The Sound Transit ST3 Candidate Projects are pretty revealing. The list clearly shows that ST has put much more thought into and spent more effort on a Light Rail Transit (LRT) option from Totem Lake to Issaquah via Bellevue (their long-term choice); and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on the CKC-ERC (Eastside Rail Corridor). It seems BRT on I-405 (option E-02c1) was an afterthought.
In fact, Sound Transit's E-02c1 option looks like a last-minute addition (a "bone" for Kirkland) and consists only in creating a single BRT Inline Station on NE 85th Street, without any parking!! That's it! Check it out: http://www.soundtransit.org... It is clearly a ruse and a joke, which
demonstrates their priorities and long-term intentions. Unfortunately, given the other two options, Sound Transit's E-02c1 option is still the least bad long-term alternative at this time.
ST continues to avoid considering and presenting serious alternatives to LRT and BRT on the ERC. There are alternatives that can achieve both having effective transportation and the best possible future urban environment for the area. For example, a serious MEDIUM-TERM BRT program along all of I-405 should include many BRT stations with P&Rs, and with frequent/convenient East-West transportation connection options to key urban areas and
employment centers, especially during rush-hour periods. Private and public incentives for minimizing single-occupancy vehicles should also be encouraged by private and public companies. Additionally, ST should consider and encourage other King County Urban Planning departments to improve and expand a network of separate, safe, and quiet route options for
non-motorized transportation on the Eastside.
A serious LONG-TERM transportation plan should also include an outline for an additional major future North-South transportation corridor from Woodinville to I-90. Without a clearer vision about what we want the whole Eastside to look like in 100+ years for our grandchildren, we won't be able to preserve what makes this urban area so special today. That is, we will repeat the past errors of the early Seattle settlers and King County officials.
Since the above options are not being considered at this time, ST's current fixation on Light Rail and BRT transportation along the ERC will continue to degrade the urban environment on the Eastside. They have put all their energy into discussions and communication tricks to push the public to vote for one of their two chosen projects (LRT or BRT on the ERC), instead of an
effective BRT on I-405.
Kirkland is a narrow city that is already cut through the middle by I-405, and should not be cut again to accommodate more North/South through traffic. Our City Council should lead this fight, not undermine it!