A-2 Garage from B7R plan, Looking South to I-90

Despite worries it might not be made public, yesterday afternoon the City of Bellevue posted their $670,000 East Link study phase 1 online. A controversial expenditure at the time, it was intended to compare the B7 alignment that Sound Transit studied in its EIS with B7 “revised”, which was conceptually reputed as improved over B7 and named B7R. Although the study did not address Sound Transit’s preferred B2M alignment directly, observers widely construed the study as an attempt to show that B7R, which largely follows I-405 through South Bellevue, is superior to B2M, which would serve the South Bellevue Park and Ride. All “B” alignments refer to the segment between Mercer Island and Downtown Bellevue, exclusive.

There are several differences between B7 and B7R, the most salient of which is a new Park and Ride “A-2” at the Bellevue Way/I-90 interchange. Assuming that downtown Bellevue gets a tunnel, choosing B7R would leave the cost of Segment B about the same at $515m, because the cost of the A-2 P&R is canceled out by the elimination of the 118th Ave SE station. It would increase overall East Link boardings in 2030 from 49,000 to 50,500.

There are additional costs for bus operations (up to $1m** a year), plus some money to enable sharing of the BNSF tracks with other rail operators, if desired. B7R also incurs a further $9m in costs in segment C, because the approach to the tunnel is more expensive. Crucially, there are cost and schedule risks associated with the Mercer Slough crossing (pg. 3):

The crossing of the Mercer Slough is challenging as a result of:  the environmentally sensitive nature of the Slough; the poor foundation materials;  the movement of the peat as documented by WSDOT; and WSDOTs concerns regarding protection of their existing I-90 structures.  While two construction methods have been developed, further analysis will be required to define the appropriate solution and to satisfy WSDOT concerns.  This could potentially delay the project and add construction cost.

By comparison, Sound Transit’s supplemental EIS reported that under the same assumptions, B2M would attract 50,000 riders to the line in 2030, vs. 48,000 for B7. It prices B2M at $480-550m and B7 at $515-595m.

The B7 figures do not match those from the supplemental EIS because the City of Bellevue instructed Arup, who did the study, to use a different (“BKR”) traffic model for both, and “the BKR Model has greater detail for the localized road network and traffic analysis zones.” (page 6)

Although some of these differences make it hard to compare things directly, it is evident to me that the ridership difference between B7R and B2M is basically a wash, but B7R is approximately $40m more expensive*.

*$40m accounts for the gap in segment cost, but is likely to be significantly more when factoring in the costs for the C9T tunnel since a connection to B2M is roughly $100m cheaper.

**The $1m figure only accounts for additional costs with Sound Transit bus operations and leaves out Metro routes.  According to the report, ST would have to procure two additional vehicles just to maintain bus headways.

65 Replies to “Bellevue Releases B7 Study”

  1. Is there a reason to change models EXCEPT to make it so that B7R and B2M cannot be compared?

    1. they ran different numbers so they can see look b7r has 500 more boardings then b2m… we must do it! ug. Why couldn’t they run the numbers with both assumptions?

  2. Aside from various other things, I think it’d be picturesque to see light rail trains running at-grade through South Bellevue and into downtown. That’s what I think about Rainier Valley as it is now, too.

  3. So if it doesn’t hurt ridership, and it’s only $40m more expensive (which in the grand scheme of the whole project isn’t a whole lot), is B7R really that much worse than B2M?

    1. It also has more construction risk. Mitigating that could make it cost a lot more.

    2. Have you not been paying attention to ST and the regions finances the last couple of years? Where is Bellevue going to come up with $40M ON TOP of the $150M for a tunnel? They won’t be able to is the short answer.

      Someone has suggested this is all just a ploy to force ST to default to Kevin Wallace’s Vision Line for lack of funds.

      Personally I still don’t understand how all the wailing and gnashing of teeth coming from Kemper Freeman’s Council is anything more than just a bunch of Sound and Fury.

      1. I’m pretty sure B2 surface is less expensive than the Vision line. Bellevue seriously needs to get over its fear of a surface alignment. It’s less expensive and offers better coverage of DT Bellevue. They also don’t have the opportunity for the left hook crashes that occasionally, but less frequently than predicted, occur on Central link.

    3. Read the report. Environmental and displacement impacts are retained and there’s much more risk associated with that Mercer Slough crossing.

    4. Actually, we’re leaving out a very crucial point. Remember how C9T would have been some $100 million cheaper with a B2 connection over a B7 connection? This means that if Bellevue really wants a tunnel, then B7-R + C9T is $140 million more than B2M + C9T. B segment cost might be a wash, but adding the tunnel, it is NOT.

      1. Where are you coming up with the $100 million number savings for the tunnel portal with B2M? I think that number is the difference in taking the Red Lion as would be required by the ST B7/C9T vs B2M/C9T. So, actually the $100 million “savings” is preserved with B7R (B7R also avoids cutting diagonally across the hotel properties like the ST B7 plan did). ST estimate $480-550 M for B2M. So even at the extreme low end it’s more than the Arup $442 M for B7R.

        B7R pushes the portal north two blocks from Main to NE 2nd. That means the tunnel is significantly shorter and it can be integrated into the City plans for a new NE 2nd half diamond interchange (more cost savings for ST). Honestly I haven’t seen any plans from ST that don’t totally screw over the planned Main Street make-over that are designed to move the majority of traffic to NE 2nd and make that corridor a bike and pedestrian friendly linear park extending all the way to Meydenbaur Bay.

        The big loser in the plan is the A-2 P&R. Get rid of that and keep the S. Bellevue P&R just like it is and terminate the 550 at Mercer Island. Everybody wins.

      2. The present Red Lion is only appraised at $14 million, the other property (Hilton/Doubletree/Residence Inn, whatever it is now) appraises at $32 million. PSE bought the property in 2009 for $28 million. I have no idea why but one presumes they someday plan to build a corporate headquarters. The previous sales history shows Doubletree selling to PD BELLEVUE ASSOCIATES LLC for $45.5 million in 2005. Doubletree is the same corporate entity as Red Lion. Both parcels were owned by Red Lion prior to that which may be why earlier documents refer only to “Red Lion”. Anyway, the market price of the property has taken a big hit since the bubble burst. I’m not sure what numbers CH2MHill and ST used for acquisition and demolition. B7 also included taking all of the Greenbaum site which is another $6 million or so. Other expenses in B7 were funding a bike trail that wouldn’t actually go anywhere and is up to King County to fund, not an ST responsibility and nothing to do with the tunnel approach which is vastly superior using B7R vs B2M.

      3. B7R cuts across the “extreme east corner” of the Greenbaum site and requires reconstruction to the building to avoid the full acquisition of the site. Possible? I don’t know. But from what we’ve already seen with property owners along the alternatives, I wouldn’t be surprised if Greenbaum would strongly prefer being taken fully.

      4. I’m surprised they are able to stay in business given the economy and competition from giant chains and rural outlet stores. Plus the owners have got to be getting near retirement; unless it’s being passed to the next generation. You may be correct but as I recall they fought B7 indicating a strong preference to stay in business at that location (which doesn’t seem great for a furniture store). I can totally understand being attached to a piece of property/location but then my home is not a business.

    5. This post is confusnig and misleading. Comparing B7R to B2M makes no sense. Doing so leaves a half-mile gap in the route with associated costs unaccounted for. The reality here is that the B7R is $10 million more than the original B7, which itself is $140 MILLION more than the preferred alternative. So if Bellevue wants a tunnel AND B7R, they need to come up with not just $150 million for the tunnel, but another $150 million ($300 million total) to cover the difference. It is highly misleading to conclude B7R is only $40 million less than B2M.

  4. It’s interesting how the report compares the feasibility of B7-R to the existing B7 when it’s B7-R vs B2M we’re really interested in.

  5. Looking through the ST long range plan, shows a light rail line going to Issaquah, merging with the Overlake line in the vicinity of Mercer Slough, but no details.
    Any ideas in the report(I’m lazy and probably won’t read it) as to which alignment makes that happen in ST3? Or if one or the other is better for an extension?

    1. Issaquah? Overlake? Mercer Slough? Those are three very different places.

    2. Really no telling. I mean, where would the Issaquah line be going, to Bellevue or to Seattle? Personally I’d like to see it as part of a Ballard-Fremont-UDistrict-Sandpoint-Kirkland-Bellevue-Issaquah line, but that’s probably just wishful thinking and a generation out anyway.

      1. I would expect an eventual Issaquah line to go to Overlake/Redmond via Bellevue. It would join the East Link line at S. Bellevue station, and probably have a stop at Eastgate. Possibly a minority of trains would go straight downtown.

        A more mischievous routing would be direct to Redmond, via an existing Issaquah-Redmond rail-to-trailified BSNF corridor that runs along the eastern side of Lake Washington. The mischeviousness of that routing comes from the fact that quite a few high-dollar lakeside properties are bisected by the ROW, and many of the owners started putting landscaping, fencing, and even structures on the ROW as soon as the rails were torn up in the late 90’s. There was a protracted legal battle over it (ending in a complete smackdown of the adjacent property owners). Still, it would be the easiest, cheapest way to tie Issaquah in to East Link, but “Seattle via zig-zag” route that would be created using the E. Lake Sammamish routing would be absurd, and we’d miss eastgate..

    3. I think it’s really dumb to hamstring East Link over some ST3 future think. Holy moly, that rhymes! No rewrite necessary.

    4. In the planning docs I’ve seen the assumption is a Issaquah line will turn North from I-90 to join East Link.

      I’m guessing the two reasons for this are limits to how many trains per hour can cross I-90/enter the DSTT and so the line can serve both inter-eastside and downtown (with a transfer at South Bellevue P&R) trips.

      But any service to Issaquah is so far off that it isn’t worth doing stupid things with the ST2 East Link project to make one that may or may not happen easier.

    5. Where is this ST2 long-range plan of which you speak?

      Nothing concrete has been said about what Eastside Link extensions, if any, might be in ST3. Issaquah wants a station, but it’s not clear that other potential locations (Kirkland, 148th, Newcastle) are in any hurry to get a train.

      Logically, an Issaquah line would have to go to (A) downtown Seattle, (B) South Bellevue or BTC [as a shuttle], (C) BTC-Kirkland-Bothell, (D) BTC-UW-?, (F) 148th-Overlake. Downtown the DSTT will be full. Bellevue and north makes sense, although a Bothell-Renton line may makes more sense. A second Lake Washington crossing sounds way too expensive, although it may look better in ten or twenty years. 148th is way lower priority.

      1. I meant to add, the ST2 line-and-station location does have a real impact on future lines, so I hope ST is considering it. South Bellevue is not a good location for Issaquah: it would have to go in and back out for Seattle, or backtrack eastward for Bellevue.

        Similarly, if the Issaquah line made its own curve northwest to Bellevue (around B7/405-ish), it would have to go back southwest for South Bellevue and Seattle. If it continued north (Bothell) or northwest (UW), it would be a more natural path. But this would cause two parallel tracks close together (B2 and BNSF-ish), which may seem like a wasted cost. To avoid that, the train could go from Issaquah to South Bellevue to Bellevue, but then you’re back to going west to go east.

        For a North-South line, Factoria and Eastgate are important. Bellevue-South Bellevue-Factoria-Renton would be a jog (like Southcenter on Central Link). Or it could skip South Bellevue, in which case it would want to go on a BNSF-ish track. Then the Issaquah line could share that track. And if East Link were to use it too, bam you’ve got B7.

        From the lowest cost perspective, all three lines would share the B2 track and stop at South Bellevue, and only the Issaquah line would stop at Factoria/Eastgate.

        For even lower cost, we’d eliminate the South Bellevue station entirely, which is just a P&R with an insignificant walkshed. But that’s unfeasable until all three lines are built. Unless bus service to South Bellevue were increased significantly so that people from the south and southeast didn’t have to park there.

      2. An alternative, with a bit of a detour, could be to share East Link track through downtown Bellevue, cross I-405 at NE 6th, then split from East Link south of Hospital Station and head south along the BNSF corridor. At the Wilburton trestle, leave the RR ROW and head down Lake Hills Connector and turn onto Richards Road. Make a left at Easgate Way to serve Eastgate P&R, then parallel I-90 toward Issaquah.

        To limit trains through the DSTT, you could install a wye where East Link joins Central Link and send some trains south from the Eastside to the airport.

  6. How on earth is B7R NOT going to take the STOR-house facility along 118th? Even if the right of way can just barely squeeze through there, you’d have to acquire that building for construction and staging.

  7. To me, this post would be a lot stronger if it did actually compare the results of B7R to B2M (i.e. compare noise impacts of both routes, ROW aquisitions, risk mitigations). It needs to be done somewhere, might as well do it on STB!

    1. I’m sure if someone were to cough up $670k, our friendly STB mods would be happy to do such an analysis. :-)

    2. Except that B7R and B2M haven’t been studied using the same methodology, so barring STB actually performing the study, there simply is no data to compare.

  8. If this is really about transit. Why do we continue to let 1450 cars “parking” drive the process?

    1. There is no engineering case for a tunnel through RV. There may or may not be an engineering case for a tunnel through DT Bellevue. There is most definitely an engineering case for a tunnel through Capitol Hill and the U-District.

  9. If it made financial sense for East Link to run up the old BNSF rail line, ST would do it. But it doesn’t — it costs more and it’s a more risky alignment, and it might not even happen if a planned jaunt through the slough invokes lawsuits from environmental groups. And then there’s Wallace and the questionable parentage of B7 …

    I think this has been studied enough. If there’s no real ridership difference between B2M and B7R, and it’s gonna cost more for B7R and ST has no money and Bellevue has no money, my feeling is we should just move forward with B2M and build East Link on time.

    1. Jack, your sentiments are shared by most people who don’t have a vested financial interest in other outcomes (Kevin Wallace) or an ideological bent against public transportation (Kemper Freeman). NIMBYs are one thing, but subverting democracy is another.

    2. @Jack: nail hit firmly on the head. I would add that perhaps now is the time for Bellevue city council to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and instead agree to work with rather than against ST. Not only does the council’s recent direction regarding East Link waste a substantial sum that would be better used funding C9T, they also do not represent the wishes of a majority of their citizens (including me).

      WSDOT is doing their part clearing the way for East Link across the lake so for B2M/C9T to be built on time, within budget, while minimizing construction impacts, Bellevue needs to get on board NOW. If they don’t they will end up in the same situation that befell their counterparts in Tukwila: whose actions ultimately were driven by the “essential public facilities” provisions of state law instead of being a cooperative partner in the process.

    3. Getting the city council to do that would require changing their minds or replacing them. People with an anti-train/anti-transit bias are not going to change their minds just like that. It remains to be seen what the people of Bellevue think of their councilmembers’ behavior this term. Speaking of which, when are their terms up?

      1. Bellevue City Council members are elected for four year terms. The elections are staggered every two (odd) years so that there is some continuity assured with the council. Up for reelection this fall are; Grant Degginger, Claudia Balducci, John Chelminiak and Jennifer Robertson because she is finishing out the term of Phil Noble who was elected in 2007.

  10. *$40m accounts for the gap in segment cost, but is likely to be significantly more when factoring in the costs for the C9T tunnel since a connection to B2M is roughly $100m cheaper.

    I’ve done some digging and I can’t find anything to substantiate this claim. It appears it’s either comparing the additional cost of acquiring the hotel properties under the original ST B7 to C9T scheme. Or B3S where they added a stupidly expensive South Main Station. Note that B7R reinstates the South Main Station and “saves” $100 million.

    The other phantom savings might be an attempt to attribute ST’s “scope changes” (i.e. less gold plate on the rest of the route) to the B2M/C9T combination. Or, in other words, if they don’t have to spend the money on the tunnel they have lots of contingency plans to spend it somewhere else. All aspects of B7R except crossing the Slough save money but unfortunately reallocate it to a South Bellevue P&R replacement. If the mistake of locating that P&R where it is nobody would be talking about going up Bellevue Way; there’s nothing there and never will be.

    1. Bernie,

      The cost reductions that got the tunnel from $300m to $185m are contingent on the B2 alignment. I don’t have the technical reasons for why that tunnel is so much cheaper.

      1. Because it isn’t. Evidently this rumor started with Ben’s post back in March of 2010 that equated the difference in segment cost with the tunnel approach. The “approach” is a lot more expensive because it cuts through two large hotels but not $100M. B7R doesn’t require taking those two parcels, shortens the tunnel by two blocks and puts the portal at NE 2nd. The City acquired development rights to the properties north and south of NE 2nd back in 2007 in preparation for building a new half diamond interchange which can be integrated with construction of the tunnel portal. In short, ST botch the design and this shows why the City had to hirer their own consultants to get it right. Remember, ST didn’t even come up with C9T on their own.

      2. Bernie, what two parcels are you referring to? My understanding is that the old B7 would have taken the Red Lion fully, but cut behind the Hilton. B7R manages to do the same but also takes the Sheraton– are you saying it doesn’t? The report makes pretty clear that right-of-way acquisition is much higher than old B7.

        By the way, I’m not sure what “rumor” you’re referring to, but when I went to an ST open house last year, I was informed that the $100M gap between B7/C9T & B2M/C9T was due to additional construction cost (length and guideway type) and property acquisitions. I’m not really sure where you aren’t getting the fact that B+C combined segment costs are some $100+ million higher for B7 (thus, B7R also) than B2M.

      3. You’re right that the tunnel is shortened– it cheapens the cost by $20+ million. But that’s offset by the taking of the Sheraton. You’re forgetting that ST did study a NE 2nd portal vs. Main portal and even had an extensive outreach process around it. If I recall, a large affordable housing development on NE 2nd/112th would have been nixed with that portal. The one question this raises is portal design– east or west of 112th?

      4. ARUPS Sheets 14-16 give the best description:

        B7R takes the Red Lion (Bellevue Inn) fully – that’s the new East Main station. But the Red Lion (Bellevue Inn) is 45+ years old (almost 60 years by the time they are done). I ask, who is that station going to serve, anyway?

        The Sheraton is nearly as old 40+. Although the HOTEL portion is not within thre route – only the HOTEL’s restaurant and meeting space is within the route. The whole thing will need to be acquired for construction – but it will be available for development and use (but somewhat devalued) after construction.

        The only affect on the SMALL “workforce housing” will likely be to delay it. As 1) it doesn’t currently exist, 2) the cut and cover goes through the currently empty property and 3) it would be available for development 100% after construction of the tunnel — but likely redeveloped with the 3 adjoining parcels that are being taken.

        But why would you ever build a 50 unit workforce housing unit (for Bellevue workers) a block from the light rail station – wouldn’t that become workforce housing for Seattle then?

        Bernie, all the more reason to continue up 114th and enter and exit Bellevue via 6th.

      5. Date Sale Price
        8/17/2007 $0.00

        Seller Name

        Buyer Name Instrument
        BELLEVUE CITY OF Quit Claim Deed

        Sherwin, the Sheraton is already “taken”. COB acquired rights to it back in 2007. It’s toast because the City and WSDOT are going to build a half diamond interchange that provides 405 access to the south (the bookend to the Braids project north of DT). As I read it the portal will be north of 2nd (405 ramps will be south) and between 112th and 114th on another parcel that COB has acquired rights to as part of the 405 project.

        How do you build “affordable housing” on land worth $8 million an acre? Why not Bel-Red that desperately needs a jump start project to get that grand redevelopment moving?

        The Sheraton was built in 1979, the Residence Inn (aka Double Tree) in 1981 and the Red Lion in 1969. The Red Lion property is apraised at $14 million dollars. The “improvements” are appraised at $1,000. Yes, you read that right one thousand dollars for the building. In other words it’s actually a liabity that has to be torn down and redeveloped to be in line with the value of the land. As I pointed out in another reply PSE bought the Double Tree in 2009 and I doubt they plan to stay in the hospitality business long term. B7R and it’s South Main Station improve the development potential rather than cutting it into two triangular shaped pieces with no access to the high capacity transit crossing it.

        The question I have is where would the staging area be for B2M?

      6. Bernie, all the more reason to continue up 114th and enter and exit Bellevue via 6th.

        I assume you are talking about the idea of a stub end station and not leaving the light rail station a 1/4 mile from BTC? A stub end station takes a serious hit if the operator has to change ends of the train. But, a pair of stub end stations connected by grade separate ROW may eliminate that objection. I’d thought about Eastgate and BTC which would be great for ridership and bus connections but a serious scope change and increased cost that’s just not in the cards. However, since everyone agrees that East Link will use the BNSF ROW after crossing 405 it would be relatively cheap to make the couplet BTC and South Kirkland P&R. Does anybody know the latest on the City of Kirkland’s plan to build TOD on “their half” of that site?

      7. Bernie, what two parcels are you referring to? My understanding is that the old B7 would have taken the Red Lion fully, but cut behind the Hilton. B7R manages to do the same

        I went back and looked at the arial photograph in the Arup report, the Parcel Viewer data and Google maps satellite photos. B7 cuts the corner of the Residence Inn/Hilton (this is the property owned now by PSE). B7R retains the distance of the current road ROW. So it’s really just the Red Lion property that gets trashed with B7; well, that and the plans for the Main Street make-over which B2M totally screws.

        One thing striking in the aerial view, most of this property is parking lot. Why did they build the structure up against the freeway (the view from the pool) and have the parking lot on 112th? The Bellevue Club reversed this which seems like a much smarter option. At least until someone rams a RR though your tennis courts and pool :-/

    2. “A stub end station takes a serious hit if the operator has to change ends of the train.”

      It takes hit if compared to the vision line.

      But if the train transits Bellevue quicker than B2/B7/B7R — the stub end is a net positive.

      That equates to – I’d rather spend more time on a moving train – than get there quicker.

  11. One correction: “Assuming that downtown Bellevue gets a tunnel” should say “Assuming Sound Transit gets a tunnel through Bellevue”. Despite the suggestion that trains running at-grade across busy downtown streets might seem “picturesque” and “quaint” to some, it’s really in Sound Transit’s best interest to have the train move on an unimpeded right of way.

    I know the prevailing opinion in Seattle is “we don’t care if we can afford to do it right, we just need to build build build!” As a Bellevue resident, I disagree. Don’t scar the city for the next thirty years because you wanted to do it on the cheap now. I don’t want to be voting on the East Link Reconstruction Measure in 2040 because Sound Transit wanted success at all costs in 2011.

    1. There’s an argument that a surface station at BTC would bring more ridership because you wouldn’t have to spend two minutes walking to an underground platform.

      I don’t think it’s a great argument, but it is a tradeoff. Bellevue will have to come up with the money for a tunnel. If it doesn’t, at least there’ll be the equalization factor that at least one ritzy neighborhood is getting the same thing as Rainier Valley. And Kemper will live within walking distance and will see the train every day! :)

      1. I know that when I go to Seattle I find it a major plus that the 255 uses the tunnel. Especially in the winter or late at night. In fact the only benefit I’ve gotten from Link so far is the extended tunnel operating hours. Sort of makes you wonder why it took the train to extend operating hours when the majority of the users in the tunnel now are on buses?

        On the flip side, a surface alignment would let all the people on the train spend quality time waiting at the lights on 2nd and 4th. It’ll be great around Xmas when the transit riders are sitting there at NE 4th for 5 minutes watching the endless stream of SUVs going by on their way to Bellevue Square.

      2. I also find the DSTT cuts my travel time in half compared to the 14 or other buses. The tunnel was open in the evening but then it was closed to save money until Link started. That was a pity because evening ballgames mess up traffic as much as rush hour does.

        But downtown Seattle is different from downtown Bellevue. I think a tunnel in downtown Bellevue would have a less significant advantage, because it’s shorter and fewer traffic crossings. The bulk of traffic is on NE 8th from Bellevue Way to 116th (120th?). A grade separation there is upmost importance…

        (I looked at the preferred alternative to see how it handles that. It crosses the freeway south of 8th and goes elevated over 8th. So that’s OK. Still, come to think of it, a tunnel for RapidRide from Hospital station to BTC wouldn’t be a bad idea either. :)

      3. Very true that Seattle is a much larger choke point than Bellevue but there can be some serious wait times on NE 4th and NE 2nd is destined to divert half of the NE 8th traffic from 405. I don’t see a big difference between the time to go down a flight of stairs (or elevator) vs crossing 110th; the light cycle’s got to be over a minute. Cars (hell bent on getting to the mall), trains, pedestrians running to make a connection… doesn’t sound like a good mix. And 110th is actually a decent bicycle route from the north to get to City Hall in the evening. Crossing railroad tracks doesn’t improve that one little bit.

  12. Sound Transit’s policy is not to cross over existing buildings,

    Why? It’s been 30 years since I rode the El in Chicago but doesn’t that cross over buildings? Of course they may have been built later than the El. Does ST policy also prohibit any construction under elevated ROW?

    1. The monorail also cuts across a building or two. This might be a good policy– I can see property deals being embroiled in legal disputes, but I’m not an attorney, so I don’t know. As far as construction under elevated tracks are concerned, I think it’s more of “how high do the tracks need to be before you can build something underneath?” issue. I would think it’s not difficult to sell easements under the ROW for small-scale uses, though.

  13. @Jack, Paul R., Kyle S., Sigh, AW – anyone who doesn’t agree with the City Council majority’s tactics here – great to hear from you, great to see your posts. But to you think the anti-transit majority of the City Council reads the STB? Hell no. So they’re not hearing you. And as long as they don’t hear you, they can ignore you. And they are and will continue to ignore the will of their own citizens if all they ever see on Monday night at City Hall are people from Surrey Downs.

    So people who don’t agree need to step up and hold the Council accountable. Point out to them that the B7R and the B7 are much more costly than Sound Transit’s preferred option, don’t improve ridership, and pose considerable construction and operating risk to the agency – which that agency is very unlikely to take on. Remind them that Bellevue voters voted for light rail by 57% margin. Ask them when they will stop wasting tax dollars chasing after foolish ideas. And you might even challenge whether this whole thing isn’t in fact just an effort to bias matters towards the old “Vision Line” and in so doing, promote a financial windfall to one of the Councilmember.

    The council meets each Monday night at 6 pm and at 8 pm on alternating weeks they have a full meeting. Testimony is accepted at the outset of meetings. Letters can be sent to the full Council at council@bellevuewa.gov. Repeated input from a variety of people – in sufficient volume – will be harder to ignore. They might still try to stonewall those who don’t agree with them. But you can help hold them accountable. Yes, it means more work, but that’s just the kind of leadership we’re dealing with here. If you can call it leadership.

    1. @Bellevue Maven: the people from Surrey Downs are Bellevue citizens too. But don’t worry…my councilmembers get emails from me.

    2. I attend many of these meetings and listen to the rest on BTV. Not recalling a Maven; you have to introduce yourself and give an address. Possible the Maven from Bellevue actually lives in Seattle? I’ve seen Sherwin there, I’m on record, which meeting can we go back to to see your testimony?

    3. Maven,

      The People of Surrey Downs MUST give up their homes and community for the good of the party. Those majority tactics have to be dispensed with. The majority should not rule.

      Bernie, Maybe Maves is a council member???

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