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Bellevue City Council upset at talk of light-rail yard in Bellevue

 

The Bellevue City Council sounded off Monday, Nov. 5 about an "unwelcome surprise" by Sound Transit to possibly locate a light-rail maintenance yard in the city

In a letter that councilmembers approved sending to the Sound Transit Board, they noted "we were assured by Sound Transit … that a maintenance base was not needed for East Link or on the Eastside.”

Sound Transit has identified four potential sites in Bellevue and one site in Lynnwood for the rail yard, which would support the agency’s regional network, including East Link. Sound Transit officials told the council they need a 20- to 25-acre site to accommodate about 80 light rail vehicles, in addition to the 100-plus vehicles they will keep at their existing maintenance base south of downtown Seattle.

All four Bellevue sites are located in the city’s Bel-Red corridor, and councilmembers said the proposals “would clearly be incompatible” with the city’s plan for the area. Officials rezoned the Bel-Red corridor in 2009 and it’s slated to be transformed from a light industrial area to a mix of residential and office uses focused around development near two future light rail stations.

The letter notes the need for an O&M facility appears driven by the expansion of light rail north of Seattle, so the facility should be located there, rather than an incompatible area of Bellevue. The council urged Sound Transit to investigate further potential sites along the North Link Extension.

Also, the letter explains, cumulative noise and environmental impacts of such a facility have not been sufficiently studied.

The four Bellevue sites are located: at the former International Paper plant, along the BNSF railroad line, south of Northup Way; at the Cadman ready mix concrete yard on the west side of 130th Avenue Northeast, south of Northup Way; east of 130th Avenue, between SR 520 and Northup Way, in an area now occupied by small businesses; and on 148th Avenue Northeast where a Fred Meyer store currently is located.

The Lynnwood site is near Interstate 5 and the Lynnwood Transit Center, on property owned by the Edmonds School District.

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