I’ve crafted individual letters to several Bellevue City Council members but for the rest, I just sent this to email@example.com:
As a frequent user of the 550 as well as a driver of the 550, I am surprised that some members of the council say that Light Rail is a regional system but at the same time say that South Bellevue Park and Ride should be bypassed. South Bellevue is not just a park and ride. There is a significant and growing number of passengers who transfer to the 550 from other routes, such as the 222, 240, and 560. These individuals are coming from Factoria and areas to the south of I-90 where there is either poor or non-existent direct bus service to Seattle. Eliminating the South Bellevue Station would make it more difficult and expensive to serve these current transit users. South Bellevue is also a walkable distance to far more homes than Wilburton and is located at the crossroads of several bicycle paths which makes it far more accessible to non-car driving passengers.
For those of us who use the 550, the B7 line represents a backwards step that will significantly cut existing service levels, if not eliminate service entirely. It also will increase traffic on 112th Ave SE, SE 8th St, and 118th Ave SE as people drive further into Bellevue to access Link. I urge the council to reaffirm support for the B3 alignment with a stop at South Bellevue. Moving forward with the B3 alignment will allow Sound Transit to stop wasting money studying routes that are less cost effective and serve fewer passengers. B3 is the true regional choice and I’ll use it.
The following is a letter I sent to Jennifer Robertson of the Bellevue City Council regarding her support of the “B7” alignment for East Link:
I have been told by neighbors in Enatai that you stated “People favor B7” while you were campaigning. That may be true in limited areas of Bellevue where the fear of impacts from light rail trains is greatest. However, it is *not* true in my neighborhood. I am a resident of Beaux Arts Village so sadly, I am ineligible to vote in your elections. However, we will be effected by a decision to move the line away from the existing South Bellevue Park and Ride. Many of my 300+ neighbors are shocked and saddened to learn that we may not be served by light rail despite last year’s decision to support the B3 alignment.
But we are by no means the only ones effected. While I, and virtually all of our neighbors in Enatai, can walk to the park & ride in 15 minutes or bike there in less than 5, many Bellevue, Newcastle, and North Renton residents access the 550 by transferring at South Bellevue from bus routes such as the 222, 240, or 560. The 560 currently serves Wilburton P&R; the 222 and 240 do not and could not be easily rerouted to do so. A shuttle bus connecting users at South Bellevue to East link is possible but would result in 2 transfers for those with a transfer on their existing commute. It would also be expensive to operate and not nearly as popular as the 550, resulting in decreased frequency of operation.
I urge you to reconsider your support of the B7 alignment. For those of us who use the 550, the B7 line represents a backwards step that will significantly cut existing service levels, if not eliminate service entirely. It also will increase traffic on 112th Ave SE, SE 8th St, and 118th Ave SE as people drive further into Bellevue to access Link. B3 serves more passengers at a lower cost per rider and better serves transit riders from other areas of the Eastside. It is the true regional choice.
The Washington State Senate is considering SB 6490 which would decriminalize “DWLS 3” – Driving with a suspended license – 3rd degree. I suspect there may be a good motivation behind this bill, such as reducing bureaucratic costs for minor infractions. However, as a cyclist I get nervous about anything that removes or lessens penalties for driving with a suspended license. As such I sent the following letter to State Senator Randy Gordon regarding this bill:
I am attempting to make sense of the purpose behind SB 6490. As a frequent cyclist, I am against anything that would decriminalize driving with a suspended license. Driving with a suspended license is a serious infraction that should result in substantial consequences.
A good example is the case of Antonio Eugene Cellestine. On September 15th of last year Mr. Cellestine hit and killed Gordon Patterson, a teacher who was cycling home in Vancouver, Washington. Mr Cellestine, who was driving with a suspended license, admitted that he was texting on his cell phone at the time of the collision. I believe that Mr. Cellestine’s decisions to text message while driving his car with a suspended license shows a pattern of disregard for the law. This, to me, seems to be the definition of criminal behavior. Mr Cellestine was convicted of hit and run which resulted in a 5 year sentence. Sadly, this 5 year sentence was only due to the fact that Mr. Cellestine did not stay at the scene of the collision.
The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) has urged opposition to this bill but I am open to there being a reasonable motivation behind it. Can you explain to me how this bill will not ease the way for more tragic situations like I have described and why it is a good idea to decriminalize driving with a suspended license?