As we predicted, the Sound Transit Capital Committee made a recommendation of B2 modified and C9T for the preferred alternatives earlier today.  Bear in mind that this is a mere recommendation and that the ST Board will make its official decision later this year.  For those unfamiliar with the East Link alignments, B2 runs up straight up 112th Ave SE as opposed to B3 (the original preferred alternative), which curves away from Surrey Downs and back west on Main Street.  C9T is the newest tunnel option that we’ve been covering.  We’ll have a more detailed break-down later.

[UPDATE 4:23pm] An alternative recommendation of C11A for the downtown segment was also made.

26 Replies to “ST Capital Committee Recommends B2M & C9T”

  1. If the choice is between a usable tunnel or an unusable Vision Line, which do you think I’m for?

  2. I attended the meeting and was pleased with what I heard. While Claudia walked cautiously about Bellevue City Council’s 4-3 majority preference on the B routes, there appeared to be general concensus that South Bellevue Park and Ride was a critical stop along the route and needed to be on the alignment – both in terms of accessibility for park and ride users, but perhaps more importantly, for the great connectivity with other bus routes. We heard that Mercer Island’s council had sent a letter expressing their concerns over impacts to their park and ride should South Bellevue be excluded on the Eastlink Route. Regarding Downtown – Bellevue’s commitment to pitch in 150M for the cost of the tunnel and full consensus had a big impact on Sound Transit’s Board – and thus there was full consensus to move forward with preliminary engineering on the tunnel. But due to significant budget concerns, there was also concensus on continued study on the surface route (C11a). And given the cost concerns combined with the tunnel, there was strong support for the B2 routing along 112th, which saves $50-100M, reduces wetlands impacts, displacement and ROW costs(though they noted that ridership would be somewhat lower). It was noted that due to the added engineering for the tunnel, it would likely set back the opening date by a year – but as a result, the full line to Overlake could open all at the same time – possibly saving some money by eliminating phasing. Other notable comments – they wanted to continue to study a retained cut option in the Spring District and further analyze an Overlake Stop further to the north – which would reduce time and if a ped bridge is built over the freeway to Microsoft, would have greater ridership. One more closing comment – it was interesting to see McGinn expressing how great it was that the Board was open to looking at new options so late in the process – as this is such an important long term decision – and he said this with great enthusiasm two or three times – I think we can all guess what other transportation issue he was referring to! Bob Bengford – Enatai Resident, 550 user, and Urban Designer

    1. Thanks for the report. It’s unclear to me why phasing would affect costs much. And when you talked about moving the Overlake stop further north, did you mean the Overlake Village station, or Overlake TC? If the former, the NE 36th/31st St. bridge is already well along. It should include pedestrian facilites, not really to Microsoft, but between Microsoft facilities on both sides of 520.

      1. in either case (otc vs village), a pedestrian bridge that is aligned with the stop directly could save about a block of walking out of the way. So an additional bridge would be nice. (Not to mention crossing at 40th now means dodging cop cars and motorcycles in the crosswalk most mornings due to my fellow coworkers inability to recognize red lights)

        To me ST recognizes this is the same argument about why the UW’s preferred at grade crosswalk idea stinks, it increases the amount of walking pedestrians have to do. And the transit station is there for those pedestrians, not for cars! I’d also hope any ped bridge would span the streets too, so another crossing could be eliminated. Otherwise that roundabout with the new bridge at 36th/35th will be pretty dicy.

        I’m also amused that the “full line” is already just to overlake. I thought the full line was still supposed to be to downtown Redmond, but I’ve been expecting it to be shrunk to just MSFT all along.

      2. Did you not read any ST2 material? East Link has been just to Microsoft all along, and I think it was even just to Microsoft in Roads and Transit.
        I agree, pedestrian bridges in these cases are necessary.

      3. The walk across Montlake Blvd and the UW’s proposed land bridge is actually shorter than the curving pedestrian bridge. However, the Montlake Blvd level crossing has a lot of cars. If there could be a pedestrian tunnel from the station concourse to the west side of Montlake Blvd, this would be the easiest route for pedestrians – shortest and the fewest level changes. It would also be useful for people heading to the hospital and buses along Pacific St.

      4. Overlake Village Station – it looked like the station would be right at the freeway and 152nd – not far from the ped bridge. ST had a slideshow of the details – but it’s not on their website yet, at least I couldn’t find it.

      5. The Overlake P&R once had a lot of transit service, including frequent service to Seattle on MT 250 & 263, later ST 546, as well as a number of connection opportunities. With the opening of the Overlake Transit Center many of the routes shifted their focus there and the Overlake P&R has little service anymore. It is significant detour for the 253 to even stop there any more. The Overlake P&R really isn’t much of a transit cneter any more and even 250 service has been shrinking. The primary reason the Link stop was proposed there is that “transit-oriented” multi-family housing was built there, but it is a short walk to the relocated Link stop closer to 520. Generally stops near freeway are not good, but in this case there are a number of destinations within walking distance on either side of the freeway, and the Overlake TC has connecting buses, so the shift of the Link station near 520, with reduced costs, reduced travel times, and less impact on the traffic gridlock around NE24th/148th/Bel-Red is probably a good decision even if it is further than some Overlake destinations. The whole area is not very pedestrian friendly and is car-oriented, though there is the potential for some redevelopment there. But unless Link is elevated in that area, it would be slowed a lot through that area.

      6. It will be elevated over 148th but I believe the plan is to bring it back down to grade for the station. From there to Overlake TC it is at grade but in the 520 ROW with complete traffic separation. Anyway, the revised plan would avoid all interaction with street traffic from west of 140th Ave NE all the way to Overlake TC which is a vast improvement for traffic, the trains and business in the area.

  3. This sounds much more encouraging than what the Bellevue City Council was saying about the B options. I am curious to see what the details of connecting B2M to C9T are though, are there maps that show this? One thing I’m curious about the placement of the stations. With B3->C9T or B2->C11A there were 2 stations in downtown bellevue, one on main and one at BTC. But with B2->C9T there is only the BTC station. Does B2M add the second downtown station maybe?

    1. I’m not exactly sure what B2M would include, but the original B2 alignments from the DEIS include a station at SE 8th Street.

      1. I’m guessing the M means that they are going to keep the side running component of B3 modified. It’s the only part of the Bellevue City Council preferred alternative they seriously considered and gave them the out they needed to avoid the default to B7 which they should have advanced as the fall back if the full B3 modified wasn’t.

      2. Yes – south of SE 8th they are keeping the side running design (E side of Bellevue Way/112th). Between SE 8th and Main – the route would be at-grade – before sloping above grade towards Main to bridge over 112th and make the left turn along Main. They will study a number of alignment options along 112th (along center lane, east side of 112th, maybe one other variation). I can’t remember exactly where the station was planned in the area (either along Main or 112th S of Main). I didn’t get a copy of their slideshow and it isn’t up on their website yet. But I’ve attached the staff report for the meeting that Katie Kuciemba passed along to me earlier today.

  4. Can someone please post a map of the recommended route? I am on the road And ST’s site is hard to navigate on my phone.

  5. The B2 alternative makes a lot of sense from a cost standpoint. It’s also a shorter routing and has fewer environmental implications than the costly swing over to I-405 and back. I am glad to see this option is coming back to the forefront.

  6. “There was strong support for the B2 routing along 112th … though they noted that ridership would be somewhat lower).”

    This is the original Bellevue Way/112th route? I thought it would have the highest ridership of all the alternatives. Why do they think it would be lower?

    1. B2 doesn’t have the East Main station that B3 has, instead it has one at the SE 8th Street/112th Avenue SE intersection. This results in slightly lower ridership because SE 8th isn’t as great a location for a station from the perspective of (high ridership) downtown Bellevue, although it does have better access to KC District Court.

      As Bob Bengford mentioned above though, it sounds as though Sound Transit is looking at doing the East Main station with the B2 alignment, so who knows.

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