November 30, 2015
On November 19, 2015, City officials hosted a community open house, and over 300 people attended to express their opinions, learn more, and ask questions about three candidate projects that Sound Transit is considering for a fall of 2016 ballot measure known as ST3. The following three ST3 candidate projects are in the City of Kirkland:
- 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 to Issaquah via Bellevue on the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) (ST 3 Candidate Project E-03)
- Bus Rapid Transit on the ERC from Totem Lake to Bellevue (ST 3 Candidate Project E-06)
A message that we hear frequently was expressed again resoundingly on the 19th: the trail on the Cross Kirkland Corridor is a jewel and it must be preserved. This concept is at the heart of any transit proposal; transit would be added to the corridor and would not remove the trail. Further, transit would only be added in a way that is safe for trail users and preserves what people love about the current trail.
At the same time, through citizen surveys and the Kirkland 2035 Comprehensive Planning process, Kirkland residents have also expressed a high level of concern over traffic congestion. Adding transit to the corridor gives transportation options and helps manage congestion as more people choose to live and work in Kirkland. Because of the need for both high quality bicycle and pedestrian paths and better transit, the idea of a shared use corridor preceded Kirkland’s purchase of the CKC. Recognizing the value of the 42-mile Eastside Rail Corridor for future High Capacity Transit, Sound Transit acquired a transit easement on the entire ERC, including the portion in Kirkland that is now the CKC. Sound Transit’s easement preceded Kirkland’s ownership, and was a key element of Kirkland’s CKC Master Plan. The shared use concept is in both the Cross Kirkland Corridor Master Plan and the Transportation Master Plan and they have both been adopted by the City Council.
Project “templates” with a detailed analysis of all of the projects on the ST3 Candidate Project List will be released by Sound Transit on December 4, 2015. The templates will include information about capital and operating costs, maintenance costs, ridership, travel time and reliability, system integration and access, connectivity and mobility, socio-economic benefits and potential risks. These templates will inform the ST Board of Directors in the development of the ST3 ballot measure. A careful review of the templates will be made by the City to ensure that projects proposed by Sound Transit address the comments we have heard and that the templates accurately portray our proposals.
The ST 3 Board is expected to approve a draft system plan in the Winter/Spring 2016 and initiate a public and jurisdiction outreach, finalizing its ballot project list in June 2016. ST3 will be on the November 2016 ballot.
We will be sharing what we have heard with the ST Board of Directors, but encourage you to share your concerns as well, as it is the decision-making body on what projects will be included in the ST3 ballot.
We appreciate the interest and concerns being expressed to the City regarding this issue. A summary of thoughts we heard at the Nov. 19 open house are posted to the City’s ST3 webpage.