The three alignments (B2M/C9T, B2M/C11A, B7/C9T)

In our news roundup yesterday, we told you about efforts in the Bellevue City Council to continue seeking B7 as a viable East Link alternative, despite ST’s preferred pick of B2M for the B (South Bellevue) segment.  The move is not unexpected as the four-member quorum has been very reluctant to favor B2M (which would run trains along Bellevue Way and up 112th Ave SE along the edge of the Surrey Downs neighborhood: see map).  At an earlier council meeting, Mayor Don Davidson wanted B7 upgraded to preliminary engineering as a provision for the term-sheet with Sound Transit, but that amendment was not approved.  On Monday night, the council agreed to commit $200,000 to award four contracts which would evaluate several issues:

The latest contracts will include a review of Sound Transit’s noise evaluation, a review of the agency’s B7 analysis, an environmental review of the Mercer Slough wetlands, and a study about relocating the South Bellevue Park and Ride so that it could connect with the B7 alternative.

To pay for the latest review work, the council agreed to shift $300,000 from an earlier road project that was completed under budget. That will bring the total allocation for work on East Link to $1.07 million. Of that, $200,000 is set aside for the four consultant contracts, leaving $293,000 in the city’s analysis and development budget for light rail.

Though it’s not surprising to see the council continuing to commit money to study B7, it’s hard to see the wisdom in relocating the South Bellevue Park and Ride, which would add millions to the cost of East Link (taking away B7’s cost advantage), a tab Sound Transit will most likely not pick up.

25 Replies to “Bellevue Committing $200K to Further Study B7”

  1. Normally I’d be more than happy to rail against Bellevue government doing stupid things, but essentially all they’re doing is wasting 200k. And I say wasting because ST already decided what to do. And if the report does say it’s better to go with B7, then Bellevue will have to pay for relocating the P&R, which is just wasting some more money.

    And while in general 200k is a lot of money, in terms of government it’s chump change, plus they’re pulling it from another project that was under budget, so it’s not like they’re cutting other services. So basically, a small portion of the government’s budget is being wasted… surprise!

    1. Beats the Billions being wasted by ST in this ongoing boondoggle!! ST is hardly in a position to claim high ground….Bellevue needs to do what is best for Bellevue – why you folks can’t figure that out is beyond the pale. All of this energy and $$$$ to carry 1.5% of all the trips in/out of Bellevue projected for 2030, amazing!!! I guess the silver lining is all the jobs that are being created – jobs or transit, which is it? Doesn’t seem to matter.

  2. Rather than move the park & ride (which environmentally wouldn’t be so bad – as a large fills in wetlands go), but where? Instead, if that money can be found, use it to drop the ST preferred line into a longer trench to further mitigate the sound impacts of the line near the neighborhoods.

    The $200k might be “wasted”, but there is politics at play here and it provides good cover.

    1. We definitely do not want to fill in the mouth of the slough. That’s where fish breed, the fry hang out, herons feed etc. This marshland is part of what keeps Lake Washington healthy.

      1. Yea kind of pesky that the slough flows right through the area you’d want to relocate the P&R to. I think environmentally that is going to be a non-starter. I can’t see the various federal agencies that would have to issue permits or the tribes signing off on that.

      2. this really steams my veggies, they talked two? years ago about moving the park and ride south, but it was considered basically impossible and not worth wasting any money on. With all the budget cuts we are going to have, .2 million on a wasted study to appease Surrey is just terrible. Frankly much more info will come out in the FEIS, Bellevue will probably have to hire someone to try to refute the new numbers then. Ugh.

  3. Once the line is built, the South Bellevue stop will be a great one for almost all of the area to the West of it. It’s an easy bicycle ride for everybody and a easy walk for a lot of people. On a football game day that train is going to be packed. Putting the tracks over by 405 would be a major mistake as it would make that whole area inaccessible to the line. And thusly reduce the ridership.

  4. I love how the City of Bellevue keeps ignoring that B7 would have far greater noise impacts (by virtue of being much closer) on far more residents. There are a fair number of condos and apartments along 118th that would have trains running right outside the buildings, especially in the section of B7 North of where it leaves the BNSF ROW to stay on the West side of I-405.

    Only a handful of homes along Bellevue Way, 112th and Main will be able to hear or see the trains, the rest of Surrey Downs won’t even know they are there. With B7 the trains will be only a few feet from many bedroom windows.

    I know the Surrey Downs property owners seem to feel their higher property values trump the impacts to condo owners and apartment dwellers along 118th but the EIS process doesn’t factor that in.

    1. I’m almost convinced that with the right mitigation and a potential SE 8th Station, Surrey Downs property values will go up.

      1. Agreed. I think concerns about noise when Link turns west at the north of the B segment are justified but I think ST has shown it is very serious about fixing and mitigating these problems.

      2. I agree the noise concerns at those turns are valid, but otherwise I think Bellevue way is the right routing.

        I need to learn more about trains. Why do they squeal so much on corners? Is it the friction of the “sides” of the wheels scraping against the rails as they turn? I’m not sure how much those lubrication machines are doing near Mt. Baker; it seems like it still squeals quite a bit.

      3. Obviously you are not a property owner – theoretical analysis is easy when you’re still in college…..

  5. I cannot see how S.Bellevue P&R can be moved even closer to I-90 without major environmental effects.

    I don’t think that West Bellevue Residents realize that the 550 goes away when East LINK operates (need the 550 operating money to operate East LINK). At least East LINK provides some service.

    As for SE Bellevue neighborhoods (ie. Newport Hills, Factoria, Eastside), they get screwed with the B-7 alignment, since Metro is not likely to reroute routes from S. Bellevue, though the Route 240 could be rerouted to the 118th Station instead of S. Bellevue. Routes 555/556 could stop by the station from Issaquah. However, these connections as not as good as putting the LINK station at S. Bellevue P&R as currently proposed.

    If B-7 winds up being built, those SE Bellevue neighborhoods might think about seceeding from Bellevue, and maybe joining the town of Newscastle instead, since the City of Bellevue seems to be just listening to SURREY DOWNS only.

    1. The 550 goes away because it duplicates Link, not because Link needs its operating money. Or at least I haven’t heard that, and I don’t think it was mentioned during the ballot measure. Presumably the 550’s service hours will be directed to other ST Express buses in the east subarea.

      1. I believe that’s explicit. Bus money stays bus money. Link operating money comes out of a separate budget. I’m almost positive the 550 hours go to other East King routes.

    2. To Warren on Beacon
      Try to get to the So Bellevue P&R from SE Bellevue – one access point, stacked up on the Collector/Distributor, by the time you fight that battle you might as well drive into Seattle. The dirty little secret to this whole thing is that ST plans to employ SB P&R as its own Collection point and will further limit bus access, requiring everyone to connect and take the train…at higher cost, of course!!

      At least a Wilburton station would provide 3 access points, all of which can be employed by SE Bellevue residents – know of what you speak before ripping on Bellevue.

      1. S. Bellevue P&R is easy to get to, I used to do it every day from Factoria. It’s especially easy to get to by bike. If it were hard to get to the parking lot wouldn’t be overflowing by 9:00 am.

  6. Hey I’ll do their study for 20k and probably come up with the same conclusion. The 405 route is a dumb idea.

  7. THANK YOU for showing the alignments, along with their names. As someone who never, ever goes to the eastside (after having grown up there), it’s great to see it all laid out in one tidy graphic.

  8. The funds Bellevue City Council has decided to spend for “expert” advise on light rail routes could be far better spent evaluating whether light rail is the best use of the bridge center section. The Sound Transit board opted for light rail years ago without seriously considering the alternatives. Any competent transportation consultant could have told them modifying the center bridge for two-way, bus-only use would provide 10 times the capacity of light rail, at 1/10th the cost, and could be operating10 years sooner.

    The consultant could also tell BCC East Link will never have the capacity or the accessibility to carry more than a fraction of cross-lake traffic. Sound Transit claims light rail will increase cross-lake capacity by 60% with 50,000 riders by 2030 are absurd. Confiscating the center bridge for light rail will doom the vast majority of cross-lake commuters to future gridlock.

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