Andrew’s already pointed to all the great new information on East Link, but I’d just like to come out against the “B7” (I-405) alignment in South Bellevue. There’s going to be a lot of fear of traffic, noise, and disruption among residents living near the existing S. Bellevue Park and Ride. The path of least resistance, certainly, will be to shove the line out to the highway. That’s a bad idea for several reasons:
- Ridership projections and cost per rider are worse by a factor of 5.
- The bus connections for I-90 routes will be much better along Bellevue Way. When there’s an accident on I-90, it’ll be great to have an efficient way to connect to the train from Eastgate or Issaquah. Depending on how the travel times work out, it may very well be that it makes more sense to terminate the 554 at South Bellevue. In any case, a stop near Wilburton won’t be nearly as efficient, not least because of how hard it is to get on I-405 from I-90.
- The road disruption won’t be all that bad. MLK, which was a massive job, finished up in less than two years in front of my development. Traffic flowed pretty well throughout that time.
- In the long run, being close to the light rail will increase property values in that neighborhood.
- It’s true that it might attract more traffic, but any amenity that makes a neighborhood a better place increases traffic. At least light rail provides an alternative to sitting in that traffic.
- Link is really, really quiet.
Not only do I think the residents are operating from a misperception of their self-interest, but when you consider the broader region, the B7 alternative is by far the worst.
I think the public meetings are going to have a lot of this NIMBY sentiment, so I hope Sound Transit comes armed with data about property values, a sound recording of an operating LINK train, and some other examples of why residents’ worst fears are unfounded. If you live or work nearby, they also probably won’t mind your support.