Metro_255_KTC
Metro 255, and ST Regional Express 540, arriving at Kirkland Transit Center

Among the projects that Sound Transit has suggested for the Eastside are I-405 Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail between Totem Lake and Issaquah. While light rail is a clear priority, Eastside cities are interested in BRT on the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) as an interim solution. So there are several proposals in play that could serve as a high capacity transit (HCT) corridor in Kirkland.

Kirkland is attempting to balance these options. Some form of I-405 BRT is very likely to be included in any ST3 package, but requires an expensive station at NE 85th St to be relevant to Central Kirkland. The City has asked for a NE 85th St station along with a fast, frequent connection to downtown. A fixed guideway connection – aerial tram or people mover – has been suggested, but bus is surely more probable.

Light rail on the ERC gets closer to more Kirkland transit riders, but still has a last-mile problem in downtown Kirkland. BRT on the ERC could resolve the last mile issue with a deviation to downtown and at much lower cost than a rail alignment.

Letter AC-6
Kirkland seeks a new project for the Project Priority List, adding BRT between Kirkland and Issaquah with the Kirkland leg to run largely on the Eastside Rail Corridor. Source: Letter from Mayor Amy Walen to Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine, July 8, 2015.

Casual observers surely take for granted that any of these new transit options will be better and faster than today. Surprisingly, this is not the case for many riders to the most popular destinations. For riders to Seattle, neither light rail nor I-405 BRT would even approach the travel time of today’s Metro services. For travel to Bellevue, light rail would be slower than current bus service. I-405 BRT could deliver somewhat improved times for some customers, but would mean longer travel times for others. BRT that follows the Eastside rail corridor would handily beat any of the alternatives for a much larger number of transit users.

In gaming out these scenarios, I developed estimates for riders from two representative locations. The downtown Transit Center is the largest ridership center in Central Kirkland and a focus for policy makers. The Houghton Business Center is an interesting secondary ridership center. That’s the area south of Google, and near to Northwest University. A long-discussed upzone to the retail center is likely next year.

I’ve assumed station placement to match the corridor studies, with the addition of a NE 85th station for I-405 BRT. I’ve also assumed frequent connecting bus service to either station from both downtown and Houghton. All estimates depend on future design decisions, so are somewhat directional. However, the broad conclusions are robust to minor tweaks in assumptions.

A BRT stop at unwalkable NE 85th ST could only be reached by car or connecting transit. It would also require a complete rebuild of the overpass.
An I-405 BRT stop at unwalkable NE 85th St could only be reached by car or connecting transit. It would also require a complete rebuild of the overpass.

For trips to Seattle, both LRT and I-405 BRT are handicapped in two ways. First, there is an added transfer penalty within Kirkland. Neither a rail station on the ERC (assumed per ST corridor studies to be located east of 6th St) or I-405 are walkable for many riders. Second, both rely on a connection to East Link to get to Seattle which is much less direct than crossing SR 520.

Travel Times to Seattle:

From I-405 BRT LRT Metro 255 BRT on ERC
DT Kirkland 53 53 34-41 34
Houghton 55 51 30-37 30

Either LRT or I-405 BRT would add about 20 minutes to a Kirkland rider’s trip to Seattle on Metro 255. Rail between Kirkland and Seattle doesn’t work unless it can cross SR 520, which is not under consideration for ST3. For Houghton, it’s worse because we are adding some out of direction travel to the mix. The time penalty could be up to 25 minutes. Even this assumes frequent connecting service between Houghton and the HCT service (particularly for I-405 BRT; LRT is marginally walkable).

Travel Times to Bellevue:

From I-405 BRT LRT Metro 234 BRT on ERC
DT Kirkland 20 30 23-27 20
Houghton 22 30 20-23 17

For trips to Bellevue, the challenges for HCT service are about connections. The same transfer penalties persist at the Kirkland end, but are compounded for LRT by a second transfer at Wilburton (Hospital) station to get to downtown Bellevue. LRT travel time to Bellevue is 3-7 minutes slower than Metro. For riders from downtown Kirkland on I-405 BRT, however, the transfer penalty is offset by faster travel on I-405 vs surface streets, yielding a total travel time a few minutes faster than Metro 234/235.

However, Houghton riders are disadvantaged because of their out of direction travel. LRT is significantly slower, and I-405 BRT just about reaches parity with current Metro. With the new inconvenience of an added transfer at the freeway station, this will be perceived as a step backwards.

Sound Transit's Corridor Studies assumed Downtown Kirkland could be served by an LRT station at this location, 0.5 miles SE of downtown.
Sound Transit’s corridor studies envisioned a rail station at the closest point of the ERC to downtown. Surrounded by low-intensity uses, it is about 0.5 miles SE of downtown.

On the other hand, BRT on the ERC (if it served downtown Kirkland) should meet or beat Metro’s off-peak travel times. At peak, it would be much faster because it would evade congestion on the arterial streets. Particularly to Bellevue, the more direct routing should be better than the current Metro routing at any time, so another 3 minute time saving should be readily achievable.

Frequent Bus Routes in Kirkland (in black) are well to the West of I-405. Map Source: Metro
Core transit routes in Kirkland (in black) are well to the west of I-405. Map Source: Metro

The use case for I-405 BRT in Kirkland is fairly narrow. Even for downtown, one could do almost as well by straightening out the 234/235 route (hence benefiting all Kirkland riders to Bellevue). A NE 85th St station is pricey (ST estimated $385 million), so it needs to do much more than shave a few minutes off travel times for a subset of the riders on those routes. Current combined weekday ridership on the 234/235 is only 2,700, much of which isn’t in downtown. The 6,400 weekday riders on Metro 255 would be uniformly disadvantaged if they had to switch to either LRT or I-405 BRT.

Kirkland is trying to make the best of the options that the Sound Transit Board put on the table for the Eastside in May. With strong regional support for I-405 BRT, it makes sense for the City to pursue the most favorable design possible. But the City’s advocacy has also recognized the merits of BRT on the corridor as part of an intra-eastside network. For most Kirkland riders, this is the more relevant option.

44 Replies to “HCT Travel Times in Kirkland”

  1. Hi Dan how are you getting 30 minutes travel time from DT Kirkland to Bellevue on LRT? I’ve never seen a speard like that from such a short distance and not many stops.

    1. We would improve from the current one seat ride on the 234/235 buses, to in the future, 3 different trips from DT Kirkland to DT Bellevue. 1 trip on a bus. 2 trips on two different trains. I say it’s improvement because the trains wouldn’t get stuck in traffic like the current Kirkland to Bellevue buses do. I’m excited for this step forward!

  2. From your PDF, you’re including walk time from downtown to the ERC, and a transfer to East Link at Hospital Station. I think you’ve amply proven that configuration of rail to be a non-starter – it’d need to detour into actual downtown Kirkland and Bellevue. Once that happens, the train would be a decent improvement. I’m still not sure whether it’d be cost-effective, but let’s allow rail to put its best foot forward.

    1. Yeah, — the only Rail corridor that should be costed out is this one: https://seattletransitblog.com/2014/07/23/better-eastside-rail/ (minus the lake crossing).

      It’s the only viable light rail option that serves downtown Kirkland and downtown Bellevue.

      Plus — I really don’t get your average speed on the corridor being so slow. LRT would have a max speed of 55 mph, and with only Houghton between Kirkland and Wiliburton, and the curves not too tight, it probably would be able to maintain that speed reliably.

      Combining these factors (subtract the 10 minutes off the front as the station is in downtown Kirkland already, move average speed up to save another 4 minutes) you’re looking at a DT Kirkland-DT Seattle time of more like 39 minutes. This is still 5 minutes slower than BRT, but would be much more reliable as it wouldn’t have to deal with SR 520/I-5/downtown traffic, which BRT wouldn’t be solving at all, short of a dedidated busway along that entire corridor, which obviously isn’t happening.

    2. The need to transfer @ Hospital Station assumes the most simplistic routing possible which is that all trains run from Totem Lake to Issaquah. It would be easy to have trains coming from the north split between going to Issaquah and Seattle. More complicated for end users to keep track of but not unheard of and it would save significant time for commuters from north of 520. In fact looking from the calculations above removing 4-5 minutes of time would make LRT time competitive with the 252/257 which I ride. They lose significant time trapped in traffic on I5 and Stewart and often take ~45 minutes to reach Westlake from Totem Lake most days.

  3. I don’t understand why getting people from Kirkland & Issaquah to Bellevue and Seattle quickly isn’t the top priority of serving either community. I understand that their are other places that people want to go, and a good system goes places other than two downtowns, but shouldn’t this be priority 1?

  4. I’m very disappointed in the concept of a 405 BRT and I’m constantly perplexed by the apparent support for it somewhere. As we’ve said many times – most of the activity centers on a north-south eastside corridor are not within walking distance. Bothell – no. Woodenville – no. Juanita – no. Totem lake- yes. Kirkland – no. Houghton- no. Bellevue – marginally (most of downtown is not within walking distance). Renton- marginally. I just don’t get why people are so obsessed with such a freeway-oriented transit investment. Freeways naturally destroy walksheds and the facts of the ground north of Bellevue mean the activity certainly isn’t there.

    This post just serves to illustrate this point.

    That being said, you’re shortchanging the LRT option. In reality, any Kirkland-Bellevue connection would be interlined between Wiliburton and S Bellevue. I know it wasn’t in the latest ST proposal but any other alignment would be crazy. I would love to see the tables updated showing an interlined East link/Kirkland link.

    1. “I just don’t get why people are so obsessed with such a freeway-oriented transit investment.”

      Because the freeway is already there and WSDOT will pay for part of the BRT infrastructure. So lower capital costs. Plus, some people have the mentality that the biggest transportation problem is freeway congestion, so a line along the feeway is what they think will fix it. Never mind the last mile from the stations: they assume they’ll drive to a P&R, and they don’t think about transferring to a half-hourly bus at the other end.

      1. Just going with the existing corridor is stupid — by that rationale Link would just follow I-5 and skip basically all of the current stations (literally 0 of the current stations are within walking distance of I-5). The way you should define your vision and plan is to find the key ridership generators and link them together. If one of those links happens to roughly share an existing corridor then you can deviate to it as a cost-saving gesture, but you shouldn’t use the corridor to define the ridership generators you serve.

        As for WSDOT paying for it, there should be some way to extract money from that. After all, a North-South LRT on the Eastside WILL reduce the # of trips that have to be taken on 405, even if the literal tracks are not on the existing 405 ROW.

    2. Most people on the east side are not interested in transit itself. They are interested in getting somewhere as quickly as possible and paying as little as possible to do it. Downtown Kirkland to Bellevue during rush hour right now takes 20 minutes at most by car. If you can’t do at least as well as that, then transit is a non-starter for most people.

      405 BRT is great because it lets you take advantage of the faster carpool lane (and hopefully it will actually be faster when the tolls and additional lane activate) so that even if you make stops, you still end up ahead. As Dan shows, LRT takes 30 minutes vs. the 20 minutes (at worst) you’d take in a car.

      1. I presently commute I-405 and the HOV lane is severely congested during rush hours asking with the other lanes. The tolling that is about to be implemented may speed up the JOB lanes but the rest will be much worse.

        Unless you build exclusive BRT ROW with exclusive offramps, those buses will be slogging through very heavy traffic. You might as well build rail, preferably between downtowns. And if it can’t be built in walksheds, commit to very frequent, all day shuttles.

    3. “I know it wasn’t in the latest ST proposal but any other alignment would be crazy. ”

      This seems to be a *general* problem with ST proposals lately. :-P

  5. When looking at Eastside options, it’s important to keep in mind the most important metric: will it vote? If Sound Transit’s latest survey is any indication it is pretty clear that BRT simply doesn’t win votes on the Eastside. Eastside BRT was the lowest performing option on the Eastside and by far the lowest low of any subarea (bottom of page 2, top of page 3).

    The good news is that Totem Lake to Issaquah rail (even with the bad transfer at Hospital of the earlier version) was the 3rd highest rated project in the survey. Due to public pressure Sound Transit is now looking at a line that directly serves downtown Bellevue. That changes everything. Not only would your travel times be radically different, but the support on the Eastside will go from very good to great.

    ST3 needs something on the Eastside that people there will vote for, not just wonks. A better Eastside rail plan is clearly that option.

    1. I’ve read claims that rail polls poorly on the eastside and that buses have polled better; now you’re claiming buses poll poorly on the eastside and rail would perform better. Maybe it isn’t a mode thing — maybe eastsiders are smart enough to know that 405 BRT (the specific bus route polled) doesn’t actually solve many of their problems. ST’s eastside express bus efforts to this point (both operations and infrastructure) have been pretty well targeted to real problems they’re capable of solving; ridership and political popularity have accordingly been pretty strong.

      I think the things that bias the agencies in favor of 405 BRT are probably specific to officialdom. Unofficial wonks haven’t shown 405 BRT much love.

    2. When looking at Eastside options, it’s important to keep in mind the most important metric: will it vote?

      I’m not comfortable being that cynical. Travel times for future transit options may seem wonkish at this early point in the debate, but it’ll come into plenty clear focus once voters start to ask themselves whether they would ever use these services. In any case, I have no interest in advocating for something useless however it votes.

      As you point out, more user-friendly LRT alignments are possible. I deliberately didn’t assume a line that isn’t planned. I haven’t heard anything to suggest an interlined rail line is being looked at, but I’d certainly welcome that.

      To the extent that the survey results mean anything at all (and most around here are skeptical), I think they just suggest that Kirkland and Issaquah are destinations that people care about more than they care about the alternatives on I-405.

      1. I deliberately didn’t assume a line that isn’t planned.

        That’s pretty rich in a post about a line that isn’t planned (BRT on the ERC).

      2. @Seattleite. I thought I made clear in the article that both Kirkland and the other eastside cities have asked for BRT on the ERC.

        As for these other hypothetical rail alignments, I’d challenge you to point out where any of the Eastside cities or any of the agencies have asked for an interlined Kirkland-Issaquah link, or a LRT station in downtown Kirkland.

        Budgets don’t stretch to any rail alignment that goes all the way from Kirkland to Issaquah. Not the ST studied option, not the yet more expensive “Better Eastside rail” option. I’ll happily admit the latter has user experience advantages. But it’s just not realistic to pretend that anything like that is under consideration.

      3. Sound Transit has consistently indicated that they DO listen to community input like this. I’m pretty sure that based on feedback they ARE looking at the interlined alignment (though I don’t know where exactly I saw that). I don’t know about an alignment that would serve DT Kirkland better, but either way frequently, it’s input, like ours, that drives ST to investigate options.

        At this point alignments for ST3 are anything-but-locked. ST2 alignments in DT Bellevue for example, changed pretty dramatically well after the election. We should be putting forward the best reasonable alignments, not something that’s artificially handicapped based on one alternatives study.

      4. If LRT between Kirkland and Issaquah is outside the budget of ST3, and good interim first step would be LRT between Totem Lake and the wye near the OMSF. This could allow a service pattern of Totem Lake-Seattle and Torem Lake-Redmond (the long way, but of course it serves all the intermediate stations too). Trains coming from Seattle could alternately go to Kirkland or Redmond. Because of the additional service between Totem Lake and Redmond, each branch would have equivalent frequency before and after the new branch opened between stations on that branch.

        Figuring out the routing between Bellevue and Issaquah could be deferred to a later phase.

    3. If I remember correctly, the survey put I405 BRT into a “regional” category as opposed to East side. It was at the very bottom of the list. And it provided zero information on what improvements would be made – in fact, I don’t think it mentioned anything except an HOV ramp in Renton. Doesn’t surprise me at all that no one voted for it.

  6. One thing to think about with a LRT that ends in Totem lake, is where it can go in ST4. From Totem Lake, following the ESR, into Woodinville is easy, from there head into Bothell, then you have a choice, head north and connect to mainline near Alderwood, or head west towards Lake City Way, and connect to the mainline near Northgate.

    1. The idea to think ahead is good. But your argument follows the same argument that makes people want to use the ERC to Totem Lake – it’s there, why not build on it? The ERC is bad enough to Totem Lake. After Totem Lake it’s all very spread out commerical/industrial until you hit Woodinville/Bothell (except the wineries). You could cross the Sammamish River at 145th and head north on the other side, where at least there’s a bunch of apartment buildings and some room for development, but even that’s not going to give you much.

      And on top of that, I’d bet you that it would take longer to take LRT from Bothell along this route than a bus straight down the 405. Which is why if you need to take budget into account, a routing along the 405 is not a bad thing. In the ideal world you could hit Houghton, downtown Kirkland, Juanita, Totem Lake, and then head north, but that would cost a lot of money.

      1. That’s basically the same argument with 405, isn’t it? It’s there, so why not build on it? 405, unfortunately, is fundamentally repellent to life and civilization. 405 BRT is a non-factor for most of Kirkland. The first stop even under consideration north of Bellevue is in the middle of a cloverleaf at 85th; the first that’s likely to exist is Totem Lake. We already have buses doing that on 405. They go all the same places 405 BRT would, at nearly the speed. They aren’t overflowing with riders. The way to provide more useful service is to go more places; that can’t be done on 405. The opportunity to do this is on the ERC between 85th and downtown Bellevue. Outside of this stretch the ERC doesn’t really go anywhere either; within it you get at least two useful stops: South Kirkland and 6th-Street-S-ish. Both are at least accessible on foot, provide better access to more downtown Kirkland destinations than the cloverleaf stop, and have OK walksheds with some development potential.

        Of course the ERC can’t relieve the bottleneck between Juanita and downtown Kirkland; neither can 405. Some arterial transit improvements would be welcome there.

      2. @Al Dimond: Which is why I’m not advocating for 405 LRT. I do think more HOT-only ramps/lanes would be highly beneficial (and much safer for buses) at Brickyard, UW Bothell, and perhaps Canyon Park. As well as increasing peak service to every 15 minutes. Because the buses do overflow at peak times – by Totem Lake it’s uncommon to find a seat in the morning south-bound, and not being able to make it onto an evening peak north-bound bus happens every so often as well.

        If we had unlimited money, LRT on the ERC would be great. But I question whether it’s worth spending the money on basically one useful stop (Houghton) and two marginally useful stops (South Kirkland and downtown Kirkland). I’d rather see it done right or not at all. And I think that’s what many voters will think as well. Most people are going to question why LRT is even being built if it doesn’t hit downtown Kirkland, particularly when they see zero benefit to them.

      3. I’m not talking about LRT, I’m talking about using part of the ERC to bring Kirkland into the greater 405 transit corridor in a meaningful way, creating a route that’s plausibly useful to enough people to justify all-day frequency, and doing something about some of Kirkland’s transportation difficulties.

        You don’t appear to be talking about BRT, just incremental improvements to express buses. Nothing wrong with that, I guess.

  7. So the moral of the story is, Kirkland’s transit service is fine the way it is, and changing it would increase travel times?

    I believe it. The 255 is a route that would be nice to live next to. It’s hard to beat a straight shot to Seattle.

    1. Close, because you can still improve it with a corridor busway.

      But there is a lot that is right with the 255. It’s a fairly straight shot that nevertheless hits every ridership center along the way.

      If ST balks at the City’s request for corridor BRT, I think Plan B should be to recognize what is working and focus on relatively unglamorous ways to make it better. Signal priority, bump-outs at stops, queue jumps, getting it through the South Kirkland P&R faster. The problem is that ST will deny any of this their mandate because it’s not “high-capacity”.

      1. Another problem with the 255 is the daily southbound backup on Market approaching Forbes Creek Drive. I mostly know this from bike commuting as “that place where I blow by all the cars while climbing”. Fixing that would be tough — maybe tougher than fixing South Kirkland P&R — but if it’s fixed for transit, there’s an incentive to take the bus and not contribute to the daily backup.

      2. The 255 is already pretty good, and I’m skeptical of any proposal to expect people to travel from Kirkland to Seattle via I-90 just for the sake of doing it on a train, rather than a bus.

        I am also skeptical about using the ERC through Kirkland, and it’s not going to make for any better time than simply running a bus down 108th, like the 255 already does.

        If a commute between Kirkland and Seattle is going to involve rail, it should take the form of riding Link for the UW to downtown segment, not the Bellevue to downtown segment. The 255, as is, spends the bulk of its service hours either traversing downtown, sitting in traffic on I-5, waiting at stoplights to get between I-5 and the downtown tunnel, or meandering through the streets north of Kirkland, mostly empty.

        Simply replacing the 255 with a more frequent 540, at least off-peak, would go along way. Metro tried to do something along these lines with Alternative 1, but instead of using the service hours saved by the truncation to boost frequency, they simply shifted it to other areas. And this, on top of making every downtown->Kirkland trip dependent on a bus approaching the UW Station from Southbound Montlake, which means when southbound Montlake is backed up, everybody is stuck with long waits at the bus stop.

        The idea of a route truncation should be reconsidered. If they did it in a way that kept Kirkland’s service hours serving Kirkland, while avoiding the dependency on southbound Montlake, it would have a much better chance.

  8. As a north kirkland busrider (252/257/255) so far the only compelling solution I’ve seen that would change or improve my commute at all is using the ERC for either BRT or LRT. Following a freeway ROW is a waste and BRT on 405 is a particularly bad option because basically I can’t get to the freeway in a timely manner anyways. Whether in my car or a 23x feeder bus I spend a lot of time sitting on 124th, 132nd or some other street going to a PR. Using the ERC is certainly not popular with the locals who want only a bike trail but I have little sympathy for people who buy next to major infrastructure and then complain when it’s actually used.

    One reason Kirkland’s pols may back 405BRT is to get a rebuild on the 85th street interchange. It’s design is terrible and the city has wanted to “fix” it for many many years, I remember talk of it back in the 90’s even. However if it would cost nearly a third of a billion that is a very compelling reason to not do it. That said if we were to rebuild the 85th street interchange the single biggest thing you could probably do to improve traffic is a direct off and on ramps to the Costco parking lot.

    1. I don’t see how the ERC would help you if you’re in North Kirkland. You’d still need to get to Totem Lake to transfer to an ERC bus/train. A bus to Bellevue on 405 would definitely be faster than using the ERC. To Seattle, it would be the same at worst, probably better.

      Agreed that replacing the 85th street ramps would be good, though I’m guessing Kirkland wanted 132nd St ramps before replacing 85th street since that’s what they got into the budget.

      1. Totem Lake and in particular Kingsgate are North Kirkland, as of a few years ago. ;-) Though people love to argue semantics depending on where they live, even 30 years ago I thought of it as North Kirkland. So if you are east of the freeway like me a station at Totem Lake would be very helpful by allowing me to avoid the worst parts of 116th, 124th or 132nd by keeping me away from the freeway where they really jam up bad. Most of them are OK in the morning until you get within 3 – 4 blocks of the interchange.

        West of 405 yeah not so much, sadly no serious HCT ever proposed provides appreciable service west of 405 after it passes 124th, which is unfortunate because 132nd approaching 405 EB in the mornings is a big line of waiting cars. The best option would likely be to widen 132nd to 4 lanes to Totem Lake Boulevard with bus lanes/signal priority where appropriate when WSDOT builds that planned interchange at 132nd and the likely reconfigure to the Kingsgate PR is done.

        Service to Totem Lake is inline with Kirkland’s master plan which envisions TOD and densification in that neighboorhood, construction and tenants already anounced. Other than some token re-development of an existing strip mall west is largely proposed to remain single family housing with lowrise apartments here and there.

      2. I didn’t talk about Totem Lake at all in this piece because the current ridership there is so low. But, as everybody knows, great things are planned.

        The ERC has some huge advantages in serving Totem Lake. Yes, as David says, there isn’t much between Central Way and NE 116th. But after that, the ERC makes it’s way through three of the four quadrants of the urban center. Run it along the corridor through the SW and SE quadrants, then up Totem Lake Blvd to the transit center in the NE, then over on 128th to connect with I-405 BRT and the parking facilities at Kingsgate.

        I don’t mean to be dismissive of the skepticism many hold for Totem Lake. But if anything is going to work well in that neighborhood, it will be something that navigates through the neighborhood without forcing riders to go to a solitary I-405 stop at NE 128th. Even if those streets were more pleasantly walkable, that’s quite a long way for a lot of people.

        Totem Lake to DT Kirkland is 21-26 minutes on the 255. That’s pretty slow. Obviously, some of that is because it takes the long way around via Juanita (which is worthwhile because there are currently more Juanita riders than Totem Lake riders). But the 235 takes up to 25 scheduled minutes to make the same journey in the PM peak.

        I don’t think there’s any alternative to ERC BRT that is nearly as accessible and as fast.

      3. @Dan: I agree that LRT on the ERC would be great for Totem Lake. And if redevelopment really does happen as is now planned (though I have my doubts) it could be a nice, high density area. Unfortunately, the ERC (without expensive diversions to downtown Kirkland) would really only be good for Totem Lake and Google. If someone can’t make it up the hill to the TC/405 ramps they won’t make it from 6th St in Kirkland to downtown. Plus, most people living there by the time LRT is built (in 15 years?) would already be used to the area without LRT, so I don’t know how much it would change their behavior.

        From a purely technical point of view, won’t connecting the ERC in Totem Lake to 405 be difficult? That’s a pretty steep hill for light rail. You’d have to build a long ramp up the hill and I’m not sure where there’s space to put it (nor do I think the developers or the hospital would just give up land for something like that).

      4. About the Totem Lake Transit Center on the hospital campus. A) no one uses it and B) no useful buses serve it. So for now almost everyone is using the terribly designed and highly dangerous (and about to get more so) freeway stop @ 128th and the Kingsgate PR. Is it those facilities that you are getting at or the actual transit center by the hospital cause that’s on 120th.

        For BRT I would do the routing you mention of going up Totem Lake Blvd and across to the PR.

        @David With regards to LRT vs BRT that would be indeed a steep climb and likely need to be elevated or ramped, but there is a bit of room between totem lake blvd and the freeway where you wouldn’t really be impacting anyone’s views or land because well.. it’s a freeway. The center turn lane on Totem Lake Blvd is currently not used much too, though that might change with the new mall.

        If you went LRT over BRT I don’t think you’d want to put a stop up there, it’s a complex interchange area that is already crowded by multiple 5 story buildings. For LRT I would slip off the ERC and loop around the north end of Totem Lake and drop a station behind the lake where the cinemas are with something to help people up the hill to the hospital, provide access to the redeveloped multi-use mall and a large PR and force a rezone where the car dealerships are today to multi-use. It also leaves the rail line aligned to continue up the ERC someday vs terminating @ Totem Lake on top of a hill.

  9. No further planning or design in these corridors is funded at this time. The studies describe the travel markets in each corridor, bracket a range of mode and route options, estimate potential ridership and conceptual capital costs and examine potential environmental effects.

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