In March, we heard this from the Kirkland City Council: We don't want rail on the CKC, we want buses. And if you don't give us buses on the CKC, we will oppose ST3.
It is now April and the Kirkland City Council has a new position: High Capacity Transit on the CKC is our top priority.
Confused? No doubt. So is Kirkland.
Kirkland City Hall has worked hard to convince Sound Transit to add Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to the Cross Kirkland Corridor (CKC) for the better part of a year. Sound Transit reluctantly added BRT to their list of possible programs but the idea was never taken seriously outside of Kirkland City Hall. Kirkland went so far as to threaten to actively oppose ST3 in a draft letter to Sound Transit before walking back the language and sending a more tempered final version.
Now Kirkland seems to be embracing any mass transit on the CKC as it has stated in their draft letter the Sound Transit Board. Why the change of heart? Perhaps a dose of reality.
According to statements made at the last council meeting, ST3 and previous Sound Transit measures could cost Kirklanders up to $43 million per year and well over $1 billion over 25 years. For this "investment", Kirkland wants more than the suggested plan including a few bus stops along I-405. Bellevue, Redmond and even Issaquah have extensive ST3 investments but Kirkland is left with little more than a hefty bill to pay.
Last year, the City of Kirkland thought they could persuade the Sound Transit Board to adopt Kirkland's plan for BRT on the CKC. Kirkland miscalculated.
This situation reminds me of a quote former mayor Mary-Alyce Burleigh once repeated (I believe she attributed it to the Mayor of Duvall): "If you aren't at the table, you're on the menu."
The mayors of Issaquah, Redmond and Bellevue were all on the Sound Transit Board. Kirkland was not at the table. Will Kirkland will be left with an empty stomach and an empty wallet as we are picking up the check?
Will Kirkland get its money's worth out of ST3? We shall see.