With the 2008 passing of Sound Transit 2 (ST2) and this month’s passing of Sound Transit 3 (ST3), light rail is coming to the Eastside in less than 10 years.
To give residents a better idea of what that will look like, as well as gather public input, Sound Transit held an open house meeting on Nov. 17 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Redmond.
“It’s an opportunity for us to listen,” said Ron Lewis with Sound Transit.
The event focused on East Link and for those who could not attend, there is also an online open house available at soundtransit.org/eastlink.
Lewis, who is executive project director for East Link, said this is the 14-mile extension of link light rail that will run from Seattle’s International District, through Mercer Island and Bellevue and end in the Overlake neighborhood of Redmond. East Link was part of the ST2 package that was approved eight years ago.
Lewis said construction throughout the East Link route will begin next year and it is scheduled to open in 2023.
ST3 will bring the route to downtown Redmond and that station is scheduled to open in 2024. Redmond Mayor John Marchione, who also sits on the board of directors for Sound Transit, said for the last two years, he has pressed to get the design work for downtown so there would not be too much time between its opening and the opening of the Overlake stations.
A Sound Transit press release states that once East Link is complete, riders will be able to travel from south Bellevue to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 50 minutes. Travel time from the Overlake Transit Center to the Bellevue Transit Center will be 10 minutes.
In addition to the 10 stations, Lewis said there will also be added parking in certain locations. The stations will be accessible by foot and bicycle and bicyclists will also be able to take their bikes on board the trains as well. All stations will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
At Thursday’s open house, Sound Transit staff presented renderings of what the Redmond light rail stations will look like, pointing out features such as sound walls to protect riders from the noise from SR-520, the safety measures taken at crossing points across tracks, weather protection on the platforms, parking and more.
Sound Transit staff also told attendees that they will incorporate art into the stations, pointing to the Angle Lake Station in Seattle and the Lynnwood Transit Center as examples where this has been done in the past.
Sound Transit is continuing to work on the design of the Mercer Island rail station, informed by public comment and input received at its 60 percent design open house in July 2014.
Last month, Sound Transit presented its proposed near-final station design to the Mercer Island Advisory Group (MIAG), an appointed advisory group composed of City Council members, members of the Mercer Island Arts Counci and members of the Mercer Island Design Commission.
Visit the city’s Station Design webpage for more information and links to additional materials.