The B segment of East Link. The B7 alignment is off to the east.

At what one observer described as a "circus" of a meeting last night, the Bellevue City Council moved one step closer to endorsing a light-rail line through Bellevue that is opposed by transit advocates because it avoids a heavily used park-and-ride and the city's major job and residential centers.

After considering five separate letters to Sound Transit, the council voted 4-3 in favor of a South Bellevue light-rail alignment that avoids the South Bellevue park-and-ride, losing thousands of riders a day, according to Sound Transit's estimate.

The alignment, known as "B7," is part of freshman Bellevue council member Kevin Wallace's so-called "Vision Line," which also avoids downtown Bellevue, giving it the lowest overall ridership, by Sound Transit's estimates, of any Bellevue rail alternative. In addition to avoiding the park-and-ride, the B7 alignment cuts through the Mercer Slough nature preserve in South Bellevue before meeting up with the old BNSF right-of-way and continuing east of downtown.

Claudia Balducci, one of the three members who supports running rail to the park-and-ride and through downtown Bellevue proper, represents Bellevue on the Sound Transit board.