Kirkland Sends Letter to Sound Transit Suggesting "Kirkland Compromise"

A. Cresci

A. Cresci

... For these reasons, Kirkland cannot support light rail on the CKC in the ST3 package.
— Letter to Sound Transit Board
The CKC is unique as it is the only corridor being evaluated for light rail that is not along a major arterial or highway.
— Letter to Sound Transit Board

The Kirkland City Council has sent to the Sound Transit (ST) what looks like a third attempt at finding a way forward with the goal of installing mass transit on the Cross Kirkland Corridor (CKC). It is called The Kirkland Compromise and it is in a March 16 letter to the Sound Transit Board (download it here).

The popular interim trail includes many neighborhood access points and crossings independent of road intersections. Safety requirements for light rail would re-establish a barrier.
— Letter to Sound Transit Board

In the letter, the City of Kirkland tries to simultaneously support light rail in the region, but just not in Kirkland. The proximity of the CKC to neighborhoods and the uses of the existing trail are at odds with the requirements of a light rail system such as those built by Sound Transit. The city supports Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) over light rail and is urging the ST board to buy into the Kirkland Compromise.

But according to Sound Transit, the CKC light rail segment will only carry 5000 riders by 2040. Metro’s Route 255 carries more than that in Kirkland today. The City Council supports BRT because it can be built faster, cheaper, is more flexible and the expressway can be used by Metro buses to significantly increase ridership.
— Kurt Triplett, Kirkland City Manager

The final Kirkland Compromise letter to Sound Transit is an edited version of the draft letter presented to the Kirkland City Council (see Kirkland to Sound Transit: No thank you). The letter notes many compelling reasons as to why light rail on the CKC is wrong for Kirkland. One of the most compelling reasons to dismiss Sound Transit's plans is the total disconnect between cost and ridership.

Light rail as proposed by ST is ridiculously expensive and would have dismally low ridership. Kirkland City Manager Kurt Triplett expressed this sentiment recently in a blog comment saying, "But according to Sound Transit, the CKC light rail segment will only carry 5000 riders by 2040. Metro’s Route 255 carries more than that in Kirkland today. The City Council supports BRT because it can be built faster, cheaper, is more flexible and the expressway can be used by Metro buses to significantly increase ridership."

The city's compromise position is BRT along the CKC to be funded by ST3 and any future thoughts of light rail would be delayed until a future date when the next round of funding comes along, affectionately referred to as ST4.