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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Council Roundup: East Link hearing draws crowd

Scores of people turned out Monday to comment on the East Link light rail project during a public hearing called by the City Council.

The purpose of the hearing was to allow residents and others to express themselves on: design options for the light rail segment along 112th Avenue Southeast, south of downtown; a possible high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on Bellevue Way, from the "Y" at 112th Avenue to Interstate 90; and a binding agreement, or memorandum of understanding (MOU), with Sound Transit on how to pay for a downtown light rail tunnel.

Monday's hearing was the latest push in an aggressive public outreach process as Bellevue negotiates the MOU with Sound Transit. The deadline for signing the agreement is Oct. 25. The council is considering additional public hearings.

The extensive outreach effort has garnered a strong response from the public. Sixty-two people addressed the council during last night's hearing. A week ago, on Sept. 20, more than 200 people attended an open house at City Hall, where the latest alignment options were displayed and feedback was encouraged.

In addition, city staff have held about 40 individual or small group meetings with more than 100 property owners and residents in the Enatai, Bellefield and Surrey Downs neighborhoods whose homes would be most affected by the light rail route, design options or potential HOV lane.

Council members have been especially concerned about possible noise, visual impacts and traffic impacts related to the East Link route south of downtown.

East Link will run from Seattle, through Bellevue, to the Overlake area of Redmond. Construction is forecast to begin by 2015 and service is expected to start by 2023.

For more information, see the council study session item or the draft East Link Outreach Report.

Feedback: Michael Kattermann, Senior Planner, 425-452-2042 or mkattermann@bellevuewa.gov; and Bernard Van de Kamp, Regional Projects Manager, 425-452-6459 or bvandekamp@bellevuewa.gov

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