Council Roundup: Sound Transit update on maintenance facility

Council Roundup: Sound Transit update on maintenance facility
Posted on 06/14/2017
Rendering of maintenance yard

On Monday night, the City Council was given a sneak peek of what the future Operations & Maintenance Facility – East (OMF East), located in BelRed along 120th Avenue Northeast, could look like.

Sound Transit staff was on hand to discuss the design build process, present concept images of the facility and explain proposals for transit-oriented development (TOD) on the property. The maintenance facility could be built and actively assisting with pre-operations support for East Link light rail as early as late 2020.

In May, Sound Transit awarded the project’s $219 million design-build contract to Hensel-Phelps. OMF East will ultimately be designed to maintain, store and deploy up to 96 light rail vehicles along the line. According to Sound Transit, the facility is necessary to support light rail’s significant growth on the Eastside.

By 2023, the regional system will grow from 16 to 50 miles and the Sound Transit fleet will increase from the existing 62 vehicles to 214, 96 of which will be stored and maintained at the OMF East site.

As part of negotiations between the city and Sound Transit, included in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), plans for OMF East must identify surplus property for TOD. Sound Transit staff showed potential building designs and a proposed implementation framework. According to this timeline, request for proposals for a master developer could begin in 2018.

While the focus of the update was to present how the project responded to requirements of the MOU and the Implementation Agreement, the council raised several questions related to the viability of the site for the men’s shelter. Last week, the council requested the OMF East site be further studied as a possible site for a permanent men’s shelter on the TOD portion.

The temporary winter shelter was previously located in the area but was moved to Lincoln Center, 515 116th Ave. NE, due to anticipated East Link construction. When Sound Transit staff were asked to state whether they believe state law considers homeless shelters to be “affordable housing,” the answer given was “no.” The council will be briefed at a later date regarding the viability of the site following additional engagement and discussions with Sound Transit.

Economic Development team quarterly report

Councilmembers were later provided an overview of the city’s Office of Economic Development’s recent accomplishments. The office’s activities focus on three major program objectives: business attraction, retention and expansion, and “Next Generation Bellevue” which targets start-up companies. Early “wins” from January to March included:

  • Seven prospects for business attraction;
  • Provided five local companies with technical assistance;
  • Retained one company, preserving 20 jobs;
  • Participated in three trade missions, notably the Mobile World Congress in Spain.

In addition, Economic Development has a number of other programs in the works. The city is actively participating in “Challenge Seattle,” an initiative led by former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire to coordinate regional job and investment attraction efforts. The city will also host a “Coding 101” boot camp in September.

Additional information on the economic development support, services and events can be found on the city’s website.

Phase 2 Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Energize Eastside

Councilmembers were also briefed on how their May 2016 scoping comments were addressed in the recently released Energize Eastside Phase 2 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Energize Eastside is PSE’s proposed electrical facilities project to build approximately 18 miles of new 230-kilovolt transmission lines from Renton to Redmond, through Bellevue.

The presentation noted that the DEIS adequately addresses concerns and questions articulated in their earlier scoping letter. These issues included transparency and a thorough review of the alternatives for the project. During the conversation Monday night, councilmembers highlighted the fact that mitigation identified in the EIS process will inform permitting actions. The permit process will be overseen by each jurisdiction for its portion of the alignment and will begin when PSE submits a permit application.

The Phase 2 DEIS is available for review online. The current comment period will end on Wednesday, June 21. Additional details on how to comment and next steps are available at EnergizeEastsideEIS.org.

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