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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Bellevue’s tunnel idea

Surface rail would be traffic nightmare

I agree with and appreciate The Seattle Times’ view on Bellevue’s “Creative tunnel vision” [Opinion, editorial, May 10].

A surface or at-grade light rail will create such a construction nightmare and disruption to businesses, residents and traffic that it is unimaginable to even consider such an option. The Times is absolutely right that the added cost should not be taken lightly.

That’s why three of the seven Bellevue Council members voted to keep the B7 Alternative alive. This alternative represents the least community and environmental impact on existing right of way. Sound Transit must look at the overall system to find savings and achieve the vision people have voted to approve — mobility for the Eastside and the region. Downtown Bellevue is only one piece of the bigger picture.

Bellevue wants to be at the table. This is a project for the next hundred years, not to mention the costs to the city if it’s not done right. Who knows better what’s good and right for Bellevue?

There is also a regional vision — to bring the system to the whole Eastside. This can only be done if we have the funding to do it. Therefore, as The Times says, we have to find ways to reduce costs of the project.

We have done it in endorsing a surface route through the Bel-Red corridor. We did it not just to save money, but because it complements our land-use development plan.

Also as The Times says, we have to do it more creatively and with an open mind. Bellevue communities have been working and urging the Sound Transit board and staff on the B7 Alternative.

I hope Sound Transit will listen to keep the tunnel option and B7 Alternative.

— Conrad Lee, Bellevue City Council member

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