Let's face it. Driving in and out of Bellevue can get pretty bad around rush hour. We've needed a solution for quite some time, so it's no wonder that one of the Eastside's most anticipated projects is Sound Transit's East Link Light Rail that's set to connect Seattle to the greater Eastside.
The East Link Extension stretches for 14 miles from Seattle's International district to Overlake in Redmond. The ride from Seattle to Downtown Bellevue will only take 20 minutes and by 2030 about 50,000 riders are expected to use the East Link every day.
Last week, the City Council of Bellevue unanimously voted to adopt a light rail overlay that amends its land use code. But I know what you're thinking, "what does that even mean?" When Bellevue first wrote its land use code, it didn't take the possibility of a light rail into account and today's proposed light rail route would cross various zoning areas. An amendment to the land use code makes it easier for Sound Transit to acquire permits to build and that's exactly what happened. If the amendment didn't pass, it would put a 12-24 month delay in the project. But it looks like the light rail development is moving forward and is right on schedule.
According to Seattlepi.com, "Construction won't start until 2015, and service isn't expected to start until eight years after." So clearly the bad news is that we have to wait 10 years before we can start zooming in and out of Bellevue. But! The good news is that it gives us 10 whole years to invest in areas we know will develop quickly and bring the market back up. In any case, the Light Rail is poised to boost the economy and ease the traffic congestion.
Looking forward to it.