I’m writing to express significant concern with what appears to be the city’s plan to lobby for bus rapid transit on the Cross Kirkland Corridor. In fact, as articulated at the Council Meeting on November 4th, the expectation is a bus every 2-3 minutes!
What I ask for is transparency on behalf of the city and a willingness to listen to the voice of the citizens. I understand mass transit on the CKC has always been in the city’s plan, with encouragement from big business and developers (who seem to now have a greater say than residents) but I’ve questioned, throughout the CKC planning process, how much the views and opinions of the citizens of Kirkland have seemingly had little impact.
Bus rapid transit on the corridor wasn’t even an option for Sound Transit to study, until it suddenly appeared as a NEW project…a change if you will, on August 27th of this year. It was something that had not been discussed, until Mayor Walen suggested this on July 8th. I’m in agreement with many that light rail is expensive and a long shot. What hasn’t been answered is why ruining this resource is even an option.
Next came the $250,000 investment for a sales piece and lobbying effort which speaks to the needs wants and desires of “Kirkland officials, businesses and residents”. In all due respect, I can’t help but think that this is the exact order of priority that city officials and staff had in mind as they’ve attempted to push this through. Kirkland official, businesses and sadly and last…residents. The brochure encouraged citizen comment, but due to an administrative error, only addresses ending in “kirklandwa.gov” could successfully send feedback.
A local Kirkland blog recently posted an interactive poll that asked “Does your vision of the Cross Kirkland Corridor include buses”? It may not be the most scientific poll, but the results have been overwhelming. 469 people have cast their ballot. This is an issue that Kirkland residents are very passionate about. 469 people (and you can only vote once….I tried). Just over 84% said NO and 16% said YES. Coming off of Election Day, I would say those are pretty impressive numbers.
As citizens of this city, we deserve better. The Cross Kirkland Corridor is a true community gem. Bus rapid transit belongs on 405 with connections from that area to the downtown core. This is where Kirkland’s conversations with Sound Transit need to be focused.