Wednesday, August 12, 2009
East Link Debate
The debate continues to rage over the east link light rail segment through Bellevue. What I don't understand is why they don't just follow the freeway? It is an established route, with major development nodes. It appears the Bellevue route is going to bypass Factoria entirely in favor of the controversial Surrey Downs/Bellevue Way alignment. (Bellevue Reporter/August 12 2009 "Surrey Downs Making Noise About Light Rail")
The neighbors there don't want it. I'm sure, however, Sound Transit would get no complaint from Factoria store-owners. When we moved here 16 years ago I asked why there weren't shuttle buses between Factoria, Crossroads, and downtown Bellevue (the three major development nodes in the city). I was told that Kemper Freeman doesn't like competition with his downtown retail developments. To ferry people to competitive malls would be intolerable. The buzz is that he's not fond of the proposed BelRed Community Development either. But that's another story.
If you click on the map here and look at segment B you see a red line following 405 and another line to the left. Apparently the Sound Transit preferred alternative is the one to the left. This will run adjacent to six residential neighborhoods and a sizeable portion of Mercer Island Slough, a wetland preserve. Trains currently average 65 decibels, exceeding federal nighttime limits and the levels promised by the agency (Bellevue Reporter) Residents refuse to be placated by sound walls.
In addition, Surrey Downs has recently been place on the list of most endangered historic properties by the Washington Trust for Historic Properties. That's another story, too.