c3tThere is only one consensus for routing East Link through downtown Bellevue – almost everyone wants a tunnel. Unfortunately, few agree about which one. Only two of the many alternatives (PDF) came out of the public comment process with strong support – C3T (PDF), a bored tunnel running under 108th St and turning east on 12th, and C2T (PDF), a cut-and-cover tunnel running west on Main, up 106th, and east on 6th. Both tunnels surface as soon as they turn east. Also note that B3 and B7 are the big contenders for segment B, so the south edge of both C options look approximately the same.

It’s that surfacing where the trouble starts. C3T would require the demolition of a few houses, much like Capitol Hill station, and potentially displace a small office building next to I-405. C2T would close (and remove) the relatively new Bellevue Transit Center, relegating buses to various reroutes during construction. It would also permanently result in one-way, one-lane access to Meydenbauer Center, which I believe is Bellevue’s largest convention space. Meydenbauer’s front door would face an embankment and elevated light rail. The list of impacts continues – the plaza cut from the Galleria, temporary loss of the pedestrian walkway that replaces part of NE 6th… essentially, every pedestrian and transit amenity in downtown Bellevue would be torn up for the C2T option.

c2tStation locations are also slightly different between the two. While both C3T and C2T have stations at the transit center, C3T would straddle I-405 with a station along NE 12th, serving the hospital, while C2T would instead put a station at NE 8th behind the Whole Foods – in the BNSF right of way. It’s not significantly farther from the hospital, but it doesn’t serve the new northeast downtown development – and that shows in projected ridership.

The numbers don’t pan out for C2T, either. The cut-and-cover tunnel meanders through downtown, resulting in an extra minute traveling through the segment. C3T will see several hundred more daily boardings than C2T largely as a result of that faster travel time – and I don’t know that those numbers take into account the recent explosion of Bellevue downtown development. C3T is projected to be $100 to $160 million cheaper, so those boardings are more cost effective, as well.

The Bellevue City Council, however, along with the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, endorse C2T. I’ve heard two reasons for this: first, auto row is ripe for redevelopment – while downtown Bellevue has grown dramatically, the area on the east side of I-405 is largely parking lots and single story buildings, and I believe it’s zoned much higher than that now. The east downtown station could spur growth there. Second, it provides access to the BNSF right of way. This concerns me – the Port of Seattle doesn’t even have the money to buy it. Last year’s talk of a “plan” to run commuter service to Bellevue dried up with the election. As a region, we shouldn’t base our routing choices on pie-in-the-sky ideas.

The Bellevue Downtown Association put the alignment choices to a vote, and C3T won overwhelmingly – that seems more like the result I’d expect, and it’s where we stand as well. It’s going to be hard enough to fund a tunnel in Bellevue, and it’s a stroke of luck that the most cost effective tunnel option is also the cheapest, serving the most people, with the least travel time. With the understanding that funding for a tunnel is in no way secured, and that the board will also move forward a surface option that can be built with current funding, we urge the Sound Transit board to move forward with C3T.

123 Replies to “Editorial: Tunnel Options in Downtown Bellevue”

  1. RE Link light rail in downtown Bellevue:

    The big trouble with all the downtown options left on the table is that they don’t serve the retail center, along and west of Bellevue Way — Bellevue Square, Old Town, and the high-density residential development around them, present and future. The closest we get is the existing Bellevue Transit Center over in the office core area. I’m sure this pleases train-hating Kemper Freeman Jr., but it’s not in the long-term interest of the downtown community.

    Imaging downtown Seattle without Westlake Station — that’s what’s being proposed for downtown Bellevue. Completely nuts.

    1. The small business community on Main Street actually came out in favor of C3T at the board meeting.

      What you’re suggesting is C1T, but it’s really cost-ineffective – 50% more annualized cost per passenger than C3T. At the end of the DEIS, there’s a chart in the alternatives comparison (lower bars are better, page 6-17):
      http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/projects/eastlink/deis/6_Alternatives_Evaluation.pdf

      I don’t think Bellevue wants rail up Bellevue Way due to capacity concerns – that’s already stop and go during commute times.

      1. I’ll check the data on the routing, but two comments:

        1) I’m sure the business community in Old Bellevue wanted C3T instead of C1T primarily because they didn’t want to deal with the construction mess. I’m sure you would likewise fine businesses along C3T that prefer C1T for the same reasons.

        2) If you put C1T underground then it shouldn’t affect capacity on Bellevue Way at all. (except during construction which is only temporary)

      2. No, no, it’s not C1T on Bellevue Way that’s the problem, it’s the B segment leading up to it, which would be at-grade.

    2. TV– that’s a somewhat wrong-hgeaded way to view this system’s utility. The Bellevue Transit Center, and both stations contemplated at that location under C2T and C3T, are located within a quarter-mile walk of over 60% of all the jobs in Bellevue. That is the real market for Link ridership. The station is literally ground-zero for Bellevue’s job base. That is the reason Link will improve the quality of transportation in this region– by carrying peak hour commuters. The rest of the ridership profile is important, but it’s gravy.

      1. Exactly – the bulk of transit use is for home-to-work commuting. Just look at the thousands of people waiting for buses in downtown seattle during the evening rush hour.

    3. The Bellevue City Council reccomended a modified C2T alternative with an additional station at 106th NE and Main. While not quite at Bel-Square it serves the “Old Main” area, downtown park, and retail better than the BTC station.

      1. Heh, there’s another $100 million… they can’t get it. They’re going to need to do something else for local transit.

      2. Bellevue will be getting a free downtown circulator bus starting in 2010. Here’s a Seattle Times link from early last year with a description.

      3. Dateline January 30, 2008… If you read the news from 2000 Link opened three years ago. A Bellevue circulator isn’t even on the “software calendar” yet.

      4. Isn’t Bellevue paying for most of the cost of the circulator bus? Why would this be cut any more than the 242 (which Microsoft pays for)?

      5. Sound Transit never proposed a plan that is “for” the needs of Bellevue. They have only proposed plans that are for getting people from outside Bellevue into downtown Bellevue.

      6. Sound Transit is a regional transit agency. Their focus is moving people from one regional node to another.

        If you don’t think any of the Sound Transit plans are “for” Bellevue then what would a plan “for” Bellevue look like?

      7. I suspect Bellevue might be better off building a circulator streetcar than dropping an additional station downtown.

        We still don’t know what if anything in the way of funding the City Of Bellevue is willing to come up with to pay for their vision of what East Link should look like in Bellevue.

    4. Yes, I think you will see the development shift east (until it hits I-405) as a result of the choices made here. I agree C3T is the best option left, but that does not mean it is the best option possible. In 10 years Bellevue will be kicking themselves for being shortsighted.

  2. Well, I don’t think there are any good options that put a station right at Bell Square, and I’m not sure you would really want to do that anyhow.

    But…if you started with C1T (not pictured) and put a station of some sort at Main and Bellevue Way, then you would certainly do a better job of serving the SW corner of downtown Bellevue and you would effectively bracket Bell Square without actually dedicating a station to it. This station at Main and Bellevue Way would act like the East Main Station but would serve the core instead of the freeway.

    Note: I don’t have the maps in front of me, but I believe C1T is similar to C2T except it runs under Bellevue Way on its N-S leg.

    1. C1T similar, but it requires a different B alignment, and it’s much less cost-effective. It doesn’t serve nearly as many users. See my comment above with a link to the alternatives analysis.

      1. Actually that doc you linked to isn’t the one I was thinking of. But…if I remember right (and I might not), I wouldn’t be so quick to say C1T is “much less cost effective.”

        For one thing the ridership numbers are actually fairly close with the existing estimates, and I suspect that the ridership deficit for C1T exists primarily because it does not have an additional station (TBV) such as the East Main station on C3T. Add in a West Main station on C1T and it would probably beat C3T for ridership (which certainly helps overall economics).

        Also, if I remember right, the B1 alignment is actually cheaper than the other B alignments and has fewer environmental impacts. These savings from the B alignment would help offset the higher cost of the C1T alignment to some (probably small) amount.

        However, I think the real problem with C1T is the number of displacements. Given the political atmosphere in Bellevue regarding LR, I suspect that is enough to kill it.

      2. Add a West Main station on C1T and you’d make travel time higher and increase cost, both of which would probably cancel out the ridership increase.

      3. Actually that doc you linked to isn’t the one I was thinking of. But…if I remember right (and I might not), I wouldn’t be so quick to say C1T is “much less cost effective.”

        For one thing the ridership numbers are actually fairly close with the existing estimates, and I suspect that the ridership deficit for C1T exists primarily because it does not have an additional station (TBV) such as the East Main station on C3T. Add in a West Main station on C1T and it would probably beat C3T for ridership (which certainly helps overall economics).

        Also, if I remember right, the B1 alignment is actually cheaper than the other B alignments and has fewer environmental impacts. These savings from the B alignment would help offset the higher cost of the C1T alignment to some (probably small) amount.

        However, I think the real problem with C1T is the number of displacements. Given the political atmosphere in Bellevue regarding LR, I suspect that is enough to kill it.

      4. OK, first sorry for the double post.

        Second, C1T does have an Old Bellevue station, so the ridership deficit must be due to some other factor. I still prefer C1T overall due to station location and coverage, but…

        Since the FTA does not allow for the inclusion of redevelopment generated ridership in ridership forecasts, it would be interesting to see what affect TOD would have on C1T and C3T ridership in future years. It might be that C1T beats C3T in future ridership once redevelopment affects are included.

      5. What I’m envisioning is the general C2T alignment, but moved over one block west, to Bellevue Way, to serve a station in the general location of the C1T station.

        This retail core station doesn’t have to be right under Bellevue Way, where it would disrupt traffic during construction. Alternate sites include the strip mall on the west side of Bellevue Way in the block south of Bell Square. Also the site of the old Safeway store.

      6. The thing is, those are decisions that had to be made a couple of years ago during the DEIS process. We can rehash them all now here, but these options are pretty long decided. All this work has been done on each for ridership and cost – you’d have to do it all again, delaying the project and making everything cost more.

      7. The City Council can request and Sound Transit can initiate a Supplimental EIS if they want to. This would allow the study of other alternatives that might better serve the needs of Bellevue.

      8. The walking distance that people are most likely to be in to access any station is up to 1/2 mile. The neighborhoods what might access an East Main station are already within 1/2 mile of the downtown transit station and used to walking to that station. If they eliminate the East Main Station which is not needed as supported by Sound Transit’s own distance research, it would save hundreds of thousands of dollars that could then be channeled into a tunnel. It would also support nearby residential areas from negative impacts such as decreased safety, noise, access issues and property values issues.

      9. Assuming Sound Transit chooses the B3 alignment for the South Bellevue segment as reccomended by the City then the East Main station site will have rail running through it and be used as a construction staging area.

        The City seems to want a station at East Main as well. In any case once the rail line is there I don’t see how having a station there creates additional problems for the neighborhood. If anything the station would likely be a net positive. Increased pedestrian traffic would increase safety (“eyes on the street” and traffic calming). Proximity to the station would tend to increase property values not decrease them.

      10. Anna, “wanting to” have a supplemental EIS is one thing. Funding it is another. Perhaps Bellevue City Council can step up if they want to fund moving forward an additional, higher risk option?

        And please, PLEASE look at the DEIS ridership estimates for East Main. It serves a lot more people.

      11. The ridership numbers in the DEIS are flawed and even Sound Transit now admits that. They are now saying that ridership numbers need to be looked at in an overall count instead of the route by route count that the DEIS reflects. The ridership numbers are being reviewed due to this issue.

      12. You say the ridership numbers in the DEIS are flawed. What effect would that have, are they to high or to low? Can the numbers in the DEIS still be used as a relative count for assessing the various options? Or are they so fatally flawed as to be entirely worthless and meaningless?

      13. I think the reason the City Council is only proposing to go as far west as 106th is because destruction along Bellevue Way would be too disruptive.

        106th Ave NE and NE 6th is the geographical center of the Bellevue downtown area. That puts it 4/10ths of a mile from the edges and 6/10ths of a mile from the corners (but you can’t walk diagonally). That means that even 4 stations ideally placed don’t cover all of downtown Bellevue within the magical 1/4 mile walk. The four stations under consideration (East Main, 106th, Transit Station and Ashworth) don’t even come close.

        We always come back to the conclusion that the only answer is for Bellevue to design and build a separate system. Trying to torture Link into doing the job is ineffective and astronomically expensive.

      14. Yes, your final paragraph sums it up nicely. Bellevue will end up needing their own streetcar or something to connect everything, light rail will be more of a regional connector rather than a downtown circulator. That’s where C3T kicks butt.

      15. If they drop the East Main and the Ashworth (especially Ashworthless) I’d agree. Get in, get out with the minimum number of right angle corners, done. It would probably get B’vue their tunnel without braking the bank and have the least construction impact. If there’s a huge outcry in the future there’s nothing done that would prevent additional stops being added but I suspect the decision would be to improve local access rather than bog down Link.

      16. Ashworth serves seriously high density. Check out all the construction just to the SW of the station, plus the hospital expansion to the east.

        I’m not sure about East Main.

      17. Density to the SW is served by the Transit Center stop. All of the commercial is south of 10th which is a 1/4 mile from the transit center. North of 10th is high rent condos which I don’t see as high ridership. The hospital is negatively impacted by the Ashworth Station and there’s no other development to speak of east of I-405. It’s all better served by the establishment of good downtown Bellevue transit. I think something in cooperation with the hotels south of the East Main would make more sense. It serves a population that is likely to be dependent on transit and puts covers the area better geographically. But again good local connections might be better than hanging it all on Link. See if the hotels are willing to put up the money for the station; that’s the best way to determine demand.

      18. The hotels probably won’t have a stance until the B segment is hashed out, as for all we know, it’ll go through their property.

        Remember that “served” is relative. A lot of the new construction is one block from the 112th station, but four from BTC. Those are big blocks – twice the length of a Seattle block. That station will see decent ridership.

        And those who live in the core do take trains. This is one of the problems with calling all transit equal – affluent people will more often ride rail than a bus. That’s what we’ve seen all around the country.

        I don’t think people going to downtown Bellevue hotels are any more transit users than high-end condo owners.

      19. The reason I’d put the hotel guests high on the list of likely to use transit is that those hotels are by and large business travelers. Most I expect fly into town and currently rent a car at the airport. If there’s a train that takes them directly to the hotel and serves the Microsoft Campus plus offices and convention centers in both downtown Bellevue & Seattle I think they would not only ride link but it would be a real bonus (best foot forward sort of thing) to companies in the region.

        From what I’ve observed the demographics of the units going in north of 10th it’s largely retired folks.

        County blocks are 1/16th of a mile, 330 feet. Through streets are only every 2-4 blocks in “dense” areas and maybe 8 or more blocks as you get farther out. I don’t think the blocks as the grid is laid out are any bigger than Seattle.

      20. I like the idea for going for the most cost-effective option for the tunnel, then in the future have a Downtown Bellevue streetcar that would connect all the different destinations in that area.

      21. alex: me too!

        Bernie: retired folks use transit, especially level boarding rail transit. :) And those blocks are MUCH bigger than Seattle blocks. Go have a look at google maps! DT Bellevue has blocks every 2 numbers, not every 1.

        Here’s Bellevue:

        http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Bellevue,+WA&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=38.638819,78.75&ie=UTF8&ll=47.613772,-122.196679&spn=0.008043,0.02738&t=k&z=16

        vs Seattle:

        http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Bellevue,+WA&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=38.638819,78.75&ie=UTF8&ll=47.605425,-122.333965&spn=0.008044,0.02738&t=k&z=16

        And if someone’s flying in and going to Bellevue already, I expect they’ll drive, or they’ll just stay in Seattle, as they have more options in Seattle and the same rail service.

      22. >> DT Bellevue has blocks every 2 numbers, not every 1.

        That’s what I said. Only every other block is a through street; usually even numbered. The other streets are there. For example NE 85th St is a major east/west arterial. As you move farther out it’s every 8 blocks (not one super block), 132nd, 140th, 148th, 156th for example. The blocks are all on the grid and the same 1/16th of a mile spacing. Look at the addresses if you’re confused by the streets not always being there.

      23. I think you’re missing my point here, which is that the usual 4-5 block maximum willing walking distance is really only 2 superblocks. That’s the only reason I brought it up, that the word “block” means something different to someone living in DT bellevue than in DT seattle.

      24. I think anyone that is a long term resident of the eastside will tell you there are eight blocks between 140th Ave NE and 148th Ave NE. There are four blocks between Main and NE 4th. The concept of “super blocks” is a Seattle construct of people that are accustomed to virtual every street being a through street and a stop light every block downtown. Downtown Kirkland is the exception that doesn’t follow the county grid; and they flipped Streets and Avenues!

      25. Actually the City of Bellevue government refers to them as “super blocks.” I’ve done some research work for the city and when I lived downtown if someone told you something was 2 blocks away they meant 2 Bellevue blocks, not 2 street numbers away. If I walked from my house to Bell Square it was a 2 block walk, which in Seattle would have been a 4 block walk. In general I think that people think of blocks as from one intersection to the next, regardless of the street numbering system.

      26. They do indeed reference “super blocks” or “superblocks” and depending on if it’s Crossroads or downtown it can mean anything from 2 to 8 blocks. Blocks are 16 to the mile. I’ve never gotten directions from anyone that said “go north three superblocks then left two superblocks and I’m on the right.” They might say “go three lights and turn left then take the second right.” Superblocks isn’t really a distance. It’s a nice construct for planing because it references the number of stops/cross streets. If you want someone to know how far something is one block in Bellevue equals a 1/2 furlong.

      27. I think we’re just arguing semantics here, but I was just supporting Ben’s statement that “blocks” in Bellevue are different than “blocks” in Seattle. Yes, the street numbering system in Bellevue adheres to the pattern laid out in Seattle, but the physical size of a “block” in Bellevue is larger. When talking about blocks in city planning a block refers to the space enclosed by through streets. A “block” is not always a set unit of distance, it depends on context. I think that Ben was just trying to make sure everyone knew that context, because not everyone has walked around Bellevue. If someone were at the intersection of NE 8th and Bellevue Way and I told them to go one block south and turn right I don’t think that they would turn into the Macy’s parking garage. I think that they would turn right on the next street, which would be NE 4th. Maybe they wouldn’t, I don’t know! It’s just semantics and context.

      28. Bernie,
        Even without the Ashworth station the site with the medical offices north of 12th and west of 405 quite likely be needed for construction staging. Furthermore I suspect Overlake Hospital would be more pissed about not getting a station at all than having one at the back corner of their campus.

        If you look at the Ashworth station area there is far more density currently built or planned (in the sense of permits applied for/construction started) nearby than near either the East Main station or the “hospital” station at NE 8th & BNSF. In addition to the Hospital you have a number of office buildings including some leased by the Hospital or with other medical practices, a number of condo/apartment developments and the Bellevue library.

        If C3T is chosen I’d like to see a station both at East Main and Ashworth in addition to BTC.

    2. Here’s the Bellevue City Council Prefered Alternative.

      It is essentially the B3 alignment with the tracks kept South of SE 8th until 118th SE connecting to C2T with the East Main station and an additional station at 106th NE and Main.

      The additional station serves almost the same area as the Main and Bellevue way station.

      1. The City Counsel has acnowledged that the portal opening for any tunnel should be on the property that the Red Lion now occupies. They also acknowledge that a station at East Main is not necessary and that a station elsewhere would be more useful.

      2. I agree the tunnel portal should be on the Red Lion site. I believe that is reflected in Sound Transit’s plans for connecting both B3 and B7 to either of the possible tunnel alignments.

        I didn’t realize the West Main station was intended as an alternative to the East Main station in the City of Bellevue recommendation until I read the City’s letter to Sound Transit.

        Unfortunately that is only really a possibility with the C2T alignment (106th NE tunnel). With the C3T alignment (108th tunnel) the choices are East Main or no South downtown station.

  3. Fortunately the City Council listened to the concerns of the Hospital staff and chose the station that actually serves the front entrance to the hospital and doesn’t drive several large practices to Issaquah because of the C3T routing demolishing the Commons Building.

    The BNSF ROW is rail banked. The Port doesn’t have to buy it, ST doesn’t even have to buy it. All they need is operational ROW which BNSF will likely grant for free (what did GNP have to pay for the entire northern section?).

    Transit Voter is right. Neither of the plans in the Draft EIS serve the retail center which is why both were rejected by Bellevue and a Main Street Station added. East Main and Wilburton (ignored in this analysis) serve the major Hotel center for Bellevue which is important to getting business travelers to and from meetings in the office core area and to conventions.

    The convention center was not happy about the “wall” in front of the current entrance created by the CT2 alignment. A remodel to move the main entrance to the west pedestrian plaza will be a major improvement even if not forced by Link. The problem only exists because of the insistence on routing Link to reinforce a poorly placed “transit center”. There really is not a huge investment here and opening the space up as a pedestrian plaza would go a long way toward making Bellevue a walkable city (remember Westlake before the deparment stores held the city hostage to reopen it to cars?). There’s lots of lip service about Link driving the creation of “walkable communities”. Nothing in any of Bellevue’s tunnel plans gives people a reason to walk or any walkable areas.

    The real issue with cost isn’t a debate about which tunnel alignment to use. The real issue is tunnel vs above ground (elevated since at grade in downtown Bellevue will never happen). It will be very interesting to see what ST comes back with this month as their preferred alignment. “Preferred alignment” really means the base cost ST is willing to put up. Then the real wrangling begins over what Bellevue wants (the moon) and what’s fair for the rest of east King County to pay for. The current state of the economy is likely to make this even leaner and not at all a good time for the city to approach citizens or business with additional taxes.

    In the end if Bellevue actually has to pay for it’s Billion Dollar Baby it may decide to separate the shuttle needs of downtown from the regional transportation purpose of East Link. Then everyone will come out a winner.

    1. Bernie, the City Council made their decision before the hospital staff had much input, I think.

      I’m not sure what you mean about ‘both’ plans (there are several) being rejected by Bellevue. Different entities in Bellevue have endorsed C2T and C3T, and other plans were rejected.

      Bellevue as a whole rejected the elevated alignment. It’s probably not moving forward into the final EIS at all, just the at-grade as a backup plan.

      I suspect Bellevue has the means to come up with the $500m or so difference necessary for C3T.

      1. No they didn’t. They made the decision (4-3) after the final town hall meeting in which several doctors told them flat out that a vote for C3T was a vote to move tens of thousands of square feet of medical practice suites out of Bellevue. I suspect the Hospital staff was in close contact with all council members sympathetic to their position long before then.

        I keep hearing how the base number is variously 1/2 a billion to a billion under the plan adopted by Bellevue as the preferred alternative. I’ve heard nothing from City of Bellevue regarding any additional taxes to pay for it. I don’t think that would have happened before the downturn and really don’t see it happening now. They have two choices. One, raise the sales tax in the downtown core and or create a LID (not likely). Two, try and pass a property tax levy for all of Bellevue (schools or trains?).

        Bellevue wants a tunnel but given the choice between elevated, at grade or bypassing downtown I suspect the choice would be elevated. The discussion is really on hold until ST makes the next move which is to come back with it’s preferred alignment by the end of the month.

        It would have been nice if there was public input to the formulation of the Draft EIS. As presented it came out after the fact as a take it of leave it plan skewed heavily toward the predetermined outcome a few well connected developers and construction companies would like to see. I’m glad City of Bellevue had the fortitude to say “none of the above”. It proves that the DEIS proposals are not the only game in town. In the end it’s the cities that have to permit the design selected.

      2. I thought the B3 vote was 4-3, and that another vote for segment C was 7-0.

        I haven’t read anything but your comments referring to a tunnel as being a billion more. Perhaps if you went for the highest C1T estimate and compared to the lowest C4 estimates, you could get there, but C3T top and bottom are about $500m greater than the C4 top and bottom.

        I thought there was considerable public input into the Draft EIS. There was a scoping process with about 300 comments (have a look at this, in the first few pages):
        http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/projects/eastlink/deis/2_Alternatives_Considered.pdf

        I seem to recall going to at least two meetings for identifying these alternatives well before the DEIS was released.

      3. It’s the cost of the extra underground station the really drives up the COB preferred alternative. If they drop the Old Main station then it’s closer to the other alignment options although it does add a little more length to the tunnel. If they don’t get the extra station then there’s little point to taking “the long and winding road”.

      4. And that Old Main station doesn’t add any ridership – the time taken cuts the BTC station ridership by as much as it adds. That’s why it’s not cost effective.

      5. That’s part of the problem with looking at the DEIS ridership numbers (yes I know the COB alternate wasn’t in the DEIS). What is never accounted for is how much ridership would simply shift if a station was dropped.

        Just for example lets say Bellevue #1 on segment X has 4,000 ridership numbers and Bellevue #2 has 3,000 ridership. If you drop Bellevue #2 ridership on segment X won’t drop to 4,000. Some number, perhaps most of Bellevue #2 is going to board at the remaining station. Similarly just adding stations doesn’t guarantee a corresponding boost. The other big number that’s missing is new ridership. Forcing people to take a longer route just by making it the only alternative shouldn’t really count (unless it’s counted as a negative ;-).

      6. Some inferences can be made by comparing the ridership figures for various alternatives. For example C1T vs C2T gives an idea of the effect of a Old Main station. The West Main in the City of Bellevue recommended alignment wouldn’t have exactly the same ridership due to the difference in location but I’m willing to bet it would be in the same ballpark. Similarly there are ridership numbers for C2T, C3T, C4A, and C7E with and without the East Main station.

    2. So what route do you think Link should take through downtown Bellevue? Where should the transit center be? Remember most of the offices and jobs are in the area around the transit center.

      1. Well, I don’t think Link should go through downtown Bellevue at all. I think a stop at Hospital Station combined with a first rate system that serves all of downtown would be the way to go. That’s not going to happen. COB is going to demand at least two stops in the downtown. If I had to pick two and base it on the alternatives presented above then I’d vote C3T with East Main and BTC (East Main is useless but not destructive). 2nd choice of the two above would be C2T with BTC and Hospital Station. Way more convoluted than it should be but gets the two most important stations.

        Using a 112th alignment (either tunnel or elevated) with a single stop near NE 6th would also have a lot to recommend it. Likewise C2T with a single stop between NE 2nd and NE 4th would be better than the either two stop alternate.

        None of it is really effective without significantly upgrading transit in downtown Bellevue. That’s why, give the limited pool of money, I think economizing on Link and spending on the connections makes the most sense.

      2. Having East Link bypass Downtown Bellevue entirely would be criminally stupid. Right up there with ignoring Microsoft. Without downtown Bellevue at least 1/3 of the East Link ridership disappears. Without the ridership there is little chance of getting any Federal funding. As the City of Bellevue said in their DEIS comments we’re building a 100 year solution. A 100 year solution means the downtown of the second largest city in King County should be served.

        I must say I find your dismissal of downtown Bellevue rather perplexing considering how much you advocate for serving downtown Redmond with 3 stations.

        As I said elsewhere the C3T alignment would likely require use of the medical office building site West of 405 and north of NE 12th, Ashworth station or not. The hospital would be more upset by not being served at all than to have a station on the back corner of their campus. If anything it will probably enhance pedestrian connections with the OMC office space in the complex West of 405 and South of NE 12th.

        I think a 112th alignment would be a poor choice. If you are going to spend the money on a tunnel you might as well try to serve the downtown core not the edge. (hence C3T)

        A C2T alignment with a station on 106th between 2nd and 4th is pretty close to what the City recommended. The station at 106th NE and Main is intended as a substitute for the East Main station.

        FWIW I believe the segment B & C travel time estimates in the DEIS assume a total of 4 stations between the two segments so adjusting the station locations a bit shouldn’t have a huge effect on travel times.

        I’ll also agree Downtown Bellevue will need better transit connections no matter what. But not to the extent of using it as an excuse to be penny wise and pound foolish with the East Link alignment.

    3. Bernie, Bellevue isn’t asking for the moon. A tunnel through downtown is the only thing that makes any sense. Elevated lines would create visual blight and lessen property values for downtown property owners. An at grade alignment is impossible with the already narrow downtown lanes. Even makeing 108th and 106th one way streets will not accomodate the traffic that will still run through downtown.

      1. When I say Bellevue is asking for the moon I’m talking about the whole package. The extra underground station is a huge adder. Convenient yes but questionable ridership increase. A centrally located station on 106th would likely have almost the same ridership as the two proposed stations at Old Main and BTC. Then you get to Bel-Red and they want to zig zag back and forth and put in two stations with no ridership, have the highest cost and longest travel times.

        Nothing wrong with asking for the moon. Now is the time to throw it all up against the wall and see what sticks. Then you can “give up” something you never had in negotiations. If this was Bellevue Link it would be grand. It’s not, it’s supposed to be East Link and it’s the only Link service the Eastside sub area is going to see for 20+ years.

        At best this service opens in 2020 to Belleuve (later to Overlake). Bellevue shouldn’t be sitting on it’s hands for the next twelve years. The circulator/streetcar/subway should have been planned ten years age, before the forest of office towers were built. Instead the only ROW left through downtown Bellevue is the old BNSF tracks. Bellevue painted themselves into this corner and now they want to use ST2 money to try and not only fix downtown but add future capacity for another island of development in a new area of Bel-Red instead of auto row or the existing Bel-Red corridor.

      2. Bernie,
        Actually once I fully read the City of Bellevue comments it would appear the city is asking for a station in the area of 106th and Main instead of the East Main station. This keeps the segment B/C station count at 5 which is the same as all the other alternatives (except for those with B7).

        As for Bel-Red I don’t think putting the stations there is a waste. The zoning changes mean that area is likely to see substantial new residential and commercial development. While there is little there now that won’t be the case long-term. The ridership figures for the 130th station aren’t too shabby, though I’m sure part of that is due to the planned P&R.

        Do remember there are weird FTA rules as to what can and cannot be factored into ridership projections.

        Sure it would have been nice if Bellevue had left ROW in downtown for high-capacity transit, but the time to do that would have been 30 or more years ago not 10. By then it was already too late.

      3. A surface station for an underground station isn’t even close to an even trade.

        Stations in Bel-Red waste time and money. More to the point they waste the time of all the ridership coming in from the east; the people paying for transit today. 130th is a terrible place for a P&R. It’s bringing more cars into an area that’s already beyond capacity instead of increasing service to South Kirkland and the Houghton P&R. Come up for a plan and fund it for 2010 and we can talk about 2030.

        You can go back to about 2000 for when the density started to skyrocket (skyscraper) in Bellevue. Any number of those buildings could have had transit stations built in when they made the big hole in the ground. How’s that old saying… “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part.” Bellevue can’t even get a circulator bus going and all they have to do is pick a route and write Metro a check. The only “answer” Bellevue seems to have is more overpasses on I-405.

        You’re right that Belleuve has been on the path to gridlock for 30 years. Belleuve in 1980 had nothing. The only “highrise” was the Paccar Tower. That’s when Kemper Freeman pushed through redevelopment of Bellevue Square in the model of a suburban mall. Since then the development has gotten the green light and left everyone else stuck in traffic.

        Redmond mean while has become the home of the State’s second largest employer. The Microsoft campus and surrounding business straddle a freeway with efficient bus access and are bordered by four lane arterials on each side with local transit service and multifamily residential. The original downtown area has been redeveloped with retail and mixed use residential instead of concrete canyons. Yet Redmond draws the short straw when it comes to Link.

  4. Here’s a good site to compare alternatives with: http://www.soundtransit.org/x9095.xml

    C1T has a certain appeal to me, too. But Ben’s right, the cost is just way too high to put it on the table, it displaces more homes, has less riders, and is the toughest route to build.

      1. Bell Square shoppers are less likely to hike a 1/4 mile than Downtown Seattle shoppers. Downtown you have a myriad of transit options connecting the tunnel stops to the rest of the city.

        It’s true that you don’t plan transit around retail shoppers (even though ST thinks it justifies an Overlake Village Station). The thing I like about Bel Square is that it was actually designed to drive to and park. During the work day that parking has a lot of unused capacity. A park and ride agreement would give Bellevue residence the opportunity to use link as an option to get into Seattle. And it would drop off a lot of potential customers at Bel Square at the end of every work day. This is in sharp contrast to the transit center which is a drop off/pick-up point for people that work there. By the time you drive to a P&R and take a bus to the transit center it’s faster to just look for a direct bus to downtown Seattle. Folks on the left side of the Lake seem to ignore the fact that the only way people on the eastside have to get to Link stations is to drive there. Someday that might change but not in the time frame in which East Link is to be built.

      2. There’s a pedestrian accessway directly from the transit center to Bellevue Square. I’ve used it many times, and I’ve seen hundreds of others using it as well. It doesn’t seem to be a big limiting factor.

      3. From the drawings in the DEIS it would appear a station entrance right on the NE 6th walkway is planned for any Transit Center tunnel station. So no crossing 108th NE and there is less of a walk up the hill.

      4. A quarter mile is a five minute walk. If people aren’t going to “hike” that short distance then why would a stop next to the Orange Julius inside the mall get them to ride light rail? Most people are going to drive to the mall because it’s a mall, but it just so happens that the proposed transit center stop serves most of Bellevue’s jobs as well as its biggest retail centers.

      5. Plus, the new retail centers are appearing next to the transit center. The Bravern is going to have Neiman Marcus – they’re not going to Bellevue Square.

        Not that I’d shop at Neiman Marcus, but it’s high-end retail. :)

      6. What?! Haven’t you seen the new line of transit-themed Prada handbags? I was about to book a train to get one on Fifth Avenue but now I know I can get one at The Bravern!!

      7. Okay, that’s funny. :)

        I actually was just looking at Numi laptop bags. There’s geek Prada for you…

      8. Retail isn’t the only reason for an Overlake Village Station. There is both housing and employment within a 5 minute walk of the station. Furthermore Redmond plans redevelopment of the area with 5000 additional residents in the next 20 years.

        The Overlake Village Station is also right on the South edge of the Group Health site.

        It simply isn’t true that the only way to get to East Link stations will be to drive. The stations will be served by the bus system, so instead of transferring to another bus riders can transfer to Link. Furthermore there will be people who are within walking or biking distance of the Link stations.

        That said there are large park & rides planned along East Link as well. But that doesn’t mean that every East Link station needs to be a park & ride.

      9. All parties were extremely tight lipped about whoever the client was that had to back out of the deal for the Group Health Property. My guess is that if it had been Microsoft they would have completed negotiations and own it by now. My understanding is that Redmond wants to see a large number of residential units as part of any development plan. I’d expect a mix pretty much identical to downtown Redmond.

        Moving the Overlake Village site to the north edge of the Group Health site puts it that much closer to the existing residential on 148th and 156th and of course puts it on the edge of the Microsoft Campus. Coupled with the ability to interchange with a flyer stop instead of the milk run required to get to Overlake Village (lets make the train & the buses slower) it seems like a no brainer compared to at grade tracks running up NE 24th and 152nd NE.

      10. Well the Group Health site will eventually be redeveloped even if it has to wait for the credit and real-estate markets to recover. Unless of course Group Health changes its mind and decides to hang on to it, but given their other actions I find that unlikely.

      11. Moving the Overlake Village Station to North to where it could be served by a flyer stop puts it too close to the Overlake Transit Center station. I don’t see a real point to having two stations right along the freeway 1/2 mile apart like that.

        Even without redevelopment in the area a Overlake Village station has better ridership than the “hospital” station at NE 8th & BNSF.

      12. Overlake Hospital Medical Center has 2,200 employees and 800 physicians (337 beds). That doesn’t even count the associated labs and practices that are almost as big as the hospital itself and all the visitors coming to the hospital. It’s dwarfed by Swedish (First Hill, 697 beds) and smaller than Harbor View or UW Hospital (413/450 beds) but similar in size to Providance (aka Swedish Cherry Hill, 385 beds) or Evergreen (275 beds).

        A glance over at the parking garage ought to say something about number of people that use this facility every day. Then consider that everyone living in east Bellevue can get to that station and there’s still land that’s low rise and parking lot and I think it’s got everything beat except the downtown core and Overlake Transit Center (Microsoft Express).

        Overlake Village has 300 low income apartments, a small P&R lot that’s only used at 40% capacity and employment centers like, Sears, a small Safeway and a Fred Meyer. True a northern location for this Link station would primarily be a second Microsoft stop. However, Overlake Park & Ride is at capacity and has limited expansion ability (can only go up and so much would be lost to ramps that I’m not sure it would pay). There’s also the fact that when I ride by the bus stops at NE 51st and NE 40th the “reverse commute” is close in numbers to the people coming to/from Seattle to Microsoft.

      13. There’s also a pretty big Virginia Mason on First Hill and a Group Health on Capitol Hill, plus a million little clinics and that providence facility there.

      14. Pill Hill really really needs better transit connections… to everywhere.

        A note on employment. When you read UW employs 30,000 it includes the entire staff of Harbor View (and a great deal more that aren’t employed anywhere near UW campus).

      15. Well… it somewhat unrelated to this discussion but I can’t help replying. Total UWMedicine employment is 16,000 which includes Harborview (there are some non-UW county staff by the way… it’s endlessly complex), South Lake Union (a couple thousand) and the “UW campus” which is itself divided into many parts (South Campus, UW Tower, Main Campus, West Campus, etc.) There are many small neighborhood clinics and foreign locations, but to my knowledge there are no longer any other major job centers for medical staff since the consolidation to the UW Tower and new 9th and Jefferson expansion at Harborview. (There used to be offices downtown and at Northgate.) Of course there are also the non-UWMedicine campuses at Bothell and Tacoma which probably account for a few more of the 30,000. I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of the all UW research faculty and staff (as opposed to teaching faculty) are in the U-District though, because that’s who runs the billion-dollar grant research machine.

        Strangely the “about the UW” pages seem to focus on students. :)

      16. Bernie,
        Sorry but in the DEIS the “Hospital” station at NE 8th shows lower ridership than any station along the B3/C2/D2 Alignments except for the 124th NE station (remember the ST ridership numbers don’t factor in TOD). In addition to the retail there are a number of non-Microsoft office buildings and multifamily housing beyond the apartments at the P&R lot near the proposed station. Furthermore some ridership will come from neighborhood bus lines in the area which with link will actually connect to reliable and fast transit. With the additional housing units Redmond has programed for the area ridership will likely be higher than the DEIS numbers.

        The poor utilization of the Overlake Village P&R lot is probably due to both poor current bus service and a fair number of people commuting to the area rather than away from it.

        Mind you I suspect the “Hospital” station will show higher ridership than projected as the Wilburton, Midlakes, and Bel-Red areas are redeveloped. But as it stands now the ridership for the “Hospital” station is low. Even the Ashworth station shows higher ridership despite being at the back of the Medical Center complex.

        As for Overlake Transit Center, Sound Transit proposes to expand the P&R lot there from 170 stalls to 320 stalls. It won’t be as big as South Bellevue or Mercer Island but it will be relatively large considering most of the ridership at that location will be going to jobs in the area from other parts of the region.

      17. The DEIS numbers are meaningless unless we have the data supporting them. Not only don’t we have a clue on how these were arrived at (some federal formula, it must be right) but they don’t take into consideration at all the scenarios of deleting nearby stations or attempt to distinguish new ridership from those currently using bus routes. Some, perhaps a lot with respect to Overlake is due to the part of the plan which cuts back on bus service across 520.

        The only certainty with Ashworth Station is that it will decrease employment in Bellevue. That we know that from the medical practices that will be displaced. The increase, from where?

        The poor current bus service at Overlake Village is because it’s a poor location. It take so much longer for any of the poor routes that have to go through there that it just doesn’t get used. People commuting to the area are Microsoft employees. There is nothing compelling for the station to located as proposed. Pure and simple it’s an attempt to disprove that the TOD plans which created Overlake Village ten years ago are a bust. A double track main at grade is only going to make it worse!

        Doubling the number of stalls at OTC is going to be extremely expensive. It’s going to require at least a three story parking garage on what’s now a patch of asphalt. Building a parking garage of say 1,200 stalls on or near the Group Health property would be far more cost effective and be that much better at increasing ridership.

      18. The hospital station at NE 8th is also an investment in the future. The entire area South of NE 8th along 116th back to 120th is planned for redevelopment and that station will serve the numerous multifamily living units that will be built there as well as the increased retail businesses.

      19. joshuadf,
        I agree a large portion of the UW’s staff and faculty are on or near the main campus. Even if it is only 2/3 that is 20,000 workers commuting to campus every day. Lets not forget the 40,000 or so students a majority of whom attend class at the Seattle campus.

        There is a reason the estimated ridership for the UW and Brooklyn stations is so high.

  5. I’m also concerned about the lack of a station serving the dense SW corner of downtown Bellevue. I had to walk from Old Bellevue to the transit station and I couldn’t imagine – except maybe dedicated transit riders – anyone making the harrowing journey.

    I know Link is supposed to be a commuter line, but I believe opening up several stations downtown will not only improve coverage of downtown, but it’ll enhance intra-downtown Bellevue trips.

    What happened to the council’s proposal that included a station at Main & 106th? It appeared to be a B3 + C2E alignment that included an Old Bellevue Station. I hope Bellevue goes forward with that proposal. And I actually prefer the station to straddle NE 2nd St instead of it being more on the outskirts of downtown.

    1. That corner of Bellevue really isn’t that dense – the ridership numbers are lower and the cost is much, much higher.

      Did you go to the public meetings? The people actually on the SW corner preferred C3T.

      1. Old Bellevue, South of Main, and 100th st from the lake to 8th st have a number of lowrise condos and apartments, including two 10 story structers. There is plenty of density now and more planned in the future. The 18 minute walk uphill to the transit center is just not effective considering I can drive to Seattle in 18 mins non peak. The ONLY bus that goes near me is the 234, great if I don’t mind taking 30mins to get to Kirkland.

      2. The problem is, that’s totally anecdotal. Yes, there are people in your position, but there are *more* people who live in the very high density areas already and wouldn’t ride if they had to sit through another stop. That’s why Sound Transit does all these ridership estimates.

      3. The problem is there’s no supporting bus service on the eastside. SW Bellevue could have transit usage on par with Queen Ann if it was available. That would directly drive up ridership on Link. But once you have to get in your car you might as well just drive where ever you’re going.

        BTC is held up on some ivory tower. It’s just a bus stop for Pete’s sake. I bet there’s more transit over the course of 24 hours on a two block section of 4th Ave than BTC sees all day and that’s only going one direction!

      4. Queen Anne has some 30,000 people, and I don’t even know if that counts lower Queen Anne. That’s more than all of downtown Bellevue. It’s crazy to claim that SW Bellevue could come anywhere close to Queen Anne’s transit use.

    2. The problem here is that East Link is a regional transportation project. We can’t solve all of the transportation problems in Bellevue with a regional solution. There has to be some local solutions for local issues.

  6. It is my understanding that there will really be two tunels simular to all other ST tunnel segments…

    Why not go with the C3T alignment for the Redmond bound trains, and run the Seatlte bound tunnel under NE 12, turning South under Bellevue Way, and then East under Main rejoining the C3T alignment with stations on NE12th, Bell Square, Main.

    This would with the adition of a few pieces of aditional equipment allowy you to run a “Bellevue Circulator train” between each of the regular link Trains, the bellevue circulator stays within the downtown bellevue core. Link would not have to stop at the NE12th or Main station on the circulator loop.

    In the future, when East Bellevue warents the service, the circulator could be pulled from the 106th tunnel, and routed across 405, and north following ESR ROW hitting both the East Main, and the Hospital stations, as well as whatever East Bellevue Stations are deamed necesary.

    Bellevue would be more than welcome to subsidise the ride for a Free Circulator ;)

    Lor Scara

    1. To your first question: Because the construction impacts would be double if you had to tunnel in two places.

      But all of these are discussions that would have to have happened two years ago or more, during the DEIS process. It’s already been boiled down to a few options through all those public meetings, and now we’re on to pick the final one. We can’t just start over.

      1. Actually, I don’t think any of the options are either ruled-in or ruled-out as of today. There has been no “official” decision on which option to build, or not build for that matter. Bellevue might express their opinion, but they aren’t the “decider” in this case.

        There is still time to tweak the routes if there is a valid reason to do so.

        And I disagree with your characterization of C1T as “much, much” more expensive – the data from ST does not support the use of those adjectives.

        Also, the lower density in SW Bellevue represents a greater opportunity for TOD – which is not necessarily a negative for a variety of reasons.

      2. http://www.soundtransit.org/x9095.xml

        C1T is about $300-$400 million dollars more expensive. We can pounce on adjectives all we want, but that’s a pretty huge figure — and that amount would be on top of whatever Bellevue will already have to contribute to build a cheaper tunnel.

        I think all things equal I do like the C1T alignment — I think that second stop would be nice to have. But the higher cost and the effects the B alignment can’t really be ignored.

        Of course we can suggest entirely new and zany routes, but they probably won’t be considered realistically since the process is meant to cull the effective routes not re-explore all the ideas that were rejected years ago. C1T is not yet one of those rejected ideas. Lor Scara’s proposal didn’t make it this far and not all ideas are created equally :)

      3. Yes, but B1 is somewhat cheaper than the other options so you gain some of that hit back. And if you were able to support a surface station somewhere near SE 6th or 8th the added ridership might justify the added cost….

      4. B1 is like $50m less expensive, not $300-400m less expensive. Those blue bars are per-passenger metrics, not relative to each other.

      5. B1 could also be MUCH less expensive if they didn’t widen the road so much and decreased the road by 1 lane. Bellevue Way would have much less traffic if 405 wasn’t such a mess.

      6. Using the actual tabulated data and not “the bars” shows that B1 is between $80M and $130M cheaper than the other B options. These costs are in actual 2007 dollars.

        But what matters is cost/passenger, so if a station could be added in the vacinity of SE 6th than C1T “might” actually be the more cost effective option.

      7. B1 plus C1T is the most expensive pair of segment B and segment C alignments. Around a full billion more than the cheapest segment B and segment C alignments (B2A and C4A IIRC).

        As for ridership C1T and C3T do the best. Building an East Main station with B3 or B7 shifts the numbers a bit both for cost and ridership but the relative comparison is still valid.

        Adding a West Main station would add expense and increase travel time. I’m not sure how it would compare to C2T or C3T as presented in the DEIS.

      8. C1T has a station there, and it doesn’t have better ridership than C3T. I don’t think the station makes up for the increased travel time.

      9. I think it is important to think of East Link as serving downtown Bellevue first and MS second — thinking of it primarily as a quick transit option for getting to/from MS from/to Seattle is wrong and doing so would skew the design decision.

        Accepting slightly slower service to MS in exchange for better service to the downtown Bellevue CBD is the correct design approach.

      10. B1 contains the most property condemnations (residential and commercial) and negative impacts of any of the alignments.

      11. A comment on the tweaking. The ONLY options the ST board can move forward with are those that have been studied already. They can’t pick an option that hasn’t had estimates done yet. They can tweak the current options later, but they can’t move forward with a lot of them, because the next step in the process gets expensive. B3 is an example of this. B3 is already one of the more cost effective B alignments, so they’ll likely pick it and then alter it to be to the east of the road instead of in the center.

        With C1T, the base option is not very cost effective, and very few in downtown Bellevue has come out in favor of it. C2T and C3T both have strong support. Sound Transit isn’t going to go pick a more expensive option they can’t pay for that nobody wants, they’re going to pick a less expensive option that enough people want that there’s a chance it could happen. It would be very, very risky for them to move forward with C1T when few in Bellevue came out to support it *and* few in Bellevue want the B alignment on Bellevue Way the whole way.

        I know that as armchair planners, we go “but look at this option!” – but we had our chance to do that two years ago, and support didn’t come out for that option. It’s not something we can go back and change now.

      12. But Sound Transit can initiate a Supplimental EIS to study any additional alternatives and they can do this at any time.

      13. It is probably only worth it if there is a situation like what happened with the routing near the UW for U-Link/North Link where a major stakeholder suggests a new option.

        If I had to guess I suspect the FEIS will have an additional alternative consisting of the Bellevue City Council’s recommendation. Since part of the point of their changes is to mitigate some of the impacts or gain additional benefit. The COB alternative would need the same analysis at the other alternatives to prove this was actually the case.

      14. As opposed to the 5 million they will spend in PR money to tell us why we will like what they are dong and cram it down our throats?

  7. Bellevue is already getting major re-development from light rail, in the Bel-Red area. With C2T, it seems like Bellevue is asking too much from a REGIONAL rail system – to help them re-develop two large areas within their city. It also seems like a future streetcar would be a much better application for auto row, and the east side of 405.

  8. If DT Bellevue only gets one usable station I think it should be right in the middle on 106 and 6th. There may be some possibility using this concept to cross 405 in a different way that would not disrupt any stakeholder as much as either current plan.

    1. Good point — if all you are going to do is build an expensive tunnel so you can serve one Park&Ride lot then you might as well run the entire route along the freeway the entire way.

      That effectively is what ST is going to do for Shoreline and Lynnwood — why should Bellevue be any different, right?

      1. Because Bellevue has a big cluster of skyscrapers downtown that make ridership there higher than Shoreline and Lynnwood combined?

        I don’t understand how East Main or the hospital station are unusable. Both have decent ridership expectations.

  9. Ya, but both Shoreline and Lynnwood have plans to build up and densify, and the proper economic metric isn’t ridership anyhow — it’s cost per passenger mile.

    On a cost per passenger mile basis, I’d be willing to bet that a pure freeway alignment on the East Side would beat the pants off a fancy tunnel serving just one station in DT Bellevue (and a Park and Ride at that…).

    Ditto for the freeway alignment serving Shoreline and Lynnwood when compared to a tunnel in Bellevue.

    Don’t get me wrong, I support putting a tunnel in DT Bellevue — but if you are going to go to that level of added expense, you really should step all the way up to the plate and do a good job and not a halfway (not the way I’d prefer to word it) job.

    1. You’d lose that bet. Look at B7, it’s the least cost effective in B. Then look at the elevated options for C, and the freeway alignment for D. Ridership is bad.

  10. The ST board will be discussing the East Link alignment at today’s board meeting. Anyone going?

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