According to Bellevue City Council member Kevin Wallace, Bellevue is too good for at-grade light rail:
It should not surprise Seattle that Bellevue finds this unacceptable. The Surrey Downs and Enatai neighborhoods are similar to Seattle’s Maple Leaf and Montlake neighborhoods. Imagine the reaction in Seattle if Sound Transit proposed to run light rail at-grade up Roosevelt Way through Maple Leaf, or to condemn 47 homes in Montlake because running at-grade next to Montlake Boulevard would be less expensive than tunneling. Sound Transit protected these neighborhoods in Seattle and should do no less for Bellevue.
Of course, Wallace doesn’t bother to mention the at-grade alignment down in here in South Seattle, because those neighborhoods are filled with black people and immigrants, so, I guess, in his mind, that’s not an apples to apples comparison.
Wallace’s classless classism aside, the thing that really needs realignment here is the anti-rail crowd’s perspective on who light rail really serves. They see it as a blight and an inconvenience… a means of conveying people past their neighborhoods, hopefully unseen. But I’m pretty darn sure that the vast majority of folks near rail stations down here in South Seattle see light rail as a tremendous neighborhood amenity… an inexpensive and convenient means of getting to and from the downtown, the airport and all stops in between, without worrying about the vagaries of traffic and the expense of driving.
I don’t have much hope of changing Wallace’s perspective, as his patrons are so heavily invested, emotionally and otherwise, in their anti-rail jihad. But if he’d like to come down to South Seattle and look for himself, I’d be happy to give him a tour.