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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Public invited to Light Rail Best Practices open house

Residents once more will have an opportunity to shape the vision for a possible extension of light rail to Bellevue at an open house and round table discussion.

The event takes place from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, on the first floor of Bellevue City Hall, located at 450 110th Ave. N.E., and is part of the City's Light Rail Best Practices Project.

The Light Rail Best Practices Project is proceeding along with an environmental review by Sound Transit of its proposed East Link project to extend light rail from Seattle, through Bellevue and on to Redmond.

Although voters last November turned down Proposition 1, which would have funded construction of East Link, Sound Transit continues its analysis of routes and alignments. The Light Rail Best Practices Project allows residents and staff to learn from the "best practices" of other cities – what works and doesn't work – and puts Bellevue in a better position to influence future light rail decisions by Sound Transit.

The open house-round table discussion is one in series of public events to inform residents and gather their thoughts on various topics related to light rail systems. It will consist of two parts:

  • An open house from 4 to 7:30 p.m. provides an opportunity to learn about light rail experiences in other cities and to share viewpoints.
  • Round table discussions on four topic areas will be held from 4:15 to 7:15 p.m. Attendees may participate in just one discussion, or up to four by arriving at 4 p.m.

Each round table will consist of a brief presentation and a facilitated, small-group discussion on the best practices of other light rail systems and whether those practices could be applied in Bellevue. The four topic areas are: land use; street design and operations; elevated at-grade and tunnel options; and construction impacts and mitigation.

Sessions will not include a discussion about specific route or alignment options, which will be considered later in 2008, after Sound Transit releases a draft environmental impact statement on the East Link project.

In addition to the Jan. 9 open house-round table, the Light Rail Best Practices Committee will focus on the same discussion topics during its next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at City Hall. That meeting is also open to the public.

For more information on the Light Rail Best Practices Project, visit the project website; or send an email; or call Mike Kattermann, planning project manager, at 425-452-2042 or Maria Koengeter, transportation project manager, at 425-452-6459. To learn more about Sound Transit's plan visit the East Link project website.

For those driving to City Hall, visitor parking is available for free on a first-come, first-served basis for those attending the open house-round table discussions.

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