The policy status quo – Link in Blue, bike paths in green (City of Bellevue)

Bellevue is in the midst of its “South Downtown I-405 Access Study,” which is expected to wrap up at the end of the year. The East Main Link Station opening in 2023 is expected to spur development in the area below Main Street, which in turn will add to congestion in the area.

The City of Bellevue wants to minimize traffic congestion and help people get where they need to go, whether they are walking, biking, riding transit or driving.

Study Website

They’re down to seven alternatives, and there’s an online open house where you can comment on them. It’s safe to say they are centering the “minimize traffic congestion” bit, at least in intent.

The first two options merely add on and/or off-ramps to I-405 at various points. In a direct sense, these are entirely useless for bikes, pedestrians, and transit. Proponents might argue that they might keep some cars away from the station area.

Option 3 (City of Bellevue)

The history of induced demand, as well as congestion reduction plans that propose removing downtown Seattle exits, suggest this is a doomed hope. Feeder roads into freeways are hopelessly congested, and the merging motions slow up the freeway as well.

The remainder of the options, besides the do-nothing alternative, build some sort of new bridge over I-405, which at least helps repair the street grid. The choices are NE 2nd and SE 6th, with various combinations of new exit ramps. The problem with the new ramps is that they just inject more cars into supposedly pedestrianizing station areas. Option 5, with an express toll lane-only exit at SE 6th, is probably the least bad of the exit permutations.

But for those who remain unconvinced that another freeway interchange is the answer, Option 3 appears to be the best. A bridge at NE 2nd with no exits at all, this adds a freeway crossing, with the full range of uses, in an area well-served by two light rail stations. It is listed as a “disadvantage” that there is no new access to/from I-405, but this is the best thing about it. There is no new encouragement to dump more high-speed vehicles into Downtown Bellevue, and an opportunity to instead have a relatively sedate corridor for all modes.

52 Replies to “Will Bellevue’s I-405 project do anything for station access?”

  1. I filled out the survey and recommended option 3, as, from a bike/ped perspective, more ways to cross the freeway is always good, and that lack of freeway ramps makes the crossing safer by avoiding conflicts with turning cars.

    I can also envision a 2nd St. crossing being useful for transit, as an alternative to the congested 4th St. for route 271.

    As to the other options…in addition to induced demand, any additional ramps onto I-405 imply additional merge points and weaving, which means worse traffic.

    1. I suppose more crossings are better for bikes, but I would probably just use the one at 6th or the one at Main. Both connect to the bike paths. From a pedestrian standpoint, I could see the value though (trips like this are shorter: https://goo.gl/maps/NgTMGY5zZzPRBNbT7). But I don’t see enough users to justify the cost.

      I can also envision a 2nd St. crossing being useful for transit, as an alternative to the congested 4th St. for route 271.

      Call me skeptical. None of the buses use Main, even though Main has only one ramp (a southbound on-ramp). I’m sure Main is congested, but my guess is a crossing at 2nd would be as well. While adding more crossings might reduce congestion in some areas, it would likely increase it others. I would be for a bike/pedestrian bridge, and especially a transit bridge, but I’m not sure about a general purpose bridge.

      The only way for a bus to avoid congestion is with its own lane. BAT, Bus, HOV or HOT lanes are the way to go. That is what I was getting at down below. I could see a lot of ways of making the 271 faster, such as:

      1) Extending the HOV/HOT only lanes of sixth all the way across, then adding BAT lanes on 116th.

      2) Add BAT lanes to Main Street between 112th and 116th. Also add BAT lanes on 112th and 116th. Add Option 2 to allow for the same amount of traffic going over the bridge.

      3) Go with option 5, but limit access on 6th to those who exit (or buses). That would make SE 6th like NE 6th. Only buses can cross from one side to another — everyone else is getting to the HOT or HOV lanes.

      All of these are reasonable. The second and third involve one of these projects. But they require a commitment to transit. I would hate to see us implement Option 2 or 5, and then see the buses still stuck in traffic.

      I think I’m inclined to go with the “no build” option, and push for the NE 6th extension (for buses and HOV) along with the best I-405 Grand Connection.

      1. If money really is fungible, I would be fine with the no build option, like you said. But, if it’s either one of these options or spend the money widening roads elsewhere, I’d prefer option 3

  2. This is what I’d like to see spanning 405. A large pedestrian and bike bridge, like the one that’s being built across 520 at the Redmond Technology Station at NE 40th. Downtown Bellevue already has enough vehicle overpasses over 405.

    PS, who makes a map with the East Link path on it, and doesn’t include the stations?

    1. Acerbic but positive Sam is back. Yay! And thanks for an interesting observation. You’re entirely correct that wider is better when it comes to bike/ped bridges. (Obviously, within a reasonable maximum of thirty or so feet. )

      It quiets the surrounding neighborhood a bit, the pedestrian path noticeably, and allows for full separation of bikes and pedestrians. In the thirty foot range it even becomes a “parklet”.

  3. Is there any transit advantage to any of these? If Option 5 had HOV ramps to the north, then I could see the K Line (from Eastgate to downtown Bellevue) using them. A bus could could go from the Lake Hills Connector to the NE 6th HOV ramp very quickly, avoiding a lot of congestion. While this would be great for those going from Eastgate (or Bellevue College) to downtown Bellevue, it would leave out some stops along the way. Those could be backfilled by other buses, but then those buses are stuck in traffic.

    It isn’t clear what BAT lanes (if any) will be added on the surface. If they extend the HOV lanes across NE 6th, then a bus could go up 116th and cross there. We would want to add BAT lanes on 116th though. In general, I don’t see much value in any of these ideas from a transit perspective, but I may be missing something.

    1. Improved bike & pedestrian mobility across 405 with additional crossings, which means improved station access, given how close the link stations are to the freeway?

      Any bridge without an SOV ramp because a good option for a bus route, so 3 and 5 might help with the K line, as you suggest.

      1. 3 and 5 might help with the K line

        I doubt it, unless they add BAT lanes. Otherwise crossing the freeway is easier, but then traffic in downtown Bellevue is worse. This isn’t like 155th in Seattle (in the middle of a low traffic area). This is downtown Bellevue, which has a huge amount of traffic, just like the freeway. I’ m cynical about all of these projects. A couple of them could help get the BAT lanes that are needed, but I’m not sure they will.

  4. Instead of “lids”, like for jars, from here on let’s call it Restoration, not only for parks and pedestrians, but for the whole neighborhoods deliberately ethnically-and-low-income cleansed in the ’50’s.

    And if that Sacramento light-rail driver was right, as our ride got scenically elevated, structure designed for trucks can handle light rail easy. Whether we replace the pavement with tracks or pillar-footings, we’ve got a whole country-full of Lord knows how many miles of linear treasure.

    From a national defense point of view, I think WWI officer Dwight Eisenhower, as he sat aboard a chain-drive Army truck being towed out of a trans-continental hog-wallow that would soon have an “I-” designation, by a giant caterpillar tractor called “The Militor” would heartily approve.

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?171603-1/american-road
    Long, but worth leafing through for the video.

    “American Road”, by Peter Davies. STB “Must Read”. Because it shows a chance to finally put transit funding where it really belongs. The Defense of our country needs those highways to become railways, certainly where they go through cities.

    Mark Dublin

  5. Bellevue doesn’t need more freeway entrances. Every one added will create a new queue in front of it, as large numbers of cars try to get on he fastest road and avoid the congestion at the most popular entrances.

    The NE 10th Street and NE 12th Street overpasses are great for pedestrians and bikes because they don’t have freeway entrances. Another one at NE 2nd Street or SE 6th Street (or both) would be great. Without the overpasses you spend a huge amount of time walking to and from the nearest other overpass. If the Spring District, 116th, and 120th are going to be denser, then people are going to want to walk west and east from all points north and south.

    1. I agree, Mike. I don’t get why hundreds of millions should go to ramps especially.

      1. It creates more 405 weaving on the freeway, The volume of cars flying on and off ramps today is already scary. Adding a ramp will create more problems on 405.

      2. Link’s opening will change bicycling, walking, and drop-off / pick-up local traffic. That’s on top of the throngs of people walking across 110th to transfer between the BTC and Link. If high cost improvements are possible, dealing with 110th and 6th for pedestrians would be a better investment.

      3. 405 is already terribly scary and hostile to walk across. The Grand Connection is a great idea and it deserves high priority.

      4. I think that there is an impending free parking at Link issue that will affect Link. Underground garages in Downtown Bellevue are expensive to build and will be expensive to use for parking. This seems to have a potential market-driven vulnerability to the point of not really being needed.

      Just when I think Bellevue is finally realizing that they have created a density and lifestyle that rivals Downtown Chicago or Manhattan, they choose their ideal to be Dubai or Houston.

      1. 1. Any ramps would separate the weave, so it will be much safer than the 1970s design of I5. Check out the northbound ramp from 10th, grade separated from the 405 to 520 traffic.

        2. I’m expecting a frequent, all-direction “scramble” crossing just like currently exists at 108th. Capital cost will be minima.

        3. Really depends on the road. 8th is awful, while walking on south side of 10th is rather unremarkable. Some of these options with ramps on only 1 side of the road like #s 5 & 6 will function well for pedestrians.

        Grand connection will (hopefully) be a high quality connection all the way to Eastrail.

        4. If you are talking about free parking in downtown, there isn’t any. Yes, employees get free parking, but the employers pay for it … when I worked in Bellevue, the cost to my employer was >$300/month. If demand for parking in Bellevue drops, I’m sure that parking will be repurposed … at worse, people will pay to park in Bellevue and take the train into Seattle, which will put a floor on the price of parking.

        Amazon is asking to put in less than the minimum parking requirement for their new office tower. If the council approves that, I think Bellevue is in a good spot going forward.

      2. 1. I must disagree, AJ. The NE 10th ramps remove 520 traffic from I-405 while these ramp alternatives don’t. A 405 driver already passes several on and off ramps in the span of 60 seconds and adding more choices seems quickly confusing and dangerous when the added backups into Downtown Bellevue from the I-90 merges and weaves are considered. The express lane access ramp option (#5) seems to be the one with the best strategic value as it frees up NE 6th St traffic that will compete with Stride and allows carpoolers to have access to the East Main St station for drop-offs and pick-ups.

        2. Again I must disagree, AJ. A scramble is a l’Anne last-resort band-aid solution. ST/ Bellevue have literally created a repeat of the Mt Baker station/ transit center transfer problem with much higher numbers of rider transfers, especially with Stride added. Do you really think a rider getting off a bus at BTC that looks East at the intersection and sees an approaching train leaving Wilburton won’t think about making a mad dash for the platform? The opposite will also happen. Waiting for a scramble to transfer between buses and trains at a high volume transfer point is just not a great solution by itself.

      3. I think the comparisons to Mt Baker are exaggerated. Unlike MLK or Rainier, neither 108th or 110 are major through routes, so it will be easy for Bellevue to give pedestrians high frequency crossings.

        This is more comparable to Cap Hill not having an entrance on the north side of John street. Would it be a faster transfer from the 8 or 10 if riders didn’t need to cross John? I suppose so, but not something I’d get worked up about.

      4. The volumes of transferring will be much higher at this station than at Capitol Hill. Most Link riders using Capitol Hill seem to be walking and not transferring to buses.

        I suspect that when everything is evaluated, the lack of curb space at the BTC for buses combined with the inability to turn buses around will eventually lead to a complete redesign of the BTC.

        One idea could include closing 110th to traffic between 4th and 6th and making the BTC an “L” with the closed block becoming a transit mall. Then the west end of the existing BTC can be remodeled to enable buses to turn around.

        A variation on that would be to then make 110th and 112th one-way pairs between 6th and 10th or 12th. Building owners with underground parking would fuss — but it would reduce pedestrian conflicts as well as reduce the waiting for a walk sign as fewer traffic movements would be required.

      5. I would not be so cavalier in discounting the effect on the two towers whose parking garage entrances are along 110th. Closure of 110th earlier this year/last year had pretty significant knock-on effects on 108th, for example, especially during winter when everyone leaves work in the dark. A lot of people were trying to turn left onto 108th and this caused all sorts of backups along that street, including for the buses that stop at Bay 1 and Bay 12 (all the 24x buses and 550, basically).

        I had seen mentions of continuing the transit center along 6th between 110th and 112th, and/or turning 108th into a transit mall. Yes, it would require more of a walk for some people, but most of those people walk right now to get to buses that stop along 108th, and it’s not the end of the world (I say this as one such person, I guess :) So I am not simply discounting it without having any skin in the game.)

    2. Technically, there is a NB onramp from NE 10th St. but I believe it takes you straight to 520. It is pretty popular with drivers who try to get out of downtown Bellevue and go back into Seattle, I think.

      1. Actually the NE10th ramp puts you on 405 NB. The NE 8th ramp takes you to either 520 EB or WB; no way to get on 405. The Bellevue Braids are flat out confusing.

        I agree there should be no more access points added in DT Bellevue. It will just create havoc on 405 and back up onto the surface streets. The problem with NE 2nd (and Main) is they end at 116th and there’s not grid on the east side of 405 to connect to. I think interchange improvements at SE 8th (diverging diamond?) is the best bang for the buck. Main will need to be replaced in the not too distant future as it’s got to be near end of life and was not designed to meet current seismic code. Some improvements there to funnel traffic to the Lake Hills Connector would help.

      2. @Bernie, that’s incorrect. The NE 10th ramp puts you on 520; I used it regularly before the pandemic. The NE 8th ramps to NB 405 don’t give you the option of 520.

  6. It’s the paradox of American suburbanism. To reduce congestion, you must make it more difficult to drive. But the only reason anyone wants to reduce congestion in the first place is to make it easier to drive. So we pretend that making it easier to drive will reduce congestion.

    1. Christopher, might a better way to reduce congestion be to improve public transit, including lane and signal preempt, to the point where people choose buses and trains because they’re moving and cars aren’t?

      Mark Dublin

    2. Slight edit – make it less desirable to drive. That can be done with financially (tolls, congestion charges, gas tax, etc.), or it can be done by providing better alternatives.

      The negative viewpoint is that drivers must suffer more to get them out of their cars. The positive viewpoint is that we should make transit and cycling excellent alternatives that get people to ditch their car commutes. I prefer the latter.

      405 is already highly congested, so the bar for transit to clear is rather low. Also, slight policy changes like making commuters pay daily parking rates directly, rather than indirectly through employer provided monthly passes, can create a strong incentive while not actually creating a ‘new’ cost.

      1. AJ, from what I’ve been seeing all these years, and one of my strongest reasons for supporting transit…….Cars themselves are doing a terrific job of making “less desirable to drive” an understatement.

        Mark Dublin

  7. One thing not noted in the above analysis is that one of the proposed options, Option 2, removes an existing freeway access point, replacing it with a ramp further from downtown and away from pedestrian/bike conflicts. I feel that this change has the greatest net benefit of all proposed options. By comparison, the 2nd St bridge in option 3 provides little benefit to pedestrians since the Main St bridge is already so close by.

    1. That’s an excellent point, I didn’t notice that originally. It changes the southbound onramp from a left-hand turn across traffic into a right-hand exit, which is not only faster for vehicles but safer for everyone.

      To build on your earlier point, perhaps this frees up space for a bus lane on 4th for the future K?

    2. Meh. It eliminates westbound to southbound on NE 4th. That basically means that it gets rid of a left turn. I don’t see NE 4th becoming much easier for bikes once you eliminate this left turn: https://goo.gl/maps/5NTVoMGTDvEWh5Po9. Everything else on 4th will be much the same. There will be more traffic on 116th, as drivers head to that ramp or go up to NE 8th. Like the rest of these changes, it is designed to improve traffic flow for cars.

  8. The best thing for station access would be to pour money into NE 8th at Hospital Station. I’m not sure what can be done without some large property takes but using that as a transfer point would take pressure off the TC. It might be possible to push through NE 6th (transit only) to Hospital Station if ST would grant an easement under the aerial guideway. But then you get to an ugly intersection at NE 8th :-( One thing that was in original plans was elevator access to the pedestrian bridge on the south side of NE 8th. That’s one item that would need funding including the on going expense to operate. At least it’s going to be the major transfer point for users on EasTrail. I drew up some plans for a revised ped xing that moved it to the east side of the Link ROW. For whatever reason construction on the ped br hasn’t started. Maybe it’s not too late.

    1. I thought the current plans still showed an elevator to the pedestrian bridge from the south side of 8th? Not sure when construction will start, but it was supposed to be 2020 so there’re not running late yet.

      A bus-only route under the aerial guideway from the Burger King on 8th to the freeway entrance ramp at 6th is a novel idea.

      1. I was told the south side elevator is designed for but not funded. The current plan uses a long loop to the south; great for bikes but a long grunt otherwise. According to recent council meeting notes, “Construction is expected to begin this year and finish in 2022.” I was told they need to build it before the overhead wires for Link are energized. I think the last parks levy filled the remaining funding gap to build the bridge.

    2. What would these elevators and bridges enable? So that somebody on the southeast corner of 8th & 116th could access the station without crossing the street north? So this mainly serves the TOD on the east side of 116th south of 8th? Is there anything from the east side of the intersection to the west side?

      1. Until this area is built out the major use for the stairs/elevator will be people transferring to/from RR-B.

      2. Oh, and the bridge is so that all the users of EasTrail don’t have to cross NE 8th at grade. In fact there will be some sort of barrier added on NE 8th to prevent people from playing Frogger.

  9. If the purpose is to handle growth due to the new light rail stations, then the improvements should be in pedestrian access and transit service, not for more auto capacity.

    What may be useful is to improve the performance of the NE 4th St crossing which functions poorly. A diverging diamond or single point urban interchange. This could improve the performance of NE 4th St both for traffic crossing the freeway and accessing the freeway without requiring a new bridge and without increasing cars closer to the light rail stations

  10. I think the answer to Martin’s question is ‘no’. I don’t think anything on here will help with station access. They would improve automobile access to the freeway or areas across from it, but otherwise will do nothing for transit access. These projects could, theoretically, be part of a bigger set of changes that improve transit — but I see no reason to believe they will. If Bellevue wants to commit to BAT lanes over Main Street, but want to wait until they add a new bridge at NE 2nd, then wonderful — build it. But absent such a commitment, I don’t think this will do anything for transit. (Both Main and Second Avenue will be congested.)

    For biking and pedestrian access, at best the improvement is minimal. For biking, a new bridge at NE 2nd would be isolated. The bike paths are on Main and NE 6th. A bridge at SE 6th would help. But absent improvements on the street itself, safe riders will just go up to Main.

    Both crossings improve the pedestrian experience, but only slightly. NE 2nd doesn’t continue to the east, which means that it only improves access to the car dealership and the Hampton Inn. Even then — even if you are staying at the suites, it isn’t like this dramatically changes your walk to the other side. NE 6th could be a bigger improvement — except there is very little down there.

    I just don’t see anything on here that is worthwhile. These are all unnecessary projects designed to improve automobile flow. I am not opposed to those sorts of projects — I have no qualms about fixing bridges and roads. But every project on here seems like a waste of money. Even from an automobile improvement standpoint, this is a waste of money.

    The main thing that needs to be done is to add more BAT lanes. Meanwhile, the only big project that will substantially improve pedestrian and bike access (and maybe transit access) is the Grand Connection: https://www.bellevuegrandconnection.com/interstate-405-crossing

  11. As I’m looking at the diagram and seeing the “ST3 to Issaquah” blue line, I can’t help but wonder if this is logical from a slope/ grade perspective as well as wondering about the switching tracks and crossovers. Does anyone know whether a track layout has been penciled out for this? It looks like there are a number of design challenges. If some of these new crossing proposals are pursued, it appears that the challenges would increase!

    For example it looks like the light rail tracks would need a slope of at least 7-8 percent to run above the NB off ramp to 116th.

    I guess a Link tunnel could be bored under I-5 but I am thinking that the tunnel is not in the budget.

    1. I don’t know specifically, but part of the alternatives analysis study would be preliminary scoping of potential challenges. I think the decision has been made to route it this way and it would be difficult to convince ST to route it through South Bellevue. Especially with the slough in between that environmental activists are adamant about.

      Although I’m not sure how that squares with the timeline. Ballard and West Seattle have been in Alternatives Analysis for the past year and still don’t have a final conclusion. I don’t remember that process starting yet for Issaquah, and it would be odd for it to because Issaquah isn’t scheduled to be completed until 5-11 years later. Of course, East King may have more spare cash than North King so it may be starting planning earlier. But if it had spare cash then Issaquah would open sooner.

      So I’m not sure. I think ST has decided against the South Bellevue alternative, but on the other hand I doubt the alternatives deliberation has started yet. Probably this aspect had to be accelerated to decide where to put the Y-junctions in East Link.

      1. My memory is fuzzy, but I believe all the 2014-2016 technical studies had an alignment to Wilburton station. This frustrated lots of people.

        When the final package evolved in 2016, the alignment moved to roughly this one just several weeks prior to the ballot initiative going forward. It just appeared one day. It pleased many people — but I don’t recall it getting engineering scrutiny.

        If Bellevue is looking at putting new structures in this area, the Link-to-Issaquah alignment should not be left as conceptual. Even if it’s somehow possible, will it move? Will the switching tracks move?

      2. Whether East King has ‘spare cash’ isn’t relevant in the short term because the limiting factor is total ST financial capacity. Even if East King is running a strong surplus, Kirkland-Issaquah won’t be brought forward until after ST gets the 2nd tunnel open and clears the period of maximum financial constraint. East King surplus might help Link get to Issaquah faster than to Everett’s downtown or Tacoma Dome, but I doubt it will pull forward the EIS.

        I don’t believe East Link made any changes to account for ST3? The lone Y-junction is to access the OMF and uses the Eastrail ROW, but that’s a function of the OMF placement. An extension onwards to Kirkland is super logical, but that junction wouldn’t exist if the OMF was elsewhere. ST will need to shut down East Link to do rework to tie in Issaquah Link, just like it will need to for BAR and Grahm.

      3. I don’t see BAR or Graham requiring major track work so those disruptions will be minimal unless the final design requires moving tracks or adding new switching tracks. The Issaquah branch as planned will — in contrast — require a major disruption in service.

        The ugly truth is that East Main is a problematic transfer station because it has side platforms. It won’t be as bad as ID-Chinatown because there are at-grade pedestrian crossings — but it’s not like a rider can easily walk a few feet across a center platform like they will be able to do at Wilburton or could do at South Bellevue.

        Surely with budget challenges, this last Link project is up for massive redefinition. That probably won’t get tackled for 5-10 years. Regardless, if it ever gets even partially built as light rail, the Eastgate to Downtown Bellevue will likely be the first priority.

        As you allude to, a Mercer Island to Issaquah Stride project would save billions, get completed way earlier and leave funds on the table to do amazing things like a median transfer station next to Factoria. I’ll be curious how Stride on 405 is perceived around 2027 or 2030.

      4. 100% comes down to how Stride is perceived. If it works, Issaquah will be open to it. If it doesn’t work, they will dig in their heels to get rail because it will be the only way to guarantee quality service.

        Also, I agree the entire project will be rethought in the next 5~10 years, which is why I think it should be mostly disregarded with respect to this access study.

      5. “Whether East King has ‘spare cash’ isn’t relevant in the short term because the limiting factor is total ST financial capacity.”

        Agreed. Besides, ST has no issue with subarea borrowing. U-Link wouldn’t have been possible without it. Sound Transit recently published its subarea report for 2019, and though it’s obvious to anyone that has looked at these reports in recent years that the agency gets quite “creative” with the subarea allocations on the expense side, at least we get some idea as to where things stand. As far as the East King Co subarea is concerned, the agency couldn’t fudge the numbers any longer and had to show a significant spending deficit. The subarea reports now include a balance sheet type roll-forward and as of Dec 31, 2019, the East King Co subarea had a closing net position of ($235.5M) as it started the year at $0 (miraculously) and then spent $235.5M more in uses than the annual sources could fund. The South King County and System-wide subareas were in similar “overspend” situations. The agency as a whole ended up reducing the total roll-forward by $105.7M.

        These were the net closing positions for each subarea as of the end of 2019:

        Snohomish Co $538.1M
        (+$67.6M)
        North King Co $301.5M
        (+$125.6M)
        South King Co $79.5M
        (-$106.7M)
        East King Co ($235.5M)
        (-$235.5M)
        Pierce Co $798.1M
        (+$213.7M)
        System-wide $0
        (-$170.4M)

        Agency Total $1,481.7M
        (-$105.7M)

      6. “I believe all the 2014-2016 technical studies had an alignment to Wilburton station. This frustrated lots of people.”

        There was a default alternative with an X pattern at Wilburton. I was one of the frustrated, because downtown Bellevue is the second-largest destination.

        Although for those coming from the east on the B, Wilburton may be a better transfer point than Bellevue TC because the station will hopefully be closer to the bus stops.

    2. That would be the representative alignment, from the levy. ST won’t begin alternatives analysis for Kirkland & Issaquah Link for several years. (Same for Phase III T-Link … it’s far enough out there is zero active work being done). So if ST was consulted, they likely didn’t provide anything more than the consultant work done when ST3 was developed.

      1. ST has been actively providing input on the I-5/ 167 interchange in Fife — and has for a few years. In that situation, there’s no possibility of a steep grade fatal flaw.

      2. That would be TDLE though, not T-Link phase 3? TDLE is actively going through alternatives analysis, same as WSBLE.

        It’s possible Issaquah Link might end up a Stride route from the Highlands to Mercer Island, given how much transit technology, regional values, and community needs will evolve over the next decade. Even if it’s rail technology, it’s not a given they will use the same as Link … given ridership, shorter but more frequent trains could be better akin to Skytrain, which might point us away from interlining through the Bellevue tunnel.

        My point is that Issaquah Link is far enough out that it will react to ongoing developments, not the other way around. In 8~12 years, when the time comes to figure out where to tie in Issaquah Link (S Bellevue, East Main, or Willburton), Bellevue will look rather different. ST has their share of the Eastrail easement, and WSDOT’s I90 ROW isn’t going away, but otherwise I don’t see a need to set aside space for a future Issaquah Link because the various options are so different.

      3. “… they likely didn’t provide anything more than the consultant work done when ST3 was developed.“

        This is exactly the issue. The millions they spent on those studies never considered a track branch south of East Main Station.

        I can understand avoiding this detail to get ST3 passed. I can see not deciding alternatives for at least another 10 years. The issue I have is that it’s not a major effort to simply pencil this out to see if it’s possible now. With these 405 alternatives that run through the same area now out for public review, this very basic effort to study it at the same level that was done in 2014-2016 should be made.

  12. There’s lots of misinformation in this thread regarding what streets in Bellevue have what on-ramps.

    Main St. is a feeder road for I-90 access, and also I-405 South access.
    2nd has no freeway access, nor does it cross 405.
    4th has 405 access, both directions
    6th has HOV access to 405, no access to 520. It does not cross 405.
    8th has 405 access, no access to 520
    10th has 520 access, on-ramps only
    12th is a feeder road for 520 access

    Bellevue recognizes that it has an east-west street between I-90 and SR-520 that doesn’t offer freeway access. This is an effort to fix that horrible problem. How can Bellevue remain the Automobile Capital of the Northwest if it has a street without freeway access?

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