The Bellevue City Council devoted its entire four-hour study session Monday to an issue that will have a profound impact on the city's transportation system and future development: How and where Sound Transit's planned light rail line should be built in Bellevue.
Voters in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties approved Proposition 1 last November. It includes East Link, the extension of light rail east from Seattle, across the Interstate 90 floating bridge, through Bellevue and on to the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond.
East Link "is tremendously significant to not only our neighborhoods and downtown business community, but to the entire Eastside," said City Manager Steve Sarkozy. "We face a daunting challenge here, a major decision for the City Council. It will have a major impact on land use for years to come."
Both Sound Transit and Bellevue staff were on hand to brief the Council on a draft environmental impact statement on East Link. The document is a detailed study of 19 different route alternatives in five different segments. It has information on positive and negative impacts, performance and construction costs. Council members on Monday peppered Sound Transit managers with questions about the project.
Sound Transit released the draft EIS on Dec. 12, 2008. There is a 75-day comment period that ends on Feb. 25. The Council has strongly urged those interested in the project to make their preferences known before the deadline. Three upcoming meetings in Bellevue offer opportunities to comment on the draft EIS:
- Sound Transit public meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Bellevue High School, 10416 Wolverine Way;
- Sound Transit public meeting, Thursday, Jan. 29, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. N.E.;
- Bellevue City Council public hearing, Monday, Feb. 2, after 8 p.m.; Council Chambers, Bellevue City Hall.
On Feb. 9, Council has scheduled another four-hour study session to consider a preliminary recommendation, or preferred alternative, on East Link. On Feb. 23, Council members will make a final decision on a preferred alternative and will send the recommendation to Sound Transit, along with comments from the public hearing and a detailed analysis of the DEIS by city staff.
The draft EIS is available for online viewing and comments can be submitted at Sound Transit East Link. Free CDs of the document or printed copies to purchase are available by contacting Elma Borbe at 206-398-5445 or email@example.com. To comment by mail, write Attention: Sound Transit, Union Station, East Link DEIS Comments, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104.
Paper copies of the DEIS are available to read at: Bellevue Regional Library, 1111 110th Ave. N.E.; Newport Way Library, 14250 S.E. Newport Way; and Lake Hills Library, 15228 Lake Hills Blvd.; or Bellevue City Hall, Service First Desk, 450 110th Ave N.E.
Feedback: Bernard van de Kamp, City of Bellevue Regional Projects Manager, 425-452-6459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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