Eastside Starter Line: Connecting two rapidly growing communities on the Eastside

By Maritza Lauriano Ortega; Edited by Kelli Refer & Michael Leach

Last year Move Redmond & Complete Streets Bellevue took the lead on the #EastLinkOnTime campaign, advocating for Council Member Claudia Bauldicci’s idea of running an Eastside Starter Line until the construction on the I-90 bridge is complete. We mobilized over 110 people to act by contacting the Sound Transit Board in support of an Eastside Starter line that would provide frequent and reliable transit service between South Bellevue and Overlake. The Eastside Starter Line would connect six stations between South Bellevue and Redmond Technology Center, improving the connection between these two rapidly growing communities on the Eastside. Running the Eastside Starter Line between Bellevue and Redmond will save time for thousands of commuters and residents along the route, cutting what is today a lengthy 40 min bus trip by more than half.

Fast forward to the start of the new year. As we geared up for yet another crucial Sound Transit Board meeting, we wasted no time in taking action. Move Redmond encouraged Eastside residents and workers to share how an Eastside Starter Line would affect their lives. We were overwhelmed by the response. Over 180 responses were received in less than two weeks, highlighting the profound positive impact that the opening of the Eastside Starter Line would have on their daily trips between Bellevue and Overlake. 

Move Redmond presented a collection of these compelling stories through both written and oral testimonies to the Sound Transit Board. The impact of these stories was undeniable, as evidenced by the resounding 16-1 vote in favor of allocating a substantial $6 million towards the ongoing study of the feasibility of the Eastside Starter Line. This significant financial commitment reflects the Board’s recognition of the importance of further exploring this possibility and its potential benefits for the Eastside.

Run the Eastside Starter Line Story Submission

Running the Eastside Starter Line will increase opportunities for people to use transit by providing frequent access to work, school, healthcare, and economic opportunities. 9 out of 10 people who work in Redmond don’t live in Redmond. People move regionally, crossing city and county borders to go about their daily life and meet their needs. When transit is a frequent and reliable option, it increases mobility options for everyone, especially the 1 in 4 Washingtonians who don’t have a driver’s license.

Overlake Village bicycle and pedestrian bridge

Along with every transit investment, running the Eastside Starter Line is a step towards helping us meet our climate goals by reducing vehicle miles traveled. The opening of the Eastside Stater Line will transform the travel patterns of thousands of people, reducing pollution and congestion.  In addition to running light rail, opening these stations will also improve bicycle and pedestrian connections in the area, like access to the Overlake Village bicycle and pedestrian bridge (opening later this year). When the rest of the line is able to connect across I-90, Eastside riders will have already had ample experience with light rail and will be all the more excited to be better connected with the rest of our region. Every transit improvement enhances the efficiency and accessibility of the region’s transportation network, resulting in reduced congestion and enhanced mobility for all.

The Eastside Starter Line is not only connecting two rapidly growing communities on the Eastside but will also improve the quality of life for thousands of transit riders in the whole region. Opening both Lynnwood and the Eastside Starter Line in 2024 would show the public that Sound Transit values transit riders and is dedicated to delivering transit service as soon as possible to the growing region. 

On July 27th the Sound Transit Board will have another briefing on the Eastside Starter line!  Take Action today  by letting the Sound Transit Board know you want to enhance regional transit by opening both the Lynnwood Link Extension and the Eastside Starter Line in 2024.

Click Here to take Action now!

Run the Eastside Starter Line - Downtown Bellevue to Overlake Village Redmond trip will be less than 15 minutes