The City Council held a public hearing Monday to give residents another chance to comment on where they think Sound Transit's new East Link light rail line should be located in Bellevue, how it should look and where stations should be sited. Sound Transit took public comment at two meetings last week.
About 150 took advantage of the opportunity, and chairs and a video monitor were set up outside the Council chambers to accommodate them. Many shared their thoughts with the council.
Sound Transit released a draft environmental impact statement for East Link on Dec. 12, 2008, and set a 75-day comment period. The document is a detailed study of potential routes in Bellevue. The deadline to comment is Feb. 25.
The City Council plans to make its final decision on a preferred route for the rail line at its Feb. 23 meeting. That recommendation will be sent to Sound Transit, along with comments from the public hearing and a detailed analysis of the draft EIS by city staff.
Sound Transit's Board of Directors is expected to cast its vote on a preferred route in April. The board's final vote on a preferred route will come after the final Environmental Impact Statement is completed, probably in late 2010.
East Link is part of a package of transit improvements passed by voters last November. The project includes the extension of light rail across Lake Washington, through Bellevue, and on to the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond.
Now is the time for Bellevue residents and others interested in East Link to make their views known. City Council members encourage residents to participate.
The draft EIS is available online at Sound Transit. Printed copies are available to read at the Bellevue Regional Library, Newport Way Library and Lake Hills Library. You may also express your thoughts by sending e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the City Council's Feb. 2 public hearing, Sound Transit will hold its own public meetings in Bellevue. One is on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Bellevue High School, 10416 Wolverine Way. The other is on Thursday, Jan. 29, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Construction of East Link is projected to begin in 2013 and light rail service in downtown Bellevue is anticipated in 2020. Service to Overlake Transit Center is forecast to start in 2021.
For more information, visit the East Link website. CDs (free) or printed copies (to purchase) can be requested from Elma Borbe at Sound Transit, 206-398-5445 or email@example.com. The Sound Transit staff contact is Ann Mueller at 206-370-5511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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