Building A Better Bellevue Web site: http://www.betterbellevue.org
P. O. Box 40453 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bellevue, WA 98015-4453
Dear Bellevue Neighbors and Better Bellevue Supporters, August 17, 2010
We have heard from many Bellevue citizens in response to last week’s message on the legal case for our city’s rights to require Sound Transit to utilize our city’s preferred B7 route option. The focus of the majority of your comments – the legal framework presented by Building A Better Bellevue appears fully credible; and you EXPECT OUR CITY TO STAND BY THE LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE AND THE INTENT OF THE LAWS DESIGNED TO HELP OUR CITY PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.
Meanwhile, our experts panel continues to identify still more legal arguments that add to the very strong case for our city to be able to achieve its B7 route choice.
We have also heard from many folks in recent days demanding that Sound Transit respect the critical heritage elements that make Bellevue “a city in a park.” These concerns provide the framework for this week’s Building A Better Bellevue Tuesday message.
Preserving Bellevue’s Future and Our Past
The strength of communities, and of the city they comprise, relies upon both a clear vision of what is best for their future, and a clear understanding of what is essential from their past. Breaking that linkage destroys the role that history, environment and neighborhoods play in sustaining the sense of community over the long term, resulting in social anomie and the loss of cultural values and historical context.
Bellevue’s wondrous natural environments, created over eons of time, provide the unique framework for our city in a park. Once compromised, such natural environments are forever lost, especially when they are permanently damaged by the appearance, environmental impacts, and structural impediments of something as massive, outsized and noisy as Sound Transit’s light rail trains.
Is This The Portal Into Bellevue That Everyone Will See and Hear Every Day?
Sound Transit’s light rail technology and rail line infrastructure can hardly be considered aesthetically beautiful or visually attractive.
Quite the opposite, Sound Transit’s rail system appearance is industrial and utilitarian – more typical of what one would expect of a warehouse district or a factory manufacturing yard.
Placed in the environmental wilderness gem of Mercer Slough, and along the arboreal splendor of the Enatai, Bellefield and Surrey Downs neighborhoods, immediately adjacent to Bellevue Way and 112th Avenue, the rail line will establish an overwhelming industrial presence. This will completely compromise the only truly visually expansive and historically natural parkway portal into our “city in a park.”
Our sister city of Seattle would never allow a comparable structure to be placed in its most directly analogous region — Washington Park, or allow such rail infrastructure to be placed immediately along Lake Washington Boulevard East, directly adjacent to Seattle’s Montlake, Madison Park and Capitol Hill neighborhoods.
Yet Sound Transit applying the only criteria it deems applicable – ridership, cost, speed and technical feasibility – seeks to completely submerge and destroy those very physical qualities and natural features that are essential to the cultural history and neighborhood character of some of Bellevue’s most historically important founding neighborhoods.
Why The Law Provides for Local Jurisdictional Determinations
Washington State laws, and their implementing regulations, provide that the decisions of local governmental jurisdictions must be determinative with respect to the placement of rail line facilities when such jurisdictions’ recommendations for placement are based on reasonable and feasible alternatives.
These requirements were explicitly set out because the framers of these laws and regulations anticipated that local transit agencies would be tempted to drive forward with plans that addressed only financial and engineering considerations, rather than also providing for the full weight of the requirements of preservation of neighborhood character and culturally significant environments and facilities (such as the F.W. Winters House on Bellevue Way, the ONLY property on the Eastside on the National Register for Historic Preservation, or NRHP).
We believe there is ample reason why Sound Transit has refused to fully study (to the same level of engineering and environmental analysis as has been conducted with respect to the Bellevue Way and 112th Avenue routes) the feasibility of placing their light rail line along the B7 route chosen by our City of Bellevue political leaders. They have feared that such detailed study would prove that our City’s preference was fully feasible, even by Sound Transit’s own technical standards.
Concern for preserving the key features of Mercer Slough and the beauty of its nearby neighborhoods, both for today and for far into the future, is the reason why our city leaders have determined to challenge Sound Transit’s Bellevue Way and 112th Avenue rail line placement. For the good of our cultural heritage we all need stand by the commitment of our leaders to preserve our “city in a park” for everyone, forever into the future.
If you would like to contribute to Building A Better Bellevue, you can do so on-line at our web site, at: http://betterbellevue.wordpress.com/donate/ If you would like to place one of our yard signs on your property, or have other questions, please send a message to: email@example.com
Thank you for your support and attention,
The Building A Better Bellevue Steering Committee