I have a list of talking points that has been graciously forwarded to us from TCC:
- Bellevue City council has already picked a preferred alternative – B3. This decision was made a year ago and no new ridership or environmental data has emerged since then that requires a reconsideration of this alternative. Tax dollars have already been spent to study this alternative and move forward with planning. In this tough economic environment, it is wasteful for the council to continue to spend tax dollars despite a decision being reached. Planning decisions should not be politically motivated. They should be based on sound planning and evaluation criteria as well as public benefit. The city’s long term interests and viability should be the top priority.
- Light rail is being built to serve the neighborhoods of Bellevue. It is an asset to our community and will give residents new transportation options. Light rail should serve the most number of transit users and the B3 alignment accomplishes that purpose.
- The South Bellevue Park and Ride is an important transit node and failing to serve this node is a disservice to the residents of Bellevue. The expanded park and ride would accommodate 1475 spaces – a tripling of current capacity. A park and ride at 118thwould accommodate 1000 spaces. How are we going to handle the loss of capacity? Will the additional drivers be forced to drive and further clog up our highways?
- A significant proportion riders at the South Bellevue Park and Ride use the 550 bus service (Sound Transit’s best performing transit service) to downtown Seattle to commute. How will these riders be served if light rail is relocated to the BNSF corridor? Plans for the 550 service to be eliminated once light rail becomes operational will leave these transit riders stranded.
We reported a few weeks ago that King County was forming a transit task force to look at Metro’s policies, in particular the weights to which it assigns various objectives such as ridership, reduction in vehicle miles traveled, congestion relief, serving transit-dependent populations, and so on. County Executive Constantine just released his appointments for the task force’s 28 members:
The geographically balanced 28-member task force includes a mix of elected officials and representatives of business, labor, education, and human service agencies, along with riders…
The task force is being asked to develop policy options for discussion by July and to adopt final policy recommendations by September 2010.
Aside from six municipal politicians, the most recognizable names are probably Rob Johnson of the Transportation Choices Coalition, Chuck Ayers of the Cascade Bicycle Club, and the P-I’s “Bus Chick”, Carla Saulter.
People interested in repealing 40/40/20 will be interested to know that there are 18 slots identified by subarea, with 6 appointees from each. However, Constantine claims that “I deliberately sought a group of people who are willing to put aside political divisions and think creatively about how to plan a transit system that will serve us well in the future,” which I believe is code for being willing to replace the infamous formula with something based on other metrics.
The proposed appointments will go through a Council committee (Environment & Transportation) tomorrow and should go before the full Council next Monday, March 1st.
The Community Transit Board is holding a workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 24th, to discuss the proposed local fare increase and sweeping 15% service cuts, in advance of a decision March 4th.
The Community Transit Board of Directors will have a workshop from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the agency’s Board Room, 7100 Hardeson Road, Everett (accessible by Everett Transit Route 8).