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East Link construction prompts closure of 2 park-and-ride lots on eastside

Sign warning drivers about May 1st closure of Overlake Transit Center park-and-ride lot. (KOMO Photo)

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Major changes are coming for some drivers on the eastside next week with the first of two park-and-ride closures.

On any given weekday, nearly every parking spot at the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride is taken.

It's a convenience driver Carly Reyes is not looking forward to losing at the end of May.

"It’s gonna be crazy, I think, because this is a big park and ride. A lot of people use it," she said.

Posted warning signs explain the reason why.

The parking lot will close for about 5 years starting May 30 to make room for equipment to build light rail tracks, stations, and parking garages as part of Sound Transit’s East Link extension.

The lot at the Overlake Transit Center will close next Monday, May 1, for up to 6 years.

"My plan is to just go up to the Mercer Island Park & Ride, which I know there’s not a lot of parking area. So, it’s everyone’s planning on doing that, I’m not sure it’s going to work out," Reyes said with a chuckle.

Bus and shuttle service will continue to serve riders during construction, but Sound Transit is urging drivers to come up with alternative parking plans now.

In advance of the closure in south Bellevue, the agency opened up 5 new leased park-and-ride lots around the city and expanded two others.

"When I need to go to Seattle, I definitely feel this is the best way for me to get to Seattle," said driver Sanjib Gupta. "Honestly, it’s very hard for me to make up my mind as to which is the next best park-and-ride for me. I have to start gathering information and looking at the map and see what works best."

Once East Link opens in 2023, it'll take about 20 minutes to travel from Bellevue to Downtown Seattle, Sound Transit said.

The future station in south Bellevue will include a parking garage with 1,500 spots.

The future station in Redmond will have 320.

"It’s progress," said driver Mark Allen. "About 10 years too late, but it’s progress."

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