Response to Council Compromise

 

Save our Trail Committee
Kirkland WA, 98033

Sound Transit Board
C/o Board Administrator
401 S. Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104-2826

Dated: March 17, 2016
 

Subject: Response to “Kirkland Compromise”
 

Dear Chairman Dow Constantine and Sound Transit Board Members,

We want to be absolutely clear that Save Our Trail is firmly against the City Council’s proposed “Kirkland Compromise” which asks Sound Transit for $250 million dollars to build out its Master Plan and prepare our Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail for future high capacity transit. Once again, the Kirkland City Council has proposed a plan that does not reflect the full support of the voters in their community.

We are against this proposal for four key reasons:

  1. Transit Dollars Should be Used for Transit: The “Kirkland Compromise” does nothing to reduce congestion and takes precious funds away from critical ST3 transit projects that will efficiently serve the transportation needs of Puget Sound’s growing population. Specifically, for Kirkland, we would rather these funds be allocated to the intensive capital version of E-02 and enhance the links between downtown Kirkland and Redmond.
  2. The Trail Does Not Need $250M: We see no reason to invest $31.3 million dollars per mile into a trail. We are in favor of leaving the Trail in its current condition, and certainly do not want it prepared for a future transit project. A non-transit investment of this sort will be risky, create negative publicity and dissuade voters from voting for ST3.
  3. The Compromise Continues to Ignore Core Environmental Issues: Widening of the existing trail bed even by only a few feet will definitely require filling of wetlands, destruction of habitat, and relocation of existing stream channels. Moreover, tree removal and alteration of steep slopes in this corridor is a major concern since the CKC is located in an area that is highly susceptible to landslide and slope stability hazards. Recent letters by Puget Sound Anglers and Eastside Audubon support leaving the Trail intact due to concerns of destruction of wildlife habitat.
  4. Sufficient Transit Investment Exists for the Eastside: Suggestions that, without an investment of transit on the Trail, Kirkland and the Eastside would not get their due of transit dollars, is simply incorrect. Even without transit on the Trail, four significant Eastside transit investments exist, representing over six billion dollars in investment and over 27% of the ST3 budget. Specific to claims that Kirkland would not get its fair share of transit, it is important to note that the first four of the six Kirkland stops in the City-favored E-06 BRT project - Kingsgate, Totem Lake, 112th and the Kirkland Transit Station - are already provided by the intensive capital investment of E-02 (E-02b-SegA + E-02c1 + E-02c2).


Other Transit Solutions to Consider
When we met with some of the Board members and Sound Transit project staff, we were asked to provide alternative solutions to transit on the Trail. Attached is a document that outlines possible solutions.

Unlike the Kirkland City Council, we do not demand a $250M investment for the Trail in order to gain our support for ST3. As we have stated in previous letters to you, we are in favor of ST3 and will make every effort to get Kirkland citizens to vote for the ballot measure in November as long it does not include transit on the Trail.
 

Respectfully,

 

Leadership Committee, Save Our Trail organization
 

Cc: Kirkland City Council
Enclosed: Attachment

 

Attachment: Other Transit Solutions to Consider

When we met with some of the Board members and Sound Transit project staff, we were asked to provide alternative solutions to transit on the Trail.  This document outlines possible solutions.  In order to provide an ‘integrated solution’ as presented by Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff at the recent Capital Committee meeting, we see that dollars spent enhancing the East--‐West routes off the main BRT I-405 corridor makes the most economic sense.  This, again, is a way of connecting the major cities on the Eastside to ensure broader use, while building upon existing infrastructure, within a shorter timeframe, at lower costs or ‘quick wins’.

  • NE 70th St Park and Ride – Include a large, multi-story park and ride, like the one proposed for Kingsgate, for NE 70th St off of I-405.  Currently, it is an underutilized park and ride.  It would easily serve Metro bus routes West to Houghton, where Google campus is located, and to downtown Kirkland and East to Redmond, where Microsoft is located, to downtown Redmond.  This would be in place of the NE 85th Street in-line station favored by the City Council.
  • Other Parallel Surface Street Routes – Explore other possible parallel North-South street routes, East of I-405, along 116th Ave NE, 132nd Ave.  NE, 140th Ave. NE and/or 148th Ave NE, with East-West bus lines (like NE 132nd St or NE 124th St to serve highly populated Finn Hill, Juanita and Kingsgate neighborhoods) to further link Kirkland to I-405 to Redmond.
  • In-City Circular Transit Routes – Add in-city circular transit routes on existing main streets to connect the NE 70th St. station to South Kirkland Park and Ride to Lake Washington Blvd to downtown Kirkland and back to NE 85th St.   Adding an additional transit route splitting off up along Market St. to Juanita and Finn Hill would also be beneficial, not only to residents but local businesses in North Kirkland as well.
  • Redmond LRT Extension – Extend LRT from E-01 Redmond Eastlink to continue from downtown Redmond to Willows Road, north to NE 124th St and West to I-405, Totem Lake station.

We offer these options as possible solutions for Sound Transit to consider.   Any or all would be beneficial to the current and future residents and commuters of Kirkland and if proposed along with ST3, would only enhance the favored E-02 choice.   Of course, we defer to your knowledgeable staff to determine if these suggestions would be workable options to include in ST3 E-02 or future projects.

We look forward to continue to work with you as you further refine the ST3 plan.


Leadership Committee, Save Our Trail organization