East Link Light Rail Update"
Mike Bell / Jason Hampton
East Link Deputy Project Director / Community Outreach Specialist Sound Transit
Scribe: Sam Peterson Editor: Bob Holert Introduced by: Kevin Klustner
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Eli Enger opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and with a prayer. Fred Barkman then introduced a guest, Marie Jensen with the City of Bellevue Transportation Department. Chris Boland announced the winner of the Alan Pratt award. And the winner was Alan Pratt! Wendy Fischer gave a tribute to past member Michael Carter. Kaj Pedersen then announced the importance of past presidents and how they can give guidance to the new President during the transition period. Coleen Turner volunteered to project manage the run. Chuck Kimbrough announced the upcoming adoption party. Most all of the needed positions have been filled (including drivers) but he encouraged all members to show up as it is a very worthy cause. Carmela, Sargent of Arms, invited one person from each table to come to the front of the room to guess how much money we have collected. Approximately $450 was the amount in the jar collected thus far! Tanya Franzen also spoke about the adoption party and mentioned that not as many kids are available to be at the event this year. She did say that this event will become more of a year-round program and that the Bellevue Lunch Rotary has an event in the Spring. She mentioned there will be games in the gymnasium such as Corn Hole! Sounds fun.
Kevin Klustner then introduced Jason Hampton of Sound transit. Jason shared a lot of statistics. “Sound Transit 101” – Sound Transit covers 1,000 square miles and approximately 3 million people. 1,500 people move to our region every week which has created huge congestion and caused traffic to double in this region in a short period of time. The good news is that Sound Transit is meeting the demand of population growth and Link light rail has recently overtaken bus ridership. There are 77,000 Link Light rail boarding’s every weekday. Sound Transit’s (Metro) buses are the work horse for the Eastside for now. Currently we have 22 light rail stations but by the time ST2 is completed, that number will grow to 50 stations. The region will have many more stations when ST3 is done in 2041. Bus Rapid Transit will begin running on the Eastside’s I-405 in 2024. ST3 will bring light rail to Issaquah in 2041.
Jason then handed the microphone to Mike Bell, Project Director for East Link Construction. Mike went into depth about the construction process. Construction started 2 years ago with a $3.6 Billion budget. June 2023 is the scheduled date for revenue service. It will appear to the public that Eastlink Light rail construction will be completed about 1.5 years prior to June 2023. However, this window of time is needed for systems work to ensure that light rail can safely operate. Mike then shared the construction timeline and went into detail about the I-90 floating bridge needing additional work to support a train. Mike used a combination of photos and videos illustrating the different stations from Mercer Island through South Bellevue into downtown Bellevue, Wilburton, the Spring District, Bel-Red and finally Redmond (Microsoft area). East Link will eventually make its way to Redmond Town Center.
There was then time for questions and answers. Sound Transit is still unsure of the Issaquah route, which will be determined in approximately 6 years. President Chris Boland then made closing announcements, one of which was those seeking a Blue Badge should attend the October 9th Board meeting.
About the Speaker
Jason Hampton has been a Community Outreach Specialist with Sound Transit since 2016. He previously functioned in the role of Transportation Program Manager (started as Transportation Program Coordinator) at the Bellevue Downtown Association for about 30 months. Jason is a graduate of UW Bothell where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Law, Economics and Public Policy in 2014. He is a Planning Commission member in Bothell and volunteers with the American Diabetes Association as a Rest Stop Coordinator for their Tour de Cures (cycling) fundraising event.