We weren’t there, but PubliCola was, so go there and read up on the hysteria and hyperbole. See also Erica’s route reconnaissance.

Basically, ST was trying to solicit opinions about the various sub-options of B2M, but the meeting was dominated by complaining that B7 (out by I-405) wasn’t a choice, compounded by predictions of doom if light rail goes near certain neighborhoods.

It’s all very depressing. If you live in South Bellevue and you want to be able to easily access Link, by not showing up you’re being shouted down by people afraid of change.

42 Replies to “Last Night’s East Link Workshop”

  1. In response to the person who asked, “Do you belong to the Bellevue Club?” I have an equally relevant question for you: does your commute take you to the areas served by East Link? Because not only are your fears about the Bellevue Club unfounded, but they do not trump the needs and desires of a regional transportation system. For perspective, perhaps you should get together for a chat with the dozens of thousands of Seattle residents displaced by I-5.

  2. I think the problem at hand is that a very small percentage of very loud people is doing their best to try to prevent successful, if any, East Link construction. I had the “joy” of talking to someone in Redmond last week who claimed that the whole system will be abandoned in 15 years because “those things didn’t work before and now they’re too subsidized with my money.” Nevertheless, this small, vocal, and privileged group is going to do their best to make it impossible, and even if they don’t make it impossible, to direct as much of it into useless routings like the “Vision Line” (which, yes, has little to do with South Bellevue routing but i’m giving you an example) and make the system as completely useless as humanly possible if it does get built.

  3. “ST was trying to solicit opinions about the various sub-options of B2M,”

    E) None of the above.

    On July 19 staff will present the findings of City-initiated studies of the B7 alternative.

    1. Which I still think is a bad route and negatively affects as many if not more residential units as B2M.

  4. I’ve been depressed by most of the meetings I’ve been to. I seem to only hear from vocal NIMBY people. I think the larger majority of people simply don’t want to be confrontational.

    In the long term, I think that locating the station as close to the mall as possible would only be good for the city, directly connecting the business and shopping districts of Bellevue and Seattle. The major landowners in the area seem to push for primarily car based transportation and have worked to get that attitude to permeate the Bellevue city council.

    The more stations that actually serve the city of Bellevue, the better for long term usage, while locating things purely besides existing freeways only encourages people to stay in their cars.

    1. The landowners are used to primarily car-based transportation because that’s all they’ve had in Bellevue. Change is hard, and those with money fight it because they fear losing their money no matter what the change is.

  5. I really don’t understand the comments about East Link creating awful traffic near Bellevue High School (or Erica’s comment about following the route past Bellevue High School). I grew up in Bellevue, and unless my memory of the geography is flawed, I don’t recall Bellevue High being anywhere near the East Link routing. Bellevue High is a block or so south of the intersection of Bellevue Way and Main Street. The routing of East Link’s B2M option is on the entirely opposite side of downtown from the school, and doesn’t come across and hit Bellevue Way until much further south.

    1. The back of Bellevue High School is 108th, not 112th. It’s the next arterial street over, and the next turn off Bellevue Way. It has single-family houses all around it, while 112th is more open. So maybe Erica was on the wrong street.

      As for the golf course, Google Maps shows a Golf Tec at 111 108th Ave NE. It looks like a golf training company; maybe it has a little field?

  6. From Erica’s bike tour of B2M:

    1) Apologies to the man who described the Bellevue Club as “historic,” but—apart from the golf course, which is sort of soothing—the building, built in 1979, is actually pretty ugly, at least from the road.

    OK, I’m stumped: Where is there a golf course along 112th/S Bellevue Way? I ride the 556 through there every day and have never seen one.

  7. the solution to me is to put the rails on 112th and NOT EXPAND THE ROAD. It’s 4 to 5 lanes wides, plenty of room for link plus one lane in each direction. No taking of private land, the road is not very busy it would work. of course this is bellevue, where taking lanes is not even a possibility.

    1. Justin, to address your “not very busy” comment: 112th is one of the main egress routes for evening commuters trying to get to I-90 or I-405 by bypassing the daily mess on I-405 south of downtown Bellevue. After 5pm it’s not uncommon to sit in the jam at the S Bellevue Way intersection for 5-10 minutes while waiting for everyone to funnel through the choke point between there and S Bellevue P&R (and longer isn’t out of the question if there’s an accident tying up S Bellevue Way).

      Having said all that, putting the road on a diet by replacing one traffic lane in each direction with rail could get Mercer- or Seattle-bound drivers to switch to the train.

      1. Your forgetting that integral to this plan is tripling the size of S. Bellevue P&R which is of course going to make the choke point worse because the ginned up ridership is based on giving people a $30,000 free parking stall.

      2. An equally expensive park and ride will be constructed whatever the alternative.

      3. Sadly yes, ST figures $30k on parking to add one additional rider is worth it (about $4 per commute amortized over 30 years). The one at 130th is equally bad, maybe even worse. A S. Bellevue parking garage will fill because it will siphon of cars from Eastgate and 130th will siphon of cars from Wilburton and Redmond. P&R lots belong outside the congested areas or should serve local residents; there by keeping them from having to further add to the congestion (i.e. Mercer Island should first and foremost be reserved for Island residents). The place that makes sense for a P&R is Marymoor (replacing Bear Creek P&R) but alas, the project comes up about two miles short.

        I’d like to see ST fund a study on shared parking at Wilburton (nothing to share at S. Bellevue since it’s just swamp). The D’Orsay Hotel for example was found to have parking requirements about 1/3 less than actual demand. I’m willing to bet all the hotels between the current Willburton P&R and Main were built with similar over capacity. A hotel’s main crush for parking is often evening banquets plus with Link connecting to the airport and DT Seattle one would hope for even less demand from hotel guests. The same plan would work for Bel-Red if there was something there besides repair shops and self storage.

      4. Reverse chokepoints will just as easily happen if there is a B7/Wilburton-SE 8th Station. I’m mixed on a SE 8th Station on the B2M alignment, but that would mitigate traffic impacts from the SBPR demand.

      5. Isn’t that PR already at/over capacity? When I used it a few years ago, I knew that I had to be in it before 7am or there wouldn’t be a spot for my car.

      6. DW I drive twice a week on 112th at rush hour, I don’t think it’s busy at all but that just my personal opinion.

      7. no edit button! I drive the portion from SE 8th to Main, maybe the traffic is backed up as you say further south. Regardless just like Bellevue way I don’t think people should be cutting through to avoid 405, we should just fix 405.

      8. We just added 2 lanes to SB 405, removed the Wilburton tunnel and severed the Eastside rail line.

        405 will never be fixed, as quickly as you add new capacity there will be new induced demand.

        Charging tolls on 405 during peak hours might reduce congestion.

  8. If they pick the option that puts it in a retained cut on the east side of 112th and Bellevue Way I don’t see how it could effect anyone’s property value. It will be across the street from Surrey Downs and below grade. It’s as good as putting it in a tunnel.

    1. Obviously you don’t belong to the Bellevue Club, Zed, otherwise you’d be throwing a fit about losing a couple tennis courts. Maybe the club members would like to donate funds so ST can bore a tunnel under their precious courts and avoid disturbing them at all? I’m sure that’s a much better solution than any other mitigation option which might be offered! /sarcasm

      1. Haha, obviously not! I play tennis at the center near Robinswood. People in Lake Hills are way less snobby! That’s the real Bellevue.

        Surely the Bellevue Club can find some space in their ginormous parking lot to rebuild the courts. I’m sure that ST will be paying a pretty penny for them.

      2. The Bellevue Club management is working very hard to get their members all worked up about this, trying to tie the Club owner’s economic interests to those of the members (it’s not a member owned club). Unfortunately, this is the first time (as a member) I’ve ever seen them try this . . . usually they could care less . . . . so it comes off as extremely self serving. But then, I’m a swimmer and the pool is on the other side of the club.

      3. Mmmm, according to CH2M Hill the only severe noise impact from option 4 would be to the pool and the noise impact to the tennis courts is deemed “moderate” (page 26).

      4. Just invite the Williams sisters to be tennis pros there and no one will be able to hear the trains.

    1. Or just look at the value of the homes in Tukwila that have been affected by the noise. Property values go up when you repurpose the area as was the goal with RV.

      1. That’s an elevated stretch. Most of the noise in the RV is from the bells, crossovers, and signals. Signals are not necessary with a retained cut. Bells can be curbed, as we’ve all been advocating for. And I don’t think there are any crossovers in that trench, where trains generally don’t screech.

        Oh, and don’t forget that the whole point of the trench is to mitigate any remaining noise.

      2. Sherwin, there is a cross over track right near the bellevue club, even in the trench. It was shown during Monday’s council meeting.

      3. Given the real-estate crash I’m not sure you can say any change in the value of homes along the line in Tukwila is due to Link. It really hasn’t been in place long enough to draw that kind of conclusion. Besides most of those properties are already subject to a lot of highway noise.

  9. If it’s any consolation, the Beacon Hill meetings for link were full of morons as well. The Bellevue folk might have dressed better, but they’re cut from the same backwards cloth.

  10. I think it is a stretch to say that the meeting was dominated by complaints from the B7 supporters. In fact, the main outburst by B7 supporters in the beginning was tamed by the crowd itself and not Sound Transit employees. The only other noteworthy outburst by the B7 supporters was regarding the loss of an acre to the Surrey Downs Park, which given the circumstances was an appropriate as the ST staff failed to discuss the loss of parkland between the various alignments. One of the positive points was that the vast majority of the crowd seemed to favor option 4, the retained cut option.

  11. I have a solution! [Note: this is meant to be consumed with your humor hat firmly in place] From the publicola article:

    Another woman predicted economic devastation. “No matter what you do on 112th, you’re going to impact the value of all the homes and businesses around there. It’s going to be a huge socioeconomic impact. … People just aren’t going to come here.”

    Sound Transit should indeed buy a home from anyone who wants to sell within 300 feet of the proposed route at market prices. They could have a property management company rent the homes at slightly reduced rates during construction. Then when construction is complete, they can place the homes up for sale. The increase in home price should result in a tidy profit for the agency!

    Of course its not all roses; it costs money to buy and sell property, and it ties up much-needed operating and construction dollars. But it just might make this whole process a lot easier!

      1. If only ST would buy the homes within 300′ of the tracks the residents would be happier. But you can’t put denser TOD there without changing zoning, which is in the control of the Bellevue Council, not Sound Transit. Which goes to show that something ARE subject to local control.

      2. They’d be happier until they realized they missed an opportunity to increase the value of their property and quality of life.

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