Last Thursday, July 22, the Sound Transit Board of Directors adopted a revised “Preferred Alternative” for East Link light rail through downtown Bellevue. This action likely resolves the last of the major route alignment issues leading to a final decision and subsequent condemnation of properties in 2011. Click here.
Debate about the East Link alignment from the south and through downtown Bellevue has been contentious, and the route decisions continue to be highly controversial. The Sound Transit Board faced a storm of protests from the Bellevue City Council and residents of neighborhoods to the south of downtown upon its initial selection of a preferred route in the spring of 2009. The City wanted the route to run underground through downtown Bellevue. It fought the surface route on the basis that it would create huge traffic problems. When it lost that battle, it then proposed an alternative routing, to the east of downtown, essentially paralleling I-405 along the BNSF right of way. The new routing Sound Transit has adopted instead (Option #2) fundamentally maintains Sound Transit’s initial southern approach, but modifies it to run along the west side of 112th Avenue Southeast. Downtown, the City will get a mini-tunnel on 110th NE, between Main Street and NE 6th Street. Click here. The Bellevue City Council has expressed its strong continuing opposition. Click here
More information regarding potential impacts should be available and vetted in a supplemental environmental impact statement scheduled to be published this fall.