Mike Lindblom has a good scoop about a new design option for Link in Downtown Bellevue. It’s about saving some money.

The boldest new concept would abandon the 2011 proposal to excavate a huge underground station downtown, perhaps 70 feet deep with a mezzanine, beneath the intersection of Northeast Fourth Street and 110th Avenue Northeast. Instead, Sound Transit would look at a shallower Bellevue Transit Center Station for the East Link route.

Builders could exploit the slope that descends from the financial district to Interstate 405 — where tracks are supposed to emerge from the tunnel anyway, then become elevated near Meydenbauer Center. One layout involves a so-called “diagonal” station that cuts the corner where there’s now a City Hall parking garage and vacant King County land. The second concept is oriented east-west along Northeast Sixth Street.

Engineers are also looking at ways to save money at the 110th Avenue Northeast location by making the station shallower or narrower.

If you’re a bit confused, the article has a useful diagram.

I have mixed feelings about this concept. First of all, broadly speaking I’m not a fan of ST’s station designs, or the DSTT stations they inherited.  I have significant complaints about 8 of the 13 existing stations*, even only considering things that wouldn’t have taken much money to get right. Anything that brings the platform closer to the surface makes the train that much closer to everything in every direction, simultaneously. That it saves money is gravy, so three cheers for shallower stations.

Moving it a half-block or block eastward, however, starts to move it further away from the downtown core that it already skirts the edge of, and towards the interstate that we know is the death of walksheds. Here’s hoping that they make it shallower, but keep it as far west as possible.

* In case you’re wondering, I have no major problem with Chinatown, Beacon Hill, Columbia City, Othello, and Seatac. The rest have significant usability flaws.

110 Replies to “A Shallower Bellevue Station”

  1. Connect the dots. So. Main Stn – Downtown between BTC/405 Stn – Hospital Stn, at NE 8th.
    This starts to negate the need to dig a tunnel under 110th, with all the associated slow running curves.
    Where’s the Vision?

  2. After visiting Portland for the first time, I can’t see why surface rail through Bellevue shouldn’t work just fine.

    1. That is unless you’re not concerned about getting someplace at a certain time, then sure, a surface route thru Bellevue is perfectly fine…

      We’re trying to build a commuter rail system with its own ROW, not some gadget for tourists to gawk over like in Portland.

      1. MAX feels like a streetcar. That may be all Portland ever wants or needs, but we need better through our downtowns.

      2. Which one isn’t evidence-based? It’s a fact that grade-separated trains run at maximum speed, while at-grade trains stick to the speed limit for safety, and are also subject to stoplights if signal priority isn’t fully implemented. This is Bellevue; we know that crossing gates with bells are a non-starter, and any signal priority will be watered down. So surface means slower, less frequent, and less ridership. Is surface “adequate” for downtown Bellevue? That’s a value judgment. I’d say we need to focus on building an excellent transit system, not a mediocre one. If we truly want to encourage people to use cars less, we have to give them good transit, not mediocre transit.

    2. The blocks are ridiculously long in bellevue. This means you have fewer streets and fewer intersections. This means a surface routing is mire tricky. Not impossible, certainly.

      1. The surface option in Downtown Bellevue was pretty good, actually. There’s plenty of surface ROW, they already have an incredibly advanced signal system that could support the priority, the station would have a better walkshed, and it’s a section of line that is already low-speed by necessity (tight curves and a station in every alternative).

        Bellevue city council just decided it was more important to have it out of sight, than to have it well integrated.

      2. You may be right, I basically haven’t followed this other than the knee-jerk “Seattle shouldn’t pay for that” position. That argument I’m sure is correct and that’s as deep as I’ve delved.

        I would, however, be interested in the Bellevue’s docs on the subject, but I couldn’t find them online.

      3. There’s the lack of fairness that Rainier Valley got surface while Bellevue and Roosevelt are getting tunnels. But we need to look beyond that to build the best system, and not impose “retribution” on Bellevue. It’s wonderful that East Link will be grade-separated from Seattle to at least Overlake, and that the North and South corridors will also be grade-separated. We can fix the Rainier Valley problem later, just like New York originally built elevated metros and then put them underground.

      4. Bellevue’s auto-centric nature by default makes it less walkable. Its not too bad given the longer blocks and wide streets however, since most places seem to have good sidewalks, and ped signals/streetlights. Is what Bellevue needs aside from good intergration into the transit center is a streetcar to help circulate people around downtown.

  3. Not seeing how the diagonal station depicted would have room for a straight platform with room for four-car trains.

    Looks like they’d have to swing wide under skyline and meydenbauer buildings to get the necessary length.

    1. the platforms have to be about 400′ long … and they could be curved provided ST adds cameras and monitors on the platform for the operators to be able to see the doors on the whole train (NYC does this on some curved stations).

      that being said … I wouldn’t take the diagram provided in the story as the exact location of where the station would be … but more of a general thought of where it could be placed (at an angle)

      1. Bellevue asked ST to consider a curved platform at S. Bellevue to reduce cost and they said NO. They seem to have a firm policy against curved platforms.

      2. yeah … because they need the operator to be able to see down the side of the train with the onboard cameras (at least that was the explantation given to me by ST) … I was just illustrating how it is handled elsewhere (and that it isn’t a technical issue)

  4. I hope this doesn’t happen, because of the location. But I like the idea of more shallow, functional stations. We end up consuming half the convenient walking distance just getting to the surface.

  5. Sound Transit and the City of Bellevue, please build an enclosed movable walkway between Bellevue Station/BTC and Bellevue way. Thank you.

    1. How could the walkway be movable? Wouldn’t it be firmly attached to gears attached to machinery attached to the ground?

      Are you making this suggestion in all seriousness, or to mock other suggestions made on this blog? I can’t tell.

      1. It was a serious idea. Make it elevated then. If that’s not possible, then how about just a covered walkway from Bellevue Station to Bellevue way. Anything to make the trek from BTC to the city’s core, if not quicker, at least more pleasant.

      2. A movable walkway is essentially an escalator that does not change elevation. They’re common features in airports all over the country (including Concourse A at SeaTac).

    2. That should be, “City of Bellevue, please build an enclosed movable walkway”. There’s no money in ST’s mitigation budget, and it’s really Bellevue’s fault the TC is not on Bellevue Way.

  6. What ultimately matters is the distance between the station entrance and the buses, so that it all feels like “one station”. The diagonal station actually looks closer than the deep station, and could easily have an entrance on the west side of 110th. The east-west station is OK but not ideal for transferring to buses — it’s probably about the same distance as TIB. A short moving walkway would make it easier to avoid missing the bus.

    1. But Sound Transit has never cared about that at any of its other stations. Indeed, at Brooklyn, they’re making people walk outside and around a block to get to some buses. I suggested a ROW through the existing building and across the alley to mitigate but they didn’t feel it was worth it. At Tukwila, they have a reasonable idea of having it in the station and under some semblance of cover.

      1. Charles, Brooklyn Station could have been worse. We fought hard to get them to build that north entrance to improve access to and visibility from 45th.

        Are you suggesting that they should have built the station under University Way instead?

      2. Quite frankly, I think they should have but given their choice they should have mitigated impacts on walkshed. A pass through the alley to a “lobby” facing “the Ave” would reduce the effort to transfer to/from buses. Instead, we get (at least from the last meeting I attended) a midblock entrance facing Brooklyn and a south facing entrance on 43rd. It is also my belief that this will be the primary station for people attending UW rather than the Montlake area station.

      3. The north entrance isn’t really “midblock.” The Neptune is a historical landmark, though, so I believe they were constrained in their options.

        It would be awesome if they could buy out that “My Favorite Deli” shop and turn it into an entrance lobby with TVMs.

      4. In that station area, it barely matters where they put it as long as bus connections don’t suck. The whole place is or will be walkable.

      5. yeah … just look at Mt. Baker station … the Metro Bus TC should be DIRECTLY underneath … but instead it is inconveniently located across busy Rainier Ave.

  7. The article cites $320 million as the extra cost for tunneling. It sounds like ST is making the same math error they made when calculating the “savings” of at-grade on MLK: They didn’t calculate the ongoing extra operational cost due to running at-grade, having to take a few minutes (well, probably four at most) longer due to running at-grade, including extra fleet costs.

    Given the non-likelihood of the Bellevue City Council granting Link signal priority, the savings of the tunnel may be as much as five minutes (or ten minutes round trip) on each East Link run, in perpetuity. It might also impact reliability, and thereby impact throughput and real capacity on U/North Link.

    Although I am not a fan of the Bellevue City Council, I’m still perplexed that they and ST see the Bellevue tunnel as primarily benefitting Bellevue. Really, the primary beneficiaries are commuters between Redmond and Seattle, with travelers on North Link receiving a secondary benefit from better headway. Microsoft ought to kick in some money, and ask for a seat at the design table. They stand to gain from reduced Connector fleet operational costs.

    People using the downtown Bellevue station will benefit from the shallower cut by a somewhat-increased walkshed instead of a deeper design like the DSTT tunnel stations that should never, ever be used again. Having an exit from this station to 110th may make it workable. But having the exits from the west end of the platform be pointed north, south, and west, would make it really viable. It needs an exit that angles toward the transit center and emerges on the surface as close as possible to the transit center.

    Oh, and lest it not be repeated enough, it needs a *center platform*, so that the number of required elevators and escalators can be cut in half, and there is redundancy so non-ambulatory riders don’t have to ride an extra station, ride back, and use a different elevator every time an elevator is out of service.

    Thanks to Mike Lindblom for bringing this proposal to the blog’s attention!

    1. “People using the downtown Bellevue station will benefit from the shallower cut by a somewhat-increased walkshed [b]instead of a deeper design like the DSTT tunnel stations that should never, ever be used again.[/b]”

      Portland might have benefited from such a tunnel, enabling to create a truly commuter-based mass transit system with its own right-of-way instead of what it has now.

      1. The problem with the DSTT is not its grade separation, but the underutilized mezzanines that add an extra couple minutes getting to the platform. Why do we need mezzanines at all? (except at Airport Station, where the mezzanine is at the walkway level, and allows passage under the tracks)

      2. Because we don’t allow pedestrians in the roadway/trackway. If we had signaled crosswalks combined with strict enforcement, we could remove the need for people to cross the mezzanine to get to the other platform. And yes, this is not a rare occurrence. I took link to ID, and had to transfer to south bound platform to catch the Bellevue bound ST550 yesterday. When East Link happens, I’ll have to do the same.

      3. That doesn’t explain why we have gigantic mezzanines for center-platform stations.

        I am a fan of well-used mezzanines, though. They make it possible to build small-profile entrances by moving TVMs and retail (convenience stores, etc) below the street. Of course we don’t actually do any of that here. *rolls eyes*

      4. Charles, that’s called “design by irony.”

        More than half of the stations have gigantic, empty mezzanines, even though no one will ever use them to switch directions as you describe.

        But the only station in which people will routinely switch platforms requires completely leaving and re-entering in order to do so!

        (Though thanks to the shallow profile, it wasn’t a terrible, was it? Add slightly better rain/wind protection and better signage once East Link comes online, and it won’t be a functional problem at all, just a silly reminder of how illogical transit planning is in our city.)

      5. DP, I don’t find changing platforms any more terrible at any of the other stations in the DSTT. The mezzanine levels at the other stations are about the same height as the entrance plaza at ID/CTS from the platform. Since I usually come from the south end, I usually use the ID/CTS to make my switch.

        If you want to see wicked deep tunnel stations then the Washington D.C. Metro is the place to go.

        I suppose some people would like to see food carts and side street hawkers in the mezzanines rather than clean pathways and entrances to stores.

        And lastly, there are more people than you think that cross platforms for various reasons. Perhaps someone coming from the Northside wants to transfer to an Eastside bound bus or someone from the Eastside wants to transfer to a southbound bus.

      6. And lastly, there are more people than you think that cross platforms for various reasons.

        Except not really…

        [Perhaps] someone from the Eastside wants to transfer to a southbound bus.

        If coming from 520, this doesn’t involve crossing platforms. If coming from I-90, the transfer is in the I.D., which is the ironic exception to the overbuilt-with-mezzanine rule.

        Perhaps someone coming from the Northside wants to transfer to an Eastside bound bus.

        Presently, there are very few such transfers that aren’t made more easily in Montlake, which anyone who makes the trip regularly will learn. ST offers a peak express bus for Northgate-to-Bellevue, but let’s just be honest that most present-day north-to-east trips are taken in cars.

        And even if north-to-east transit transfers in downtown existed and weren’t hampered by Stewart and/or I-5 traffic, such a small percentage of 520 buses use the tunnel that it wouldn’t make sense to design the station around them. If anything, you’d want to make the platform-to-4th-Ave transfer as easy as possible.

        For the 5 years after U-Link opens, you’ll definitely see 41-to-Broadway transfers happening at Westlake station, making the mezzanine useful for the first time. But this will be a temporary condition.

        Once the buses are kicked out completely, no one will ever need to switch platforms anywhere but at I.D. again. (If a second downtown subway line happens any time soon, the earth’s crust will become so misshapen from hell freezing over that we’ll need to rebuild the DSTT stations again anyway.)

        As I said and you agreed, the I.D. platform switch is totally workable, though from living in cities with real subway networks I can tell you that there is a genuine psychological benefit to being able to transfer “in-system”. Thus the irony of I.D. being to only station to permanently prohibit this.

        But more importantly, as Martin says, it’s absurd and depressing that 8 current and an unknown number of future stations make getting from the platform to the street so laborious, since that’s what essentially 100% of passengers will be doing there!

      7. d.p. … I believe Metro / ST will be adding a center platform at least at the IDS if not other DSTT stations once East Link is built and all the buses are kicked out.

      8. is there a reason why we don’t have newsstands / mini-marts / Starbucks et al on the various mezzanine levels of the DSTT stations? NYC does this quite well … would actually generate some $$ for ST/Metro/city as well.

      9. Gordon, that’s been suggested on STB, but never with any semblance of official credence. Unless they add a third elevator as well (for accessible egress), I don’t think it’ll happen.

      10. The psychological disadvantage of going to the surface at ID stn isn’t that great. The whole station is open-air and the natural light mitigates it, plus the fact that as you said, it seems like a “small” walk to go up and down in ID than at other stations. There’s also the fact that you don’t have to go through fare gates or tap again. A simple redecoration could make the surface plaza feel like “inside the station”, basically some kind of rectangle around it, anything a “wall” of planters all the way down to just a painted strip.

        But I do agree that ST should reconfigure it to a center platform, or at least study it and give us specific reasons why not. (Not just “it costs too much” but “it costs X, and we don’t have the budget for it”.)

      11. Mike, I agree going up at C/ID isn’t a big deal, until the escalators break, or you’ve got a bike, wheelchair, or stroller. Those elevators are slow and cause you to miss trains.

    2. I don’t think link will be popular for the Seattle-Redmond commute. It’s more for the Redmond-Bellevue, seattle-Bellevue commute.

      1. ST has a mandate to provide good express service between all parts of its service area. It will delete routes that duplicate the line, but not necessarily routes that go diagonal to it and offer a more-than-10-minute time advantage. ST may downgrade Seattle-Redmond to peak only, which would be appropriate. Also, ST2 Link will not reach downtown Redmond. Also, isn’t the state paying for additional trips on 520 as part of the toll/replacement deal?

      2. But you will be able to take RapidRide B line from downtown Redmond to OverLake and transfer to Link. And who knows what Metro will do to re-align service.

      3. There’s no way that ST will kill Seattle-Redmond service during peak hours. It may be that the 545 dies and the 542 remains, leaving people to make the transfer at UW Station (which should be easy but may in practice be awkward).

    3. Operating and capital costs aren’t fungible in US transit funding, unfortunately.

      At the moment, Sound Transit is having trouble with capital costs, not operating costs, hence some of the odd decisions…

  8. As far as issues with the diagonal platform, I don’t see it as inherently bad. Rather, I see diagonal platforms as actually increasing walkshed (if there isn’t a freeway in the way), and generally preferable to platforms that parallel a surface street. Think Vancouver’s diagonal line.

    Now, the curvature of the platform may be an issue. I don’t see it an an operating issue so much as a safety issue. Will it be a hazard for blind passengers? Could this be mitigated by having four rows of warning tile? Might an even better (but obviously costlier) solution be station doors that open and close with the train doors?

  9. I find the elevated LINK stations to be some of the most attractive.

    The question becomes why go underground at all, when the effective use of cheap, elevated construction is amply demonstrated, and in use in cities like Vancouver.

    In fact, does Portland do any tunneling for its light rail system — which is far more extensive than ours — at all?

    I think not! Tunneling has be a huge drag on light rail construction, making its costs 10 to 20 times higher than they should be and turning a 5 year project into a 50 year project. It’s called “light” rail because its cheap and fast to build…everywhere but here!!

    1. I wouldn’t say they are attractive. They are impressive. But the pillars and trackway bridging is horrendous. Anything to minimise that would be to the benefit of the public realm and rider.

    2. FWIW, MAX does actually run in a tunnel (a very deep one) under Washington Park on the way to Beaverton and Hillsboro, but not through any urban core.

    3. I would like it to be all elevated so you could get a view from it. But there’s a lot of public opposition to a visible train ruining people’s views. That’s why the elevated sections are mainly around highways where there’s no NIMBY pressure. And elevated construction is not “cheap”, either. It’s more expensive than at-grade. Vancouver’s Skytrain is especially expensive because it’s a driverless system with proprietary technology.

      Portland has one tunnel where it had to go under a hill and it was the only way to reach an important park station.

    4. Yes, John. Tunneling is expensive. Once in place, however, all the trains have to compete against are the occasional rats. Speed. Speed of the trains is a plus.

      Like most everything you utter, there are pathetic exagerations: Your latest brainstorm: “turning a 5 year project into a 50 year project.” LOL.

      50 years ago, I was a young lad of 10 years old. Now, Link under Capitol Hill is getting close to completion. The tunnel under Beacon Hill is up and running.

      Come on dude, you can do much better than that….

      1. It took Singapore less than 5 years to build a brand new 24 mile subway line!

        I’m sorry, but you often use the same criticisms of my posts over and over and over again, and each and every time I have provided data, links and so on.

        At some point I won’t be the only person who can see right through you.

      2. Singapore has an authoritarian government. We have a government that has to dance around anti-tax, anti-transit voters. Also, in Asia, people expect cities to have high density and frequent, comprehensive transit. In the US we have Bailoites and suburbanizers who insist on low density and drive up the cost of transit projects. Most suburbanizers, perhaps except you, consider a train or even trolley wires a “blight” on their view.

        The “right” way to build transit is just to take lanes away from cars and implement real transit priority. But we’re so far from that. The fact that McKenna has a good chance of becoming governor shows how far we are from it.

      1. LINK and MAX were funded in entirely different eras. Back when most of MAX was built you could rely mostly on Federal funding. While LINK has done very well at getting New Starts money, especially compared to other regions competing for the same grants, the Feds simply won’t fund most of a system anymore.

      2. Also I don’t see a way to serve Downtown Bellevue and Overlake that could be done MAX “on the cheap” style. There simply isn’t the nearly free ROW in convenient spots and ST isn’t getting chunks of cash from the State.

      3. It does go to show that turning down “somebody else’s money” like Seattle did with Forward Thrust is *incredibly stupid*.

    5. Light Rail is not named because it is cheap and fast to build … it is a term that relates to the size/weight of the vehicle. While in essence it is cheaper and quicker to build than the infrastructure required for true heavy-rail transit systems it is not inherently so.

      As for building elevated lines … they don’t work so well as additions to already heavily built downtown areas due to space constraints (for ROW and stations) … never mind they are a bit of an eyesore.

      NYC and like cities moved their elevated transit lines underground mostly due to noise and safety … two things that don’t really apply with modern equipment and construction techniques … but you could bet that property owners would complain that the value of their properties on the 1-3 floors would dramatically fall with a transit line outside of the windows (and that isn’t even including residential property owners).

      Overall … if done correctly … subways can be relatively inexpensive to build. If we were going to run another tunnel down 1st/2nd ave from SODO to Queen Anne … the DBT & BNSF tunnels not withstanding … using the cut & cover method could allow for a tunnel just feet under the street surface … although you wouldn’t have the mezzanines and it would require access from separate sides of the street (no island platforms). NYC did this in many places and it works quite well (most have underpasses to get to the other platforms … many do not)

  10. For something that is supposed to last for 50 to 100 years, it doesn’t make since to scrimp on the design of stations. Will such a station withstand future traffic loads, or hold up physically?

  11. What if Bellevue put a lid over I-405? The freeway would no longer divide the downtown.

    1. If you can call the east side a downtown… There isn’t that much space for expansion on the other side, unless you propose to put the BNSF railroad in a tunnel as well and to build a skyscraper over Lake Bellevue.

      1. What Railroad?
        Oh, you mean that flat trail with some scrap metal and landscape timbers laying along it? It’s a dead-end just south of downtown, so clean up the crap, and doze it back to grade.

      2. Well, we could lid 405 and make it a park with a trail, and do away with the railroad, extending 4th and 6th through it and putting more development there. This has great potential to connect with the grandiose new Overlake district.

      3. It will get built up someday. 116th is zoned higher than the car dealerships that are there. It’s just a matter of when population growth and downtown expansion will reach that far. Maybe then that moving walkway won’t seem so outlandish and expensive.

    1. It’s not “skipping” the mall if you can walk 1/4 of a mile. Of course, maybe a station under the mall with exits in Lincoln Square and Downtown Bellevue Park would be better. I think they actually evaluated making a surface-level entry on the downhill slope west of the Transit Center. Still, it’s about as far as Pike Place is from Westlake, and nobody is saying the tunnel “skipped” the Market.

      1. Could we add a ‘Mall-Car’ to the end of every LRT consist? That way you wouldn’t even have to leave the train for most of your shopping.
        Mondays are shoe car day.
        Tuesday, electronic gadgets.
        Wed, (you get it)

    2. Some people have speculated that machiavellian forces are at work. It’s skipping Bellevue Square for the same reason Central Link doesn’t go to Southcenter. Unseen, powerful forces working behind the scenes don’t want shoppers siphoned away from downtown Seattle.

    3. They studied a Bellevue Way tunnel alignment in the DEIS. For various reasons, they selected other alternatives to go forward.

      In the end, the final preferred alternatives were not ones they initially studied in the DEIS.

    4. Here, found it: pages 2 and 5. In the 108th tunnel options (both in the N-S and the E-W alignments) they would regrade the hill west of BTC and make an entrance directly to the mezzanine. The current 110th alignment (C9T) has nothing of the sort; though there is a center platform, you’ve got to take THREE escalators from the north entry to the platform.

      Possibly they can do something similar — a pedestrian walkway under the transit center — with one of the new alignments.

    5. For the same reason Bellevue TC is not at the mall. I assume Kemper put strong pressure on Metro and the City Council in the 80s to keep it away from the mall.

    6. Because the Bellevue Way alignment, which was arguably the best routing proposed, got eliminated early on for being too expensive.

  12. A mezzanine level will allow for future capacity in passenger movement. It can be expanded to accommodate additional rail tunnels in the future or be adopted as an underground walk-shed to avoid traffic.

    For example, if we were to add a second tunnel in Downtown Seattle, all of the stations that have mezzanine levels can easily be expanded to service an additional tunnel, making transferring easy. If the tunnel were to come to Chinatown, then where would the entrance to the platform be? A block away?

    In summary, a mezzanine level acts as a “hub” for pedestrians and riders, allowing users to access all lines as soon as they enter the station. Without it, transferring would require riders to walk out of the station and into another one.

    I have yet to see a full-blown rail station that doesn’t have a mezzanine level or some sort of ground-level indoor substitute.

    1. Park Street station, Boston. One of the busiest stations in the U.S., with 20,000 entries, 20,000 exits, and nearly 100,000 line transfers every day.

      Green Line tracks are about 25 feet below the street, and the Red Line is about 20 feet below that. Orange Line transfers are handled at the first level, with an underpass at the second. There are no “giant subterranean plaza” mezzanines anywhere.

      The whole complex takes up about 1/2 the cubic footage of the University Street station box.

      1. It’s worth noting that the Green Line has *four tracks* at Park Street, and *four platforms*. That station is handling a genuinely complicated situation.

        Apart from ADA issues (which wouldn’t have been an issue if they’d been designed in from the start, but it was the 19th century) it’s a very well-designed station.

      2. The ADA/elevator situation improved a lot with the last renovation.

        And the elevator at the end of the Red Line’s center platform makes transferring between Red and southbound Orange a million times easier than doing so within Downtown Crossing (they really should update the ADA signage to reflect this).

    2. Also, Bellevue’s surface sidewalks are so sterile and lifeless, that the last thing anyone needs to be suggesting is a Montreal-style ville souterraine to pull more pedestrians off the streets.

  13. The shallower station seems good me. My only request is please re-invest some of the money saved to build a friendlier and safer pedestrian crossing over I-405. The 8th St. bridge has some very dangerous freeway on-ramp crossings, plus some lights you have to wait for that take forever to change.

  14. here is an east Link cost saving concept: zero out the park-and-ride. they plan a 1,500-stall garage at South Bellevue and more at OTC and 130th Avenue NE. not building the parking would help pay for the tunnel. Bellevue has a street grid for walk and bus access to east Link.

    1. OTC is already at capacity. Since it will be the interim terminus of East Link, there will probably be plenty of demand for more parking at that station. On the other hand, Overlake P&R, near the Overlake Village station is underutilized.

      South Bellevue P&R currently attracts lots of patronage, but maybe an alternative for people coming from farther east would be added capacity at Mercer Island.

      As for the 130th NE P&R, that could attract a lot of ridership from North Bellevue.

      1. consider the opportunity cost: the funds for P&R would attract more riders if used to improve Route 522 service; residents of the Northshore cities get little benefit from east Link, yet help pay for it. of course there is demad for free parking.

      2. We need to move to a pay-for-parking model, even if it’s just 50c. But first somebody has to explain how to get it through politically. If ST proposes charging at P&Rs, there will be an immediate backlash of, “This isn’t what we expected when we voted ST into existence and approved ST2.” Which politicians are going to counter that, and how are they going to survive reelection? Answer those and you may see some movement on pay-for-P&R.

    2. Here’s another.
      All three Bellevue stations are within .43 miles of each other. The walksheds consist of overlapping circles overlaying a lot of car oriented action down in the I-405 auto sewer system, or surface parking lots.
      How about putting in one elevated station where the Vision line had it, then run covered ped/bike moving sidewalks to the hospital, SE across 405, west to the transit center and beyond to the Mall. Think of the savings NOT building two redundant stations so close to each other.
      Draw a 3/4 mile radius around the one station (bigger than normal 1/2 mi radius to account for the moving sidewalks) and you’ve just about covered the same area as the original three stops. Now add up all the time saved for everyone just passing through Bellevue, the reduced operational costs to ST and higher ridership due to better speeds and it starts to be a no-brainer.
      We could call it the Kevin Wallace Memorial Station after all the Egos die off.

  15. The diagonal option seems fine. The walkshed isn’t as good to the south, but is maintained to the west, where it’s crucial. The transfer to BTC is as good as can be expected, assuming the west entrance is not totally botched.

    The E/W option is garbage. Shrinks the walkshed and moves it a half-block further from the city center – inching closer to the Vision line. It’s probably only in there to make the diagonal option look good.

  16. I really wish that the powers that be had originally designed the DSTT so that it could have been extended towards the Seattle Center in addition to Westlake / CPS … would have provided for so many more growth opportunities than what we have been saddled with

  17. I’m sure that Kemper Freeman Jr. is fully supportive of anything that would push the only station in downtown Bellevue even further away from his kingdom on Bellevue Way.

  18. Is anyone really surprised by any of this? Of course Bellevue and Sound Transit want to argue about how to build it on the cheap. They’ve done that for years. Of course the transit blog will posit that the train has to be right under BTC. Nothing new. Comments that Bellevue sidewalks are dead? Check. Kemper Freeman is evil? You betcha. Bellevue people are too fat/lazy/NIMBY/stupid to know what the heck is good for them? Strongly implied.

    Congratulations on getting that wildly expensive tunnel punched through Capitol Hill. Nice progress on that University tunnel. Hope y’all are enjoying your trains. I look forward to having a train over here if you can just stop arguing and sniping and acting like

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