South Bellevue Construction - August 2008
I-405 in South Bellevue, photo by WSDOT

In a story that should surprise no one, some residents in South Bellevue are fighting to push East Link from the Bellevue Way alignment to the I-405 alignment. You can see the two alignments here. What is surprising is just how hard they are fighting: the Surrey Downs Community Club has had an East Link comittee for two years, and every East Link open house or Bellevue city council meeting on Eastlink is full of those folks.

The mean spirited part of me almost wants the alignment to be on Bellevue Way just to spite them, but even warming that part of my cold heart, it’s difficult to argue that the Bellevue way alignment isn’t the right one. The South Bellevue park-and-ride already a has 519 stall park-and-ride facility with bike racks and bike lockers, and has good connections with buses travelling on I-90. As the Times article points out, the I-405 alignment would put a station on 118th St, which is a two-lane street. Not just that, but the daily ridership of Eastlink with the 405 alignment would get 1,000 riders fewer a day than East Link with the Bellevue Way alignment. It’d be a shame if the NIMBYs got their way on this one.

82 Replies to “South Bellevue Battle Heating Up”

  1. ST updated Bellevue’s city council with some mitigation updates on B3 vs B7, to me it really sealed the deal for B3. Many of the Surrey people’s arguments against B3 have been absurd at best, uninformed at worst.

    The only city council member that actually rides ST wants B3…

    1. Personally I prefer B2E but B3 is far better than B7.

      I don’t get the people who want to see East link sneak it’s way to Overlake like a thief in the night along 90, 405, and 520. This turns Link into nothing more than a Microsoft shuttle and will only lead people to wonder why Microsoft isn’t paying for it.

      We only get one chance to do this. Lets do it right.

      1. I’m getting that sense, yes. B1 only connects to C1T which is the most expensive and disruptive downtown tunnel alignment and there is the further problem of widening Bellevue way between 112th SE and Main.

  2. One quote from a south Bellevue resident caught my eye. She said, “This is basically a new freeway carrying regional traffic out of and through our city. That kind of traffic needs to stay on the regional corridors, which is I-405 and I-90.”

    I can understand her point of view. Furthermore, this whole thing about NIMBYS. I think most people are NIMBYS, but don’t like to admit it. We like to point fingers and accuse others of being them, but know deep down that with the right issue, we’d be one too.

    How about the awful, intolerant people who live in Wallingford who cry NIMBY when concerts want to be held in Gas Works Park?

    1. Sam
      Speaking of pointing fingers and intolerance, perhaps you could just as well stop blaming those who choose not to live near their place of work and don’t try to portray yourself with your holier-than-thou comments.

    2. Uh, let’s not talk about Wallingford or Gas Works Park.

      But a light rail station will be built just blocks away from my current location in Capitol Hill and I’m very excited about it. No, not everyone is going to go all NIMBY over something like transit or wider streets or larger sidewalks or a park. A jail or a landfill, maybe.

      1. I think the vast majority of people on capitol hill aren’t NIMBY about it. Even with regards to noise, most people there would rather the construction just got over with rather than drag on for years, so there’s support for the all-night noise ordinance waiver.

    3. I wonder if that woman knows one of the busiest bus routes on the east side (550) runs right down Bellevue Way?

      Sure East Link will bring a bit more traffic to the South Bellevue P&R but it isn’t going to be the same as having 45,000 car trips through the neighborhood every day.

      The noise complaints are the ones I find the most funny. If Portland, Tacoma Link, or SLUT is anything to judge by, a light rail train makes less noise than a diesel bus.

  3. The ironic thing is, and this is a broad assumption, these NIMBY’s are probably the same folks who said LRT can’t match the capacity of more busses. And now they make the jump to saying that LRT will bring the people-moving capacity equivalent to a new freeway?!?

    When it opens they’ll probably love it and be within walking distance of the stations. boo-hoo

  4. Runnerrod, so you would not opposed an airport going in a couple of blocks away from your house? Or a railroad switching yard? Or a sewage plant? Or a garbage transfer station? Or a landfill? Or a WalMart? Everyone is a NIMBY about something.

    1. Sam

      1) If you are going to write my name out, take 2 seconds to write it correctly. Kind of a pet peeve.

      2) No I don’t want an aiport going in next to my house, or switching yard, or sewage plant, or garbage transfer station, or landfill, or Walmart…but Light Rail isnt that bad ;) nor is it as noisy or polluted as any of the other options (really not an Apples to Apples comparison). And yes I know everyone is a NIMBY to some extent. My intent was a light hearted jab at the folks who switch the basis’ of their argument to serve their activists’ needs at the present moment.

      3) Finally, if they really hate it that much they have at least a few years to move elsewhere, they will probably get a good price for their property.

    1. They can build as many stations as they want to near my house. In fact, I’ve been begging for 27 years for them to build stations near my house.

      1. Yea same here. Oh wait they are, I’m currently halfway between the Northgate and Roosevelt stations. Though to be honest I have no idea if I’ll still be in this location in 10 years.

        Still if I’m still in the Seattle area in the future, current and future Sound Transit stations are likely to have a big influence on where I choose to live.

    2. If they sent it up NE 8th and plopped a station at my front door, I’d hop on in a heartbeat. (might even change my commute from 230 Microsoft direct to 230–>Transit Center–>Link–>Microsoft just for the heck of it). It’s very tempting to buy a house (I’m sure the economy will stabilize by then) when station locations are finalized so I can wheel across the street to the Link station and ride on up to work in a few years

  5. I fear the alignment through Bellevue is going to be a struggle akin to what we had to go through with Link’s alignment through the Rainier Valley. Only this time, it is going to be with a much wealthier and more connected clientele. I am sure that Mr Kemper the developer will get on board. Perhaps, even Joe the Plumber would like to get involved – he usually likes to put an unknowledgeable spin on things I never agree with.

    On a serious note, however, I think there are probably good arguments for either alignment, so long as we can avoid getting pushed down the road of not doing anything because no one can agree. We need to get our eye on the fact that ST2 was voted into place last November and so the will of the voters needs to prevail on this issue and that will says that a majority of voters want Link on the eastside. Ipso facto, it has to go somewhere and through somewhere to get there. For those wanting to use Link to get to Bellevue, then Bellevue Way seems like a good choice and I am sure that something subtle can be arranged or built. For those who are eager to get to Redmond and to the east side of Bellevue, then I am sure that the 405 alignment looks a better choice to them.

    Either way, the building and construction is going to be exciting the sooner we get it started the better.

    1. I agree. This is going to be like that except:
      a) The neighborhood is used to fighting these things, and is comfortable interacting with the government, unlike the rainier valley residents who have mistrust of the government and have not been as well organized. One consequence of Link through the RV is that they have become much more organized.
      b) The neighborhood has money and is mostly unified in their dislike, compared to the rainier valley where people were poor and mostly liked the idea of the train, but wanted to make sure their communities were protected throughout the construction.

      so I guess it’ll be like that, but much, much worse.

  6. Who decided that this line should go by Microsoft instead of the more densely populated, transit-dependent Crossroads neighborhood? After all, wasn’t Central Link routed through Rainier Valley instead of going straight down to Boeing because
    that’s where the density is? Why wasn’t there the same line of thinking when it comes to MS vs Crossroads?

    One good thing about routing along 118th is it will be more visible to people stuck in 405 traffic.

    1. Well, Crossroads is quite well served by buses for one thing and it is a fiarly straight shot down NE 8th to the Bellevue Transit Center. I believe that the goal for East Link was to connect the major employment centers of Bellevue and Microsoft and voters knew this as ST put out enough maps to the purpose. Crossroads has an excellent mall and lots of density but is not a major employment center. Don’t forget that once completed, you will be able to ride from Capitol Hill in Seattle through to Microsoft without having to even see the 520 floating bridge which is currently chock full of Microsoft traffic to and from Seattle. The approach roads to the 520 floating bridge are a huge bottleneck for both drivers and buses. Link to Microsoft will remove this bottleneck for those who move over to Link as their choice of transportation.

      One day, if we ever get to a ST3, I am sure that Issaquah will get linked into the network and who knows, but if the alignment goes down NE8th instead of the I-90 corridor, then Crossroads may get a Link station eventually.

      1. At this point I’d expect Bellevue to run a streetcar up to the link station at Overlake Village or down NE 8th to Downtown before RapidRide ever gets built.

    2. Sam,
      It never was a Microsoft vs Crossroads trade off. It would be Crossroad vs downtown Bellevue. A route following I-90 and turning left up 148th (Factoria/Eastgate P&R/BCC) has some merit if it then turned left from Overlake (tie in to the southwest corner of Microsoft) and followed SR520 or Bel-Red back across to Bellevue and perehaps across 520 to UW. Anything involving SR520 is so speculative and politically complex that it’s just about impossible to “study”. The cost of going the extra distance to 148th (or 156th) and the increased travel time to downtown make it a non-starter. If there was any way to bring the route across SR520 that would be a different story but a story in this reality that’s more fairy tale.

  7. After looking at the ridership projections, cost effectiveness scenarios, and having been on Bellevue Way many, many times… build it on freaking Bellevue way. This should practically be a non-issue.

    I think it really just comes down to a misunderstanding of this new-fangled “urban” technology. I imagine many of the people who commented probably have no concept what living close to light rail will be like. Which is understandable, but the concerns do not outweigh the benefits. I’m sure the residents will love it once it is built.

    It’s unfortunate that the state is trying to push the density requirement bill at the same time this debate is taking place. I think the neighborhood is feeling especially threatened.

    1. What’s your real world experience with living next to rail? Obviously it’s not from being in Seattle so Portland, New York, Chicago? I’ve listened to testimony at hearings from people that did live next to rail and none were describing it as “love”.

      Now living walking distance away and having it in someone else’s back (or front) yard, that’s just dandy. How come everyone advocating for how great this is going to be and arguing that people who don’t like it should move aren’t shopping for real estate in south Bellevue?

      Anybody surprised at just how hard Surrey Downs are fighting this must not have lived around here when the I90 project over Mercer Island was completed. Or how about the years of delay from Sammamish over turning an abandon rail line into a bike trail. I guess we’ll find out today if the City Council is going to try and rail road this through. My guess is that they will and they’re going to be in for a much bigger fight than they’re anticipating.

      1. Exactly what I said in my post. “I’ve listened to testimony at hearings from people that did live next to rail and none were describing it as “love”.” I guess it’s natural that more people that are against something will come out to testify but at the Redmond ST hearing and Bellevue City Council meeting all of the experiences reported were very negative.

        I don’t think “quiter than a Diesel bus” holds much sway with people along the south Bellevue routes. You’re comparing buses concentrated almost entirely during peak commute with trains every 9 minutes 20 hours a day. On top of that bus traffic and car traffic is going to increase as well to support transfer ridership at South Bellevue P&R. Sure it moves lots more people but that’s not going to stop Surry Downs from fighting like hell to keep this high capacity transit along the existing high capacity corridors.

      2. So the answer to my question is “none.” Light rail != “rail.” Obviously Amtrak and a small electric light rail vehicle have vastly different noise profiles.

        We simply cannot build our major rail corridors in the middle of nowhere just so zero homes have the chance of getting disturbed. It would be a tremendous waste of a massive regional investment. If ST has to pay for some home windows to get two panes of glass, then so be it. Most of the proposed lines simply don’t have homes near it — these are busy roads, after all.

      3. Also my office and my window borders the BNSF tracks near the sculpture park. Heavy freight and Sounder (North) will sometimes make noise and slightly shake the floors but I stopped noticing it after a few months. And these are very, very heavy and loud trains unlike light rail. If it were light rail I probably wouldn’t feel any vibrations or hear any “engine” noises.

      4. I said “rail” because of the fine distiction drawn here between “light rail” and anything else. Is the El in Chicago light rail? Not here. Or the elevated trains in NY/NJ? Again, not here. People testifying moved from cities and populated areas to the eastside to avoid “city life”. Rail next to your office is entirely different than 20 hours a day of rail next to your house; a house purchased in a quiet residential neighborhood. That’s why Surry Downs (amongst others) is going to fight this and the “hey, we’ve got that in the city” argument is only going to add fuel to the fire.

        In the case of the B2 alignment the only route that avoids this is B7. Sure there are residential impacts here as there are condos along I-405 and the BNSF right of way. The difference is these condos have always been along side train tracks and I-405. The expectation that you’d have quite or not expect an increased level of noise is simply unreasonable. If light rail did take that route it might actual be less intrusive by curbing additional lanes on I-405.

      5. My point is 112th Ave SE and Bellevue Way both see a lot of truck, bus, and auto traffic. Light rail trains make about as much noise as a pickup or large SUV.

        Modern LRV’s using continuous welded rail are nowhere near as loud as the El in Chicago or the elevated lines on the NYC subway. For one thing the wheels almost never squeal.

        People in Surrey Downs are already living along a major transportation corridor near an urban downtown. For them to expect they can continue to enjoy the “country life” forever into the future is quite unrealistic.

        Frankly that train left the station years ago.

      6. Actually, speaking of Chicago, my mom lived right across the street from a Metra station. Another place she lived in was close to an L line. My dad lives in DC close to a Metro station, but that’s underground. I also lived in Japan with a host family (single family housing) that was just a couple blocks from a rail station.

        For whatever my 2 cents are worth, all have been great experiences. I have friends in Portland who live near a light rail station and love it, but of course that isn’t the same thing as first hand experience.

        And Morgan, I’m not a carpetbagger, I’m just a citizen who wants to see the system work as well as it can.

      7. Well I’ve lived across the street from Interbay and worked near King Street Station. While the rail line could at times be loud I never found it as annoying as living or working near a freeway.

        In the case of light rail we’re talking about trains that are much quieter than freight trains, Sounder, or Amtrak. While I haven’t lived near a station I’ve been right next to the SLUT, Tacoma Link, MAX, and the Portland as they have gone by. All are much quieter than a diesel bus or large truck passing.

        No matter what routing is chosen there are going to be neighbors who aren’t happy with it. Note that the condo owners along 118th aren’t happy with the idea of East Link using the BNSF alignment.

  8. One thing you have to look at is which alignment makes the most sense when you make the connection with segment C. The Bellevue City Councils concerns are primarily to do what’s best for downtown and feed their pet new cash calf in Bel-Red. B1 is what meets those requirements the best. B3 jogs back over to be virtually identical to B7. System ridership, land use in segment B and cost is no object. Bellevue is going to insist on a tunnel before they’ll allow East Link to go through downtown and the difference in cost between the tunnel options and any of the other proposals fully funds East Link out through Redmond Town Center. Ridership??

    There’s one small factual error in the post. You said 1000 fewer riders per day for the B7 alignment. The segment boardings guesstimated in the DEIS are 4000 vs 1000. On the surface that argues even more forcefully for B1/B3. The fact that these two alignments serve the South Bellevue park and ride is why. South Bellevue with 519 stalls is being compared to the current 186 at the Wilburton Park & Ride. Expecting 4000 people from 500 cars plus the few that walk down the bank to the west is a bit of a stretch but the bigger issue is the South Belleuve P&R location is built out. It’s built on top of the wetlands (I don’t know how they got away with it in the first place) and to the west is a steep bank. There’s no TOD that’s going to go in around South Belleuve P&R. That’s a dream of social engineers, not civil engineers. And the only good bus connections are the ones being replaced by light rail.

    The B7 alignment on the other hand already goes past multifamily housing and Wilburton P&R has been long over due for an upgrade. It sits right at the end of the Lake Hills connector which feeds down from dense development north of Factoria and has the direct freeway access to serve bus connections from the 1600 stall Eastgate P&R and 1800 spaces in Issaquah. You can see with your own eyes why segment boardings are going to be higher with the B7 alignment.

    1. Bernie your post contains misinformation just like most of the B7 people:

      1. “South Bellevue with 519 stalls is being compared to the current 186 at the Wilburton Park & Ride”

      Not true. It’s comparing a full build out of expanded park and rides on both sites.

      2. “Wilburton P&R has been long over due for an upgrade… it has the direct freeway access to serve bus connections from the 1600 stall Eastgate P&R and 1800 spaces in Issaquah”

      What? How does the Wilburton have direct freeway access? in fact part of the problem is that there is not enough room to put bus only on and off ramps in this location. How does it have easy access to Eastgate’s P&R?

      1. Wilburton has direct freeway access in terms of carpool lanes on the SE 8th onramp. When WSDOT finishes their expansion of that section of 405 this spring, I believe that lane will go all the way to I-90. However, given the massive disaster that is 405 south in the PM rush hour, any bus that attempts to take 405 to I-90 will be incredibly unreliable—ST already knows this; just look at the route the 556 takes between Bellevue TC and Eastgate.

        I might also add, South Bellevue P&R is also right on a freeway, so its access to Eastgate is just as good, if not better.

      2. Justin,
        Segment boardings are not based on future development potential. That’s why the two stations proposed for Bel-Red add zero to the segment boardings and the 2nd station on the B2 alignment only adds 500 segment boardings.

        Do you know where Wilburton P&R is? In the DEIS it’s the small tan square at the SE8th 405 interchange. If you want to see how this access can be improved look at the Kirkland Kingsgate P&R.

        If you expect ridership to come from Eastgate and Issaquah then it’s only going to come via bus. Choices are Wilburton, South Bellevue and Mercer Island. Of these only Wilburton and Mercer Island are adjacent to a freeway. Mercer Island has a lot to recommend now. Wilburton has the most future development potential (increased system capacity). Wilburton makes sense for riders going north and MI for riders going west. South Bellevue P&R on the other hand has no development potential surrounding it.

      3. Segment boardings are based on the park and rides being developed, not the surrounding areas as EricN states below. I don’t think any B alignment will EVER have TOD around it, which is a shame but between the wetlands, highways, and SF housing it’s just not likely.

        I know where the Wilburton P&R is… did you listen to hours of ST video and hear why it’s not an ideal location? The site is just not very good.

        I think that a toll on I90 is very likely. If that happens then the South Bellevue P&R would have a much higher ridership then current projection. Even if there is never a toll it’s a better then going on to Mercer Island for carpools and bus riders.

      4. > … did you listen to hours of ST video

        No, is it in print somewhere? I don’t want watch hours of video that can’t be referenced. I’ve sat through enough hours of public meetings to hear what the people that live next to the various routes have to say. Much of the DEIS makes no sense. Why for example would you put the 118th station where it’s going to displace exsiting business rather than incorporate it into plans to revamp the Wilburton P&R when the route goes right through the P&R?

      5. The I-405 Master Plan includes a significant freeway expansion (more lanes) near the Wilberton P&R, and most of the existing P&R will be consumed by the expansion. Perhaps the entire P&R will be removed. With the freeway expansion, there is no room north of SE 8th St to build the Link station and its adjacent P&R structure, especially because there is a new hotel that was built across the street along 114th Ave SE.

        Note that the I-405 Master Plan does not include HOV direct access ramps at SE 8th St. Therefore, in order to access the station, buses would have to weave across about four lanes of congested highway traffic to access SE 8th St, only to get caught at two or three traffic signals along SE 8th St, one of which is forecasted to operate at LOS F (the worst) in the peak hour.

      6. Newaholic,
        Thanks for some very good information of which I was not aware. I assume the big hotel is what shows up in aerial views as green space. Wouldn’t a big hotel be a natural fit for a Link station? It seems like moving Link away from development so that it doesn’t affect adding more lanes to 405 is backwards.

        What about all the land between the North and Southbound 405 lanes? Something like they’re build up north between the lanes on I-5. There’s also the land on the east side of the SE 8th I-405 interchange which looks like it has potential. I know that at least the portion north of SE 8th between 405 and the Wilburton Tressel is a steep bank and would have to be excavated and terraced. All of this of course would be predicated on building something like Kingsgate P&R.

      7. Bernie,
        South Bellevue P&R already has the HOV ramps going from/to both directions of I-90. While the eastbound HOV offramp to Bellevue way will be closed by the B1-3 alignments that shouldn’t be a huge issue due to fewer buses going across the bridge once link opens.

        Building something like what Kingsgate, Ash Way, or Lynnwood Transit Center would cost additional money that isn’t in the current plan.

        The real issue with a station in the SE 8th area along 405 for transit access would be the 90/405 interchange. This is why if the B7 alignment gets chosen most buses will go to the Mercer Island P&R rather than the 118th P&R.

    2. Actually, all of the B segments include expansions of their respective Park & Rides to four stories, 1000 spaces.

      However, South Bellevue P&R is a better choice for such expansion. It has significantly better transit connections (current and possible) than Wilburton P&R, in terms of the 222 and 240 direct to Factoria, Eastgate, and Newport Hills—these certainly are good bus connections that are not getting replaced by light rail. Any local transit connections to the 118th station would be constrained by the fact that 118th has no east-west connections between Coal Creek and SE 8th—any buses from the Lake Hills connector (the 271 or 921) would have to make a pretty significant detour to get there from their current routes.

      1. I almost forgot! In any case the 555 and 556 will probably go away once East and North Link open — South Bellevue P&R (hopefully), Bellevue TC, UW, and Northgate will all be served by Link, and the east end of those routes is identical to the 554.

  9. “It’d be a shame if the NIMBYs got their way on this one.”

    While you’re entire post is rather valid, I think you lose support and validity when you use the term NIMBY in this fashion. As folks posted the other day in the comments, NIMBY has slowly turned to a negative connotation. As such, it’s similiar to calling someone name.

    As noted in the comments of this post – everyone is a NIMBY for something. While I’d love the DC Metro yard 100meters from my house to be an actual station – I have to live with going down the street a mile instead. For some, making that metro yard a station would be a NIMBY moment. For me, it would be the expansion of the highway outside my window that’s occuring.

    My point is – by using the term in the way you have – I think you begin to lose the argument based purely on the automatic backlash people have towards the term. Whereas the arguement itself is easily won on merits and more PC terms.

    Just my two cents.

  10. If Bellevue wants a tunnel, Bellevue is going to have to pay for it. That is money not available for building segment E.

    The ridership numbers for the entire DEIS make no TOD assumptions. I suspect the higher numbers for the South Bellevue P&R station vs. 118th are based on the large P&R lot (1455 spaces from the current 519), traffic near the station (some who currently drive by the lot may take the train), bus service to the station (re-routing all service crossing I-90 to East Link), and even homes within easy bike/walk distance.

    A 118th station is going to be much harder to serve by bus and routes from Issahquah aren’t going to be serving that station. Access to the station will be severely limited by congestion on I-405 and Lake Hills connector, both for buses and for P&R users. As for that “nearby” multifamily housing none of it is exactly an easy walk to the 118th station. The hill, the canyon, and the highway all provide a fairly effective barrier. If I lived in the apartment complex you highlighted I’d be much more likely to use the East Main or Bellevue transit center station.

    The ridership numbers in the DEIS aren’t just something Sound Transit made up. There is a set of critera and formulas the FTA requires for generating them.

  11. > If Bellevue wants a tunnel, Bellevue is going to have to pay for it.
    > That is money not available for building segment E.

    Isn’t the sub area equity money held for future projects if not spent? What is the mechanism that will tax Bellevue (ideally downtown Bellevue) to make up a billion dollar difference?

    I’d disagree with you about using the East Main station. Main is not an east west connector, you have to go back south to SE8th or north to NE 8th. As far as I can see East Main is primarily to serve destinations in and around the Old Bellevue area. If I was riding transit exclusively then Bellevue Transit Center might make more sense but if the commute requires a car at all then expanded P&R at Wilburton would seem to be the winner.

    > The ridership numbers in the DEIS aren’t just something Sound Transit made up.
    > There is a set of critera and formulas the FTA requires for generating them.

    Very true. However they are also very difficult to understand. I haven’t seen the criteria and formulas explained in the DEIS which is why they sometime appear to be pulled out of thin air. Take for example zero segment boarding for the two Bel-Red stations. Some future development is included and other significant and planned development is left out.

    Where are the plans for the expanded P&R lots? Leaving this out of the DEIS seems like another huge oversight.

    1. Well the problem is there currently isn’t enough money in the East Link budget to pay for any of the tunnel options so the difference will have to be made up somehow. ST has been telling Bellevue that if they want a tunnel they are going to have to cover most of the cost. I would assume Bellevue would do some sort of LID to pay for it if they choose to do so.

      FWIW the difference between the at-grade or elevated segment C alignments and either C2T or C3T when coming from B2E, B3, or B7 is only on the order of $450 to $600 million dollars. The “billion dollar” tunnel option is C1 which seems to be off the table at the moment.

      Main has a bridge across I-405 and would be the closest walking/bike distance station to the multifamily complex you linked to. Even driving it would be easier to just get on I-405 than to drive to the 118th station area from that location. Heck even the South Bellevue P&R is probably easier to drive to from that location given the congestion on Lake Hills Connector and the awkward turn from LHC to SE 8th.

      Anyway the point is quite a few people already use the South Bellevue P&R and quite a few bus routes serve it. In addition quite a few people pass by on their way to I-90. The 118th station/wilburton P&R have comparatively less. I suspect ST is quite correct when they say the potential boardings for the 118th station are about 1/4 those for the South Bellevue P&R.

      The formulas used for calculating segment/station boardings might be in one of the appendixes somewhere. If not they probably are somewhere in the New Starts documentation on the FTA site.

      The P&R lots are in the DEIS, including ew, expanded, and existing. P&R lots would be at Mercer Island, South Bellevue or 118th, 130th, Overlake Village, Overlake Transit Center, SE Redmond, and Redmond Transit Center. 118th, 130th, and SE Redmond would be new. South Bellevue and Overlake Transit Center would be expanded with parking structures. Mercer Island, Overlake Village, and Redmond Transit center remain the same size. Mercer Island just recently was expanded with a parking structure which is probably why no expansion is part of East Link.

      1. If the cost is absorbed by something like a LID on downtown businesses then you are correct. The cost is unrelated to finishing East Link. Should Bellevue come out with the tunnel being their preferred alternative (should be issued today, right?) will ST take it as a given when making a decision that the money will be there and not delay building out segment D?

        Main has a bridge across 405 but stops just east of there. To get across from all points East you have to go North or South. All the roads are congested during peak commute but Lake Hills connector is one of the best alternatives. I think a lot of traffic will take that route if Link stops at South Bellevue P&R and parking is expanded.

        Bellevue Way has more traffic than 118th. If the South Bellevue P&R is expanded to 3X it’s current size then the 4000 segment boardings are possible. That P&R is definitely at capacity. If you compare drive by traffic you have to consider Wilburton being adjacent to 405 which has way more traffic that can looked to for new transit ridership.

        Wilburton makes sense only if they build something like what they did at Kingsgate P&R.

        It’s off to the library this evening to get the full DEIS on CD. I clearly need to read more than what’s in the Executive Summary. I’ve read some but downloading each link is cumbersome.

      2. I’m pretty sure both Bellevue and ST don’t want to delay segment D just so segment C can be built with a tunnel.

        I know Main isn’t a major E/W connector. I was just pointing out that for the multifamily developments North of the Wilburton Trestle, East Main is easier to access particularly by walking or bike than the location of the 118th P&R.

        For a P&R I don’t think the freeway traffic going by really makes a difference. You’ve already lost those who’ve decided to get on the highway and fight traffic. At least with people on their way to their freeway entrance there is a chance they might decide to see how that train thingy works.

        I don’t think there is any plan to provide access similar to Kingsgate for the 118th P&R. I don’t see it in the budget and I don’t think the topography in that location would permit it.

        There is a lot of detail glossed over in the DEIS executive summary. You really need to read at least parts of the full document. In particular Ch. 2 and Ch. 6.

      3. Well, you can’t get the CD at the library. I don’t know where I got the idea that you could. An email to ST and within a couple of hours I got a reply that one was going out to me in todays mail.

        At the library they do have the hard copy DEIS including B size drawings. Unfortunately there was a note that the whole thing has to be return on February 25th. Likely some legal requirement that in not be in circulation after the comment period is over. And while I understand this is a draft copy it still seems like it should be on the shelf until it’s been replaced by something else.

        FWIW, the expansion of the South Bellevue P&R is in the DEIS. They don’t state how (multi story) but they do give the number of stalls.

  12. So, it appears the numbers which support Surrey Downs routing do not actually reflect the numbers you might have if you ran the line up the west side of 405. In fact, it seems likely that the “better” numbers for the Surrey Downs route come from counting as potential riders a bunch of people who hate the LRT to death. But they should be happy! Because 15 years from now they will be able to sell at a profit and move someplace else that looks more like the Surrey Downs they moved to.

    Historically speaking, the Bellevue Way alignment is a no-brainer. You go up B’vue Way, up 104th, right on NE 8th and out over the freeway, past the hospital, and out Bel-Red. This puts you on the populous side of the ridge that runs south from Main, runs up 104th right between the shopping and downtown of Bellevue, passes within about a block of the hospital, and then goes right out the Bel-Red area.

    It’s very striking to me how cold-blooded the technocrats are here. If I were to say that I grew up in the area and my mother taught school at Surrey Downs for some years, you could almost see the lips curling as we hear the sneering response- “The numbers! The numbers! Those people will be rich! They’ll thank us!” And this is totally disconnected from some misplaced sentiment towards trains- in fact, if buses seemed to have better “numbers”, then buses it would be.

    But as we have seen, the “numbers” are no less impeachable than any other set of numbers harvested to meet some federal guidelines. If public opinion hadn’t swung against dredging wetlands, the Corps of Engineers would be busy proving that making a canal up the Mercer Slough would have commercial and recreational benefits vastly in excess of the cost.

    Well, I suppose that 30 or 40 years from now, when everyone who remembers what the region used to look like is dead or gone, there will be general agreement that “all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”. Whether that will be much different from how we thought 40 years ago, I cannot say.

    1. So what are you saying? Having Link pass anywhere near Surrey downs whether they get a station or not will destroy the neighborhood? Don’t build East link and spend the next 40 years lamenting what might have been? Keep widening 405 until the freeway eats the neighborhoods that are complaining?

      1. Did I say anything like that in my comment? No, I did not.

        What appears to be about a 112th alignment follows a pattern familiar to any student of transit- “Well, we’ll just take little land from this park here- and we’ll just take a little land from this park here- and it will be cheaper to build through this residential neighborhood than deal with the lawyers from this shopping mall…”

        So this B3 alignment tucks the LRT “out of sight, out of mind”, on the far side of the ridge from the shoppers at the Bellevue Square. Which, incidentally, should serve as a park-n-ride reservoir for parking, as mall parking lots are usually only full on weekends and evenings, when people aren’t going to work.

        So my gut feeling is that a Bellevue Way-104th alignment has the table tilted a little against it.

        Under the circumstances, I’m not going to blame people in Surrey Downs if they get organized and show up at meetings. I’m sure the East LINK will get built so from my point of view it might be improved by choosing a B1 alignment. And, frankly, the technocrat approach has stripped the matter of much sentiment or interest for me. To me it seems obvious that you serve existing development and places like hospitals. When the number-crunchers start coming up with routes that don’t serve these places, and require circulators or shuttles, I’m like, whatever. The future will come and they can fix it then.

    2. Catowner I don’t know why you think this:

      “it seems likely that the “better” numbers for the Surrey Downs route come from counting as potential riders a bunch of people who hate the LRT to death”

      This is not at all what ST is saying. The real difference in numbers is all the tranfers they see happening at the South Park and ride.

      I would love to see LR go all the way up Bellevue way (I live near old main), but sadly widening it 30 feet is just not going to happen.

      1. Apparently none of these P&Rs have been built to their full size, so it would seem possible to move and build them where you wanted to. Frankly, it just never occurred to me that someone would base a transit route on the existence of a parking lot that hasn’t even been built yet.

        I have seen the Buzzsaw of Criticism that happens when putting the P&R near the Wilburton Trestle is proposed. That doesn’t convince me. The Wilburton Trestle is literally a few minutes away by freeway from the South Bellevue P&R site. The Wilburton site is closer to the NE and SW quadrants. Everything north of the 405-520 interchange can be gathered on 405 and fed south.

        That leaves only west Bellevue. If anyone is serious about harvesting this high-hanging fruit, the B1 alignment up 104th is the best way to do it.

      2. This is a bit moot at this point but ST picked pretty much the only location near the SE 8th interchange that would be available for a P&R. That is a bad location due to problems with surface street access. Traffic in that area (and on 405) is absolute murder during peak travel times (far worse than Bellevue Way).

        No sane person is going to use I-405 to try to get to that P&R location. On the other hand Bellevue Way actually moves at a reasonable speed all the way into Kirkland. Why do you think South Bellevue P&R is already fairly heavily used? It isn’t just people who live South of Downtown and West of I-405.

        There is the further problem of bus access to the Wilburton location. The 405/90 interchange AFAIK has no direct HOV ramps from WB 90 to NB 405 or from SB 405 to EB 90. Sure you could re-route the routes currently using LHC into a Wilburton P&R but that still is far from optimal.

  13. So here is a thought on an alternate allignment, that I would love to hear the numbers on from ST.
    Follow 90 East to the Eastgate P&R, (you have just picked up an existing multi level P&R and BCC, Turn North West and head towards Richards road, and then the Lake Hills Connector, crossing under the Wilberton Tressel, stopping at the Wilburton P&R and turrning North to join either B7 or B3 into Bellevue.

    This route also puts you closer to serving Issiquah at somepoint in the future, and it takes Surrey Downs completly off of the table

    Lor Scara

      1. Just for fun I did a rough comparison of those two routes and B3 comes in at 3.3 miles and Scara’s proposed route is 8.5 miles. 5 extra miles of right of way combined with the obvious large out of direction time hit make this a no go.

        Eastgate would be a great one to utilize with ST3 coming from the east, and the South Bellevue P&R would then become the tranfer point. Using b7 where would the xfer happen?

      2. If you assume B7 and ESR, the logical answer would be the ESR/B7 junction, with the Issiquah line continuing East along 90.

        If you assume B7 and No ESR, and also assume that we are maxed out on the number of trainsets we are running across the bridge, the best solution would be to probably have the Issiquah line start at the Wilburton P&R, and follow the above route to the Eastgate P&R and BCC, then follow 90 to Issiquah. This of course would mean that you would have to transfer to get from Issiquah to Seattle

        If You assume B7, and Excess Capacity on 90, then an Issiquah WestSeattle Line running on the same tracks as East Link across 90 may be the best answer. if ESR exists in this model, you could also have an ESR-Issiquah transfer station where the tracks cross.

        Of course there alwayse is the back door into Issiquah, Followint the old rail grade allong East Lake Sammamish way.

        Lor Scara

      3. B7 is the least cost-effective option for the B segment and there aren’t any development opportunities to mitigate that. B7 is just a poor alignment, designed to hide light rail from the citizens of South Bellevue. Hiding a multi-billion dollar investment is usually not the smartest thing.

        ESR will be privately funded. We shouldn’t build our transit backbone with a privately-funded rail line in mind.

      4. Hi John
        I realize that B7 is the least cost-effective solution, I was answering Justins question on where the Xfer should happen between the Issiquah line and East Link assuming B7 (at least in my opinion)

        ESR if built may or may not be privetly funded, if we look into the ST3 timeframe, it may make more sence to be publicly funded, irregardless, do you think it makes sence to NOT provide transfer points between ESR and Link where they meet ?

        Lor Scara

      5. I assume an ESR/Link transfer would happen further north if it happens. Frankly I don’t see ESR happening, though I might be pleasantly surprised by a private party coming up with the money.

        There is a good chance any Link spur serving Kirkland would use at least some of the BNSF ROW in that direction.

        As for how East Link connects to an Issaquah spur, I suspect no matter what alignment is chosen for South Bellevue a wye will probably be built at roughly the point segment B leaves the I-90 alignment. If I-90 bridge or downtown Seattle tunnel capacity is an issue I suspect the transfer will be either at Mercer Island or South Bellevue/118th. With South Bellevue you can probably serve both East/West riders and those heading into Bellevue or Redmond. With B7 you will probably have to run some trains to Mercer Island and others to 118th.

      6. Lor, I don’t think it makes sense to plan on any transfers between ESR and Link. If ESR gets developed sometime in the future, then we should worry about transfers then. I think the studies from ST have eliminated their involvement in that corridor.

        I *can* see using some of the ESR corridor to bring Link to Renton and Kirkland, but that’s a really long time off.

  14. Keep in mind, these Surrey Downs folks have a bizzarro view of growth and transportation.

    They fought high rises in Bellevue, but they love shopping there.

    They told us Bus Rapid Transit was superior to light rail, but they succeeded in preventing the city from widening Bellevue Way to build bus lanes. You know, the “R” in BRT.

    These clueless NIMBYs want to widen freeways and stop growth. At the same time.

    But here’s the best part: half of the leaders of this group (famous for spreading lies and disinformation to their nighbors in the name of ‘preserving’ their way of life) are Microsofties. Ex and present. You know – Microsoft – the company which brought us all that growth and traffic.

    Surrey Downs activists: one big walking contradiction.

    1. If what you say is true there is some irony there.

      If B2 is selected they will get a station at SE 8th and 112th and a 1 seat ride to the Microsoft campus. I imagine that has to be an easier commute than trying to fight traffic all the way there.

      What has really surprised me about the whole East Link discussion is the relative lack of opposition from other quarters. I would have thought either Kemper Freeman or people on Mercer Island would be raising more of a stink. But the opposition so far has mostly been South Bellevue, and mostly Surrey Downs at that.

  15. One last thing: Surrey Downs NIMBYs – along with a couple other anti-transit activists – did a fine job of helping pollute that Eastside Rail Now group. Once the going got tough (cost realities set in) all the faux commuter rail supporters disappeared. It was obvious from the get-go that most of the support for ESR was based on the hope that it could help stop East Link in its tracks.

  16. Though I don’t have a specific focus on this do realize that there is a large portion of Eastside residents that don’t want light rail at all. If anyone has vote totals from ST2 on the Eastside that would make an interesting article.

    Using the term ‘NIMBY’ is insulting, but, in this case, may be correct. The real question here was if it makes sense to build light rail on the Eastside at all – on the same basis as Seattle Transit Blog’s arguments on cutting Metro service AND the desires of the people who live there.

    Bellevue Way is a major access point to Downtown Seattle (and not a bad alternative to 405 during rush hour, all the way to Kirkland) But the Eastside wants more auto capacity. Perhaps the best decision would be to build that for them, but charge the full direct and indirect cost for doing so.

    FWIW, I bought into a mixed apartment building/single family neighborhood that will likely see much more growth in it’s underdeveloped commercially zoned area. That can be a good thing, but let’s hope the neighbors here don’t start suddenly find themselves losing their jobs and their houses so that some deadbeat Seattle elitist can ‘densify’ their property.

    1. You know I suspect if the true cost of add auto capacity was known and the Eastside was forced to cover all of it, support for expanding transit would expand dramatically.

      Still looking at the per-precinct maps, support for ST2 looks stronger on the Eastside than in South King or Pierce county.

      1. Chris this is a great point. There was no vote on the 405 widening, isn’t that project over 10 billion? Personally I would much rather spend that money for ESR and to fund rail all the way to Redmond.

      2. 10 Billion would buy a heck of a lot. Like link the entire length of I-405, North link to Everett, East Link to Redmond, Link to Issaquah, And ESR with a rebuild of the Black River wye.

        But nope, lets just keep widening I-405.

  17. NIMBYISM in its full glory going on right now over at Liberal progressive poster Paul is ranting about a proposed condo going in in his neighborhood. The title of his post: Don’t Phuck with Phinney.

    1. Yeah, I know but I’m hoping the CD will more convenient than the online version that’s broken into downloadable size chucks. My expectation is that it will be a contiguous document with indexed links. And I’d like to have the whole thing for reference but I don’t want to download it all just in case someday I might want to go back and find something.

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