The C9T tunnel with the B2 and B3 connectors.

Two nights ago, we told you that the Sound Transit Capital Committee chose to pursue a recommendation of B2 modified alignment for East Link’s South Bellevue segment, and C9T for the downtown segment.  Those who have not followed our coverage on East Link closely may not be familiar with B2, which had been forgotten until recent.  The route, shown in the map at right, is similar to B3 but avoids the unnecessary curve away from the Surrey Downs neighborhood.  Trains would instead run straight up Bellevue and 112th Ave before entering the downtown segment.  The modifications are mostly regarding guideway type (at-grade, elevated, etc.) and side-running segments along 112th.

We have a few commenters who were present at the Capital Committee meeting.  Bob Bengford graciously brought back his own report:

While Claudia [Balducci] walked cautiously about Bellevue City Council’s 4-3 majority preference on the B routes, there appeared to be general consensus 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.

More below the jump.

Regarding the downtown segment, the committee acted on recommending the C9T tunnel option, which was unanimously voted on as the Bellevue City Council’s newest preferred alternative.  The council’s 7-0 vote and accompanying willingness to bear some of the financial cost likely spurred the Capital Committee to choose C9T.  We also previously mentioned that a B2 style connector (from 112th) to the downtown segment would significantly cheapen the cost of the line.  It appears this may have been the reason behind the revival of B2.

Prior to the ST Board’s April 22nd meeting, both ST and Bellevue are expected to work on a “term-sheet” to make forward progress on the downtown tunnel.  If the “term-sheet” is not completed by the meeting, then an alternative recommendation of C11A will be pursued.  C11A is another downtown alignment we feel serves Bellevue quite well.  Both C9T and C11A will now be advanced to preliminary engineering.  One downside to C9T, however, will be a one-year delay of the opening date from 2020 to 2021.

Overall, we are encouraged by the capital committee’s decision to pursue alignments that will serve both the South Bellevue Park and Ride and the downtown core.   The next city council study session will likely revolve around further East Link discussion, particularly regarding the recent recommendations.  While the council has endorsed B7 and C9T, it will not likely get both as the tunnel may be prohibitively expensive without the B2 connector.  And considering the vote was unanimous for the latter, we feel that B7 is the better one to reconsider.

For those of you who can make it, a pro-B2/C9T crowd is expected to show up at Monday night’s meeting (April12th).  We encourage anyone who can attend to go and voice their concerns to the council.  The agenda has been posted here, and public comment will likely be taken at 6pm.  Visual presence is also a key indicator to citizen discontent.  The meeting will be held at Bellevue City Hall in conference room 1E-113.  City Hall is across from the Bellevue Transit Center on NE 4th Street and 110th Ave NE.

[UPDATE 4/11] Adam here. I found this great graph showing the cost difference of each downtown option by connector type. The difference between B3 and B2 ranges from $50 to $100 million with both 110th alternatives having the largest cost savings.

Cost by Downtown Alignment and Connector Type
Cost by Downtown Alignment and Connector Type

44 Replies to “Bellevue to Discuss ST’s B2M Recommendation Monday”

  1. is there any way that the B2A route could get an additional station between the P&R and the Bellevue TC? i.e. to replace the East Main station.

      1. For the “Open Letter on East Link”, didn’t John Jenson mention that there was $50 million waiting for a matching investor for Eastside Commuter Rail? Any chance of that becoming available?

        And if all else fails, would couldn’t an elevated B2A simply be designed with a 400′ long flat length of track for a future station?

      2. Do we know if the station at SE 8th Street was deleted in B2M? It is shown in the DEIS for both B2 options (B2A surface and B2E elevated), and I haven’t seen any indication that this station would be deleted, other than a comment in the previous post about ST studying a station location for B2M. Deleting it would save money, of course.

      3. I thought that the number of stations doesn’t change. With B2A the station is just below the bottom of the map.

    1. About as well as the Mt. Baker Transit Center. Exit the station and walk a block and cross some streets.

      1. Joy :(

        (The first time I ever went through Bellevue, I remember thinking to myself: it looks like there should be an elevator (on the bus island platform) down to an underground train station)

      2. Really? I’ll admit I’m not very familiar with the street layout over there, but from the map it looks like an exit at the NW corner of the station would provide pretty direct access to the Transit Center.

      3. They could always design the station so there is an entrance at the transit center, and a short pedestrian tunnel to the actual platform. This is something that needs to be pushed in order to ensure maximum connectivity.

        I envision something similar to the Capitol Hill station, which despite the fact it is not under Broadway, most of the entrances are on Broadway.

      4. It would make sense to spend an extra six or ten million to put an “Entry” on the west side of the street opposite the Bellevue City Hall. That would mean no crossing of any street with general traffic would be required. I’m having a hard time believing that someone at ST hasn’t realized that.

        Yes, a rider would have to cross the busway to access the platform, but that represents much less traffic than an ordinary street.

        There is going to be some tunneling required to access the “Entry” in the City Hall plaza. Put it down the middle of the street and have it end in a “T” with access to both sides of 110th. There are plenty of big buildings in that super-block to make it worthwhile even ignoring the access to the Bus Transit center.

    2. It depends a lot on which option you’re talking about. With C11A it would be very well integrated with Link in the middle of the road and buses on the either side. I’m not so sure about C9T.

  2. Sucks that they put the station to the east of the transit center — it isn’t much more centrally located than the Wallace line.

  3. Is there any possibility under this plan to open the innermost 4 East Link stations before Downtown Bellevue is finished, so that I can take Link to visit my sister’s place near Rainier Station? I know that isn’t in the current plan, but neither was this extra year of delay. Adding a year of delay to the downtown Bellevue station is really adding a year of delay to the entire East Link line, isn’t it? I understand part of the hold-up is getting permission from WSDOT to beginning modifying I-90, is that correct?

    Of course, the Seattle Times articles would probably be predicting armegeddon if we had a year of East Link ridership numbers without the Downtown Bellevue station included, and people would call it another line to nowhere, but there are four East Link stations between downtown Bellevue and Seattle, and it seems to me like we should do everything we can to open our network as soon as construction for each segment is complete.

  4. The main benefit of having the tunnel and station at its location is mostly because 1) Shorter route and 2) no real disruptions to the major streets.

    It’ll add about a minute or two walking time for those who want to go to Bellevue Square Mall for example but be a shorter walk for those that will go to Expedia. At least if there is a North and South entrance and no middle exit.

    1. And since Bellevue Square’s ownership feels no one shopping or working at Bellevue Square would even think of using transit to get there, that should work out fine. ;-)

  5. Re: “It would be similar to going from Westlake Station to a bus stop at 3rd and Pine.”

    Actually, with the C9T option, the station would lie under 110th, running from mid-block between NE2nd and NE 4th on the south, to mid-block between NE 6th and NE 4th on the north end. So the connection to the transit center is much closer than that. From a northern exit from the station in 110th, one would merely round the corner and be at the eastern end of the transit center. It’s about half a block.

    So this is really a very nice connection. Earlier tunnel options placed the station underground beneath the transit center which would have been ideal. But that would have required another (the 3rd) re-build of the transit center, and a funding gap of around $500m. The C9T was ST’s attempt to reduce the gap. It may be 2nd best, but it should work fine, in terms of connectivity to surface buses.

    1. Well, half a Bellevue block, or a full Seattle block. It’s close enough to the transit center, I’m more concerned about whether it is sufficiently centrally located in Bellevue, as I suspect most of the traffic at this station will be going to or from downtown, not transferring.

  6. One more thing, and that’s a pitch to turnout Monday night or email Bellevue Councilmembers to voice support for the B3S/B2M/C9T option. The Council’s new conservative majority is all over the map, and quite unreliable. It is possible they’ll f**k this up, even though they said last month they want a tunnel downtown. If they reject what it takes to get one (i.e., the money they’ve already pledged and the cost savings ST can achieve with the B2 routing) they will be putting the opponents of the B2/112th segment (like, all 12 of them) ahead of the rest of the city, overall system efficiency, and the needs of transit riders.

    They need to hear from the transit community that the best system design needs to win out. You can’t get from point a to point b without affecting someone. So get over it!

    Council emails are simple: first initial, last

    i.e.,;,, – those are the four that are risking it all by trying to pander to a small but vocal cadre of activists in the Surrey Downs neighborhood.

    Email them today!

    1. Well Bellevue Rider, your snide remark regarding the “12” is uncalled for and completely inaccurate. I happen to know that Surrey Downs is the only group here who actually represents the members of its active area. Having been present at the annual neighborhood meeting (an additional update meetings) the “12” the comprise the Surrey Downs East Link Committee actually seek input from the neighborhood and represent the votes authorized by the neighborhood. Where is the proof that the other groups are doing that?

      1. Cindy the facts are that Surrey has some vocal, mostly retired people that are against B2/B3. Frankly most of the people against light rail that I see at the council meetings will be dead or gone before the route even gets here. New people moving into the area will be quite aware of light rail, and some like me would love to buy a house close to the south bellevue park and ride because of it’s proximity to transit.

        Of course Surrey doesn’t care that B7 has more noise impacts to more people, as long as it’s not them it’s ok. Surrey doesn’t care that it would cost 50-100 million more by going around them. Surrey appears to be the worst kind of NIMBY’s possible.

        Frankly having a SF ‘hood that close to a major downtown is not responsible land use, it should be upzoned asap with all other SF areas within four blocks of the core.

      2. I think some of the Surrey Downs preferred alignments don’t make sense for the system as a whole. Nevertheless, the average age of the neighborhood members or your impression of the age those who attend meetings doesn’t make a good argument for why they are wrong.

        Given the rapid growth of Bellevue over the last thirty years neighborhoods like this have become a great deal more threatened for better or worse. Alot of these folks are trying to defend their quality of life and are acting completely rationally given their situation. Link represents major change and I empathize with fears about impacts to a neighborhood that are beyond one’s control. Their current zoning reflects a reality that was current not that many years ago and people planned their lives around it. In long run, I think the system will prove beneficial to many residents / not as destructive as they see it. But its important to argue that vision. I like to think of the example of DC where neighborhoods that received metro lines eventually became more desirable precisely for their transit connections.

        I’d also argue its incumbent on link advocates to engage rather than insult or belittle such groups. You may never satisfy the neighborhoods (certainly not completely) but the region as a whole watches these disputes and acting in good faith makes future expansions etc. easier.


      3. “Cindy the facts are that Surrey has some vocal, mostly retired people that are against B2/B3.”

        You are indeed the one who is incorrect. Yes, Surrey Downs has some elderly residents however it has also been enjoying a turn over in generations and diversity. Surrey Downs today is a neighborhood that enjoys a variety of generations.

        If you have really been paying attention to what the Surrey Downs group (who does indeed represent the neighborhood thinking) is asking for, they are not asking for a specific alignment. They have, do and will continue to ask for information that is consistent and reliable.

        Stop trying to make this sound like one neighborhood against another, that is not the issue. The issue is clear and concise information that everyone can trust.

      4. This is not true. Scott Lampe and Betsy Blackstock have CONTINUALLY and PERSISTENTLY made clear that B7 is preferred, and from what I have observed, the basis of that preference is that not enough is known about B7, rather than the belief that B7 is superior to B2/B3.

  7. between how short and far away the tunnel on 110th is from the middle of town, to losing the station on main and 108, I am really starting to favor the surface route. the only major crossing is 4th, and once every 4 mins or so is not bad at all.

  8. Once again, ST proves that they have their collective heads up their >>> and don’t listen to a D#$N thing that local jurisdictions have to say. Bellevue has done significant work in determining the fastest routing with the least impact on neighborhoods and businesses and ST can’t see beyond its typical “railroading” mentality – On top of this, we have to listen to the drivel flowing from you [ad-hominem] who think you can socially engineer all the towns and cities in the greater Puget Sound….what a crock. You want to screw up a city? Keep it in Seattle; you’re doing a great job there already.

    Additionally, perhaps you should bulldoze and densify Capital Hill and Madison Park? What a stupid comment to make about our close-in single family neighborhoods. The author and the commentors have no clue regarding land use and no concept about stakeholders interests. The article and the comments are mostly devoid of any understanding of private property rights, mitigation of ridiculously negative impacts and actual user patterns. Unfortunately, this is typical of the tripe I read on this blog…

    One thing you do well: you excel at insulting the majority of people who choose to live and work on the Eastside. Seeing as you love Seattle some much, please stay there and stop trying to change everywhere else into your own warped image.

    1. Both the C9T and B2M alignments came from work that the City of Bellevue and Sound Transit did together.

      1. Clearly you haven’t listened to the Mayor’s remarks at tonight’s study session if you think ST did anything in cooperation with City of Bellevue on advancing B2M. The only way you could possible try and twist this around is to say that Bellevue suggested and supports the side running option along Bellevue Way as part of B3 Modified; a proposal ST ignored every significant aspect of north of SE 8th.

      2. B2M was recommended by the value analysis group, which included representatives from Bellevue. Sound Transit and Bellevue agreed to a process to develop an alignment that’s acceptable to both, and so far it’s working pretty well. If Don Davidson doesn’t like the outcome of the process, tough. He doesn’t have any more say in it than any one else, and that’s probably what really bothers him, more so than where the tracks eventually end up.

      3. Oh you mean the Yes people that were appointed to tell Sound Transit how wonderful they are?

      4. Cindy, if you have been paying any attention, you will have noticed that no one is applauding Sound Transit for anything, not even transit advocates.

      5. The analysis group was made up of staff from the cities of Bellevue and Redmond, WSDOT and some professional engineers. Not exactly “yes people.”

        You whine that the information from ST is insufficient or biased, yet when they work in good faith with the city and peer review groups to reanalyze the data and respond to perceived inadequacies you say that the information from that process is biased because the people who generated it are just a bunch of “yes people.” Good grief. Frankly Cindy I doubt if any outcome other than canceling the project would make you happy.

      6. So the Concept Design Report for the downtown alternatives doesn’t clearly state the cost savings from a B2 connector, is that what you’re saying?

      7. Wrong again. B2M was unanimously taken off the table by the full Council in 2009. ST, once again, shows that they don’t listen to anything that any jurisdiction has to say. The data and the testimony is clear: at grade alignments don’t/won’t work, have problematic scheduling & safety challenges and have immitigable impacts on adjacent properties.

        Bellevue knows what is best/works best for Bellevue. ST is at best a transient who could care less about their impact on communities as shown by the wasteland they left behind in Central Link.

      8. Oh, I am sure ST does listen to every thing all jurisdictions have to say. But in your world, I suppose that means every thing these jurisdictions have to say is infallible?

    2. GandolfST: you ignore the Eastsiders, former Eastsiders, and would-be Eastsiders who want to be able get around the region without a car. The bus system is better than it was but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I’m not a Surrey Downs resident but I did go to junior high and high school right next to Surrey Downs.

      The comment about upzoning Surrey Downs was, I’m sure, half in jest. I’d like to bulldoze Lynnwood and rebuild it with Seattle’s density. (And John Bailo would like to bulldoze Seattle and rebuild it with Kent’s density.) That’s just a dream, not a serious proposal. Of course there needs to be accommodation for property rights and the wishes of other residents. But in general it would be better to upzone neighborhoods near downtown, and I’m sorry if Bellevue is no longer the small town it was when Surrey Downs was built. That doesn’t mean letting construction begin tomorrow. It does mean making a master plan with higher density, and forewarning residents that there will be more permissive zoning in the next 10-20 years. Look at downtown Bellevue and Auto Row (116th). These are all zoned for highrises now apparently, but many of the one- or two-story businesses remain, and they’ll stay there until somebody is ready to build on them.

      Capitol Hill is already high density, though there’s still room for infill. And Madison Park (and Broadmoor and Laurelhurst) have a kind of “rich people’s exemption”: nobody has been willing to take on their NIMBYism. That may not last forever.

    3. You spelled Gandalf incorrectly.

      So, the first word out of your fingers was [ad-hominem]. Why should we believe anything else in your right wing bloviation?


      Capitol Hill is densifying rapidly. Older smaller houses are being replaced by two and three-plexes rapidly. If the same were allowed in The Cute Little Surrey With the Fringies All About, MORE people who like a close in but reasonably spacious lifestyle could live there. The folks who don’t would walk away with $500 or $600 thou and could buy a McMansion in Woodinville.

      Link won’t go there in any of our lifetimes.

      1. Right wing, hahaha. I’m a centrist in general, but most people would call my ideas about transit and development left of center.

      2. I didn’t reply to you, Mike. It was to Gandalf. If I had replied to you my post would have been indented. It’s at the same level as yours, because I clicked inside Gandalf’s post.

    4. Gandolf, if you truly believe that I am clueless on land use and planning, I’d invite you to go ahead and send us an e-mail. I’d be more than happy to brief you on what I think is “proper land use.”

      And in the best interests of your own legitimacy, you should generalizing us all as Seattleites. I have lived on the Eastside for fourteen years and am pretty sure I know as much about what’s best for Bellevue as any other Eastsider does.

      Lastly, if you are complaining about private property, negative impacts, and user patterns, then you should go back and took a good hard look at B7 again.

Comments are closed.