The A-2 'Enatai' Park and Ride, image from KPFF

On Monday evening, the Bellevue City Council voted yet again along partisan lines, to award a $670,723 contract to Arup North America (the same firm that did Wallace’s Vision Line) to study the B7 revised alignment, which would include the new Enatai Park & Ride, a mere 0.5 miles from the current South Bellevue P&R.  The move was not unexpected, as the four-member pro-B7 council quorum has been desperately trying to catch up with Sound Transit in pursuing a study that would purportedly better compare B7 to B2, ST’s preferred alignment.

The study has a 6-7 month time frame, which by that time, the FTA will likely already have issued its record of decision for Sound Transit’s final preferred route.  Arup, fully aware of the timeline discrepancies, did insert a “tipping point” condition– a check-in after about 4 months and $504,000 to either proceed or cut the rest of the study depending on council action.

As always, the pro-B2 councilmembers asked tough questions about the wisdom of this kind of budgeting, particularly John Chelminiak, who has since returned to the council after a vicious bear attack.  The city has $6.2 million set aside for all work related to East Link over the next two years– only $650K of which is specifically appropriated for consultant work each year.  While the Arup study will use $270K of 2010 funds, the remaining amount would drain 60% of that $650k, money which could better used for things like impacts mitigation.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear where I stand on this issue.  A minimum of $504k for a couple pieces of paper that may never see the light of day isn’t exactly pocket change.  You can find the council’s study session materials for the contract here (PDF).

23 Replies to “Bellevue Hires Consultant for $670k Study”

    1. You can bet now that ST will go with the surface route with Belleveue “stalling” with studies…

      Ah well!

      1. Brian, time will tell whether you’re right or not. Wouldn’t surprise me either. I also agree with other posters that this appears to be a big waste of dough.

      2. The $670K would have gone a long way towards the downtown tunnel, wouldn’t it?

        No. It’s two or three orders of magnitude smaller.

    2. Arup is a smart firm, they will probably produce a study showing how stupid B7 is. Then collect their fee and go home.

      Wallace and his gang are determined to waste Bellevue City money, aren’t they?

  1. What a colossal waste of money, but I guess it’s good for the planning biz. Now I know why the Huffpost article says planning has a growing future all of a sudden. Keep up the work, lads, I might have a job soon!

    1. Utility rate hikes are unrelated to shenanigans like this since the utilities are required to be self-supporting. Water rates are going up because of increased costs for Bellevue to acquire water via the Cascade Water alliance. Sewer rates that King County charges Bellevue are going up.

      The general budget cuts, like limiting restroom hours, are another matter…

  2. By my count this new facility would result in the demolition of at least 11 and possibly 13 residential properties. These don’t look like very cheap houses. I wonder what the acquisition cost will be compared to the P&R which is already under public ownership. Has anyone told these residents/ property owners that the city wants to take thier homes and build a parking garage there? I’m sure they, and the people across the street from the 6 story 1400 stall garage will be very enthusiastic about this new plan.

    1. Shhhhh! You want another homeowners group to be formed? That would require another study, like B7X

    2. @G-man: Yes, the issues expressed by Enatai residents regarding the relocated P&R have been discussed in previous posts summarizing City Council meetings.

  3. Can we talk about a ‘Bellevue Process’ every bit as tedious and unenlightening as the more famous ‘Seattle Process’? I do hope that Bellevue shuts up soon and lets Sound Transit come up with its preferred route and then to get on with it. It is two years since we passed the vote for East Link and we need to start construction on this route.

    1. I’m not sure how much of a case you can make for a “Bellevue Process.” Believe it or not, this City actually has a tradition for getting things done. The current council is unique in that it’s dominated by light rail, and particularly so by certain special interests, I can say.

      But to be clear, everything is on track as it’s supposed to be. Construction won’t start until 2013 at earliest, and Bellevue hasn’t done anything yet to jeopardize that.

  4. My eyes glaze over. I have lost interest in East Link. It helps that I don’t live on the eastside. I am still hoping to spend time in Bellevue if and when Link expands, because I actually like the city. What I don’t like is to drive on the bridges/freeways. Thus I don’t get there very often. I know, there are buses, but I want trains!

  5. This is indeed silly. About as silly as McGinn spending a bunch of Seattle’s money on an analogous DBT study that will be completely ignored

  6. I think I’ll start a consulting business. Sounds like a lot of people are willing to spend good money to be told what they want to hear.

  7. Shouldn’t be surpirsed by this vote, but Wallace & Co should be ashamed of themselves for wasting taxpayer money. I know its differnt funding buckets, but spending this money is especially offensive considering the number of city employees that have lost their jobs… If they want this study, Wallace can afford to cut a personal check – or Kemper could donate the funding.

  8. Good money after bad.

    I can’t wait until the study is complete, and finds the exact same thing as the 2 previous studies.

    More expensive.
    Lower ridership.
    Worse connections.

Comments are closed.