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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Council Roundup: Light rail report headed to Sound Transit

Also, future Bel-Red arterial discussed

The city council on Monday voted to cut short further work by a consultant hired to study a light rail route from Interstate 90 to downtown Bellevue and send a final report to the Sound Transit Board next week.

The report, by Arup North America Ltd., had been scheduled for completion in late July. Council members wanted to move up the date so the information would get to the Sound Transit board before the board voted on its preferred alignment for the East Link light rail project. An interim report was presented to the council on May 16; that work will be the basis of the final report.

Also expedited was a third and final public meeting on the B7-Revised Alternative Analysis Report. The event at City Hall will now be on Wednesday, June 29, with a presentation from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and an open house from 6 to 7 p.m.

Along with the report, council will send a letter to Sound Transit highlighting the benefits of the B7-Revised route -- including fewer traffic impacts and better ridership -- and asking the board to consider the route as the agency completes its final environmental review.

The Arup report compares a light rail alignment (called B7-Revised) the council designated for further examination with a similar route studied by Sound Transit (B7) in a draft environmental review of the East Link project. Arup found the B7-Revised alternative is a feasible alternative to B7 -- with improved ridership but a slightly higher cost.

Both B7 routes roughly follow a path east along Interstate 90, then north along the western edge of Interstate 405 to downtown Bellevue. Both alternatives studied connect to a downtown tunnel, but at different locations.

The final cost of the truncated report will be $700,000, slightly higher than the $670,000 originally budgeted, due to several changes made since the work began in January.

For more information, see the council agenda item at http://www.bellevuewa.gov/pdf/City%20Council/PacketExtendedStudySession6-13-113c.pdf;
the city's light rail web pages or Sound Transit's East Link project pages.

Feedback: Maher Welaye, Project Manager, 425-452-4879 or mwelaye@bellevuewa.gov

Also, future Bel-Red arterial discussed
The council reviewed details for a new arterial through the Bel-Red area intended to be the anchor for redevelopment of the corridor.

The 1.5-mile east-west thoroughfare will be Northeast 15th Street part of the way, then bend north to become Northeast 16th Street. Plans call for the arterial to enhance Bel-Red's transformation from a 900-acre mostly light industrial area to a mixed-use, transit-oriented development with restored streams and new parks.

The future East Link light rail line will run along part of the new arterial, and two light rail stations are proposed -- at 120th Avenue Northeast and 130th Avenue Northeast, with a park-and-ride proposed at the 130th Avenue station.

The position of the rail line, the area's topography and varying levels of anticipated development mean the arterial will not have the same features the whole way. The number of vehicle lanes and features including on-street parking, bike lanes and landscaping will vary.

The council had reviewed plans for 15th/16th Street in October and again in March. Recommendations from the Transportation Commission were presented last night.

The council had a lengthy discussion about the project, and some members expressed concern about the cost of the westbound lane of 16th Street being elevated when it crosses the light rail tracks when it bends southward. Several questions were raised about costs and timing of the whole arterial project with the construction of light rail through Bel-Red.

The council also got an early look at stormwater management for the Bel-Red area, with plans aimed at addressing stormwater flow, treatment and wetland enhancements from a broad framework accounting for all projects in the area. Several creeks flow through the area. 

Feedback: Rick Logwood, Capital Projects Manager, 425-452-6858 or rlogwood@bellevuewa.gov

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