Brief Notes from the Kirkland City Council 11/4 Transit Update

Here are some brief notes from the transit update at the Kirkland City Council meeting on 11/4.  It covered ST3 with a focus on the CKC.  I mostly wrote them so I hopefully wouldn’t have to watch the video again.

I’ll make my comments obvious.  We (and Michelle in particular) have been thinking a lot about the tradeoffs with transit on the CKC.  In particular, what are those tradeoffs and what other tradeoffs might we make instead?  We strongly disagree with the idea that BRT on 405 is sufficient for Kirkland.

Why transit in Kirkland?
  1. Kirkland and the region are growing
  2. We already have congestion
  3. The Kirkland Transportation Master Plan calls for multimodal solutions
  4. The CKC is only corridor that isn’t clogged
    (ed: This assumes that cars, mainly SOVs, and the priority given to them are the best use of the existing space on our corridors)
  5. Transit moves more people in the same amount of space
Why transit on the CKC?
  1. The CKC is part of the much larger ERC
  2. HCT was always the intent
  3. The ERC is 100 feet wide
  4. In Kirkland within 2000 feet of the CKC are 1800 businesses and 18000 employees
    (ed: It would be interesting to see these numbers for arterials through Kirkland and how much overlap there is.  We suspect that similar numbers would be found with high overlap.  It would also be interesting to see these numbers for 405, and we suspect that they are low.)
  5. Within 1/2 mile are 25000 residents
    (ed: Same)
  6. Much growth will be around the CKC: Totem Lake, Park Place, Google, South Kirkland P&R
How?
  1. The Kirkland plan is to have transit on east side, leaving room for other uses
  2. Possibly a second trail for faster bikes/commuters vs walkers/”kids on trikes”
  3. Review of ST/Metro and ST3
    1. “Transit is key to reducing congestion” – can’t build our way out of it
    2. Solution is transit, planning, ped/bike connections
    3. ST3 priorites – multi-modal access, coordination with Metro, land use
    4. Time pressure comes from ST3 timeline – draft network plan in Dec – more work in Feb/Mar but hard to add projects after the draft
  4. Kirkland ST3 priorites
    1. Advance Kirkland transit center
    2. Connections from downtown, Google, 6th St to regional transit on 405
    3. BRT on CKC
    4. Transit-oriented development in Totem Lake
  5. A review of BRT – basically trying to convince people that buses aren’t terrible
    1. (R)apid – means frequent, reliable, quick travel – not high speed
    2. Examples – Eugene, Cambridge, Las Vegas, Parma, Jakarta
      (ed: I watched videos about a few of these.  The CKC is both a transportation corridor and a park.  It seems clear that the latter aspect will suffer, though the effect can be reduced with some greenery.  The use as a transportation corridor fits better with transit, though I would not be comfortable taking a young rider or a walking toddler on some of those.  I’d also like to see how connections to the trail are handled, especially small neighborhood ones like 60th in Houghton.)
  6. E-02: 405 BRT
    1. Kirkland priority is access for Kirkland
    2. The low-cost ST3 option doesn’t do much for Kirkland
    3. An alternative: in-line station at 85th, E/W buses on 85th
      (ed: This seems like an odd place to me.  Is the walkshed of such a station zero?  Is the safe bikeshed of such a station zero?  I guess it’s completely based on transit connections to it, but how many transfers will typical full trips take?  Or more to the point, how much time will typical trips take compared to other modes?)
  7. E-03: Light rail Totem Lake-Bellevue-Issaquah
    1. 30 foot ROW (more at stations)
    2. Up to 4 stations in Kirkland
    3. Would not serve downtown directly – Houghton/6th is closest
    4. Stations are difficult to pick – more information is available outside of the meeting
  8. E-06: BRT Totem Lake-Downtown-Bellevue (CKC)
    1. 24-36 foot ROW
    2. 6-8 stations in Kirkland
    3. Metro could also potentially use (the main point is to avoid the 405/520 interchange)
    4. Plans for tight areas on the CKC have been made, at least at a preliminary level but weren’t discussed
    5. If all of the proposed ideas happen, buses would run every 2-3 minutes at peak
  9. A few issues with ST planning
    1. ST assumes middle of corridor, which would severly impact the CKC.  Kirkland is lobbying strongly against this.
    2. Low-cost options skip Kirkland or require investment from other budgets
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