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Keeping Kirkland Moving with High Capacity Transit - ST3

The City of Kirkland is experiencing and forecasting continued growth in commercial and residential development, similar to growth throughout the Puget Sound Region. As more people choose Kirkland as their home or work place, traffic will increase. Mobility options for the City and region must be considered, which is why Kirkland officials are actively engaged in Sound Transit’s links to external siteprocess to develop a ballot measure for Sound Transit 3 links to external site(ST3).

The City has particular interest in three candidate projects that might be included in the ST3 ballot measure coming to the region’s voters, including Kirkland, in November 2016.

  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the Express Toll Lane on I-405 (ST 3 Candidate Project E-02)
  • Light Rail Transit between Totem Lake area and Bellevue on the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC), with a connection to Issaquah (ST 3 Candidate Project E-03)
  • Bus Rapid Transit on the ERC between Totem Lake and Bellevue (ST 3 Candidate Project E-06)

These projects are among many that the Sound Transit Board of Directorslinks to external site is considering as candidate projects for possible  inclusion in the November 2016 ballot.

On January 21, 2016 the City Council submitted a comment letter to the Sound Transit Board as well as signed a joint-cities letter regarding the ST3 candidate projects. The City's consultant, BRT Planning International, provided analysis to Kirkland, which was used in drafting the City's comment letter.

On January 11, 2016, the City hosted a second community update on high capacity transit candidate projects that are being considered by Sound Transit as part of the ST3 ballot measure. Sound Transit officials shared its analysis of the three candidate projects and its timeline as the Draft System Plan continues to be developed. City officials provided an update on the City’s efforts to ensure that community concerns regarding the projects are addressed. Participants were able to talk in person with members of the City Council and Transportation Commission and with city and Sound Transit staff.  On Nov. 19, 2015, City officials hosted a community event where attendees could talk with city, Sound Transit, and King County officials about transit issues during an Open House. Following the Open House, Kurt Triplett, City Manager and Kathy Brown, Public Works Department Director provided background on why Kirkland needs enhanced transit service and addressed potential projects on Sound Transit's ballot measure. The purpose of the meeting was to gather stakeholder input to guide the City Council in its recommendations for the 2016 Sound Transit 3 ballot measure and to inform stakeholders about issues and how to engage with decision makers.​

Candidate Project E-02

BRT on I-405 in the Express Toll Lane would run from Lynwood to Renton. The City of Kirkland has clearly informed Sound Transit that I-405 BRT must have connections to downtown Kirkland, 6th Street South corridor (near the Google campus) and southern Totem Lake so that transit connections can reach major employers, transit centers, and park and ride lots.

Candidate Project E-03

Light Rail Transit (LRT) on the ERC would connect Totem Lake to the East Link Hospital Station in Bellevue and continue to downtown Issaquah, generally following the I-90 corridor.

Candidate Project E-06

Prior to the City purchasing a segment of the Eastside Rail Corridorlinks to external site, Sound Transit purchased a high-capacity transit easement along the ERC for future bus or rail service. The City’s segment, now known as the Cross Kirkland Corridor, is envisioned by the community to be multi-modal transportation corridor. It is a popular destination now and a future corridor for transit as envisioned by the community and captured in the adopted CKC Master Plan. BRT on the ERC (including the CKC) would provide connections to employment centers within the cities of Kirkland and Bellevue and provide an easy transition onto State Route 520 (SR 520), avoiding the SR520/I-405 interchange.

City officials have hired specialized BRT planning consultants to develop concepts that would be the right scale and the right feel for Kirkland. These concepts will help in conversations with Sound Transit officials.