This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
A fight’s brewing in Bellevue that could have unfortunate consequences for light-rail users in the South Sound and across the Puget Sound region.
The value of the Sound Transit light-rail system depends on its proximity to people and the places they want to go. Opposition to the regional transit agency’s preferred light-rail route in Bellevue risks thwarting the system’s ability to deliver.
Eastside leaders have long been opposed to Sound Transit’s plans to run light rail on surface streets through downtown Bellevue. They say that construction would disrupt businesses and that trains would clog traffic.
The opposition is led by powerful interests that don’t like any light rail. Anti-transit developer Kemper Freeman Jr. owns a good chunk of downtown Bellevue and has led past fights against Sound Transit ballot measures. He’s also given heavily to local politicians. In November, he bought himself a majority on the Bellevue City Council.