[Correction: route 255 and 540 continue to serve 6th St and will not serve State St]
Today, the new Kirkland Transit Center reopens to transit service. The twenty-two year old on-street transit center was upgraded to improve transit operations and create a pedestrian-friendly environment in the heart of Downtown Kirkland. New passenger shelters, lighting, and an in-pavement flashing crosswalk improve the safety and comfort of users. A green trellis and public plaza welcomes people to the downtown park. There is new sheltered bicycle parking next to the library. The street was completely rebuilt with a landscaped median and 10-inch thick concrete pavement over a 6-inch subgrade to withstand heavy bus loads. More photos of the transit center can be viewed here.
Bus routes 255 and 540 Express
return to their original routing along State Street and will no longer continue to serve 6th St S between the transit center and NE 68th St in Houghton.
The project has a budget of $13.3 million and is one of the last bus capital improvements in the 1996 Sound Move program. Construction started in October 2009. At an open house meeting during construction, I asked Sound Transit about the cost breakdown and I checked the figures in the budget. Roughly speaking, $8.5 million was budgeted for civil construction work, $2.6 million for the environmental review (EIS), engineering design and specification, just under $1 million for permits and overhead, with the remaining million for contingency. Some might wonder why it cost so much. The transit center project worked in conjunction with a King County wastewater pump station upgrade project. That project required digging up the entire street to install a new sewer main. I have a call in to Sound Transit to see whether the stated cost includes the wastewater and excavation component.
An interesting tidbit: did you know that the Eastside Interceptor, the main pipe that collects wastewater on the Eastside follows the length of the BNSF east side rail corridor? The wastewater gets treated in Renton.