Midweek Video: East Link’s Bellevue Tunnel Is Complete


Take a gander at the progress of Sound Transit’s new Bellevue light rail tunnel and downtown station opening in 2023 as part of East Link. The agency’s blog, The Platform, has more details about the project.

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Stephen is an urban planner with a passion for promoting sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He advocates for smart policies, regulations, and implementation programs that enhance urban environments by committing to quality design, accommodating growth, providing a diversity of housing choices, and adequately providing public services. Stephen primarily writes about land use and transportation issues.


  1. Sorry, but this downtown Bellevue tunnel is not a great success story. It’s the result of a series of unfortunate compromises between Sound Transit and the City of Bellevue and downtown Bellevue business interests — not the least of which is Kemper Freeman Jr., owner of Bellevue Square and a forever opponent of rail transit.

    Downtown Bellevue is a large square, roughly one mile on each side. The western portion is residential and retail, the eastern side is office towers. If downtown is limited to one light rail station (it should’ve had two), that station should be in the middle of downtown where it could serve all the different sectors.

    But due to all the compromises, the single light rail station is getting built on the eastern fringe of downtown, over by the I-405 freeway. Great to serve the office towers, but either a bus ride or a long walk for most of the residents and shoppers.

    Back in th 1990’s, when Sound Transit’s light rail project was in a conceptual stage, someone asked Kemper Freeman “if light rail is going to come to Bellevue in spite of your opposition, where should it be built?” and his answer was “as far away from Bellevue Square as possible,” over by the freeway. Freeman got his wish fulfilled.

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