A-2 Station, image from KPFF

At long last, the City of Bellevue has decided to host an open house on its new B7-revised alignment.  You know, the one they’re spending around around $600K studying.  This represents the first publicized effort on behalf of the City to reach out directly to the neighborhoods that would be affected, which, unfortunately, did not come before the council decided to authorize spending for the study.

Considering that the new B7 Revised displaces 12 very large single-family residences in Enatai, it will be interesting to see how some of the homeowners who’ve opposed B2M for running near them will respond to this monstrosity.  For people sick of poorly-done freeway-oriented transit only designed to stray far away from homes and businesses, this will be a good meeting for you to make yourself heard.

The open houses will take place on Tuesday, January 25th from 5 to 7pm at Bellevue City Hall in Room 1E-108.

23 Replies to “Bellevue Hosting Open House for B7 Revised”

  1. Is this meeting open to all residents of the region, or just Bellevue residents? I understand this is being hosted by Bellevue, not Sound Transit, but the subject is the alignment of a regional transit system. I don’t know if I can make it, but I hope those who can show up and represent. We can’t let the few have a disproportionate impact on a decision that will affect many (for many, many years).

    1. Obviously the mailer was targeted toward Bellevue residents, but I don’t think it can officially host an open house that is off limits to non-Bellevue residents.

  2. In another instance of agencies not talking to each other, King County Metro is holding open houses on the 25th and 26th about Rapid Ride. The meeting on the 26th is at Bellevue City Hall, 25th is at Redmond City Hall. I might be able to show up for the begining of this meeting.

  3. After watching King 5’s “Up Front” at 9:30, yesterday afternoon I rode the 550 out to South Bellevue Park & Ride, and then walked ST’s preferred alignment into Downtown Bellevue. Real eye-opener. Couple of observations, and some questions:

    1. With good design and execution, the very neighborhoods featuring the “No Rail” signs will do nothing but benefit from the line, which will be one of the most aesthetically pleasing in the system.

    2. These neighborhoods seem to be a world different from the dynamic new core of Downtown Bellevue, which even on a Sunday is alive with people of all ages and every ethnicity. Many nice new restaurants. Whatever Bravern’s problems, Vovito Cafe has some of the best espresso in the region. Crowded King County Library is a beautiful building with eagerly helpful staff.

    3. Question: Forget ill-intentioned outsiders. Are project opponents really afraid that the line will end their communities’ isolation from this “New Bellevue”- which represents the real future of their own city?

    4. Question: What are the financial interests behind the opposition? In national politics, “social issues” are invariably a diversion. Isn’t that really what’s going on here? Who are the players, and what does each one really want?

    5. Question: What percentage of the Bellevue electorate do the opposition really represent? I wonder how many people in Surrey Downs support the project, but have been intimidated into silence?

    Really would appreciate some background. I need to come up to speed fast on Eastlink. Not only could it be one of the most beautiful transit lines in the world- but it will also bring Bellevue what it’s always wanted most: all the good things Seattle already has.

    Mark Dublin

    1. The most vocal opponents appear to be fixated on safety concerns and noise issues. I’ve heard them talking about the noise complaints that occurred after the line opened but I’ve heard of NOBODY who has actually gone to check out current conditions after substantial mitigation work.

      I’ve commented in the past about the noise issues at Mount Baker station. Last year = noise approaching fingernails on a chalk board. Currently = well, I still have yet to be able to hear a train over the noise of Rainer Ave – *even though the line is elevated and moving through a tunnel*.

      I swear many of the opponents will read this and completely miss the 2nd part of the last paragraph.

  4. Whoever drew this was really into contour lines.
    Not so much houses next to the parking garage.

  5. If I hear Wallace say “protecting our SF Hoods” one more time I may puke. He just wants to shift the burden from Surrey to Enatai and the condos along 118…

  6. Since most of the opposition seems to be centered on 112th Ave NE, if I had my choice, I would reroute the LINK line between SE 8th St and Main St further east (I still use Bellevue Way and 112th Ave SE via S. Bellevue P&R as planned). Yes, it costs more $$$, but ST would not have to buy out the condo owners and the noise is closer to the freeway (hmm, where is the noise complaints from freeway traffic??). I still believe that Bellevue CBD needs a tunnel alignment and an at-grade alignment would slow down riders east of Bellevue.

  7. I still wonder: Kemper Freeman and Kevin Wallace are both developers. People in their position can definitely find legitimate ways to take advantage of a project like Eastlink to make a huge amount of money.

    Does anybody, preferably from Bellevue, have any idea what financial motivations could be motivating these men to take the positions they do? I can feature Kevin having a particular development in mind that would benefit from B7 more than from the preferred one.

    But what’s Kemper’s motivation? Is he trying to extort something a lot bigger from the whole region? I don’t buy noise concerns or ideology. People don’t work this hard for free.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Kemper wants more roads, lots of them. One of his pipe dreams is an I-605 up through the Snoqualmie Valley. More roads means more land to develop and more opportunities for Kemper and his developer friends to make money.

      To Kemper any money spent on transit is money not being spent on roads.

      I’m pretty sure ideology plays a large role as well. Given the family history and some of the comments Kemper has made it really is the only thing that fits.

      1. My take on Kemper is he is just a classic stuck in the 50’s kind of guy. He also knows that at least in america, rich people are not going to stop driving and take link then walk 17 mins roundtrip in the rain to shop at his mall… only to wait another 7 mins at the station.

        Transit here is still for the poor / drunk / some commuters. Until that changes people like Kemper will continue spending millions to oppose it.

    2. I’m not sure it’s very productive to debate his motivations, but the simplest explanation to me is that he sees autos as most people’s preferred method of transportation. Transit is there as a social service and he’s prefer that it be done as cheaply as possible, especially since the revenue source (sales tax) hits retailers.

      Most people who support public housing wouldn’t support spending the money on them to make them luxury accommodations, and people who see transit as a necessary evil for people that can’t drive are unlikely to support elevating the quality over the bare minimum.

    3. To expand more on what Martin says, consider financial risk too, from their perspective. Developers in general take very large risks with large sums of money and so any way to minimize perceived risk is something worth pursuing; look at all the construction loan restructuring, defaults, and abandoned/delayed projects just in Bellevue in the last couple of years (Bravern, Bellevue Towers, Washington Square, the former hole in the ground at 4th and 108th, Lincoln Square II). They (and their families) have made a lot of money doing development based on an auto-centric transportation network. They understand how to make money in this manner. Transit-oriented development in general, and East Link in particular, represents an increase in risk due to significant unknown factors (what exactly would ridership be, what kind of people would ride, from where, how do you design a project to accommodate that, how does it integrate with what you’ve got, etc.). That is a huge list of uncertainties (from their perspective), which drives up risk, and therefore it increases the amount of money they could lose.

  8. Thanks. Seriously. Now just to bring my Eastlink background completely up to speed: How likely is it that the state supreme court will take I-90 away from LINK, and what’s fallback if they do?

    Mark Dublin

      1. I agree it is hard to know how the justices will rule, but I think a reading of the relevant law, agreements, and related cases looks pretty good for Sound Transit.

        Since the Federal Government paid for 90% of I-90 and the agreement providing for rail across the bridge was with the US DOT there is grounds for both an appeal of the case to the SCOTUS and possibly filing a separate lawsuit in Federal court against the state.

        Though if Sound Transit loses the lawsuit I suspect they’ll simply give up at that point and build BRT East of Seattle instead.

        Putting rail on I-90 has larger implications nationally since I believe it will be the first time travel lanes on a Federally funded Interstate have been converted to mass transit use. This is very scary precedent for various pro-road interest.

      2. “Though if Sound Transit loses the lawsuit I suspect they’ll simply give up at that point and build BRT East of Seattle instead.”

        Then we could tell Kemper et al it’s time for them to support BRT like they say they do, and ensure that it runs as frequently as Link would have.

    1. I’m unable to speak to how the Supreme Court might rule.
      You could watch the oral arguments or read the briefs (search for case number 83349-4), if you’re so inclined.
      Reading the tea-leaves of the Supreme Court is difficult at best. The justice that the case is assigned to is a well-guarded secret, and there’s no way to tell what kind of behind-the-scenes discussions the court is having related to the case (or any case). The justices don’t always easily fall into the “liberal” or “conservative” baskets, or any other basket; they all have different areas of interest and legal philosophies. It isn’t always advisable to take what happens in oral arguments as indicative of a particular justice’s position; they often ask questions to get answers or clarification for specific concerns, or to make points to the other justices. All of this is a roundabout way of saying that it is nearly impossible to handicap the Supreme Court.

  9. Should they lose the I-90 lawsuit, ST could redeploy the east Link funds to great service and projects. there is no shortage of transit need. how about two intra Eastside lines: Woodinville to BTC via the BNSF and Redmond to BTC via Bel-Red with STEX routes 522, 545, 550, and 554 provided improved service frequency. I-90 could have R8A and RB2 (twow-way in center).

Comments are closed.