Surrey Downs gets a boost for chances with East Link routing
June 11, 2009 · Updated 5:42 PM
A recent report from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation lists Bellevue's Surrey Downs neighborhood among the state's most endangered historic properties.
The designation adds weight to a long-trumpeted argument that Sound Transit should avoid building its East Link light-rail line through the area.
Transportation projects are required by law to avoid or mitigate impacts on historical properties in order to receive federal funding. But the route that Sound Transit chose last month as a preferred alternative, known as B3, would go through Surrey Downs by way of Bellevue Way Southeast.
Residents of the neighborhood say there's too much to be lost by running light rail through their community.
"It has its own unique character," said Scott Lampe, a member of the Surrey Downs East Link Committee. "There's a lot of '50s vintage houses that have maintained their original character, which gives it its own unique attractiveness and charm."
Surrey Downs residents have argued for the B7 alternative, which would run along the abandoned BNSF railroad line near 118th Avenue Southeast. But there are concerns about how a proposed park-and-ride included in that plan would impact traffic along Southeast Eighth Street and 118th Avenue Southeast.
Joseph Rosmann, who owns a home in Surrey Downs, has put together a plan to eliminate that problem with a combined light-rail station and park-and-ride above Southeast Eight Street, to the west of I-405.
The four-story structure would include fly-over ramps that carry traffic to and from the interstate, while vehicles using Southeast Eighth could travel underneath the facility.
"(Interstate) 405 traffic would never have to touch the ground," Rosmann said. "It eliminates all the problems with surface-traffic congestion from the plan that Sound Transit put forward."
City Council voted unanimously in May to refer Rosmann's proposal to the Sound Transit board.
Sound Transit has agreed to fully evaluate the plan as part of its East Link environmental-impact statement (EIS) process, which is due to end in 2010.