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 were actively engaged in Sound Transit’s process to develop a ballot measure for Sound Transit 3
Kirkland engagement in this process included:
- Submitting multiple comment letters throughout the process, both representing Kirkland and jointly with other Eastside Cities
- Engaging the Kirkland community regarding what they would like to see included in ST3
- Hiring a team of planning and engineering consultants to help make sure Kirkland officials had the best possible information regarding the options that will work for Kirkland
Ultimately, the Sound Transit Board of Directors considered Kirkland's comments, along with feedback from many other jurisdictions, interest groups and community members, and approved the final ST3 System Plan on June 23, 2016. The System Plan was approved by the region's voters in November 2016.
The ST3 System Plan will build rail and bus projects throughout the region over the next 25 years. The ST3 System plan represents an investment of over $50 billion. It is funded by new voter-approved sales, motor vehicle excise and property taxes. Of the many projects in the ST3 System Plan, there are a few that are of particular interest to Kirkland, including:
· I-405 Bus Rapid Transit – This project establishes BRT from the Lynnwood Transit Center to Burien Transit Center via I-405 and SR 518. This project will utilize the I-405 Express Toll Lanes to improve travel times and increase service reliability. The project will also construct a new station at the NE 85th Street interchange with business access and transit (BAT) lanes connecting to downtown Kirkland.
Project completion: 2024.
· South Kirkland to Issaquah Light Rail – This project builds light rail between South Kirkland and Issaquah, including new stations at the South Kirkland Park and Ride, the Richards Road area, near Bellevue College in Eastgate and central Issaquah.
Project completion: 2041.
· High Capacity Transit (HCT) Study: Bothell to Bellevue via Kirkland – This will complete an environmental study that examines future high capacity transit options between Bothell and Bellevue, including routes along the Eastside Rail Corridor/Cross Kirkland Corridor and I-405.
· High Capacity Transit (HCT) Study: Northern Lake Washington – This study would consider options for an additional Lake Washington light rail crossing when ridership is greater than available transit capacity.