Redmond’s preferred downtown station (Image: Redmond TRAIN study)

In a unanimous vote, Sound Transit board members moved forward a proposal to elevate the downtown Redmond Station, directing staff to complete an environmental review and preliminary engineering on the changes. The proposed design changes by the City of Redmond shift the Redmond Town Center station, previously proposed as an at-grade station near Leary Way, to an elevated station closer to 166th Ave. NE.

During the June 22 meeting, the board concluding the project was too far along in the process declined to also consider changes to track alignment.

“Without major backtracking we are probably at a point where it’s too late to consider other alignments,” said Claudia Balducci, King County Council member and Sound Transit Board member. “It’s always worth questioning where we have been, but when there is this much public work and planning, it’s not just the cost to lay the tracks and build the stations. It’s also the cost that’s gone into the land use planning, and the development and park work that been done,” she said.

During public comment, the former chair of Sound Transit’s Citizen Oversight Panel and Redmond resident, Josh Benaloh, had urged Sound Transit to reconsider a previous track alignment studied in 2011 now that an evaluated downtown station was being considered.

The older alignment, referred to as E4, leaves State Road 520 west of the Sammamish River stopping at the downtown Redmond station first, before continuing south east. In an STB guest post Benaloh argued, “the E4 alignment has far more potential to be extended in future years to the foot of Sahalee Way where it could provide service to the significantly underserved city of Sammamish.”

Instead, in the approved alignment the light rail tracks follow SR-520 traveling east to the Southeast Redmond station then turning steeply west to head to the final station in downtown Redmond.

According to the 2011 EIS, this design is estimated to cost $50 million less than the E2 design and reduce the track length by nearly half a mile. However, it does result in the track crossing both SR 520 and Bear Creek Parkway twice.

During the meeting, Sound Transit board member John Marchione, Redmond Mayor,  said the city has been planning around the alignment chosen in 2005. “Twelve years later, to pivot would be difficult.”

He said the city saw E4 having a greater detrimental impact to landmarks and a greater negative impact on the community. He pointed to the connection between the East Lake Sammamish Trail and the Redmond Central Connector, saying the E4 alignment would make the connection cost prohibitive.

In a letter to the Sound Transit Board recommending changes to the design, city officials make the case that an elevated station “avoids the mobility impacts associated with up to six gated street crossings in Downtown Redmond, with gates closing on average every four minutes.”

The new proposed location, further east, allows for bus-rail transfers on both sides of the station, improving both convenience and safety, the letter continued.

The City of Redmond suggested refinements to the project after completing a Downtown Transit Integration (TRAIN) study to analyze how best to integrate light rail transit into downtown. The refinements also include building multiple parking structures for the 1,400 stalls that are part of the project, rather than a single structure. With the area, where the proposed parking structure is planned, was recently rezoned from light industrial to mixed-use development the city says a large-single-mega structures no longer fits in.

A final decision on the station design and alignment is anticipated in 2018 after the completion of an environmental review. The Redmond Link Extension is expected to begin construction in 2019, with service starting in 2024.

61 Replies to “Sound Transit will not Change Redmond Alignment”

  1. To be honest I think this alignment is for the best. There’s much denser development to the north and west than the south and east. For example, on the current alignment rail could eventually serve the center of Downtown Redmond, the Willows area, or even Rose Hill (all of which have relatively mixed uses of commercial and multifamily housing). On the other hand, I think it’s unlikely that Sammamish will ever have the density required for light rail. It could have a Park and Ride but at that point the Marymoor park station is likely good enough.

    1. “the E4 alignment has far more potential to be extended in future years to the foot of Sahalee Way where it could provide service to the significantly underserved city of Sammamish.”

      I agree that the potential for extending the line is far greater with the current alignment. It can continue on existing RR ROW all the way to Woodinville where it can serve people coming from 522 (Bothell & Monroe) as well as 405 commuters which far exceeds any future demand from Sahalee Way..

    2. Rose Hill, Kirkland, Woodinville, and Bothell seem like a long way away and a terrible zigzag. Those extensions would be undoubtedly useful to get to Redmond and Overlake, but for getting to Bellevue or Seattle they’re highly questionable. Maybe that’s OK if we expect ridership to turn over in Redmond, but it still makes a zigzaggy line that’s more bent than any of the other lines. In contrast, an extension to Sahalee is still going generally east, and the zigzag can be justified as going around Lake Sammamish and the location of the Bellevue-Redmond density axis. I could see north Sammamishites being satisfied with this as a reasonably direct route and travel time to Bellevue and Seattle, whereas an extension that goes northwest would not have that at all. Or does it?

      1. An extension on the old BNSF ROW follows Willows Rd and then along the west side of the valley all the way to Woodinville. To push into Bothell by train would require building along a segment of the Burke Gillman. You might be able to push that through but it would never be allowed to use that ROW all the way in to the UW and Bothell Way/522 has too many grade issues to be viable. However, a logical next extension that went to essentially the Woodinville P&R would be a great intercept point for buses and commuters coming from Monroe and probably be a faster transfer point for people trying to get to Redmond/Microsoft/Bel-Red than what already can be a long slog from 520 into the Bellevue Transit Center.

    3. As far as extensions go, I can’t see any compelling argument to lengthen this line. Any Eastside ST4 effort will need to be spent on 405 or perhaps getting across Lake Washington. This will be the terminus for at least several decades.

      1. More to the point, ST’s long-term plan does not have any extension beyond Redmond, and it has never been mentioned in updates to the plan that I’ve heard. ST4 will be based on the studies that are in ST3 as a starting point. That will be large enough that additions are unlikely. East King is already looking at a second Lake Washington crossing or a line around the north end of the lake to Kirkland. How could that not take all of East King’s dollars?

        Even those seem rather farfetched to me. More likely I would expect extending the Issaquah-Kirkland line to Totem Lake, upgrading 522 BRT to light rail, some improvements to 405 BRT and 520 buses, and maybe something local in Bellevue-ish or Renton-ish. Although I suppose if you built the 522 line and the Totem Lake extension, then it would be a short extension to connect the two in Bothell and then you’d have your north lake U even if it’s not a one-seat ride.

      2. Right. We’re making this strange alignment and the only possible advantage is northern extensions. But northern extensions don’t make sense on any timescale and in 30 years when that changes it won’t make sense as an extension of this line, it’ll make sense as a separate line altogether than also terminates at Redmond, or interlines through Redmond to Sammamish or elsewhere.

        On top of that going with E4 allows you to move the SE station out of the freeway, where it is surrounded by a park and storage unit, and instead onto the trail further SE near the Whole Foods, making it a far more useful station for SE Redmond to develop around.

        I really don’t get why these things can never get reassessed when the facts change. Clearly the decision was made to use this alignment on assumptions that proved to be invalid and if those assumptions were correct a different decision likely would’ve been made. So just reassess it. There’s time to do it.

      3. What facts changed? Redmond surely noticed the sharp turn right away because it’s so obvious, but it preferred that alignment at the time and designed the city around it. So did something change to invalidate the assumptions, or is it just a difference in opinion? The goal was to serve Redmond and southeast Redmond, not some extensions beyond that. Sammamish is not planned to grow into an urban center, and the case for Woodinville is still rather questionable. Where are all the people who usually try to keep Link short? Issaquah is a growth center with a city government that’s a model of cooperation, Tacoma is a large city, and Everett was at least historically one of the top three cities and has a Boeing plant. Sammamish is known for its anti-growth and anti-tax sentiment. Woodinville is known for, um, sprawl and car-dependent shopping centers.

      4. The long term plan specifically calls out a Bellevue to Bothell extension, which is broadly defined enough that it could be covered by an East Link extension. I agree that either Light rail through Kirkland or improvements to 405 BRT (up to & including conversion to rail) are the most likely options for a major ST4 project, but I think it’s early enough in the process to not rule anything out.

        My current thought for ST4 is East King will have a flagship project or two, either a Lake Washington crossing or a line connecting Bellevue to Renton and/or Bothell. In addition, I think both Redmond & Issaquah could get small one or two station extensions to their existing line, to “spread the love” and to ensure two major regional cities – and big ST supporters – get some benefits. For Redmond, a station at NE 85th or something around Willows & NE 90th could be in play, but it would very much be a ‘secondary’ project.

    4. I have some regrets about having raised the extension issue as this seems to have dominated much of the conversation. There appear to be numerous advantages to an elevated variant of E4, and the fact that it could enable a relatively short two-mile extension at a modest grade along a good alignment to provide direct service to the City of Sammamish was just one of a large number of factors.

      The principal benefit of an elevated E4 seems to be shortening the track length by about half a mile — which would reduce both construction and operating costs and shorten travel times. I was disappointed that the Sound Transit Board chose to focus their counterarguments on the original E4 alignment instead of the possibility of an elevated variant of E4 — perhaps it was a strategic error on my part to not focus on that more speculative option.

      There really were substantive changes to the underlying assumptions which led to this decision. The location of the downtown Redmond station was changed twice, and this station and nearby track was changed from at-grade to elevated.

      My attempt at an objective view is that if we were to today target a line from Overlake to Southeast Redmond and an elevated downtown Redmond station at the revised Redmond Town Center site, then it would be much less expensive and less disruptive to travel to the downtown station first. (As noted, this would require a second crossing of SR-520, but the current preferred alignment must go over the interchange of SR-520 and West Lake Sammamish Parkway, so going over the interchange and main roadway at that point may not be as onerous portrayed.)

      I can imagine three possible reasons why there is so much reluctance to re-evaluate given the altered assumptions.

      1. I’m simply wrong about the benefits that could be realized by changing the alignment. I’m not a professional planner, so this is well within the realm of possibility.

      2. I’m right about the potential benefits, but the risks associated with re-evaluating are so great that it’s better to take the bird in the hand. This is certainly possible, but it would be disappointing if the process is so rigid that — at a time when a commitment has been made to spend a year studying refinements — we cannot consider an alternative that offers so many potential benefits.

      3. There’s something that the public is not privy to that makes a re-evaluation undesirable. I’m not a conspiracy-theorist, so I prefer to not go here; but it’s always possible that there are undisclosed ulterior motives at play.

      I would really like to know which of these three explanations is true, but I don’t expect that I will ever find out.

      1. I suspect it boils down to two things:

        1. The area west of Downtown Redmond is targeted as a mid-rise residential area with a trail, and the new building owners, investors and developers likely feel that it would be more “ugly” and “noisy” for an aerial train to be closer to them. The real estate market has already evolved around the picked alignment.

        2. There is a rush to finish East Link as promised in ST2 as soon as possible. A delay would probably affect the opening date at this point.

        In other words, it appears to have little to do with transit operations. I think that only a lawsuit with legs could get the ST board to consider a different alignment — mainly because of the delay that it would create.

      2. I think it comes down to #2 – there’s risk with redoing the EIS, and state/federal paperwork may need to be restarted & that could put grants/loans at risk? At a certain point, the Board just has to move forward with a particular alignment. It’s of a different magnitude, but it’s similar to STB commentators trying to re-argue a 99 vs. I5 alignment during the discussion of where to place the KDM station.

        FWIW, I’m deeply skeptical of the value of any extension towards Sammamish, and I’d suspect ST staff, Redmond staff, and ST Board would agree, so there’s #1.

    5. I think Al is right. This will probably be the end of the line for a very long time. A zig-zag at the end of the line is really no big deal, as the only people hurt are those being served (at the end). I think you could make the case that the second to the last station should be cut, and the route be straightened, but then it would cost you extra money to have one less station, which just seems silly.

      While I doubt it will be extended, if we wanted to do so, then it would make sense to extend this to the northwest, but not very far. That is where the density is, and doing so might not be too expensive. The census block of Willows Road, Redmond Way and 148th is quite dense for the East Side (as of the last census)*. It is basically up there with a typical Seattle block (in, say, Wallingford). To better serve that area, you could simply extend the line over the bike path, to somewhere like this: https://goo.gl/maps/eQAKMqmXAiv. That might be very cheap. That would probably only make sense if the warehouses on the other side of the road were converted to either offices or apartments. I’m still not convinced it makes a lot of sense — the direction isn’t great; there is still a fair amount of walking for a lot of the apartment dwellers, etc. — but much better than extending to the northeast, where there is basically nothing (https://arcg.is/1aS4eS). But the choice of elevated, as well as the alignment might make it fairly cheap extension, making this the logical choice.

      The alignment they have makes a lot of sense. I really can’t find any flaws with it, even if it does seem weird to do a big zig-zag.

      * Obviously things have changed in the area (downtown Redmond has blown up) but I just don’t see that happening in Sammamish, or anywhere to the east.

      1. Is that 45th line going in as part of the extension of link going from the UW to the University/Roosevelt district?

        It would be great to take transit close to the Fremont Fair w/o looking for parking. Yes I know one can take transit now, but it is much more time consuming, particularly from the south west reaches of the city.

      2. The Ballard-UW corridor or Ballard-UW-Redmond corridor was studied in the run-up to ST3 but didn’t make it in because the Powers That Be wanted Ballard-downtown first and that would dovetail nicely with the second downtown tunnel. So it’s probably at the top of the list for ST4.

        My statement about North Link is that you’ll be able to take the successors to the 44 and 31/32 to UW Station and get downtown in 12 minutes, or to everywhere else on the Link network.

      3. Wallingford in generally just under a mile from the future U-District Station. There are plenty of areas in SE and Central Seattle that are just as far if not further from a Link station. Walking may take longer than 10 or 15 minutes but it’s still doable — and there will be a frequent connecting bus on top of that. Sure it would be great if all areas at Wallimgford’s density had a Link station within a half-mile, but we would need several more Link lines to achieve that.

  2. I am rather confused when reading this. I read it twice and am still confused. The title says ST will NOT change alignment, but the first paragraph says: “In a unanimous vote, Sound Transit board members moved forward a proposal to elevate the downtown Redmond Station, directing staff to complete an environmental review and preliminary engineering on the changes.” Aren’t those statements in direct conflict?

    Just confused… too much heat this weekend perhaps!

    1. I am also confused. I would implore the STB editors to revise this article with clearer references to which alignment segments are changing and which are not.

    2. My (lay) interpretation of the article is that ST will consider both surface and elevated tracks along the same path, but they won’t consider any alternate paths. But I was also confused by the article.

      1. Paragraph 4 (which had received extensive STB coverage last week) explains what they voted not to do.

      1. This is the second or third time in the last couple of weeks that clarity has been lacking from an STB piece. I know these are complex issues, but part of STB’s value is that it communicates those issues in a way that is understandable and can facilitate useful discussions.

        Just something to keep in mind – doing a copy edit for clarity probably wouldn’t hurt.

    3. Yes, it is confusing. The plan as it has evolved will go through, and a proposal to revert to an earlier stage of it is rejected. Perhaps it could have been worded more clearly, or perhaps it’s just too many reversals to explain.

  3. It appears Sound Transit is sticking with the track alignment that’s been planned for years now (with Downtown Redmond at the end of the line), and supporting the City of Redmond’s well-considered endorsement of the East Elevated option for the Downtown Redmond station, which was a clear favorite in public comment. I find Redmond’s arguments convincing and appreciate their consideration of regional trail connections and bus-rail integration in addition to redevelopment opportunities.

    Here’s Redmond’s view on all this:
    http://www.redmond.gov/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=198157

    and on STB recently:
    https://www.seattletransitblog.com/2017/06/13/redmond-stations/

    With this, Redmond appears to be doing a better job on the details of integrating a light rail station into the existing/future urban built environment than Shoreline is, though I will give Shoreline a lot of credit for supporting a trail along the alignment, and Shoreline is admittedly constrained by the prior decision to locate both of its stations immediately adjacent to the canyon of pavement, traffic, noise and vehicle exhaust that is I-5.

  4. Thanks Mercer Island, and thanks Sound Transit Board. IT has begun. Now every single local jurisdiction full of local politicians wanting reelection is scrambling to get their special set-aside goodies.

    Apparently sending them a jersey [ot] won’t cut it either…

    $10 million is now the floor of these kind of demands. I don’t think I donated to ST3 or continue to advocate for Sound Transit so local politicians get free reelection fruit. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    1. Calm down. Mercer Island is a unique situation. It’s richer than the other suburbs and has more lawyers and CEOs per capita. It’s an island between the two largest cities. It has less commercial development than almost any King County city, you have to get down to Sammamish or Snoqualmie to find something comparable. Some say ST made a flawed EIS in Mercer Island which made it vulnerable to challenges; it was either settle or amend the EIS, and the latter would have caused delays and costs. And nowhere else does access to HOV lanes or a short HOV ramp have such an impact on the island. No other city has yet put forth claims a la Mercer Island. I’ve heard about Mountlake Terrace wanting a bigger P&R but it’s not clear to me that they have more leverage now or that they wouldn’t have asked for it anyway.

      1. Yeah, I agree with Mike.

        >> Some say ST made a flawed EIS in Mercer Island which made it vulnerable to challenges; And nowhere else does access to HOV lanes or a short HOV ramp have such an impact on the island.

        Those two items were key. Mercer Island residents knew they were losing their special HOV access, which they probably shouldn’t have been granted in the first place (the freeway absolutely destroys the connection between Capitol Hill and South Lake Union, and they weren’t given anything). I think most of the folks in Mercer Island knew the good times were ending, and were OK with it. But to actually lose a ramp — that is different. So they called out the lawyers, and the lawyers were thrilled to see that ST forgot to dot an “I” and cross a ‘T’. That meant that Mercer Island had leverage, and they used it to shake down ST to the tune of around 10 million.

        Most cities have neither the frustration, nor the leverage, so I really don’t see this as something that will continue.

  5. Redmond crushes at working with SoundTransit…. now if only Bellevue can get it together… I really want walkable stations in Belleuve..

    1. Redmond has been called the densest city per capita in the state, and it early on made light rail a blanket permitted use so that ST didn’t have to seek a zoning waiver. McGinn brought that up during ST3 planning as something Seattle should do and would do. I don’t know if it did.

      1. LOL. What does “densest city per capita” mean? Seattle has the highest density in any city in Washington. Far higher than Redmond. I have no idea what “densest city per capita” means.

      2. Chris beat me to it. Seattle not only has much higher overall density, but much higher pockets of density (Belltown is many times more densely populated than anything in Redmond).

        Maybe you meant “densest small city”?

      3. I was trying to say that a greater percentage of the city’s land lowrise/mixed-use or higher, or that a greater percentage of the population live in such places. I don’t know if it’s true; I’ve just heard that argument, that Redmond is more pro-density than any other city in the region.

  6. I’m sure people standing on the train are going to just love those back to back 90 degree turns.

    1. It will be a curve. The first curve (to the first station) will be while the train is slowing down. The second curve (a more dramatic hair pin turn) will be between two relatively close stations, meaning the train won’t be going very fast. A quick look at the New York subway system shows that such turns are pretty common. Here is the 7 as it jogs back and forth in Brooklyn: https://goo.gl/maps/mqRx2KtPtgS2. No big deal.

      1. I disagree. Sharp turns while standing on a train suck. Especially if it’s crowded and you can’t reach a bar to hold on to.

        I’ve used the NYC subway and they suck there too. Even at slower speeds.

    1. My property tax and car tab bills very much say that Sammamish is part of the ST tax district.

      1. Correct, City of Sammamish is very much within ST Boundaries. There will be, and very much should be, ST bus service from Sammamish to both the SE Redmond and Issaquah stations. But any rail extension into Sammamish is wildly excessive overinvestment.

      2. Yes, Sammamish is north of Issaquah, not east. The ST boarder is somewhere east of the Issaquah Highlands. So Sammamish should at least get all-day buses, but since it’s density-adverse and has no regional growth centers, maybe not a Link line going to it or through it.

  7. I never gave a revisiting of the alignment much hope. Since the station locations don’t significantly move, the major cost will be to riders having to be on the train a few extra minutes.

    The alignment is still vulnerable to a court challenge, based on the excessive taking of public park land. That could delay or modify this extension.

    1. What park land? As far as I can tell the alignment past Marymoor is all on the WSDOT 520 ROW. The section shown as “East Lake Samammish Trail” doesn’t actually exist; at least not in any useable fashion. I expect ST will foot the bill to make this a viable bike/ped connection from DT and the SRT. Although it’s not terrible today, you just have to go completely across Marymoor which is a long hike and a PITA bike ride.

      1. Cycling through Marymoor may be counter intuitive the first few times, but once you’re used to it, the ride isn’t bad at all

      2. Cycling through Marymoor is very traffic dependent. Don’t try it while Cirque du Soleil is going on. Even just the regular soccer traffic can be bad. It’s not the end of the world but a connection from the east end would be bonus. It would certainly be nice if coming in from the Novelty Hill area. The road riding to cross 202 and enter the park from E. Lk. Sam is no fun.

      3. Really, there is a completely separated trail that takes you from the Sammamish River Trail to the East lake Sammamish Trail quite directly, and independent of anything the Cirque or soccer might be up to. Really, its quite nice.

        For cyclists who go fast, there is more than a little nervousness about the East Link alignment which runs about 50 feet north of Turn 4 at the Velodrome. The track has suffered in past earthquakes (cracking and settlement), and this sort of looks like a five year earthquake. The Velodrome association is working with KC Parks on this, and if the line manages not to damage the track, we all look forward to great new access to Marymoor park on the Northeast corner by the new station.

  8. The end-of-line tail track issue appears to be unresolved. I expect Redmond to want to push to eliminate a tail track to disrupt their pretty trail, while ST staff will push to add it for better train operations. Who will the electeds please?

    STB needs to perhaps take up this issue.

    1. For the east elevated station option, Redmond has been assuming (or at least proposing) a pocket track east of the station, in lieu of tail tracks west of the station. A pocket track would allow for storage of one or two trainsets (depending on the length of the pocket track) off the active tracks and for turning trains. Whether this is a preferred setup for end-of-line operations isn’t something I can answer though.

      1. It all depends on if a driver can safely “back” into a station or not.

        Of course, going more and more to the grade-separated option does give ST some cushion should they every go to a driverless operation (with perhaps a virtual driver to guide them through a few sensitive at-grade spots).

  9. What does this mean for the larger issue of timing? With 130th Street station we were told there would be plenty of time later in the design to add it, then we were told it was too late and we should have gotten it in earlier. Suggestions to add Capitol Hill stations were also ignored as coming too late. So when is the right time to advocate for alignment features? Does it all have to be in the ballot measure when the line is still in a conceptual stage? Should activists have realized and done something earlier about this Redmond alignment? If so, what should they have done?

    1. I think you know the answer to that, Mike. Certain elected officials appear to be given “King” or royalty status and have the powerful to accept or modify ST plans — as long as they do it (or not do it) behind the scenes and the discussion never makes it into the public eye. Everything else gets a default public “it’s the wrong time” excuse.

      There are many examples, as I’m sure you know. Just this past month, we see an inflexible ST keep the awful access design to the 145th station in place, despite dozens of complaints about it. That’s after ST moved the station and proposed this new layout with no public discussion in the first place.

    2. No kidding. How many people here think ST will open Lynnwood Link, then be able to add a station at NE 130th with no disruption to service? Considering they have yet to turn a single spadeful of soil on Lynnwood Link, and money from the ST3 taxes is already pouring in, you’d think now would be an excellent time to add a 130th station.

  10. “Cycling through Marymoor is very traffic dependent”

    Not so much, I’m afraid – there is a completely separated cycletrack east/west through the park from the Sammamish River Trail to the East lake Sammamish Trail. It really is a very nice facility, and pretty much immune to the Cirque or soccer.

    The cycletrack that might be impacted is the Velodrome, whose Turn 4 is about 50 feet away from the East Link alignment. Velodrome Association officers are working with KC Parks and ST on the issue, as the Velodrome has suffered cracks and settling in past earthquakes. This looks like a five year earthquake… That said, if the construction impacts are addressed, all look forward to new great access to the Velodrome at the northeast corner of the park next to the SE Redmond Station.

    1. Turn 4 is about 50 feet away from the East Link alignment.

      I’m sure all that can be taken care of with a little mitigation money from ST. MVA just needs to send them the $10M bill :=

  11. Seems like the suggestion to route the line differently so that it can be extended to Sammamish wouldn’t be ideal if there’s ever any hope of this line eventually becoming one extended line from Ballard to Wallingford to UW and across the lake to downtown Kirkland and finally to Redmond.

    This type of route: https://flic.kr/p/VzSPrm

    1. Thing is that wouldn’t be an extension of this line. That would be a new separate line that terminates and connects for transfers at Redmond. (And given any such line is a couple of decades away it’ll hopefully be a fully automate light metro at that.)

  12. I’m very glad Sound Transit and Redmond settled on the alignment that parallels SR520, stops in SE Redmond at an at-grade station, and terminates near Redmond Town Center at an elevated station. There is no parkland taken for light rail – the line will be in the 520 right-of way, then follow the old BNSF rail line north to the last station.

    The at-grade crossing of 520 will enable a trail connection between the Redmond Central connector and the East Lake Sammamish Trail that has been a goal for years. ST staff told me there will be easy connections to Marymoor Park trails. You will eventually be able to take Link to a Marymoor concert or Cirque du Soleil! Also, the new SE Redmond neighborhood will be transit-oriented development with 1400 parking spaces to accommodate Redmond and Sammamish suburbanites who must drive to the station.

    An alignment that goes down Leary Way made no sense to me. The intersection of Leary and W. Lake Sammamish Parkway is one of the busiest in the city. There are condo complexes on the north and south sides of Leary and also parks to the north and south and a brand new, large apartment building to the north. An elevated line in this area would have terrible visual effects, major objections from residents, and traffic would have been a complete nightmare during construction.

    1. To be clear,an elevated variant of E4 would not have to touch Leary Way or any of the nearby development. It could be entirely south and east of Leary Way and cross over Bear Creek Parkway and the Redmond Saturday Market site en route to the Redmond Central Connecter behind the Justice William White house.

      The trail connection at SR-520 and Redmond Way would be the same with either alignment — although the orientation of the Southeast Redmond station with an elevated E4 alignment would likely be along the trail rather than along SR-520 which could allow businesses like Blazing Bagels to remain.

      All this, cheaper, and faster too. But alas, it seems the time has passed.

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