Plans for new light-rails

light rail

Bellevue’s population is expected to rise in the coming years. The Bellevue College sustainability website stated that by 2040, Bellevue is projected to grow 33 percent, and with the increasing population traffic will also grow.

“Between 2011 and 2013, delays have increased by 39 percent and 71 percent on I-405,” said BC’s Sustainability website. King County Transit, however, plans to alleviate congestion on highways by implementing more Light Link Rail and Rapid Transit lines around Washington.

With plans for future rail stations being drafted, King County has released commuter surveys to determine which locations are most in need of the rails. Patrick Green, the director of the Office of Sustainability, considered the positives of new rail plans and surveys that have been in progress.

“A bus Rapid Transit on 405 and a potential light rail station could greatly improve traffic in the region and increase access to Bellevue College,” said Green, “as an open-access institution, it’s important that the college perceive barriers to education.”

Green explained, “Transportation is one such barrier, as traffic has increased the cost and time-burden of getting to classes.”

Green discussed two potential King County plans that might affect BC students’ commute to campus, the Bus Rapid Transit on I-405, and the Light Rail study that might connect Totem Lake to Bellevue and Issaquah.

Regarding the Light Rail study, the station would serve Eastgate, Factoria and Bellevue College. “This is just a study, and studies lead to long-term infrastructure plans, however,” explained Green, “such a project would be a long ways away.” These options would give students an alternative way to get to school.

The Light Rail study asked individuals which projects are most crucial to the future of King County Metro and their commuters.

Green also discussed King County’s financial capabilities of advancing the Light Link Rail and Rapid Transit systems.

“Last week, the legislature gave Sound Transit taxing authority,” explained Green. “The agency will put an initiative out to voters which would give ST the ability to implement a sales and property tax that would generate $15 billion over 15 years.”

“The taxing authority will generate the revenue to pay for transportation improvements,” continued Green, “There has been a lot of study and discussion in the region about which projects should be built should the voters approve ST’s taxing authority. Therefore, Sound Transit put a survey for residents to comment on, so they could identify the projects that are important to them.”

The survey closed on July 8, however more information is available about the King County plans on Bellevue College Office of Sustainability’s website.