Save Our Trail views the $250 million compromise proposed by Kirkland City Council as no different than adding transit on the Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail
On Thursday, the Save Our Trail organization presented a letter to Sound Transit (ST) opposing the City Council’s “Kirkland Compromise” proposal dated March 16, 2016. In addition to support of E-02 Bus Rapid Transit on I-405, the City Council requested that ST fund pre- development work necessary for future high capacity transit on the Cross Kirkland Corridor (CKC). The proposal would set aside $250 million to build out the council’s CKC Master Plan and prepare the Trail for future high capacity transit.
Save Our Trail sees this latest tactic as simply delaying building transit on the Trail and is firmly against the City Council’s proposed “Kirkland Compromise.” The group feels that, once again, the Council has acted without hearing from its community.
Save Our Trail is against this proposal for four key reasons:
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.
The Trail Does Not Need $250M: There is no reason to invest $31.3 million dollars per mile into a pedestrian and bicycle trail. Save Our Trail is in favor of leaving the Trail in its current condition, and certainly does not want it prepared for a future transit project.
The Compromise Ignores 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. Recent letters by Puget Sound Anglers and Eastside Audubon support leaving the Trail intact due to concerns of destruction of wildlife habitat.
Sufficient Transit Investment Exists for the Eastside and Kirkland: Claims by Kirkland City Council that citizens will not get any benefit from ST3 are simply untrue. Even without transit on the Trail, four significant Eastside transit investments exist, including bus rapid transit for Kirkland, representing over six billion dollars in investment and over 27% of the ST3 budget.
David Greschler, head of the Save Our Trail organization, stated “While we are pleased that the Council, in rejecting rail on the Trail, now acknowledges the issues Save Our Trail has raised about transit on the Trail (safety, low ridership, environmental impacts and high costs), we are disappointed they continue to push for bus rapid transit on the Trail since it suffers from the same problems. The only thing the ‘Kirkland Compromise’ does is compromise the Trail and the ability for Sound Transit to immediately invest in ‘quick win’ transit projects.”
Save Our Trail is in favor of ST3 and will make every effort to gain voter support for the ballot measure in November as long as the proposal does not include transit on the Trail. The organization has reached out to ST to discuss other workable transit solutions.