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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Council Roundup: Light rail route re-examined

Also, transportation grants accepted and arts supporter honored

A light rail train stops at Columbia City.The Bellevue City Council on Tuesday indicated they will ask Sound Transit to explore a new variation on the future light rail segment between Lake Washington and downtown Bellevue.

Segment B, as it's known, is part of the East Link light rail line, which was approved by voters in 2008 as part of a regional package of transit projects. East Link will extend light rail from Seattle, across Lake Washington to Bellevue and on to the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond.

Early last year, the council recommended a preferred option for Segment B that roughly followed Bellevue Way north from Interstate 90, then on 112th Avenue Southeast to the downtown area. This alternative was called "B3 Modified" and included a station at the South Bellevue Park & Ride.

Another alternative, called B7, also studied in an environmental review of East Link, followed I-90 east to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad corridor, then north along I-405 to downtown.

On Tuesday, Bellevue council members expressed interest in a new variation of B-7 that would extend the South Bellevue park-and- ride lot to the south and include a light rail station there. The light rail route would then curve east across Mercer Slough Nature Park, before heading north on the BNSF railroad right of way, 118th and 114th avenues Southeast to downtown.

The council asked staff to prepare materials for discussion describing the variation, and draft a letter to Sound Transit requesting that it evaluate the new alternative. Council members could take up the matter again at their next meeting on Monday, Jan. 25.

Sound Transit's long-term plans call for completion of a final environmental review of all the East Link alternatives in late 2010, with an ultimate decision by the board on routes and station locations after that. East Link design work is slated from 2011 to 2013, construction is scheduled to begin by 2014, and light rail service to Bellevue is forecast to start in 2020.

For more information on East Link, view the Council Study Session item or the Light Rail and Bellevue web page.

Feedback: Bernard Van de Kamp, Regional Projects Manager, 425-452-6459 or bvandekamp@bellevuewa.gov.

Council accepts grants for transportation programs
The council Tuesday accepted five separate grants, totaling more than $1.65 million, for a variety of transportation projects. The money will be used for:

  • Multi-purpose trail: A federal grant for $354,400 and a state grant for $605,000 to promote pedestrian and bike safety will be used to build a 10-foot wide trail connecting the north end of 124th Avenue Southeast, near Southeast 38th Street, to the Mountains to Sound Greenway trail along I-90, in the Factoria area.
  • Commute reduction: A $472,500 "pass-through" grant from King County Metro to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles. Most of the money will go to the Bellevue Downtown Association, which administers a variety of programs designed to lower the volume of trips in and out of downtown Bellevue.
  • Bicycle wayfinding: A $150,493 federal grant will be used to support a regional "wayfinding" project with Bellevue, Bothell, Issaquah, Kirkland and Redmond. Funding will be used to create a common sign design to provide directions along 15 corridors in the five cities.
  • Light rail station planning: A federal stimulus grant for $75,000, awarded by the state Department of Commerce will be used to plan for the area around the 130th Avenue Northeast light rail station for the future East Link project. The idea is to integrate transportation, land-use and environmental planning.

Arts supporter Lynn Johnson remembered
Mayor Don Davidson paused Tuesday to remember Lynn Johnson, a longtime supporter of community programs. Johnson died on Jan. 16.

Davidson noted Johnson's involvement in the Bellevue Arts Commission, a performing arts center feasibility study and Bellevue's 50Fest birthday celebration.

"Lynn Johnson was a tireless supporter for the arts in Bellevue and the region, and her involvement spanned decades," Davidson said. "Our community is richer for her contributions and we will miss her."

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