Rail Segment to South Kirkland Proposed Without Opportunity for Public Comment
Save our Trail, in a letter to Chairman Dow Constantine and Sound Transit Board members, have expressed disappointment that an amendment being considered for the final ST3 plan was made without any opportunity for the public to provide feedback.
This $335,000,000 addition, which adds just one stop from South Kirkland to the proposed Bellevue to Issaquah light rail project, now raises the total cost of this project to over $2 Billion dollars (and will cost over $114,000 to build per rider). This addition was never on the draft ST3 plan, and therefore, there was no opportunity for the public to provide formal comments. Save our Trail did its best to bring awareness to this last-minute proposal via ads, press releases and letters; however, despite these efforts, it was never added to the survey, draft plan map or presentations by Sound Transit prior to the release of the amended plan just last Thursday.
In addition, feedback provided to Sound Transit was ignored. The public, Save our Trail, as well as five Eastside cities (Bothell, Bellevue, Renton, Newcastle, Clyde Hill and The Town of Beax Arts), had requested significant changes and additions to the Bus Rapid Transit on I-405, including in-line stops in Bothell, Bellevue, Kirkland and Renton. Instead, the only addition provided to BRT on I-405 was a single stop in Renton. If the addition was formally in the draft plan, these cities may have had the opportunity to oppose the extension to campaign for more funding along the I-405 corridor.
“We challenge Sound Transit to show that there is significant demand for a one-stop train ride to go from South Kirkland to Bellevue, or any demand at all for commuters to go from Kirkland to Issaquah,” said David Greschler from Save our Trail. “It appears that the dollars spent by Sound Transit for public comment on ST3 have been wasted, since the requests by the public and cities for a greater investment in 405 have been ignored, and instead over $335M is going towards a pet project that nobody needs or wants.”