East Link Starter Line: Inches Away from Approval!

By Maritza Lauriano Edited by Kelli Refer & Michael Leach

Move Redmond believes people need transportation options. As part of our strategic plan, we advocate and support frequent, reliable, and affordable transportation choices. With delays to the full East Link Extension, King County Councilmember Claudia Bauldicci proposed the idea of running an East Link Starter Line, which would provide service to six stations between South Bellevue Station and Redmond Technology Station, until the construction on the I-90 bridge is complete. Since August 2022, Move Redmond has been doing advocacy work for the East Link Starter Line, as it will increase access to work, school, and healthcare on the Eastside!

Our team wants to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has taken action or submitted a story through Move Redmond. The East Link Starter Line would not be moving forward without your support of this exciting opportunity. Our first Action Alert went out to our subscribers in August 2022, where we mobilized over 110 people to take action by contacting the Sound Transit Board in support of an East Link Starter Line. This call to action served as the catalyst for our East Link Starter Line advocacy, initiating discussions among Sound Transit Board Members and local communities regarding the possibility of a phased partial opening of the East Link Extension.

Run the Eastside Starter Line Story Submission

In January 2023, Move Redmond engaged Eastside residents and workers, encouraging them to share how the Eastside Starter Line will impact their daily trips. In less than two weeks, over 180 stories were submitted in support of the Eastside Starter Line. Move Redmond presented a collection of these compelling stories through both written and oral testimonies to the Sound Transit Board on January 26, 2023. The impact of these stories was unmistakable, culminating in a resounding 16-1 vote in favor of allocating $6 million towards the ongoing study of the feasibility of the Eastside Starter Line. This commitment reflects the Board’s recognition of the potential benefits and the importance of exploring this possibility for the Eastside.

On August 10, 2023, Move Redmond’s Executive Director testified in support of the East Link Starter Line at the Sound Transit System Expansion Committee meeting where R2023-24 was unanimously voted to pass. Passing R2023-24 is a huge success as it authorizes the inclusion of the East Link Starter Line into the 2024 Service Plan and begins passenger service!

The Sound Transit Board will make a final vote on the East Link Starter Line at the August 24th board meeting. This is a key moment to testify in any way possible in support of the East Link Starter Line. Active involvement of community members and advocates has played a pivotal role in influencing the decision-making process and ultimately contributing to the momentum for the East Link Starter Line. 

Testifying can be scary or intimidating for people, but Move Redmond is here to support you. If you wish to share their story at the August 24th Sound Transit Board Meeting! RSVP Here and Move Redmond will follow up with you on how you can sign up to testify at the August 24th Sound Transit Board Meeting along with a few talking points to help you feel prepared and confident during your testimony. 

There are different ways that you can share your story and show support for the East Link Starter Line. The following are the different ways that community members are able to testify:

Kelli Refer, Move Redmond Executive Director, Testifying at Sound Transit System Expansion Committee Meeting
Commenting in person

Individuals who would like to provide live public comment in person must sign up before the meeting outside of the Ruth Fisher Board room. The Board meeting will be open to the public in the Ruth Fisher Boardroom in Union Station located at 401 S Jackson Street. Doors will be unlocked 30 minutes prior to the meeting.

Commenting virtually

Individuals who would like to provide live public comment via phone or computer must sign-up in advance using the button below. Sign up to comment virtually (The form will be open between 8:00 a.m. and 1:25 p.m. Thursday, August 24, 2023.)

Comment in writing

Written comments can be submitted electronically via meetingcomments@soundtransit.org. Written comments received up to one hour before the meeting will be provided to Board members electronically during the meeting, comments received after that deadline will be provided to Board members after the meeting.

Be part of the greatest decision to be made for many Eastside Transit riders and RSVP to testify at the August 24th Sound Transit Board Meeting. 

Update 8/25/23 : The Sound Transit Board unanimously approved to move forward on launching the East Link Starter Line in March 2024! Thank you everyone who has previously taken action and showed support to make this happen!