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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Council Roundup: Residents comment on proposed light rail

Bellevue City Council members, convening their third meeting to review recommendations on how best to plan for a proposed light rail system in Bellevue, Sound Transit light rail carslistened Monday to what the public had to say.

During a council study session, several people expressed opinions on proposed amendments to the city's comprehensive plan related to light rail and other recommendations. Council members are scheduled to vote on the suggested comprehensive plan changes at their next meeting on Aug. 4.

The amendments were recommended by a Council-appointed Light Rail Best Practices Committee, then reviewed and revised by the Bellevue Planning Commission, which held a public hearing on July 9. Council members further refined the proposed amendments in recent weeks.

Bellevue's Best Practices
A report issued in June by the Best Practices Committee was the result of a year-long effort designed to assist the community and the Council in evaluating and planning for a proposed light rail system in Bellevue. The Committee studied how well light rail systems work in other North American cities, how best practices from those cities can be applied in Bellevue and what actions the city should take to implement them.

Last week, Sound Transit voted unanimously to place on the November ballot a $17.9 billion package of regional improvements that includes East Link -- the extension of light rail across Interstate 90, through Bellevue to the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond.

The Council wants to adopt amendments to the city's comprehensive plan prior to Sound Transit's release of a draft environmental impact statement on East Link, which the agency has delayed until mid-October at the earliest. The purpose of amending the Comprehensive Plan prior to the environmental review is to make Bellevue's light rail preferences known in order to help guide future decisions.

Previously, the Council has stated its support for light rail as the preferred option for high-capacity transit along the Interstate 90 corridor serving downtown and the Bel-Red Corridor, and its support of transit as a major component of the city’s transportation and land-use strategy.

The Planning Commission's recommendation to the City Council on Light Rail Best Practices proposed comprehensive plan amendments is available for viewing. The Light Rail Best Practices Final Committee Report is also available.
Feedback: Michael Kattermann, 425-452-2042; or Maria Koengeter, 425-452-4345

The Council Agendas and Council Minutes pages offer complete information regarding Council meetings.

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