ST3 Should Include BRT on the Eastside Rail Corridor By Jay Arnold
Later this afternoon, the Sound Transit Board will begin to define the ST3 package by determining their priority project list (PPL). As the project list gets narrowed, Sound Transit board members have an opportunity to be responsive to feedback from open houses and community outreach, provide meaningful transportation options for areas of dramatic growth, and create an ST3 package that has the best chance to be successful at the ballot in 2016.
Kirkland is in the middle of this dramatic growth. With over 82,000 residents, we are a smart-growth city that has already planned for transit-oriented development. Over the past decade, we have zoned for dense commercial and residential development, and are now seeing explosive growth with thousands of new multi-family units in the pipeline and thousands of new high-tech jobs in our downtown and Totem Lake urban center. Now, we need the transit.
Sound Transit’s draft priority project list (updated 6/9) includes bus rapid transit (BRT) from Lynnwood to SeaTac along the I-405 corridor. This recognizes the need to connect cities among the Eastside and provides nearby access to East Link rail in Bellevue. The BRT leverages expansion of HOV/managed access lanes on I-405, direct access ramps in Renton, Bellevue and Kirkland, and existing park and rides adjacent to I-405. In Kirkland, Sound Transit envisions park & ride expansion and potential garage construction at Houghton Park & Ride, Kirkland downtown and Totem Lake.
The I-405 BRT line can be vastly improved by taking advantage of opportunities to eliminate the car-dependent focus for the last mile. Instead of just connecting cities on a map, Sound Transit should connect places using the Eastside Rail Corridor and allow more riders to get directly to their destinations.
In Kirkland, Bus Rapid Transit along the corridor would:
[Read the rest of the article and comments on the STB website...]