For the most part, Kirkland is a transit-friendly place, or at least that is how we seem to vote. Sound Transit is preparing to go to the voters again with ST3, a large taxing measure to expand the transit network in our region including light rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
Acting proactively, the City of Kirkland has authorized the spending of a quarter of a million dollars to produce transportation plans of our own in the hope that ST3 will benefit Kirkland. The previous two Sound Transit taxing measures are widely considered a bust for Kirkland as we got the short end of the stick, so to speak. Kirkland's transportation options have changed only slightly while other cities saw massive expenditures in their communities.
At the November 4 Kirkland City Council meeting, city staff presented three proposed options to promote to Sound Transit. Only one of the options, E-02, allows for the Cross Kirkland Trail to remain natural as it is today. The other two options call for the installation go BRT or rail on the trail:
- E-02: I-405 Bus Rapid Transit (Avoiding the Cross Kirkland Trail)
- E-06: Bus Rapid Transit from Totem Lake to Downtown Bellevue
- E-03: Light Rail from Totem Lake to Issaquah via Bellevue
In a recent Kirkland Views online poll, 84% of 469 respondents answered NO to the question, "Should buses be allowed on the Cross Kirkland Corridor?" (See LETTER | Should Council spend $250K for buses on Cross Kirkland Corridor? [Poll]) Of course, this was a non-scientific poll, however it does show opposition to adding two lanes go buses on the trail we enjoy today.
Educating the public on the issues at hand is key to good governance. The city's process described above has admittedly been rushed and the public has had little time to digest the consequences of the city's proposals. Sound Transit has a decision point in December and Kirkland is scrambling to put together a plan with the hope of influencing what is included in ST3.
Public discussion of these options is ramping up and that is a good thing. There will be an Open House regarding Sound Transit 3 Options on November 19 (see calendar schedule).
Note: Kirkland Views refers to the Cross Kirkland Corridor as the Cross Kirkland Trail, a more accurate description of what it is today: a community trail connecting our neighborhoods.