Bellevue's prefered alignment

Update: Thanks to Bernie in the comments, we have the map and the details of what the Bellevue City Council wants. It differences quite a bit from what Sound Transit has put in the draft EIS.

Original Post: The Times is reporting that the Bellevue City Council has choosen the Bellevue Way alignment as their preference for East Link through South Bellevue (back story here). The Sound Transit board has the final say, though I have a hunch they will go along with Bellevue Way, which seems obviously better than the I-405 alignment to me. The council also picked a prefered route through Downtown Bellevue and Bel-Red.

It looks like the preferred route through South Bellevue is a modified B3, and the preferred route through downtown Bellevue is C2T. The modifed route was not studied as part of the East Link draft Environmental Impact Statement, and there’s no word on whether Sound Transit would build that route. Their prefered Bel-Red route is the D route, and was decided last week. C2T may be Bellevue’s prefered route, but they are going to have to pay for the tunnel themselves: there’s no money in the East Link plan currently for a tunnel alignment there, and the tunnel is about $700 million more than a surface alternative.

82 Replies to “Bellevue City Council Chooses Bellevue Way”

  1. C2T costs $1.28bn to $1.36bn, while the likely elevated routes run from $500-700mn. So it’s more like a $600mn shortfall that Bellevue may have to make up to get its tunnel.

    I think a tunnel is a good choice for Bellevue even if it requires a LID to finance. The elevated routes were another block or two from the downtown core, and the at-grade route is just a joke.

    1. I changed it ot $700mn. I wasn’t comparing to elevated, I was comparing to the surface alternative.

      I wouldn’t the at grade is a “joke”, in fact, I think it’s less of a joke than the elevated option.

      1. Maybe joke is too harsh, but I think having the stop divided on separate streets is really weird for a pretty serious downtown like Bellevue.

      2. Oh I see, yeah, the “couplet” design is very goofy, that I agree with.

        An imaginary surface alignment wouldn’t be that bad, but putting it on two streets is just stupid.

      3. Not to mention that an at-grade alignment would kill much of the travel time savings. Especially from the Microsoft campus.

  2. Looks like concerns of the hospital won out over the convention center. I didn’t get the sense that the convention center folks were in favor of the Ashworth Station over Hospital Station but they just wanted to point out the adverse impact of the grade transition as planned. Don’t know what they can do about it. Maybe remodel the convention center to move the entrance?

    With the modified B3 route the line now runs through the Wilburton Park and Ride. Is the lot west of Wilburton P&R and east of 112th Ave SE still vacant? Looks like they’re leaving this open as a future transfer point or a replacement for the SE 8th station. On a cost and functionality basis this is now a clear winner over the B7 alignment; it’s a two’fer :-). The BNSF ROW is left untouched (except for Hospital Station and possible maintenance yard access) for future regional rail development. And with Ron Simms now in the other Washington maybe there won’t be a rush to tear up the rails. Hospital Station would be a fantastic tie in point for ESR!

    Looking at the amount of tunnel I can only conclude that the extremely high cost of the C1T route was mostly because of the extra underground station. They stuck the Old Main station back in on the preferred alternative so I think (if that’s included) we’re back to Bellevue’s Billion Dollar Baby.

    1. The lot just west of WIlburton P&R is no longer vacant; it’s home to a very large Marriott hotel. It’s not on Google Maps, but if you switch to Google Street View you can see it under construction.

      1. I’d think this hotel would be at a huge advantage with rail service to the airport, downtown Seattle, Microsoft and the Maydenbauer Convention Center and would try like heck to have a Link station adjacent to them. Looks like the Marriott is a little under 400 rooms which could provide more ridership than the current plans for the Wilburton P&R. A Link station would really be a boost for promoting “Grand Ballroom” type events. Perhaps even a symbiotic parking strategy with the P&R since I think the really big local focused shindigs (the ones where more people are likely to drive to than use transit or stay at the hotel) would be in the evenings.

    2. My guess is the City will have the Convention Center remodel so the entrance is in a better location (corner of 6th & 110th?).

      The high cost of the C1T route was due partially to cut-and-cover construction. I think C2T is a bored tunnel. The other cost factor was the Old Main station which appears to be back in the form of the 106th & Main station. The proposed station is a bit close to the East Main station since it will really take most of the block between 108th and 106th on Main. Putting it on 106th between Main and 2nd would seem to make more sense.

      I assume the City of Bellevue believes they will find all of the money needed to fund this (whatever ST says they need to come up with to avoid having one of the surface alternatives chosen).

      1. There’s not much they can do with Meydenbauer Center. The rest of the block (including the 6th & 110th corner) is currently being turned into office towers/condos. The east side of the center (on 112th) is just the back wall of the auditorium and a parking garage entrance, so no new entrance there either.

        There’s a map of the near-future block layout here

      2. I’ve only been in the Meydenbauer Center a few times so it took a while staring at the plans to sort of get the lay of the land and I’m still pretty vague on street access since most local residents initial view is the parking garage ;-/

        It seems like moving the entrance to the south west corner and emphasising arrival from 110th and the “arrival court” would be an improvement over what they have now. It seems like the current set-up is largely skewed toward drive-by drop off and pick-up by private vehicles.

        Maybe they’re go whole sandhog and connect to the Transit Station Center underground.

      3. According to the DEIS C1T and C2T are both cut and cover. C3T was the only bored tunnel. Odd in that looking at the routing there’s not an obvious difference?

  3. Keep in mind that while Bellevue may prefer one alternative, it may not be the one Sound Transit uses.

    1. But the City of Bellevue’s preference will carry huge weight with Sound Transit and the board. Similar to how the alignment for U-Link and North-Link were heavily influenced by what the UW wanted.

      Sound Transit does not want to get into a fight with the City of Bellevue over the East Link alignment. It won’t end well for anyone.

      1. It would have been helpful if Bellevue signaled a clear sign that they were willing to put a LID in effect to raise revenue for the tunnel…

      2. Yes. There isn’t money for their tunnel, they’re at least $500+ short. Also, this tunnel is likely more expensive than the other c2t design, since there is a third station.

  4. Does anyone have any insight into what ST prefers at this point for the C segment through DT Bellevue? Is there more of a benefit to have an underground station v. a tunnel without an underground station?

  5. Ok, this makes no sense at all to me:

    “The council voted 4-3 for a modified route with trains that would run along the east side of Bellevue Way Southeast and 112th Avenue Southeast. The route would turn near Southeast 8th Street and link up with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway line near the Wilburton Park & Ride before plunging into a tunnel and heading toward downtown Bellevue.”

    WTF?? Can anyone explain what this means?

    1. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’ve got calls into some people in the bellevue city and we’ll see what I hear back.

      1. There is a PDF linked from the City of Bellevue news release that gives a better idea of what the actual alignment is.

        The big differences from B3 I see are:
        * Transitions to at-grade just before the South Bellevue P&R with an at-grade station.
        * Alignment runs East of Bellevue Way and 112th Ave SE rather than in the center of the roadway.
        * Alignment stays South of SE 8th until the turn onto 114th Ave SE.

    2. The Times is very confused about where the BNSF ROW is. The proposed alteration takes the route over to Wilburton P&R where it merges with what was B7, aka the BNSF ROW. Of course the rail lines are on the opposite side of 405 here as they’re up on top of the Wilburton Trestle.

      The scoop on the preferred alternative is up on the City of Bellevue website.

      1. I’m from California and I’m not too familiar with the area, so my opinion doesn’t hold much water. However, that alignment from the city of Bellevue website looks ghastly. It looks like they’re trying to hit every hot spot/activity center which results in a zig-zag alignment. Even with the tunnel, it seems like it would be slow going through this area thanks to the many curves. Now, if Bellevue is a transit-oriented community I could understand the need to compromise travel time for more service. Since I have no clue, does Bellevue really deserve that kind of lazy river alignment?

      2. Yeah, it’s really a street car that crosses the lake. Averaging 30mph it’s faster to drive most times of day. Of course parking is an expensive pain in the rear (as is owning a car in general) and rail is more comfortable than a bus. Plus by the time it’s built peak commutes even in the HOV lanes will be up around an hour from Redmond to Seattle. It can take that long today and if there’s an accident or bad weather it’s even longer.

      3. Transit rarely beats SOVs at midnight when the roads are clear, but people who talk about it averaging 30 mph for the cross-lake commute shouldn’t mean that in a bad way. The thing is going to sail into Bellevue no matter how bad I-405, I-90, or SR-520 are.

      4. Link will cross 90 at 50 mph, which is as fast as the speed limit is on SR 520, and as fast as it will be on I-90.

      5. Yes and no. A combination of one of the B2 alignments along Bellevue Way and 112th and the C3T tunnel along 108th would be better with fewer curves.

        Serving the Bellevue Transit Center and Overlake Village isn’t really optional but outside of that there are arguments for and against all of the other stations.

      6. I’d say Overlake Transit Center would be kept over Overlake Village if the choice came down to those two. They’re close to the same size (203 vs 170) but the volume of people getting off at the transit center to work at Microsoft and Nintendo is huge. There’s also dense multifamily housing west of 148th and east of 156th that can get to the Transit Center easier than the Village. Especially since Group Health closed at Overlake there’s not much there except 300 units of subsidized housing and they can continue using their free bus passes to connect to Link if they want to.

        Sort of a moot point though since their both pretty much a done deal but I’d love to see them move the station closer to I-405. If they could acquire the necessary land just east of the 148th interchange it would still be an easy walk to Overlake Village and with a pedestrian bridge would connect the south end of the Microsoft campus and all the multifamily units west of 148th. I already see a lot of these people walking to shopping at Overlake.

      7. I meant Overlake Transit center as well. I agree it is more important than the Overlake Village station.

        I disagree on moving the Overlake Village station closer to 405 and 148th. There is a fair amount of development centered on the Sears store. Redmond has a plan to add several thousand housing units in the area similar to what Bellevue is planning for the Bel-Red corridor. I believe the Group Health site is due to be re-developed. Also the Overlake Village station provides access to the South West side of the Microsoft campus.

      8. Really the move I’m thinking about is just across the street. It would still serve Overlake Village and the existing P&R space. The walk from the farthest stall to the Link Station would be “curb side” compared to the walk from the far reaches of say the Issaquah Highlands P&R. Group Health was slated for something but I forget what. Mmmm, seems like the deal has fallen through.

        Anyway, my point is that that area is extremely difficult to get to by car and by foot. The P&R is currently being used at only 40% capacity. Straight line distance from the north side of the 148th and I-405 interchange would be an easy walk if they connected to the “bike path” on the north side with a pedestrian bridge. As it currently is you’ve got a looong unfriendly walk to get there. Access for Microsoft on the east side of I-405 would be marginally closer and access to the new buildings coming on line along 148th south of NE 40th would be a walk instead of a shuttle.

        Getting around the 148th cloverleaf would be a challenge but if they can keep parallel to I-405 or reduce the bulge it would cut transit time and eliminate some of the really ugly street impacts the current route looks to have on NE 24th in particular.

      9. I’m sure the Group Health site will eventually be developed. Probably long before the Overlake Village station is finished.

        Given that the station is in the middle of 152nd right at the intersection with NE 24th, I think it is in a good location, able to serve the area retail, office, and housing. As well as the new TOD Redmond has planned for the area.

        I don’t think sticking the station near the freeway is a win. For one the highway would limit TOD opportunities. For another pedestrians and cyclists prefer to avoid getting anywhere near a highway if they can help it. Particularly areas like the 148th interchange which are large no-mans lands.

      10. I want to correct a serious error in the map presented in the PDF of the Bellevue Preferred Alternative. The T indicating the transit stop for Overlake Village shows it as being at the corner of NE 24th and 152nd NE. This is not the case. It’s actually north on 152nd by a considerable distance; approximately parallel to the O in Overlake. As the crow flies it’s less than a 1,000′ (probably closer to 500′) from SR520 to the P&R lot. Look at the cloverleafs for the 148th interchange for a perspective. The walk from Overlake Village P&R to a stop on the 520 ROW would be shorter than crossing the 148th overpass.

        The old Group Health campus is vacant and seriously for sale. The little triangle of land between 405 and Overlake Village is single story circa 1970 office space. The engineering obstacle is the 148th interchange but I’m confident our friends at CH2M HILL can figure this out.

      11. > pedestrians and cyclists prefer to avoid getting anywhere near
        > a highway if they can help it. Particularly areas like the 148th
        > interchange which are large no-mans lands.

        This is the route I cycle home on every day. The 520 bike path is along the north side of 520. 148th and 156th are a no go for bikes. You have to ride the sidewalks and dodging umbrellas of clueless zombies listening to their iPods is no fun. The 148th overpass is fairly heavily used by pedestrians that live in the condos and apartments along the west side of 148th. The overpass only has a sidewalk on the west side. Crossing 148th at 24th is no fun. 148th to 152nd is parking lot orienteering. Then you’ve got to go back north two blocks (Overlake Village is 2650). A pedestrian bridge across 520 here is really needed to access a link station. Overlake Village is hard to get to by car. It’s really hard to walk to from anywhere.

      12. Bernie,
        Actually the Overlake Village station in the D2A alignment appears to be on the West side of 152nd NE between NE 24th and NE 20th according to the CH2M Hill drawings.

        The location further North was one of the 2 possible station locations for the D5 alignment. The other would have put the station behind the Safeway. That looks similar to where you were suggesting the station be.

        As a note I don’t see anything that would preclude using the D5 alignment in Overlake Village with D2A in Bel-Red.

        I do hope wherever the Overlake Village station ends up, either Sound Transit or the City of Redmond put in some serious pedestrian and bike improvements in the area. I agree a pedestrian bridge over 520 at 152nd would be good both for allowing easy access from the bike path and to provide a better pedestrian route across 520.

      13. Well, between 20th and 24th will be right behind Sears, a long way from Overlake Village. Behind Safeway is essentially bordering I-405 and would indeed be right across the street from Overlake Village. If they put it there then zigzagging over and tearing up NE 24th makes no sense. Just skirt the 148th interchange elevated and go right behind Safeway and your there. The tracks would then be to the northwest of the station and they have to buy up a row of old single story office space. Maybe it would entail leveling the perennially failed furniture store on the west side of the 148th cloverleaf. Versus the construction delays going up 24th and 152nd that seems trivial.

        I should have my CD with all the drawing today or tomorrow.

      14. In that CH2M HILL drawing the station is shown right across the street from Performance Bike (north is pointing right in the drawing). I didn’t realize they were planning to go up the south side of 24th and then left turn across traffic onto 152nd and then stop. And according to the Bellevue preferred alternative all of this at grade! Oh wait, this is in the Redmond city limits. That’s why Bellevue wants it so screwed up. That will push all the retail customers back over to the Bellevue side of 148th.

      15. The only particularly curvy parts are between SE 8th and Hospital Station. Since this entire section is grade-separated the trains should still be able to go fast, and the travel time should only go up by a couple minutes or so.

        I also find the modified B3 alignment very interesting. There’s only wetland to the east, so even though the tracks will be at-grade, they will essentially be grade-separated. Since no one’s going to be walking across the tracks (like on MLK), perhaps ST will be able to run trains at full speed down Bellevue Way as well.

      16. Bernie, That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read this. It doesn’t go to the BNSF ROW at all. Instead, it goes to the I-405 ROW, along what Sound-Transit called the “BNSF alignment”.

        It confused the heck out of me.

      17. Right, they would have had to build a bridge due east from Bellevue P&R across the wetlands to tie into the BNSF ROW. Easy mistake for a reporter not really following the story though since I think most of us always referred to B7 as the BNSF alignment when actually only about a 1/3 of it was actually on the old RR grade.

  6. From the way the route sounds, it will serve South Bellevue P&R via Bellevue Way and 112th (B3 alignment) which is the elevated (Bellevue Way)/at-grade (112th) alignment. The hybrid/modified line will turn turn right onto SE 8th to Wilburton P&R. From the P&R it will turn left (B7 alignment) and head into a tunnel at Main Street, turn right onto 106th Street NE then turn right again on NE 6th for the underground station at Bellevue Transit Center (C2T alignment) The route would cross I-405 to the Hospital Station and so forth.

    This allows the route to serve 2 park and rides (South Bellevue and Wilburton) and 1 transit center (Bellevue)

  7. This is great news about Bellevue City Council approving the Bellevue Way alignment. I used to live within [long] walking distance of South Bellevue Park N Ride; having light rail there will be sweet for the whole neighborhood.

    I suspect, though, that the parking lot will fill early any weekday with commuters from elsewhere. It can’t be strategically hidden from offramps like the Eastgate Park N Ride, so all the full-parking-lot problems that BART has will come to East Link.

    Let’s also point out that commuters will truly commute both ways through a LInk at South Bellevue. Plenty of ‘Softies will want to take light rail from there to Redmond.

    1. Don’t forget, ST will also be expanding South Bellevue P&R by several hundred spaces as part of this. It will probably still fill up though, so I suggest that they start a shuttle bus to Eastgate P&R, which is ridiculously massive. It should only take about five minutes each way—it’s just a straight shot down Eastgate Way to get to the I-90 onramp.

    2. As a ‘Softie, Sure will :)

      Might even buy me a house on Bellevue Way by the Park & Ride just to ride the Link to work;)

    3. ‘Softies will want to take light rail from there to Redmond.

      As a ‘Softie, Sure will :)

      Might even buy me a house on Bellevue Way by the Park & Ride just to ride the Link to work;)

  8. Are they proposing this absurd-looking snake pattern just so the people of Surrey Downs don’t have to have the train go near them? If so, I hope those people are willing to pay the difference.

    1. Do you mean 116th Station? That one was on the B7 alignment south of where the modified B3 would connect. It was a ridiculous place for a station anyway and even people who supported the B7 alternative over the Bellevue Way route thought it was put there just so that option would fail. Moving it “up the road” to Wilburton would require some creative design. It would be too close to East Main for both of them to make the final cut. If the Old Main is put back into the plan as Bellevue has indicated as a preferred alternative then perhaps East Main could shift down toward Wilburton.

      1. No, he means 106th Station. If you look carefully at the map, there’s a ‘Design Variations Proposed’ station at 106th and Main, in the tunnel. It appears to be a last-minute replacement for the Old Bellevue station in C1T.

      2. Ah, got it. I missed the new name. I was just thinking of it as a replacement for Old Main which sounds like a much better sign for the station platform ;= That really seems like a good location for a station but I’m afraid the cost of a second underground station may be prohibitive.

  9. This is fantastic!!! This is EXACTLY what I wanted East Link to be. It looks like Bellevue found a nice compromise. I was disappointed ST didn’t think of something like this. As much as I wanted the Main Street station alignment, it would have to have suffered from the at-grade Bellevue Way. But now they snaked the line through less congested roads with an elevated line! Woo hoo!!

    Is East Main close enough for Wilburton?

    1. If they still get the Old Main station which is another proposed change from the ST “choices” then I’d say Wilburton would make more sense than East Main. If not then East Main is sort of a compromise which doesn’t serve either need particularly well. I think a lot will depend on how successfully they implement the Bellevue Circulator.

      1. The only change I’d make to the map above would be to eliminate East Main in place for Wilburton. It would serve the park & ride, hotel, AND the huge Bellefield Office Park that’s right there.

      2. Oh nevermind. I guess ST already included a SE 8th station near Bellefield/Surrey Downs in the proposals but Bellevue council cut it out for some reason… Hmm…

      3. Boy did they not. They’re not happy wih this either, and I bet the next Soiund Transit board meeting will have some of them in attendence.

  10. I hope the 106th station is actually at the intersection of 106th and 2nd so it’s more in downtown rather than the fringe.

    1. That puts it awefully close to the Transit Center Stop. I wonder if Bellevue would go for a single underground station on 106th between 4th an 6th?

      1. It’s certainly possible. A couple bays of Bellevue TC used to be located there, serving the 921 and 222, among other routes. Those stops got moved back to the actual transit center last year, but it’s still only a block away.

      2. It’s actually not THAT close – each Bellevue block is roughly 2 Seattle ones. I’m guessing stops in the downtown Seattle Transit tunnel are closer than this. A lot of traffic is (or will be) local traffic caused by the 65k jobs and 16k residents who’ll be living downtown making intra-downtown trips (grocery store, mall, bank, job, back home). Making as many parts of downtown easily and quickly accessible should be a priority and I think the council gets this. Imagine if downtown Seattle only had one station at University Street. You might say that Bellevue isn’t near as dense for a 2nd station, but it’s _getting there_. Buses won’t be reliable due to street traffic. Imagine downtown Bellevue in 20+ years!

  11. The ‘east main’ station is really worthless, I would hope they ditch that and spend the money on the tunnel.

    “I wonder if Bellevue would go for a single underground station on 106th between 4th an 6th?”

    That would be great, if we only get one station DT it should be in the middle. Sadly like always transit in Bellevue is focused on the DT Transit center. It’s nice to have easy transfers but it’s really on the eastern edge of DT.

  12. If the tunnel in DT Bellevue is finally chose, how are they going to fund the shortfall? This still needs to resolved and I don’t see anyone making concrete proposal on how to fund tunnel.

    1. As far as I know the burden is on the City of Bellevue to come up with the money. The most logical way for the city to do that would be with a LID covering the downtown area.

    2. Me neither. I have a feeling that the bellevue DT business owners will be asked to come up with the money, much to the chagrin of Kemper Freeman.

    3. It seems the lack of debate about funding the tunnel means somehow this thing has been decided or will eventually sort itself out and the money will simply become available from somewhere. Nobody wants a repeat of the what happened with Central Link when line had to be scaled down due to cost being over-budget. Bellevue city council has not stated they would be willing to tax the downtown area. Is anyone listening?

  13. It’s a bid ridiculous that the only option that we have funding for is a surface option. I generally like surface options but if DT Bellevue is at grade the entire East Link’s reliability is in jeopardy.

    Since this affects the all of east link I would not support a LID. DT will already be severely impacted by the proposed cut and cover sections.

    1. Justin,
      I generally agree with all your points but not the conclusion. The option not being considered is to skirt DT and only have stations at East Main and Overlake Medical. Really connections to the Transit Center from Hospital Station aren’t unreasonable and could be very workable if Bellevue takes that into consideration in the planning of the new NE 6th street overpass. The Bellevue circulator would move people to destinations DT. The Bellevue Transit Center never really was located very well. It’s not really central but it’s far enough “inland” that it still has all of the access issues as if it were. Especially since Bellevue is asking for two underground stations I think the downtown core should contribute a large portion to the funding. If it doesn’t then it really is putting the interests of DT Bellevue ahead of building out the line to Redmond.

      1. Bypassing downtown Bellevue would be stupid in the extreme. Downtown Bellevue is where the ridership is and imposing a transfer isn’t a good substitute.

        We’re building this for the next 100 years, lets do it right the first time rather than doing it on the cheap and wishing we hadn’t later.

    2. Actually I believe ST has funding for the elevated options as well. Indeed I believe C7E is one of the cheapest and fastest options.

      OTOH I think the station location for this alignment sucks.

      1. Chris,
        I agree with you also. The question is how to fund it. C7E is the budget baseline approach. Far less appeal to DT Bellevue and less system ridership. What the Bellevue City Council has proposed, in my opinion is a very good route. However, the difference in cost really is the price (maybe more) than segment E to Redmond. So if we’re only going to tap sub area equity money then the equitable approach would be to compromise the design and build it out to Redmond Town Center. The drop in ridership from DT Bellevue would be more than made up for by segment E and serve a much wider area of the eastside. There’s also the matter of Maintenance Facilities which I think should probably go out by Marymoor rather than Bel-Red. If Bel-Red is chosen Bellevue’s preferred MF1 option is the worst of the three choices.

        I hope that DT will come up with enough of the difference to make the tunnel work.

    1. Here’s a link to a map of the subarea equity boundaries. If it were strictly enforced then Seattle/North King County would be on the hook for everything east of Mercer Island. In reality I don’t think that was the agreement when East Link was originally planned. I think the idea is that eastside riders are already picking up the benefits of the Central Link to the airport and UW so eastside subarea money will fund the expansion from the connection point.

    2. The station will be paid for with North link money. All of the trackwork around it, connecting it to downtown and the Eastside will be eastlink money, I believe.

  14. Ha ha, how funny would it be if ST just went up the east side of 405 to Hospital Station? Bellevue could build a no-fare automated circulator loop like they use at Sea-Tac to reach the line.

    It may be desirable from the regional standpoint to grow Bellevue using the new line, but it’s even more desirable from the Bellevue viewpoint to do that. ST has something Bellevue wants, and this would be a good time to drive a hard bargain.

    Besides that, if the line were on the east side of 405, eventually the state could sell air rights to build convention centers and hotels over the highway.

    Bellevue is not going to dry up and blow away if ST doesn’t nurture the city. In fact, some of the comments here are kind of LOL- we can’t build a new station here or here because there’s too much development going on already.

    To some extent Bellevue has become a city of skyscrapers because development happened in the small patch where NIMBYs couldn’t defend their turf. But that was no accident. Bel-Red was supposedly zoned to preserve “valuable light industrial”, but in reality that was a squeeze play to keep development where Bellevue wanted it. The people who run Bellevue are surprisingly good at getting what they want.

    I don’t expect ST to suddenly start playing hardball with Bellevue- but it wouldn’t be such a bad idea if they did.

  15. Mmm, this changes everything with respect to Overlake. I’d heard rumors of a “Microsoft” overpass. Turns out it’s true. By 2010 there will be a NE 31st Street overpass connecting Overlake Village with the south end of the Microsoft campus and all the apartments and condos west of 148th Ave NE. Since that’s not in any of the DEIS planning and given that sale and development of the old Group Health Eastside Hospital is off right now I’d expect there to be some serious scrambling going on in Redmond City Hall. I know they have big plans for this neighborhood but it’s a little harder to mine than City of Belleuve website. I’ll have to dig a little deeper.

    1. I finally figured out that the thumbnail in the above City of Redmond link opens up a large scale artists rendering. In that you can clearly see the two East Link tracks passing under the new overpass.

      I still think the section from 130th Station in Bel-Red to Overlake Transit Center is goofy. From 130th Station which is basically on Bel-Red Road the tracks jog back to SR520 only to follow the highway for a few blocks before jogging away again along NE24th to 152nd NE and then back to the SR 520 ROW. Either staying on SR 520 or following either Bel-Red Road or NE20th to 152nd would seem to make a lot more sense. City of Redmond identified the Marymoor alternative for East Link segment E as their preferred alignment before the East Link DEIS was even published. Interesting to note (I know it’s not all of segment E) that the cost estimate is a bargin $70M.

      Although they’ve put considerable effort into HCT in the future they seem to have take their eye off the ball on this short section of segment D where it enters the City of Redmond.

      1. The Bel-Red road alignment was dropped during planning. The reasoning is in the DEIS.

        SR520 is there as D5 and the NE 20th alignment is there as D3. D3 I believe is the most expensive segment D option and has the worst travel times. I don’t know as Redmond has expressed a preference for the alignment of segment D. Though by comments in some of their planning documents I’d guess they prefer keeping the travel times through segments B, C, and D as short as possible. Given Bellevue’s preferred alignment I suspect there may be a bit of conflict there, though Bellevue’s preferred alignment isn’t nearly as bad travel time wise as going at-grade through downtown Bellevue would be.

        I suspect the reason Redmond’s preferred alignment for segment E was selected so early is it would appear the segment E alternatives were developed by Sound Transit in partnership with the City of Redmond’s planning process.

Comments are closed.