The region’s first comprehensive proposal for reducing freeway congestion and improving mass transit service has moved into the home stretch with the announcement of a series of open houses around the region. The open houses will gather final public input on the “Roads & Transit” package before it goes to voters in November.
The draft Roads & Transit plan calls for dramatic new investments to extend light rail and make significant freeway, HOV and bridge improvements, to build more park and ride lots, and to add express bus service. Projects with a direct impact on Bellevue include widening I-405, replacing the 520 Bridge and building a light rail line on the Eastside.
The public is invited to provide feedback on the draft plan at five open houses between Feb. 22 and March 20. An open house in Bellevue is set for Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Bellevue High School, 10416 SE Wolverine Way, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a presentation at 6. People can also learn details about the transportation package and submit comments by visiting the Sound Transit website or the Regional Transportation Investment District website.
“Imagine jumping on a train in downtown Bellevue and stepping off about 20 minutes later in downtown Seattle regardless of the traffic,” said Sound Transit Board Chairman John Ladenburg. “This plan calls for extending light rail from Seattle north to Lynnwood, east to Redmond and south to the Port of Tacoma, along with more commuter rail and express bus service in all three counties.”
The draft Roads & Transit package will present to voters a unified program of investments in freeways, light- and commuter-rail, HOV lanes, park/ride lots and express and local bus service. Key features include:
- Reduction in traffic delays
- Faster travel times
- 42 miles of new light rail
- Major improvements to “highways of regional significance” and chokepoints on I-5, I-405, SR 167, SR 9, SR 509, US 2, SR 522
- 10,000 new park-and-ride stalls
- New HOV lanes
- Bike lanes, side walks, better connections
- Major freight routes improved
“These improvements are long overdue, and will provide welcome relief for all of us who depend on our freeways to get to and from work, school and home to our families,” said Shawn Bunney, executive board chairman for RTID. “Whether you drive a car or truck or take transit, this plan has something for you.”
The Roads and Transit plan is a combined effort by the Regional Transportation Investment District Board (RTID) and Sound Transit. Both agencies are governed by local elected officials in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
“Band-aids and quick fixes won’t cut it anymore. We are one region and need one comprehensive plan for improvements,” said King County Councilmember Julia Patterson, a member of both the Sound Transit and RTID boards. “It’s time to get moving on our transportation problems. We can’t wait any longer.”
After the road projects are finalized by RTID in April, they will be advanced for Snohomish, Pierce and King county councils’ approval. With their endorsements, the projects will be placed on the ballot for voters to consider in November. Sound Transit will adopt final transit projects in April and in June will vote to place them on the November ballot.
Residents who cannot attend the Feb. 28 open house can also attend the following other ones scheduled. All open houses are from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a presentation at 6.
- Feb. 22, Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle
- March 5, Washington State History Museum,1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
- March 15, Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St. SW, Lynnwood
- March 20, Highline Community College, 2400 S. 240th St., Des Moines
If you have additional questions about these open houses, you can contact Sound Transit's Geoff Patrick by e-mail or by telephone at 206-398-5313.
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