Seattle Transit Blog Characterizes ST3 Plan as "Bigger, Faster, Stronger"... Unless you live on the Eastside

Seattle Transit Blog is a great resource with many passionate contributors including Zach Shaner and a frequent contributor to Kirkland Views, Dan Ryan. Seattle needs transit solutions, as goes the argument, and STB is a sincere and reliable champion of the cause. On May 26, Shaner wrote about the recent update to the ST3 plan and described it as "bigger, faster, stronger". Perhaps.

Our concerns are with what Sound Transit plans for the Eastside and the opportunity cost of wasting a generation’s worth of transportation dollars for the next 25 years.

Unfortunately, what is good for Seattle is not necessarily good for the rest of King County and specifically, the Eastside when it comes to transportation funding, relieving congestion or serving transit needs. Seattle and the Eastside have different transportation needs. Sound Transit has one set of solutions: it is a construction company that builds light rail. 

The truth is, ST3 provides transportation solutions for very few people on the Eastside.

The solution of building light rail to serve Seattle's density is not necessarily the right solution for the Eastside. Eastside density is lower and our transportation needs are different. This reality is not often recognized by the powers that be. Unfortunately, for those of us on the Eastside, our money is needed to fund the massive transportation projects in Seattle, up to Everett and down to Tacoma. They need our money and they need our votes. We need congestion relief and solutions not found in Sound Transit's playbook. The truth is, ST3 provides transportation solutions for very few people on the Eastside.

These pages have been critical of Sound Transit light rail on the Eastside, in particular, the boondoggle to Issaquah and the efforts to run mass transit on the Cross Kirkland Corridor rather than along the I-405 corridor. We have no quarrel with Seattle Transit Blog and in fact, we find it to be an excellent resource. Our concerns are with what Sound Transit plans for the Eastside and the opportunity cost of wasting a generation's worth of transportation dollars for the next 25 years. 

For the Eastsider of 2040 looking back over the previous 25 years, one has to wonder if they will view ST3 as a wise investment or will they have buyer's remorse?

Sound Transit has just released an updated ST3 plan. It also increases the cost of ST3 by $4 billion.

Below is an excellent graphic and timeline of the updated ST3 plan from Shaner posted on the Seattle Transit Blog.

Read the full STB article at http://seattletransitblog.com/2016/05/26/sound-transits-updated-st3-plan-bigger-faster-stronger/#more-80298

The gist is that, if passed, there would be continuous construction and incremental line openings over a 20-year period between 2021-2041:

  • 2021: Northgate, UDistrict, Roosevelt
  • 2023: 145th, 185th, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Judkins Park, Mercer Island, South Bellevue, East Main, Bellevue Downtown, Wilburton, Spring District, Bel-Red, Overlake Village, Redmond Tech Center
  • 2024: Kent/Des Moines, Star Lake, Federal Way, SE Redmond/Marymoor, Downtown Redmond
  • 2030: Alaska Junction, Delridge, new Sodo station, new Stadium station, South Federal Way, Fife, Tacoma Dome
  • 2031: Boeing Access Road, Graham Street, N. 130th
  • 2035: Ballard, Dravus, Smith Cove, Uptown, South Lake Union, new Westlake platform, Midtown, new International District platform
  • 2036: Alderwood Mall, Ash Way, Mariner, Paine Field, South Everett, Everett
  • 2039: Tacoma Link streetcar extension
  • 2041: South Kirkland, Factoria, Eastgate, Issaquah