The Sound Transit Board unanimously moved to modify the preferred alternative for the East Link project as reported yesterday. B2 modified (112th Ave SE) and C9T (downtown tunnel) are now selected as the preferred alternative for the South Bellevue and Downtown Bellevue segments for East Link.

The Board also adopted a new fare policy and ST Express bus and Link light rail fare changes.

[Update from Sherwin:] Here is a press release (PDF) from ST that breaks down the meeting and motion.

18 Replies to “Breaking: B2M and C9T is Preferred East Link Alternative”

  1. well I for one like it. I think the downtown surface option would be fine too but i am happy that this actually makes sense from a Seattle to Bellevue commuter’s take (ie me!)

  2. I like it as well just wish there was a stop between the. P&R and the Bellevue TC. That and the fact that the station is a block or so away from the Transit Center.

      1. The station at SE 8th may be a good place to intercept buses from the Lake Hills area. Buses could come down Lake Hills Connector and onto SE 8th to the station before continuing to the transit center. And who knows, maybe a few brave souls from the surrounding neighborhood will venture a trip on light rail. :-)

      2. With proper mitigation, a SE 8th station could also render an increase in the property values of surrounding homes. Surrey Downs residents will pleasantly find that not only are their homes worth more, but light rail is actually a great way to get around!

      3. Can we call it “Surrey Downs Station” in honor of the neighborhood? :)

        I was just wondering what could be done to keep the station from being a ghost land. Leveraging SE 8th Street would be good. It’s also somewhat close to the high school and fire station.

  3. So what happens next for this segment? What and when happens for the next segment down the line?

      1. Yes, the D segment. It may not have the drama the last two segments have had but I am interested to see how it turns out.

  4. I’ve been a big fan of the idea of re-opening the eastside BNSF railway for commuter passenger use and after looking at Sherwin Lee’s composition of the three alignments that were on the table here I sort of wish they selected B7 for the B segment to better facilitate/integrate it.

    1. Would the FRA allow commuter rail and light rail on the same tracks? They don’t allow light rail to share tracks with other heavy rail equipment, so building B7 may preclude using the corridor for commuter rail.

    2. a better thing to do would be running a link line from Kirkland (and points north) to Renton on the old BNSF line … where it could connect with the East Link line north of Bellevue (where the planned line will use that ROW anyway) … as well as @ I90 if an extension to Issaquah is ever built up I90

      1. If B7 was selected, the two lines can intersect @ I90 without waiting for an Issaquah extension. People can ride up from Renton and then transfer to westbound East link to Seattle.

        Also B7 would allow the BNSF line to bypass the severed Bellevue portion at the old Wilburton tunnel. Though I’m not sure how well DMUs would do in the downtown Bellevue tunnel.

        However I do realize some positives with keeping them seperate (with B2M) after further thought. Such as… 1) The BNSF line could be retained as a backup/emergency north-south freight line if anything ever happen to the Seattle line. 2) Commuter service could begin before East link by reconstructing a bridge over I90 in place of the former Wilburton tunnel. Years instead of a decade.

      2. Bruce,

        As good as an idea this would be, the FRA/FTA does not allow this type of joint operations in the United States. While this is common practice all over the world, the FRA rules on crash-worthiness between light-rail, freight rail, and commuter rail all must be met. This would mean that East Link vehicles would have to be overbuilt to meet the FRA specs, use non-compliant DMU’s to get through those rules but that will also depend on the host railroad (GNP RR) if that would even be acceptable.

        If it were to be allowed, the non-compliment equipment will not be allowed on to BNSF to capture the van-pool ridership at Tukwila Station.

        At this point in time, it is best to see how things progress with the I-405 expansion with the planned BRT but a DMU between Tukwila and Snohomish/Everett/Monroe would certainly get my nod and vote before a BRT line would.

      3. 1) The BNSF line could be retained as a backup/emergency north-south freight line if anything ever happen to the Seattle line.

        I’ve always thought that this was critically important. Currently if there’s any problem with the BNSF tunnel under Seattle, the shortest diversionary route is *SPOKANE*. This is of course insane — any problem with the tunnel would simply shut down north-south traffic altogether.

        The East Side route is a critical backup route for freight.

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