Last night, Bellevue hosted an open house for its B7-Revised alignment. There wasn’t a whole lot of new information on the plate so those absent didn’t miss much. Other than what is already mostly known about the alignment, many of the answers to questions about design elements were more often than not something to the effect of “we haven’t decided yet” or “we’re still working on that part.” There were three large plots of the alignment and attendees were invited to post sticky-note comments upon concerned areas.
I had an opportunity to speak briefly with pro-B2 councilmember John Chelminiak who was very concerned about B7’s slough crossing. According to Chelminiak, WSDOT has significant concerns about pile-supported structures in the slough because of unstable peat movement in the bog. A strong earthquake could easily fracture or take down an elevated light rail guideway along with the I-90 bridges.
Some more of the meeting below the jump.
Amidst other valid concerns and questions residents raised was a lot of the rhetoric that I’ve made clear is displeasing to listen to. One irate man, the same foul-mouthed gentleman at the Sound Transit public hearing, shouted that Sound Transit is “fascist!” among other ideological attacks as part of his diatribe.
Others were easier to talk to. At the end of the meeting, I engaged in a stimulating discussion with several B7 supporters, some of whom spoke rationally, others not so much. While a lot of their argument seemed to be rooted in making light rail a good system, wild irrelevant jabs at Central Link’s ridership and the failure of Roads & Transit made me question the sincerity of wanting to make East Link a truly successful system.
The last B7 supporter I spoke with, a Surrey Downs resident, made an argument which I think reaches one of the lower points of the debate. He asserted that there are “no homes” along the B7 route, to which I assured him there were plenty of condo-owners along the route. The stinger came when he scoffed and said something to the effect of “we have homes … with value!”
I have to be clear about this. It doesn’t matter whether you have 50 homes worth a million a pop or 50 condos worth $100K a pop. A household is a household, and what matters the most is the relative value that each respective homeowner places on it, not anyone else. Until we get past that, I don’t see any hope in advancing the conversation beyond the mess that it already is.