Rebuttal to "Connecting Kirkland now, preserving future options"

On May 12th, 2016 three City Council Members (Arnold, Sweet and Marchione) published an article in The Kirkland Reporter entitled “Connecting Kirkland now, preserving future options”

http://www.kirklandreporter.com/opinion/379178521.html

 

Council members: Please provide the evidence that the Study will now include options both on - and off - the corridor.

This article sounds like the Council wants to preserve future options for the Trail.  However, it contains a factual error and an omission that shows a very different intent: To get transit on the Trail now in ST3.

 

1. The Council Members claim ST3 includes a study of alternatives finding the appropriate alignment through Kirkland “looking both on and off the corridor…” This is incorrect.

 

The Study is only on the corridor. The latest template from Sound Transit (https://st32.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/InteractiveMap/Templates/HCTPlanningStudies2.pdf) clearly states “This study would complete project-level environmental review and conceptual engineering to determine the project alternative for the Bothell to Bellevue via Kirkland corridor.”

 

The Council members themselves know this. In the City’s April 19th 2016 letter to Sound Transit, they stated “Kirkland appreciates that Sound Transit included a study of HCT options on the CKC leading to a Record of Decision in the ST 3 draft plan.” They go on to request the study be extended to 405 and the Willows Road option, but nowhere is there evidence that Sound Transit has expanded this Study beyond the Trail. 

 

In fact, in public meetings, Karen Kitsis, Sound Transit’s Planner, clearly stated this study was to determine *which* mode would be used on the corridor, not *if* they would use the corridor.  

 

Council members: Please provide the evidence that the Study will now include options both on - and off - the corridor.  This would be a change of policy by Sound Transit that has significant implications.  This lack of flexibility is the reason why Save Our Trail is opposed to the Study. Will you also be against the Study if it only includes the Trail?

 

Council members: Why did you fail to mention that your support for this rail project is subject to a commitment by Sound Transit to add transit on the Trail in ST3?

2. When discussing the proposal for light rail from Bellevue to South Kirkland, the Council members state “A majority of the Kirkland Council is supporting Sound Transit's suggested concept to extend light rail to the South Kirkland Park and Ride from Bellevue.”

 

What the Council Members failed to mention is less than two weeks ago they voted to accept the S. Kirkland light rail proposalsubject to the following provisions” one of which demands “a provisional “dotted line” of extended HCT service along the CKC to Totem Lake is included in the ST3 plan, in the event that the SKPR project costs less than anticipated or more federal dollars are secured.

 

In other words, unless Sound Transit agrees to commit to transit on the Trail in ST3 (funding permitting), they would not agree to the S. Kirkland Spur.

 

Watch the City Council meeting discussion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59yPEI7orto

 

Council members: Why did you fail to mention that your support for this rail project is subject to a commitment by Sound Transit to add transit on the Trail in ST3?

 

You write about the importance of keeping Kirkland’s options open, but your actions and votes show that you are trying to commit Kirkland to transit on the Trail corridor right now for ST3.

 

David Greschler

Save our Trail