At the December 4 Board workshop, Sound Transit staff shared their latest study of Bus Rapid Transit along the Eastside Rail Corridor between Bellevue and Kirkland. The study parameters incorporate many suggestions from the City of Kirkland. Ten miles of mostly at-grade BRT guideway connect nine at-grade stations: three are in the Totem Lake area, two around downtown Kirkland, one at South Kirkland, and three more in Bellevue.

E06_MapThe corridor BRT is well-integrated with regional services. It would connect to I-405 BRT at Kingsgate/NE 128th, to East Link LRT at Wilburton Station, and to regional bus services at the Bellevue Transit Center. An alternative configuration at Wilburton might have an elevated station.

The study acknowledges the need to accommodate the existing trail on the Cross-Kirkland Corridor, and a future trail on the Eastside Rail Corridor in Bellevue. It specifies that the rail would be on the east of the corridor with trail uses to the west.

Ridership is estimated at 2,500-3,500. At first glance, that is surprisingly low – how can BRT on this route produce scarcely more riders in 2040 than Metro 234 and 235 carry today? Sound Transit staff believe the increased number of stops and downtown deviation would make BRT on the ERC less competitive vs. I-405 BRT. With up to three stops in Kirkland (NE 128th, NE 112th, and NE 85th) in the ‘intensive capital’ version of I-405 BRT, that risk would be significant. But the ‘lower capital’ version of I-405 BRT would only serve NE 128th, considerably reducing cannibalization of ridership.

In any case, ridership numbers on the BRT do not include the benefits of an open busway that would serve riders between Kirkland and other destinations, notably Seattle. Kirkland-Seattle ridership alone is three times greater than to downtown Bellevue.

Headways are 10 minutes at peak, using 3-door articulated coaches with ST BRT livery. Peak headways of 10 minutes suggest staff envision the BRT as a supplement to Metro services, on or off the corridor.

Capital costs are up to $747 million though some elements, such as a 1,000 stall garage at Kingsgate, duplicate elements of I-405 BRT. The project includes a contribution toward extending 6th St in Bellevue across I-405, also included in I-405 BRT. The I-405 crossing would allow direct access from the Eastside Rail Corridor into the Bellevue Transit Center, avoiding a transfer to reach downtown Bellevue, and making for easy connections to other buses.

E06_metricsThe study shines a light on trade-offs of travel time vs destination access. Sound Transit estimates travel times of 35 minutes from Totem Lake to downtown Bellevue, versus just 16 minutes for rail to Wilburton (the latter, of course, requiring a transfer to get to the Bellevue CBD). Some of the difference is in the denser stop spacing, but some is a penalty for the downtown service that Kirkland sees as critical. Sound Transit models are sensitive to travel times, favoring alignments that do not exit the corridor, but Kirkland is skeptical that riders will be attracted to a service that’s harder to access.

At the workshop, Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler referenced a possible arrangement whereby the Issaquah end of Totem Lake to Issaquah would be served by rail, while the Kirkland end would be served by BRT. Indeed, the rail study outlined some of the elements necessary to make that service model work.

In the context of a 20- or 25-year program, and with uncompelling study results for the higher capital I-405 BRT, some sort of service between Bellevue and Kirkland along the ERC seems certain to be in the system. A more ambitious configuration of BRT or rail serving downtown Kirkland and Bellevue without a large time penalty may be possible. Kirkland’s key interests include downtown access and a transit model that is compatible with trail uses (not taking too much space from trail users, and allowing other users to readily access the trail from either side of the corridor).

70 Replies to “ST3: Kirkland-Bellevue Bus Rapid Transit”

  1. How is this “rapid” in any way? IIRC, the two routes that currently run from Bellevue Transit Center to Kirkland Transit Center only take 19 minutes scheduled most of the day, and 16 minutes scheduled early in the morning.

    The infographic doesn’t give the travel time from BTC to KTC specifically, but if it’s a little over half the total distance, we can assume it takes a little over half the total time. Which would make it no faster than the current buses.

      1. I have onky taken it once (and only one-way, from Bellevue to Kirkland at probably around 2pm or so), but I don’t remember traffic being an issue. Maybe someone else can better comment.

    1. That is the issue. I agree with mic.

      The study shows travel time from Totem Lake to downtown bellevue.
      For true ridership gains, it should be looking at downtown kirkland seattle or downtown kirkland to the bellevue hospital station.

      Perhaps the city of kirkland has switched emphasis to the LRT between kirkland – issaquah?

    2. no faster than the current buses

      Yeah, but it’s more expensive and doesn’t serve as many destinations; so that;’s good… right? I ride that route almost every day. Traffic congestion isn’t a major problem. Sure, when there’s a Mariners game and a Sounders match on the same day or the pointyball team has a Friday game starting at 7PM the roads are FU. And when the light in Houghton goes into some bizarre sequence 108th is horrible. I guess fixing that one intersection isn’t as sexy as huge excavation projects to pave the CKC. Dumb and Dumber?

  2. Does study include migrating Metro 255 and an all day ST 540 (both truncated at UW station in a sane world) to the new corridor?

    What time savings would each have?

    If you set the study parameters so that no current user of the corridor can use it, you get the results indicated above.

  3. “The I-405 crossing would allow direct access from the Eastside Rail Corridor into the Bellevue Transit Center, avoiding a transfer to reach downtown Bellevue, and making for easy connections to other buses.”

    So which is it? Are bus to rail transfers a good thing, or something to be avoided at all cost, even if a new bridge has to built to do so? I say let those horrible bus commuters who destroyed the Eastside Nature Trail transfer to East Link at Hospital Station. “It’s called Wilburton Station, Sam!” That’s a dumb name. I’m not calling it that.

  4. I find it difficult to believe that a bus departing Bellevue TC, going to Totem Lake via the ERC (Eastside Rail Corridor) will take much longer time as one traveling on surface streets to the same destination. No, if find it implausible.
    As Chris points out, the 235 takes 26 min from BTC to Totem Lk in the AM-Peak to go the 9 mile trip (~20mph). There are over 200 intersecting roads along the way and too many driveways for me to count on Google Earth on that bus trip. Over 200 mind you!.
    ST would have us believe that a more direct route on the ERC, with about 25 intersections (mostly getting to the KTC on surface streets) and few driveways to contend with take 10 minutes longer.(15mph).
    Rubbish! I don’t believe them! The Kirkland Corridor is nearly level, grade separated from traffic, gentle curves, and nearly exclusive ROW.
    If this is how the ridership numbers were generated, then they too are bogus.
    How can you compare apples to rotten apples?

    1. Remember, in these sort of analyses, it’s not necessarily the questions driving the answer, but the answer driving the question. Then, of course the next logical question is why? You’re right, this doesn’t make sense. Dedicated ROW, fewer stops, off-board payment; yet slower than the existing surface service. Why?

      1. I suspect, but have no smoking guns to present, that ST and WSDOT would prefer to run buses on I-405 to share the expenses of putting in direct access ramps for both buses and HOV’s that would share them. If I were WSDOT there would be a great incentive to let ST pay for all that stuff.
        That’s my conclusion, and perhaps raining on Kirklands BRT parade is the way to get there.

      2. No….

        You don’t think this is politically driven, do you?

        All this detailed analysis, the I-405 Corridor Program study completed in 2001, the PSRC/Sound Transit BNSF Eastside Rail Corridor study in 2009, and all the detailed analysis by the transit wonks on STB…

        All for naught???

        Just to satisfy the well heeled NIMBYs alongside the ERC?

        I’m shocked…
        SHOCKED, I tell you !!

    2. The 234/235 have a horribly inefficient route. It comes down State Street and Lakeview Drive to Lake Washington Blvd (west of downtown Kirkland or Bellevue), then goes east on Northup Way and backtracks to the South Kirkland P&R (waiting at several stoplights and left turns), then goes back down 108th/112th to Bellevue TC. They should either go down 108th the whole way or skip the P&R. The ERC would certainly be faster than all that zigzagging and waiting at lights and turns.

      1. Another suggestion, keeping them close to their current route: Go down LW Blvd, turn on 38th, and turn left into the P&R. Serve a new stop by the rent-limited apartments opposite the current stop. Then, turn south on 108th and continue on the current route. (Or change it to 112th; I don’t know how many boardings come from 116th.)

      2. Metro 234 running times vary from 34 minutes (far off-peak like 5.50am or near midnight), to 41 minutes (regular off-peak middle of the day runs) to 53 minutes (a few PM peak-of-peak northbound). All times BTC to Kingsgate.

        Even in the very early AM, the 234 is hitting traffic lights and zig-zagging around a convoluted route. I don’t know why they’re so pessimistic they can’t improve on that.

      3. One improvement could start with the crawl from 116th (Totem Lk) to 132nd (Kingsgate P/R) taking 11 minutes of your 41 on the schedule.
        That’s 11 minutes to go 1 mile for a whopping 5 mph. Somebody call a cop.
        So let’s ignore that little problem for the moment, and plow $2.2 Bil into the HOT lane system for WSDOT, which solves the problem of the East Subarea having too much money in ST3

      4. The HOTs may get watered down if Olympia converts one of them to general purpose as some activists and I think legislators are calling for. The remaining HOT lane would then presumably be slower.

      5. The 234/235 have a horribly inefficient rote… They should either go down 108th the whole way or skip the P&R.

        Hate to break it to ya but the 234/235 are reliably 2 minutes faster S. Kirkland to Kirkland TC. I play that game ever day trying to beat the transfer to the 236 and even with the 540 Express that skips most of the stops on 108th that the 255 makes the 234/235 catches it. The talk about direct routes highlights why the CKC BRT idea is so incredibly stupid. It’s not a direct route. It meanders through single family neighborhoods along steep banks to maintain the max grade that a RR could achieve. 108th is direct and takes a roller coaster route through the Kirkland Watershed. The “problem” with the direct route is that it intersects most of the ridership destinations between the P&R and the TC. The CKC manages to even out the time penalty by not stopping for all those pesky passengers.

        skip the [South Kirkland] P&R

        Really??? You want a chance to rethink that idea?

      6. The purpose of the P&R is to give someone a place to park their car to ride the bus to Seattle. Nobody is going to park their car at the P&R to ride the 234 or 235. Which means the only real value of having the 234 and 235 go into the P&R is bus->bus connections. And, as long as such bus->bus connections exist at other points, such as Kirkland Transit Center, the deviation into the P&R has little value. You could almost just route the buses down Bellevue Way/Lake Washington Blvd. all the way, although some people would probably raise a stink about losing their one-seat ride to Overlake Hospital.

        As to the 255, there is no good reason why they couldn’t build bus stops along the street, allowing buses to serve the P&R without actually turning into it. The fact that they didn’t do this when all the heavy construction equipment was already there rebuilding the P&R anyway is inexcusable, but there’s still the possibility that it could happen later.

        Considering that 108th is about as close to the P&R as you can get – closer, actually than the ERC, and yet the 255 still deviates into the P&R, I would not assume as given that a bus using the ERC would be permitted to travel in a straight line without deviating into the P&R bus loop. While the path between 108th Ave. and the P&R is flat, the ERC is a good hundred feet higher at least, not doing the deviation would likely require the construction of elevators and escalators in order to be ADA compliant. That would significantly drive up the cost.

      7. “Nobody is going to park their car at the P&R to ride the 234 or 235.”

        I tried to think of a case where somebody would take the 234/235 to the South Kirkland P&R but couldn’t. Are there any existing riders who do so? The only possible reason I can think of is to avoid walking up the hill to a 255 stop on 108th. But if that’s the problem, aren’t there other ways to handle it such as a 255 stop at Northup Way?

      8. Why don’t you just go there in the morning and see for yourself the flurry of riders trying to scramble between the 234/235/249 and the 255/540. This back seat driving is getting annoying.

        No, you can’t move the main stop for the 255 out to 108th. Try loading a wheel chair on that hill. Or think about everyone crossing 108th to get to the P&R; or worse, people running across traffic to try and catch a departing 255/540 northbound. Yes the TC should have been fixed when they did all the heavy construction. It’s now worse but ARCH and others just saw free money from the 520 mitigation funds and were fixated on building low income housing. Never mind that the free land came at the expense of building an uber expensive parking structure for no net gain in capacity.

        No matter how much lipstick you put on this pig it’s never going to fly. There’s no time savings to be had, there’s no ridership to gain. The huge expense is much better spent on improving the existing bus service. We already run a 255 NB from Kirkland TC to Totem Lake TC on 405. Make that regular revenue service. That seems like a no brainer; already paying for it. Run a bus from Brickyard to Kirkland TC. Yes, direct HOV access ramps would be nice, at both ends, but it can be done without it. Build direct HOV access at 85th to both Redmond and Kirkland and you’ve got a winner.

      9. Just because the current sidewalk along 108th isn’t wide enough or flat enough to move the bus stop there doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to be. Sidewalks can be widened and graded, and traffic lights to cross 108th safety can be built. At Microsoft, the B-line stops on-street, rather than deviating into Overlake TC, and everything works just fine.

      10. Totem Lake is enough of a jobs center that a route connecting it to downtown Kirkland that doesn’t stop everywhere seems warranted.

        You state that as fact when the reality is even though DT Kirkland has a Metro 255 bus running that route they take it out of revenue service and it displays “Term” running up 405 to Totem Lake TC. Fact, there’s essentially no demand for this route at peak commute. Start out with some service that’s essentially free, actually may even recover some fare revenue, and go from there.

        throw the 255 on the ERC busway

        Better idea. Leave the 255 on the current route and just remove every stop between S. Kirkland and the TC except Google. That would be faster and the better part of a billion dollars cheaper. That’s really what this insane idea is all about.

        the only real value of having the 234 and 235 go into the P&R is bus->bus connections. And, as long as such bus->bus connections exist at other points, such as Kirkland Transit Center, the deviation into the P&R has little value.

        As if bus->bus connections were a minor concern? Sure, we could make eastside bus->bus connections even worse and spend gobs of money to do it. Why? True that “nobody” (I’m sure there’s the odd exception) parks at S. Kirk P&R to board the 234/235 but there is a large number of kiss and ride that do this. They fill in the handicap stalls that line the current bus bay. Those handicap parking spots that would have to wheel up and across an arterial to use the insanely expensive idea of moving 255 boarding out to 108th. Before posting these floaters please at least visit S. Kirk P&R for a morning and evening commute. Pay at least passing attention to the buses that have to layover from 1-4 minutes because they are ahead of schedule.

        BRT goes to Bellevue Transit Center after Wilburton Station.

        So, duplicating the B line which is 5 minutes from 116th/NE8th to the TC. For this your going to flood the TC with 10 more buses per hour at peak that are going to stop where? Oh, and the CKC BRT is going to be electric so what’s it going to be, catenary or off wire capability? Crossing NE 8th at rush hour… yeah, that’s going to be rapid. It just gets dumber and dumber. And all the “fixes” revolve around a common theme… the CKC doesn’t connect anything to anywhere. It’s oh so close but this isn’t hand grenades. Where it crosses 108/6th it’s more than a 1/2 mile back to Houghton.

        Just because the current sidewalk along 108th isn’t wide enough or flat enough to move the bus stop there doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to be.

        Absolutely correct. We could make S. Kirkland P&R the modern day equivalent of the Denny Regrade. Why?

  5. “At the workshop, Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler referenced a possible arrangement whereby the Issaquah end of Totem Lake to Issaquah would be served by rail, while the Kirkland end would be served by BRT.”

    Maybe it would make more sense for the Totem Lake to Bellevue segment to be LRT and the Issaquah to Bellevue segment to be BRT. I can at least envision how that would work.

    1. Better yet, go for the 30 year plan, and put rail to both places instead of cutting corners.

      If there is enough money left over, build the cheaper 405 BRT option to be up and running while the rail is being built.

      Has Sound Transit looked at a system where both corridors exist? Do they compete or serve different markets?

    2. That might be the best option. If Kirkland doesn’t want Light Rail, then they can have this low quality BRT instead. Spend the least amount of money to get the 3,000 riders and call it good. And please, figure out how to get the Issaquah line to serve the downtown Bellevue stations instead of just the hospital.

      1. It’s not quite right to say Kirkland doesn’t want light rail. They want transit that is accessible from Downtown Kirkland, that has reasonably dense station spacing, that gets into the Bellevue CBD, that is most compatible with allowing people to use or cross the trail.

        All of these things are easier with BRT. But none of it is impossible with rail. While looking at a 15-year ST3 program, Kirkland made the reasonable judgment that a rail alignment that met those requirements would be too expensive, so pushed for BRT to be on the project list alongside rail. The alternative was to risk waiting for ST4.

        The extended program, on the other hand, must serve Bellevue-Kirkland. It may be possible to have a rail alignment that balances all of the goals Kirkland is trying to achieve. The rail alignment reviewed on December 4 won’t be enough to have Kirkland back light rail over BRT, but you can certainly imagine an alternative that does.

  6. If the goal here is to connect downtown Kirkland to downtown Bellevue, there is no need to pave over the greenery surrounding the trail, cut off access to the trail from the east, and close the trail altogether for several years of construction – and all this, just for 3,000 daily riders.

    There is a much simpler solution – just create a new bus route that takes I-405 between downtown Kirkland and downtown Bellevue. This could be done today, without years of construction, and it would effectively serve the one trip that the existing routes 234, 235, and 535 don’t serve well – downtown Kirkland to downtown Bellevue.

    Granted, this would require additional funding for new service hours, but the proposed BRT solution couldn’t be done without a lot of new service hours anyway, since it’s too slow to replace the 535 and has stops too far apart to replace the 234 and 235.

    1. With your logic, major roads like NE 108th or 6th St S also cut off access to the trail. With a bus coming every few minutes, rather than cars every few seconds, trail access to the east isn’t at all restricted and saying a grade-level busway cuts off access is a fallacy. As with any roadway, there can be easy-to-use and safe crosswalks. Note the Burke-Gilman isn’t cut into lots of pieces because users have to cross streets.

      Rather than be concerned about construction, be concerned with the long-term goals of this project. Building a 2-lane concrete road won’t take years of construction either. LA managed to do it in under 3 years, which included a long elevated structure, several bridges, while building a parallel multi-use trail. The idea is this one busway WOULD serve Downtown Kirkland and Downtown Bellevue much better.

      We can either choose a BRT line to serve people and be competitive with cars, or we can build a BRT line to serve cars and not be near people. Choosing an I-405 alignment puts transit farther from where people live, forces people to drive to the few access points, requires big parking garages, and limits TOD and walkability.

      1. “With a bus coming every few minutes, rather than cars every few seconds, trail access to the east isn’t at all restricted and saying a grade-level busway cuts off access is a fallacy.”

        Not true. Safety concerns would inevitably require fencing that would cut off access to the trail at anywhere outside of designated cross points. Unless, of course, the plan is to have buses plod through the corridor at 20 mph.

        “With your logic, major roads like NE 108th or 6th St S also cut off access to the trail. ”

        Not really. For one, there are a significant number of homes west of 108th, but east of the trail. And you can also cross 108th at every cross street. Currently, 108th actually has cross streets than the CKC. In the future, more crossing points could be added by building more connecting trails between people’s back yards. Unless of course, a busway blocks the path.

        “We can either choose a BRT line to serve people and be competitive with cars, or we can build a BRT line to serve cars and not be near people.”

        That is exactly why I suggested introducing a new downtown Kirkland->downtown Bellevue express bus as an alternative. By taking 405 it would get people between those two points faster than a bus taking the trail, and it would do without slowing down longer trips, such as getting between Bellevue and either Lynnwood or Totem Lake. It is not necessary for all north->south services within the Kirkland area to be consolidated into one route that is full of compromises. Sometimes, two or three separate routes is the only to effectively balance ridership and coverage, being near people vs. achieving a travel time competitive with cars.

      2. It should probably be a three-stop route: Bellevue TC, Kirkland TC, and Totem Lake. The 535 would continue running for other places between Bellevue and Lynnwood. The Totem Lake stop would allow people from the north to transfer to it for downtown Kirkland.

      3. Good point. Totem Lake is enough of a jobs center that a route connecting it to downtown Kirkland that doesn’t stop everywhere seems warranted.

        Perhaps on weekends, this route could combine with the 535 by adding a Kirkland TC deviation. While the slowdown of such would unacceptable on weekdays, on weekends, the calculus is different if it allows for half-hourly frequency both Saturday and Sunday, compared to the present state of hourly frequency on Saturday and no service at all on Sunday.

  7. Take out the detour to downtown Kirkland. Add in BRT along 85th/Redmond way connecting Kirkland to Redmond

  8. I wish we could use ST3 money to fix East Link and go with the proper Bellevue Way alignment, as well as full grade-separation through the Spring District. This seems like a more valuable investment for the Eastside than what they’re proposing instead.

    1. East Link is a joke. They chose 112th instead of Bellevue Way because of the cost of crossing downtown Bellevue. Then they decided to deviate into a tunnel under downtown Bellevue anyway, only to pop back out for a station on 112th. Seriously, what are they smoking?

    2. The ship has sailed, but I’m with you entirely.

      Compare the density (and potential density) near the East Main station with Main and Bellevue Way. East Main will likely never amount to much due to 405 and Surrey Downs. Meanwhile, the Main and Bellevue Way area is going straight up with lots of opportunity for additional growth. Bellevue would have been much better served in the long run with a Bellevue Way alignment. It also would have better positioned the line for a ‘downtown’ stop that’s closer to where people actually want to go.

      As for the tunnel, I’m in full support of having a tunnel through downtown Bellevue for reliability reasons. That being said, the initial tunnel proposals had it under 106th or 108th with stations in-line. Even without the line coming up Bellevue way, a tunnel under one of those streets with stations at each end of downtown would have been pretty good. Unfortunately, we ended up with a ‘value engineered’ watered-down tunnel that saves Bellevue from having to contribute much of anything, but has a fraction of the usability that light rail should have offered.

      1. The tunnel not only doesn’t contribute much, it’s actually WORSE than no tunnel. It costs a fortune, adds time to construction, and will slow trains down with sharp turns. It doesn’t even bring people closer to downtown. East Link riders will pay for this with their time for years to come, for what exactly?

    3. 112th is already under construction, unless it’s a separate project that’s blocking the SE 8th St intersection.

  9. Has Sound Transit looked into the possibility of building both the cheap BRT option and the LRT from Totem Lake to Issaquah option?

    It seems like they might address different ridership bases since they go to somewhat different parts of the east side.

    It would be interesting to see if they think the potential ridership numbers compete with each other or if they compliment each other.

    The low density of the east side makes it difficult to serve with high capacity rail effectively. Significant new growth would have to be allowed along any new rail line we could come up with to generate enough ridership to make the level of service worthwhile…

    1. Merits of Bus Rapid Transit as a mode are good to study and compare. But careful about the term “cheap”- which suggests a deliberate decision to make low quality good enough.

      Remember first of all that heavy buses are extremely hard on pavement. Meaning that after a very short time, ride quality really starts to suffer unless the roadway keeps being repaved.

      So cost comparison between BRT and LRV, or streetcars should really start with expense, installation and maintenance, between steel rail and pavement- whether concrete or tarmac.


      1. The “heavy” investment version was shown to have no significant increase in ridership over the normal version. That is what I was referring to.

  10. Does anyone know if this will be a RapidRide line or are they going to create yet another brand of bus? I mean we already have a dozen or so different brands of transit service, I guess one more won’t make much of a difference.

  11. I’ve never quite understood how this gets many people excited beyond Kirkland downtown interests. Snohomish travelers would likely benefit from enhancing 520 linkages to UW Station where they could transfer to light rail. 522 corridor interests would seemingly find the Downtown Kirkland deviation tedious. Admittedly I’m not familiar with the nuances of Kirkland destinations but any 405 BRT investment should seemingly be to first serve regional trips with higher-speed, longer distance service and not deviate from that.

  12. I think this plan has to think about exactly what “caliber” of a line it’s trying to create. Important for choice of mode and vehicle.

    Along a corridor presently used for a trail, and passing close to houses and yards, it’s questionable how “rapid” any service can be. Or needs to be.

    Better concept might be for the line’s purpose to be gracefully serving a series of local stops- really enhancing a bike and pedestrian trail.

    And again, from observations overseas, I also strongly feel that for these operating conditions, electric rail is a lot more comfortable fit than buses of any propulsion, even on guide-ways.

    Lot of argument as to when “street” rail becomes “light.” I think LINK-sized cars are too large.

    Howerver, I think that Skoda, original designer of the SLU and FHS cars, has some trainsets with more sections. Not sure total possible. But to me, this is best type and size of vehicle for the corridor.

    Mark Dublin

  13. Eventually, the East Side will have grade-separated EastLINK/North-South. Meantime, for getting passengers to really “Rapid” transit:

    Local service on the trail could, at certain stops, have stairs and ramps to platforms to freeway stations on I-405.

    And BTW: Mic, google “Sure beats the hell out of smokin’ burlap!” Out of a song which if memory serves, smells worse.

    Meaning both should be outlawed, to make up for unemployment in the narcotics squad. Would also bet that law would have huge support across whole spectrum of hair lengths.

    And clothing styles from prep to tie-dyed to leisure suits to striped with little American flags. And Republican candidates accusing each other of smoking burlap, with only one being proud of it.


  14. I don’t get why we are talking Issaquah to totem lake light rail, I think we should branch East Link instead. I think the winner for the eastside is light rail is a Branching East Link: Issaquah to Northgate via Downtown Bellevue, Redmond to Lynnwood/Everett via Bellevue/Seattle and Kirkland to Everett/Lynnwood via Bellevue/Seattle. It’s normal in large cities for Transit lines to split as they enter the suburbs as past certain points the capacity is not needed, in our case downtown Bellevue. I was looking at the capacity and during peak the Redmond line could have 10 trains per hour, Issaquah 6 trains per hour and Kirkland 6 trains per hour. That would provide 10 minute service to both Issaquah and Kirkland and 6 minute service to Redmond. That would mean during peak east side would have 22 trains per hour on the spine and if 90 second headway are the minimum then there would be 18 slots left for West Seattle trains. If 6 minutes head ways to West Seattle from the spine are used that would leave 8 slots per hour to provide for additional grow capacity if needed

    Connects Kirkland directly with Downtown Bellevue and Seattle
    Connects Issaquah to Downtown Bellevue and Seattle
    Avoids the Mercer Sleuth

    Issaquah’s route to Seattle would go through downtown Bellevue (Would they be excited about this trade off?)
    Capacity from ID to Northgate would be tight.

    Why would this not work?

    1. Because the DSTT designed for 90 sec headways has been down graded to 3 min headways as the minimum because:
      A. Technology has gone backwards since the ’80’s
      B. ST was just bullshitting everyone to get Sound Move passed
      C. Because 90 sec. headways are impossible to achieve. (except where they do it today)

      1. Mic, given the present and projected size and population if its service area, probably comprising one borough in New York City, what is really wrong with three minute headways?

        Maybe reason for the cutback is that technology has now advanced enough to calculate correctly that rather than settle for a 90 second headway, it might be more efficient simply to loop the line at both ends, and couple the cars into a single moving conveyor belt.

        Space the stations correctly, and the whole belt could just stop every 90 seconds, so the passenger experience would be exactly the same, a ride on a 90 second headway.

        Only problem is that automation would have to be mandatory, because human supervisors at the control board or station platforms of this system would get so mesmerized by observing it that they’d have to be drug-tested for BURLAP.

        However, would be the only configuration I’d trust for automatic cars, and at present I-5 rush hour speeds, not very hard to do.


      2. I think the system you are describing is PRT, with cars every few seconds, or perhaps our current klunky KC buses kareening down the kausway at 4 second headways, by drivers still exhauling burlap from the last layover, not to be outdone by untrained, non-union drivers in SOV’s doing 60 at less than 1 sec headways.

    2. Nitpicking, but I don’t really get a Kirkland->Lynnwood line.
      That seems like a 1 seat ride no one would take. It would look good all the way to the UW, but after that it is just duplicating service where it isn’t really needed.

  15. Are there any ridership numbers on how the CKC BRT would help benefit other bus lines? I see the biggest benefit of the CKC isn’t as much the actual BRT route but supporting Seattle & Bellevue access for areas NW & NE of downtown Kirkland that have existing routes that currently use Kirkland streets or 405 & can now shift to the ERC ROW. Especially for buses heading across 520, using the CKC allows them to avoid the 520-405 interchange. For these routes, can the downtown Kirkland detour be skipped? I get (& support) that the local BRT buses will need to service downtown Kirkland, but can’t a ST express bus coming from Juanita or Woodinville to U district or Bellevue skip the detour? The materials that the City of Kirkland provided shows direct access to 520 near the S Kirkland P&R, in addition to the access to Bellevue at Willburton.

    As for Light Rail, would it make sense for ST3 to build BRT on ERC iin Kirland and Light Rail from S Bellevue P&R to Issaquah, and then a future “ST4” would extend the “Issaquah” line north from Willburton along I405 to Totem Lake and beyond? There would be 4 overlapping stops w/ East Link at S Bellevue, Main, downtown Bellevue, and Willburton, supporting the densest area of the Eastside. Issaquah riders would transfer to downtown at S Bellevue, which has quick access to downtown given only 2 stations until ID.

    In this integrated system, there would be zero Light Rail stops between Totem Lake and Willburton – this will ensure rapid access to downtown Bellevue from the north suburbs. Any access to Kirkland (likely to never be the employment center that Bellevue is) will be via BRT, accessed at Willburton from the south & Totem Lake from the north. No need to build Light Rail freeway stations at places like NE 85th b/c you have the CKC operating as the local transit corridor in parallel to the express corridor of 405.

    1. Slight correction – a ST Express bus coming from Juanita would pass through downtown Kirkland regardless. But my question is about having a bus lane on the ERC that goes under 85th & avoids downtown Kirkland, for buses that are just passing through. Is this being explored?

    2. I’m not aware that ST has put together numbers on Metro riders that would use the corridor. Certainly nothing published – I think their modeling process is at a more abstract level that wouldn’t get into figuring ridership on specific Metro routes.

      Just adding up some Kirkland area routes that would sensibly use the corridor for part of their route (255, 234, 235, 311, 277, 540), I get well over 11,000 riders today.

      Potentially, there’s an opportunity to serve non-Kirkland buses along the Bellevue section too which I haven’t tried to count.

      Scale it out to ridership in 2040, and it’s a lot.

    3. Amen, throw the 255 on the ERC busway and also this TotemLake-Kirkland-Bellevue rapid bus. Throw some more bus lines on it, its all about the busway infrastructure (much like the E3 south of Downtown Seattle) and not necessarily a BRT line

  16. What’s the viable busway speed on this corridor? That’s going to influence how operationally viable it is. I would hate to see a deal where bus speeds were restricted because of trail or adjacent neighborhood concerns. There needs to be a minimum speed in the agreement if this goes forward. Otherwise we are wasting capital money that could be put to better use.

    1. Very important point, and it is extremely likely that any buses on the CKC would be speed restricted, for both safety and noise concerns. I would expect most of the corridor to top out around 30-35 mph, with some 25 mph slow zones where the busway is directly behind people’s back yards. Considering that 108th Ave. is pretty free-flowing, I don’t see the point in tearing up the trail when buses that are intended to serve Kirkland can just drive down the adjacent streets.

      1. A similar width corridor along the Interurban Trail has much louder passenger trains doing 79 mph with little fencing along the ROW – so yes, I’m pretty sure your 25-35 number is accurate.

    2. What I fear is that ST goes down the path to design and get environmental clearance to build this corridor. At the 11th hour, based on complaints from neighbors and sound studies, the corridor becomes speed restricted to 30 mph as part of the Record of Decision or some Board edict to ease the complainers. I’m trying to think ahead about how to keep this from happening before something like this happens. The best way is to think of another project alignment.

      1. We could erect continuous monolithic convrete structures along both sides of the trail, just like WSDOT does to their freeway corridors. Environmentally Sound Traffic Sewers (ESTS’s)

  17. Sound Transit estimates travel times of 35 minutes from Totem Lake to downtown Bellevue

    ST Express is 12 minutes flyer stop to TC. The 255 is 25-30 minutes at rush hour from to S. Kirkland. Minus the transfer penalty of 0-10 minutes the 255 to 234/235 gets you there today in 37 minutes; and you’ve got the same transfer penalty plus the walk from Whole Foods Station with Bus Reallystupid Transit.

    This whole concept is so staggeringly stupid on so many levels it’s hard to believe it’s taken seriously enough to throw away money on studies. Oh wait, burning money on studies is part of ST’s business model. Bring us your poor, your masses huddled under bus shelters (with no lights) yearning to read free. We’ll hand you a study; you really don’t want to read it anyway.

    1. BRT goes to Bellevue Transit Center after Wilburton Station. It’s light rail that wouldn’t. Light rail is scheduled at 16 minutes to Wilburton; add five minutes to transfer to East Link for downtown Bellevue, which gets it up to 21 minutes. Also, BRT could possibly be extended to Bellevue Way toward Main Street, which would complement East Link..

  18. I’don’t rather have rail on the Eastside so it can serve as a backup for the BNSF mainline in case an accident happens on that line in the future someday.

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