Response to ST3 Draft Plan

                                      Kirkland, WA

                                      Kirkland, WA

Sound Transit Board
401 S. Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104-2826

Dated: April 25, 2016

Subject: Public Comment to ST3 Draft Plan

Dear Chairman Dow Constantine and Sound Transit Board Members,

We applaud your decisions not to include bus or light rail on the Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail and strongly encourage you to stay the course and continue to support early deliverables and transit alternatives on I-405. We refute the Kirkland City Council’s letter dated 4/19/16 and want to clearly state that the City Council does NOT represent the views of the people of Kirkland.

After further review of the ST3 draft plan, we are very concerned to learn that the Trail is still under threat of future high capacity transit (HCT). The proposal to include an environmental study sets the stage for deciding on mass transit on the Trail and does nothing to alleviate the traffic problems that currently face Eastside communities. We are also aware of discussions to extend light rail from Bellevue to the South Kirkland Park & Ride. Again, this is seen as a costly precursor to pursuing HCT on the Trail rather than focusing on other economically feasible alternative routes. We absolutely disagree with this approach and ask that you exclude these from the final ST3 plan and any future transit plans:

  • Any HCT proposals on the CKC;
  • The Environmental Study (decision document of HCT options on the CKC); and
  • Light Rail or Any Mass Transit Extension from Bellevue to S. Kirkland P&R.

As outlined in your March 24th letter to the Kirkland City Council, you stated the need to also focus on new BRT I-405 stations, move passengers East and West between Totem Lake, downtown Kirkland and downtown Redmond and improve bike and pedestrian access. We support this focus and attached is a list of possible projects that ST3 funds should be used for to meet the needs you outlined (Attachment A). Use of tax payer monies to enhance transit on I-405 should be the top priority – it would have a greater chance for voter approval in Kirkland than other costly projects involving or threatening the Trail (see Attachment B for cost per rider comparisons).

We want to be perfectly clear that our stance has not changed – we will actively work to defeat the passage of ST3 in November if there is any plan or study to include mass transit on our Trail. Our opposition would lead to a large negative vote from the citizens of Kirkland. We would like to continue to collaborate with you and your staff in making sure that we are able to fully support the ST3 plan in November.


Save Our Trail Organization

Cc:  Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff
       City Of Kirkland Council members


Attachment A – Projects We Support

Re-direct the offered funding towards bolstering transit use of I-405 and other existing main arterials by adding the following:

  • Early deliverables such as bus only lanes on I-405 shoulder
  • Conduct an HCT study of light rail on I-405
  • Conduct an HCT study of extending light rail from downtown Redmond to Totem Lake
  • Additional in-line stop at NE 112th Street
  • Additional stop at NE 70th Street, instead of costly NE 85th Street station, and extending bus service to Google and to Microsoft
  • Transit oriented development at Kingsgate Park and Ride
  • Transit oriented development at Houghton Park and Ride (NE 70th Street)
  • Adding BRT route similar to popular 255 KC Metro route
  • Consider other possible parallel North-South street routes East of I-405 (116h Ave. NE, 132nd Ave. NE, 140th Ave. NE and/or 148th Ave NE, with East-West bus lines to further link Kirkland to I-405 and Redmond
  • Add in-city circular transit routes on existing main streets to connect key areas within the city, such as other transit modes along Lake Washington Blvd, Central Way, Market Street, to Juanita Drive and/or 100th Ave. that connects East to major I-405 intersections.
  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian access to I-405 BRT

Sound Transit Board member John Marchione had expressed an interest in the NE 70th Street stop and the enhancement of routes connecting to Redmond.

Attachment B – Cost Comparisons of BRT/LRT on Trail vs BRT on 405 and other ST3 Projects

Beyond the fact that the Bellevue Spur (LRT extension to the S. Kirkland P&R) is a precursor to adding transit on the CKC Trail, this proposal, as with LRT and BRT on the Trail, is unacceptable due to high cost and low ridership issues. The capital cost per rider of $289K is astronomical, making it the costliest of all the ST3 proposals. The operating costs are also the highest of all ST3 projects. The S. Kirkland P&R parking garage is already at full capacity during the work week and the stop would not help to resolve traffic congestion nor enhance connectivity within the city of Kirkland.

Comparison of Cost per Rider for ST3 Projects

Source: The highest costs and highest ridership numbers were used consistently for all comparisons. Bellevue Spur data from original E03a plan and other data from 3/24/16 ST3 draft plan templates. The Bellevue Spur data represents one-fourth of the total E03a (2 miles of 8 miles, 1 stop out of 4), with ridership at 1,250.