Recently, the organization Building a Better Bellevue (BBB) released a statement urging the City of Bellevue to adopt the C14E (Vision Line), a light rail alignment that would run along I-405 and bypass the downtown core. For the same reasons this route was rejected by the City Council and Sound Transit more than a year ago, the appeal should again go unheeded. At a time when the city has an opportunity to move forward on a unanimously-supported downtown tunnel, certain groups are attempting to obstruct the process by misusing transportation data and flaunting it to bolster support for an unpopular alignment.
The so-called Vision Line violates the city's comprehensive plan by failing to serve the downtown core, where there is the greatest concentration of employment and housing on the Eastside. BBB claims that downtown is growing eastward, but not only are there no plans to substantially increase the zoning of auto row, the geographic center of this expanded downtown area is actually right at the location of the current transit center where the light rail station should be. A better solution to manage the expected "five-fold" increase in transit demand would be to accommodate a substantial number of trips on light rail and restructure the bus network to take more advantage of major arterials in the downtown street grid.
Don't be fooled, this ploy to resurrect the Vision Line is nothing more than an attempt to obstruct light rail for good. The city council should instead capitalize on the opportunistic deal to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with Sound Transit and move forward on the tunnel that will benefit Bellevue and the region for years to come.
Nathaniel G. Massey
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