The East Link light rail extension will eventually whisk commuters from Bellevue to parts of Seattle in less than 30 minutes, but first, there will be some painful disruptions, most notably at the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride, where hundreds of drivers will soon have to find a new place to park.
The busy lot along Bellevue Way Southeast will close on May 30, as construction of the East Link light rail extension advances. The rail line will pass right by the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride, and a new station will rise above the old bus stops. It's expected to open in 2023.
In the meantime, drivers will have roughly 500 fewer places to park.
“Almost every single park-and-ride I see from Everett to here is fully packed, and maybe light rail might help with part of that problem,” said Danielle Priore, as she waited for the 550 bus to Seattle Monday.
The Overlake Transit Center Park-and-Ride in Redmond is already closed. Sound Transit blocked off those spots May 1. That lot won't reopen for six years.
Less than a mile away, crews started knocking down a cluster of commercial buildings at the site of the planned Overlake Village light rail station Monday.
A new South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will accommodate 1,500 vehicles and is expected to open in 2023. Sound Transit says it is working with its contractor to “explore opportunities to open the park-and-ride sooner if possible.”
Sound Transit is leasing five new park-and-ride lots from churches in Bellevue. Most drivers will have to take an extra bus trip to get them to downtown Seattle.
More info on the park-and-ride closures here.