In case you were overwhelmed by the information in Sherwin’s wonderful post about remaining East Link design decisions, at the end he discussed the choices for placing Downtown Bellevue’s station. Because this is one of those 100-year decisions that may be made over relatively piddling amounts of money, I want to call further attention to last year’s (rare) unsigned STB editorial advocating for an underground station.
If anything, the difference has become even more pronounced. The latest design makes the underground station shallower and shifts the entrance west –reducing the travel time to almost everything of interest in Bellevue. Zero crossing of public streets between the Transit Center and the station is the difference between making this another Mt. Baker and a design that observes the best principles of transfers.
Downtown Bellevue is the most important station of the entire project and deserves to be done right. That costs money, of course: perhaps the Bellevue City Council is motivated to fund the right thing for future stakeholders in the city. If not, Sherwin outlined several other options for savings that are in Sound Transit’s power; other alternatives would be some delay in completion of the line, or perhaps sacrificing some park-and-ride spaces. All of these would cause pain in one way or another, but Downtown Bellevue is worth it.