Transit-Oriented Development at the South Kirkland Park-and_Ride, pictured from the adjacent rail corridor.
Transit-Oriented Development faces the parking garage at South Kirkland, pictured from the adjacent rail corridor (photo by author).

Sound Transit and Kirkland are considering a possible light rail station at the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride. After the draft system plan was released on March 24 without the hoped-for service to Kirkland on the Eastside Rail Corridor, the Eastside Board members wrote the city suggesting study of a short rail extension to South Kirkland. Staff analysis on both sides is underway.

Preliminary analysis envisions extending the planned Issaquah line from Wilburton to South Kirkland along the ERC. The travel time to Bellevue would be 7 minutes. The extension would cost $307 million, serving 2,500 daily riders, perhaps truncating some Metro routes. A 500-stall parking structure would add another $28 million to the capital cost.

The symbolic relevance of the proposed station is obvious. For Sound Transit, it suggests the Issaquah-Totem Lake rail line will be completed in ST4 (the draft plan also includes an environmental study of transit on the corridor). For Kirkland too, it’s an affirmation the city will finally see high-capacity transit in ST4, though rail rather than the BRT which the City expects would be more productive. For homeowners who opposed transit “on the trail” in ST3, it means transit plans were not defeated, only deferred.

Pending a future transit package, how would the spur line fit in the network? After all, this could be the terminus of the rail line for a long time. There are some obvious questions:

Is South Kirkland a viable destination? The planned station mostly targets riders arriving via Metro routes from the north, along with drivers to the expanded parking facility. Current local land use is primarily office with extensive surface parking and little near-term redevelopment in the pipeline. On the other hand, proximity to Bellevue will surely help redevelopment before rail service begins (anticipated at the very end of the ST3 program in 2041). Zoned heights on the Kirkland side of the station max out at 65′. But, with few residential neighbors and an adjacent highway, the path to more aggressive zoning may not be difficult.

Added parking comes with well-understood trade-offs, but replacing some of the existing surface lot with a 500-stall garage would hardly be decisive. Both Kirkland and Bellevue (the P&R is mostly within Bellevue city limits) should be having a land use conversation, even if Sound Transit’s immediate analysis must rely on current PSRC projections.

What does the transit network map around a South Kirkland rail station look like? Most riders to Seattle would prefer a cross-lake bus to UW station in any scenario. Kirkland-Bellevue riders will be served by Rapid Ride (by 2025 per the Metro LRP). Would that be improved upon by having riders exit the bus to a train, with the associated transfer penalty?

A planned elevator and stairs from the Cross-Kirkland Corridor to the Park-and-Ride might serve future transit connections
A planned elevator and stairs from the Cross-Kirkland Corridor to the Park-and-Ride might serve future bus-rail connections (photo by author).

Metro scheduled travel times between South Kirkland and Bellevue are between 9 and 14 minutes. Rapid Ride would improve on that. Link would take just 7 minutes, better for passengers embarking at South Kirkland, but typically no faster for riders who might otherwise have direct service.

The South Kirkland proposal was proffered too late to be considered in Metro’s LRP. It would be helpful if Sound Transit and Metro could draw a map of the bus network feeding the rail station that makes the rider benefits clear.

What about Surrey Downs? Until recently, Sound Transit’s operational assumption had Issaquah-Totem Lake rail intersecting East Link at Wilburton, with a transfer to reach downtown Bellevue. In the March draft plan, Sound Transit interlines Issaquah rail through downtown Bellevue between East Main and Wilburton.

In Bellevue, this re-opened a debate about rail near Surrey Downs that the city had thought over. East Link minimizes neighborhood impacts by placing the rail at a lower grade along 112th (“road-over-rail”). The Issaquah line, because it must cross I-405, would be elevated before merging with the East Link line south of East Main Station. It also means more trains in the area than neighbors anticipated. Others on Bellevue City Council are making an affirmative case for placing Bellevue’s second rail line along the east side of I-405, serving an area that is expected to accommodate much of Bellevue’s future growth.

An east-of-I-405 alignment will be unappealing to riders from Kirkland (or Issaquah) to downtown Bellevue. For riders from further north, a three-seat journey to downtown Bellevue (bus-train-train) would be fatal to the appeal of a South Kirkland rail terminus.

Why not a busway? The discussion about South Kirkland has focused on rail, with Kirkland’s expectations having evolved after the bruising discussions that preceded the draft plan. But a busway from Bellevue to South Kirkland would dramatically ease bus-rail integration challenges in a topographically challenging space. Buses could drive from the ERC into the transit center, continuing into Kirkland on surface streets. This would deliver to riders the benefits of an exclusive corridor within Bellevue whether or not the line is ever extended further to the north.

65 Replies to “Extending Rail to South Kirkland”

  1. Of course, this could be part of the E-W corridor that connects to the Ballard-UW proposed line via SR-520, depending additional studies.

    1. Or it could be the initial funding of the Ballard-UW route, which would no doubt get additional federal funding and would replace/augment a bus that currently gets 7,500 riders/day.

      Why are we even entertaining serving a city that is not giving the cooperation expected when proposing light rail?

    2. +1 on future extension for Ballard 520 rail.

      Or better, build the new lake crossing from downtown Kirkland to Sand Point.

    3. I do wish that Sound Transit had studied a rubber-wheeled train version of this (like Montreal on guidance tracks) but they didn’t.

  2. This is a sensible first step toward LRT on the ERC to Kirkland or Totem Lake. It doesn’t need to be built all at once.

    1. This extension would be useful if it can include an easy way to connect to a 520 bus stop. Then any 520 bus would have a transfer to a frequent 7-minute ride into downtown Bellevue.

      1. I’ve seen a 252/7 driver get off 520 and drop someone at South Kirkland because they got on the wrong bus a few times. Even at peak morning commute it was about a 4 minute detour which isn’t terrible. With some work on the lights and maybe a dedicated bus lane you could make it even quicker.

      2. Even a 4-minute detour is pretty terrible if you’re subjecting every single Redmond->Seattle ride to it, to load/unload an average of 1-2 passengers per trip as a result. And the 4-minute figure is under very optimistic assumptions that the bus will make every light and not get stuck behind another bus loading a wheelchair at the South Kirkland P&R stop.

        As to the utility, it all comes down to where are you trying to go. Seattle->Kirkland? Just take the 255. Seattle->Bellevue? Just take the 550 or 271. Kirkland->Redmond? Just take the 245, or 248. Even those who live at South Kirkland P&R and work in Redmond could still take the 249 to Microsoft (along the one segment of the 249 that is actually in a mostly straight line).

      3. Agreed – a 4 minute detour is with zero traffic and green lights. It’s at least 0.5 miles and 6 traffic lights round trip. Any traffic would make this a disaster. The only way to do this would be to add a 520/405/ERC transfer stop. Not cheap, but it would improve connectivity substantially.

      4. By the time this station opened Redmond->Seattle riders would be split with those going to downtown already using East Link to get to both Downtown Seattle and Bellevue. There would be no reason for a Redmond->Seattle (UW) bus to exit 520. The buses that would truncate would be routes coming from the north that swing across 520 to downtown. This assumes that you’d have direct service from South Kirkland to downtown Seattle of course, if not then no it would be silly to get on for a few stops then transfer again.

        And the 4 minutes was hitting the light at the bottom of the hills both ways. And with a very sweet elderly lady on the wrong bus who wasn’t very quick.

        The 255 is a disaster north of 85th where most people in Kirkland now live. Metro recognizes this and keeps adding additional trips that start/stop downtown Kirkland or further down the route. They plan to massively revamp it in the LRP.

      5. It all depends on traffic. If 520 is backed up past the 405 ramps, it’s going to take a long time. In any case, 520 buses will remain in service even when East Link opens. Overlake to UW would be a 40 minute ride on Link. On a bus with the new HOV lanes over the 520 bridge, it would be 20 minutes (albeit with the possibility of bad traffic).

        The point of a 520 transfer station would be to allow riders on N-S lines (e.g., 405 BRT, CKC BRT) to transfer to E-W lines (520 bus service). It would eliminate the need for routes like the 311 while providing much better connectivity across the region. East Link won’t help here, except via a transfer at Bellevue, which if you’re going to UW will still take a long time.

      6. I think any restructuring that severed the connection between downtown Kirkland and Seattle, forcing a connection at South Kirkland P&R would be a big mistake. It would significantly make Kirkland harder to reach by transit, and result in many existing route 255 users who catch the bus by their home driving to the P&R instead. If the P&R fills up at 7:30 today, it would fill up before 6:30 if the 255 didn’t go to downtown Kirkland.

        On the other hand, for the north section of the 255, the route is so long and windy that it’s not very useful anyway. Long-term, I think the right thing to do is a restructure where the 255 goes away, but the 540 gets promoted to frequent, all-day, seven-day-a-week service to replace it (plus some additional milk runs to cover the north section). There would be a transfer to U-link to get downtown, but the saved frequency could be enough to get a bus for every train, or at least every other train connecting the UW Station to downtown Kirkland. I’d be weary about doing it now, with WSDOT getting ready to tear up Montlake with heavy construction, but when all the construction is done, the frequency improvements would be very nice, and the time penalty for downtown travel, minimal.

  3. I think the only useful service pattern here would be to have 3 lines on the Eastside:

    1. Ballard Kirkland (this ~doubles the frequency in the new tunnel)
    2. Lynnwood Redmond (this would mean 2 routes on I-90, but if both were at 6 min headways at max that should be fine)
    3. Issaquah S. Bellevue spur (this gives Issaquah riders an easy transfer to most all destinations on a frequent backbone of service that are lines 1 and 2)

    The only challenge here is crossing the Slough and 405 – which has been demonstrated a thousand times to be viable, just difficult.

    This would allow all downtown bound riders from Kirkland to use rail. A few people have mentioned that a train via I-90 is slower than a bus via 520 but that’s not really true. A 1 seat train to international district is faster than a 1 seat bus ride – not to mention LQA or Ballard are now new one-seat rides.

  4. I disagree with your argument for several reasons.

    First of all, Kirkland had their chance to get light rail and they squandered it. Kirkland light rail was all but certain to be in the draft plan before Sound Transit was presented with, on one side, a vocal anti transit group of private citizens, and on the other side, a city council trying to play hardball. In the end, no one was asking for light rail (“Save our trail” people said no transit whatsoever, city council said BRT but no light rail) so Sound Transit naturally took the path of least resistance: a BRT(ish) freeway station in Kirkland. The way I see it, you’re the only one actually asking for light rail.

    Second, your article presents little to no evidence to support spending a half billion dollars on Kirkland. You say that for $307 million we could serve 2,500 riders. That works out to about $125,000 per rider. Compare that to Ballard-DT Seattle, which costs about $33,000 per rider (~$5 billion / 150,000 riders). Moreover, this line doesn’t actually serve any development, just a park and ride. Your only argument about the utility of this specific station location is a) you could maybe truncate some metro lines there and b) it has symbolic value. I’m sorry, but symbolic value doesn’t justify spending $300 million taxpayer dollars and I for one would much rather spend that money on a line that at least goes somewhere developed.

    Finally, you mention in the article that metro plans to serve the Kirkland-Bellevue corridor with a Rapid Ride that would only take somewhere around 10 minutes. This would be significantly cheaper than a Link line, and I don’t see the point of spending $300 million to make the trip 3 minutes faster.

    Overall, I just don’t see the point of spending ST3 dollars on a city that’s vocally anti mass transit and really don’t have the ridership to justify such a line anyway. Sound Transit should reward cities the cooperate with light rail lines, and building a line out to Kirkland after all the sh*t Kirkland’s thrown at Sound Transit would be simply rewarding bad behavior.

    1. (“Save our trail” people said no transit whatsoever, city council said BRT but no light rail) so Sound Transit naturally took the path of least resistance: a BRT(ish) freeway station in Kirkland.”

      It took the path of nothing. 405 BRT was going ahead anyway because of Bellevue, Bothell, Lynnwood, Renton, and Burien, so naturally it had to stop at 85th or 70th rather than just buzzing through; oh and also there’s Redmond.

      1. Exactly. Kirkland came up with a plan that made a lot of sense. It was clearly the most cost effective plan for the east side, if not all of ST3 (saving more people more time for less money). But ST rejected it, for whatever reason, and went ahead with a plan gives BRT a bad name (and would give light rail a bad name if proposed for the same area).

      2. Ross,

        ST cannot implement the “Open BRT” plan that the Kirkland City Council produced. That is local bus service. Metro could do so, but Metro doesn’t have the capital resources to build a busway in the CKC to Google.

        ST could stretch its mandate to provide bus service in a regional corridor which is not yet busy enough for rail to build a BRT “Eastside Spine” along the CKC to Totem Lake and then welcome Metro to use the busway. But it can’t provide bus service along the arterials in Juanita and the southern parts of Kenmore and Bothell, even if it’s RapidRide-ish “BRT”. Neither is a “regional center”.

      3. Okay then, Anandakos, ST could build the busway, run service on it from Totem Lake – Bellevue and Woodinville – Totem Lake – Seattle (the orange and green lines in this diagram), and let Metro use the busway for the Juanita line. Or, if you want to run the Woodinville line on arterials, Metro could run that too. (Though I don’t think you’d need to – Woodinville is enough of a regional growth center for the 522 to go there.)

        Either way, the region wins.

      4. William,

        Of course it could; that’s exactly what I said but amplified to include the Woodinville-Downtown Seattle service, which is a certain winner. So Why are you bristling at me?

        ST clearly doesn’t want another Surrey Downs kerfuffle, and probably doesn’t trust the Kirkland City Council to tell the Save Our Trail’ers to stuff it. It would be great if ST and Metro could come up with some “joint” plan along those lines. But there’s probably not enough time and too many bureaucratic hurdles to jump to pull it off for this November’s vote.

    2. There are actually a lot of people in Kirkland who highly support LRT or BRT on the corridor QARider. I’m one of them and several of us have spoken at council meetings in front of the glaring SOT folks and have been heavily engaged with the council members.

      BRT or LRT on the CKC through Kirkland in any form is a “starter” line. That starter aspect and possibilities like eventually intersecting SR-522 service is something that has been ignored by many. The station to South Kirkland is just that, a starter to going further north. It’s certainly not ridership levels at the level of Seattle proper and it may still not be worth the investment in ST3, but it may be one of the better “long term plays” for the eastside in ST3.

      The incredibly wasteful I405 BRT project ($300M in Kirkland for less than 1000 riders a day gain) is largely duplicative of the existing express bus service and is certainly not going to gain us much long term. I’d much rather see this station and the long term possibilities it opens up than what is currently planned.

  5. There’s blame to go all around for Kirkland getting skipped, including ST. 108th Ave or Lake Wash Blvd are both viable routes for a Tacoma-Link style streetcar (or even a higher-speed elevated line) to get to downtown Kirkland. The Save Our Trail group would not have objected since it doesn’t use the old rail right of way.

    1. Neither street works. Both 108th and Lake Wash Blvd have long sections with no space for a dedicated streetcar lane. Best you can do is remove the center turn lane, which would either cause backups every time someone wants to turn left, or require vehicle access to the streetcar lane, which would cause problems for the streetcar. And that still leaves you with a single track and no real space to make double tracks or stations. SOT won’t protest only because some other group will.

      1. Yep neither street would work.

        108th passes through the neighborhoods where SOT draws a significant amount of it’s support. They would object. Maybe under a different name but it would be a lot of the same people. :-)One of Kirkland’s challenges is that the bulk of the city lives north of 85th and must pass through the south of the city to get to their jobs. The people in the south of the city want to steer those trips over to the 405 corridor.

      2. Well, I call nonsense on that. In a couple years, construction for the Tacoma Link extension will start on MLK Way, and there isn’t room on the street that exists for a streetcar there either. Obviously you would rebuild the street as part of any such project, as will happen with MLK and as would happen on 108th or Lk Wash. And, the area around MLK is way more constrained than the mostly single-family around 108th or Lk Wash.

        While grades could very well rule out a 108th alignment, it wouldn’t for Lake Washington Blvd.

      3. A significant part of the blvd is two lanes with no turn lane + 2 well used bike lanes and parking on both sides and a very small sidewalk on the east side, so very little room. Certainly some of those people would no doubt dispose of their cars if you built transit for them, but many would not be able to because it’s the eastside.. In addition the bike lanes would need to remain. This is very very expensive property if you had to do any imminent domain. The Blvd also suffers from having the lake on one side eliminating 1/2 of your walk shed right there in an area already not particularly dense except up close to downtown Kirkland and poor connectivity into downtown being dumped into an area with no room at all for dedicated transit lanes (large buildings on both sides).

      4. An in the areas where there are no parking lanes, you have a steep hill on one side (retaining walls along most the way) and a steep drop on the other side. Trying to widen it would extremely expensive even if property were cheap.

      5. Obviously the practical solution, the solution you choose if you’re serious about getting transit built, can’t spare any space on the ground, and don’t have the money or time to tunnel, is an elevated structure over the road.

        But it’s not for us. It’s only for cities that actually want to solve their problems.

      6. Honestly, it would be easier and cheaper to expand 108th than put an elevated structure above it. I’m pretty sure there is space over most of the length – the only question is how much it would cost. But you’d need property acquisition for elevated anyway, plus you need to build the structure, so not cheap either. Regardless, as Kyle pointed out, the SOT people will doubtless come up with the SOA group (as Mike suggested) and claim their views are being infringed on. Good luck dealing with that crowd.

        As for Lake Washington Blvd, it would probably be cheaper to tunnel than dealing with the lawsuits over property values losses due to loss of views (and those people would actually have a legitimate complaint since that’s why those properties cost so much).

      7. A surface line on Lk Wash Blvd would not obstruct views any more than cars already do, and would probably raise property values rather than lower them.

      8. Donde, sure a surface line won’t obstruct views. But please tell me where you would put it? For example, near where Lake Wash Blvd and NE 52nd St intersect, you’d need to add at least one lane for a streetcar, probably more like 1.5-2. How much do you think it’ll cost to buy up a chunk of the hillside, re-do the whole road and stabilize both hill-sides (non-trivial I might add), add tracks, etc… And for how many riders? The nice thing about the ERC is that the width of the ROW is relatively level (no 50 foot drop off on one side). And while the ERC doesn’t serve places like DT Kirkland directly, Lake Wash Blvd would not be much better at serving everywhere Kirkland needs either (e.g. Houghton, Google) and the walk shed for large chunks of it is very narrow due to the steep hill-side.

      9. Well, points taken, Lk Wash would have engineering difficulties. And the walkshed issues is why I see 108th as a better route, even better than the eastside rail corridor. If ST is gonna do this, they should study all three corridors, to see how much of a problem these grade issues really are.

  6. South Kirkland P&R does not need another 500 stalls on top of what it already has. In practice, all it’s going to do is switch people from riding buses from to destination through South Kirkland P&R towards driving to South Kirkland P&R and catching the bus or train there. And, the $28 million doesn’t even buy a marginal increase of 500 stalls. If a 500-stall garage replaces a 100-stall surface lot, that’s $28 million for 400 additional parking spaces, a cost of $70,000 per space.

    1. It might allow Save Our Trails to eat their cake and have it too. They get a rural-like trail next to their million-dollar house and can drive their Porsche just one mile to the P&R and get on the train.

      ST4 is not a realistic problem in their generation because the earliest it could be voted on is 2020. That’s if people are so excited about North Link opening next year and East Link after that and all these wonderful ST3 extensions that they can’t wait to pass ST4 in the next presidential election. I assume RossB and Mic won’t be campaigning for it. Some other transit-fan dominoes might fall by then too. But wait, there’s more. Unless the legislature grants another tax increase for ST4, spending can’t start until 2041 when the ST3 spending ends. If they start in 2041 they won’t finish until the 2050s. By that time a person who’s 30 now will be 65, and their children will be grown and out of the house, and they might sell their mansion and move elsewhere for retirement. Some place with less likelyhood of light rail on their trails, such as Issaquah. But if spending doesn’t start until 2041, is it worth voting on it in 2020? Or should we wait until 2036?

  7. I’m discouraged about the article comment about Surrey Downs. Too many trains? That would have huge restrictions on any expansion.

    1. Would neighbors complain if the Issaquah line joined East Link south of East Main Station and went into Seattle instead?

  8. On the one hand you have to feel for the Kirkland City Council.

    Early on, all signs were pointing towards a smaller package. In this scenario they went in and funded a BRT study to try and maximize the utility.

    However once the ST Board began looking at ‘Going Big’ on a 25 year package, the landscape changed. This meant that Seattle would be getting two Link lines. In this scenario there was no way an Eastside BRT network would work. Could you imagine the front page of the Seattle Times the next morning: “Sound Transit to build two Light Rail lines in Seattle, Eastside to get more buses”

    Which gets to a second issue. No one over on the Eastside was out educating people and organizing for BRT. A wonk can tell people 100 times that what they really want is more buses, but unless you actually convince them to want it you’ll go no where. It’s easier to convince city staff on the finer points of transit planning using data and links to Jarrett Walker but in order to shift hearts and minds of voters you need a serious ground game. That never happened so there was never any support on the ground for buses on the trail. Instead there was only a huge push against it. Look at all the early Save our Trail signs and images, it’s always ‘buses on the trail’ they are against:
    http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52a209abe4b063caf613fb69/t/571ea3761d07c0c2b479d5d9/1461625736845/?format=750w
    http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52a209abe4b063caf613fb69/t/56ebfe35ab48de1f8fdbb463/1458306659270/?format=750w

    So once the Kirkland City Council drew their line in sand saying BRT or go away, ST was left with no choice but to go away.

    Shame really. Had the Council been willing to work with ST, it is likely some version of Zach’s Grand Bargain would be in ST3. Instead it will need to wait until ST4.
    https://seattletransitblog.com/2016/03/14/a-grand-bargain-for-kirkland-in-st3/

    1. “Early on, all signs were pointing towards a smaller package. In this scenario they went in and funded a BRT study to try and maximize the utility. However once the ST Board began looking at ‘Going Big’ on a 25 year package, the landscape changed”

      The Kirkland City Council could have changed with it. It didn’t need its own city study on light rail because ST already has a study. But the city’s reason for sticking with BRT seems to be different. It’s that BRT would have less impact on the corridor’s natural setting, trail use, and walking across the corridor. And the rider/cost ratio.

      1. “It’s that BRT would have less impact on the corridor’s natural setting, trail use, and walking across the corridor.”

        That’s in the council’s opinion, of course. In my opinion two streetcar-looking tracks are less obtrusive or jarring than two lanes of asphalt. There’s asphalt roads all around and I’m trying to get away from them when I’m on the trail.

      2. Also the fact that LRT on the ERC wouldn’t serve DT Kirkland or Juanita, two of the areas that really need to be served. Whereas BRT could serve both areas.

      3. “In my opinion two streetcar-looking tracks are less obtrusive or jarring than two lanes of asphalt.”

        They could have made a guided busway like the Cambridgeshire one. Two narrow strips of concrete with grass growing between them – you could probably even color them brown or green if you wanted to hide them even more.

  9. Could someone explain to me the point of this spur? S. Kirkland P&R is situated in an out of the way spot with not much room for development. Sure, there’s some TOD stuff there now, but you’re not going to be building anything at the scale of even Totem Lake in that area.

    Redmond-Seattle buses don’t stop there anyway because it too much of a diversion and most peak buses are full. As the article points out, service to Bellevue is only a few minutes slower via bus in large part because there’s not much traffic to Bellevue from that area. Seattle would probably be faster via the 252 anyway since it can go into the HOV lane and (will be able to take) take HOV all the way to Montlake. So what do we gain by adding by spending all this money for a simple spur?

    1. Unfortunately the best explanation is political and not operational. Kirkland is trying to save their trail but provide some project to keep them looking like they are getting something in ST3.

    2. If they want some project to keep them looking like they’re getting something in ST3, they can focus on that 85th interchange and the transit lanes on 85th.

      1. South Kirkland – $307M – 2500 riders
        85th Street BRT – $300M – <1000 riders

        The city recognized in the April council meeting that the 85th street interchange is a boondoggle. It doesn't even reconfigure the interchange away from the dangerous and wasteful cloverleaf, it just tightens the turns and sticks a station in the middle.

      2. The question of whether any of this creates a perception that there is “something for Kirkland” in the plan is more a problem for Sound Transit than for Kirkland. It’s not a Kirkland ballot measure.

        The city is trying to get a useful outcome out of a limited menu. As Kyle S’ numbers make clear, it’s all small-bore stuff with niche audiences. Whether all of it together adds up to something that’ll win votes locally is a political judgment for the Board. But the city is sticking with the process and working with regional partners and the Board.

        One might not want to start from here. But everything else the city advocated for is, apparently, off the table.

      3. I think it makes more sense for ST to wait for WSDOT to have the money to put in a proper interchange there. An SPUI would be a lot safer and more effective than the cloverleaf, and you know it’s in their long term plans: cloverleaves are an endangered species. Why spend millions putting in stops that’ll make a bad situation worse when it’s all going to be torn out soon?

      4. I completely agree. Plus it would allow us to put in transit specific exits for service to downtown effectively which would probably boost ridership more than the station itself.

        However given the drama up at SR522 with the choke point there now I think the big spend on 405 north of 520 in the next decade will become rebuilding that SR522 interchange to allow more through lanes and better transit connections to 160th and the Brickyard PR. The WSDOT funded rebuild on 85th is DOA for a long time. :-(

      5. @Kyle: I think you’re being very optimistic that WSDOT will include upgrades to Brickyard P&R access as part of a 522 interchange rebuild. At best we might get better access to Bothell/UW Bothell via the 195th St exit, but they just rebuilt the northbound ramps to the interchange from Brickyard so I don’t see them rebuilding that if they can avoid it. I doubt lumping in transit access will happen unless ST pays for it.

      6. Probably. :-) I am mostly envisioning the badly needed additional hill climb and merge lanes going up to the Brickyard on the hill frankly. Nothing fancy. :-) About the most I would do is consider inline ramps into the HOT lanes going South. I know from a chat with a 311 driver that he struggles at times with that merge. But when the 132nd interchange is built it maybe more efficient (and safer) to have shoulder running down to Kingsgate for the 311 or it’s successor and then get into the HOT lanes there.

      7. For those who say that Kirkland would be getting an LRT stop, would be technically incorrect. The stop would be on the Bellevue side of the P&R. But residents of south Kirkland would be getting an even bigger parking garage for more people (2500… really?) to drive through their neighborhood, to get to.

      8. @KirklandFamilyMan. IIRC, there is about 300′ of rail corridor west of 108th Ave that is within the City of Bellevue (but owned by Kirkland). So a 400′ platform would straddle the city line unless they went for a more ambitious redesign.

        Most riders will get there by bus or by some means other than driving. 500 spots, maybe net 400 after losing the surface spots, and many of those claimed by people heading for a cross-lake bus, isn’t going to be material for LRT ridership. Probably not material for auto traffic either, though I’d worry some about bus-car conflicts at the bus loop.

      9. Let’s not forget that Metro’s Long-Range Plan has the 311 deleted and replaced by 405 BRT and 522 BRT connecting to 145th St Station.

      10. I’m picturing this in the evening (same problem in the morning but in reverse):
        1) Light rail train from Bellevue crosses 108th at-grade
        2) Unloads a bunch of riders walk south into the P&R for their buses and cars
        3) 80% of these people exit the P&R turning left to head north on 108th where.. the at-grade crossing is…

        Seems like a bit of a difficult situation. But maybe they can go under 108th?

      11. Re the 522 interchange: Maybe they will need to build direct access ramps for brickyard if they add hov ramps from 522. If they don’t add those ramps (or don’t build support for them into the plans), there won’t be another chance for who knows how long. And if they add the ramps, buses will need ramps to brickyard to make that stop. So maybe we can hope :)

        Re the 311: I have a feeling there will be many disgruntled riders if the 311 dissappears. 522 is probably the same time (with Link) from Woodinville. But from Kingsgate and Brickyard it would take substantially longer to go north to the 522 or south to East Link. And the 311 is a popular bus. It’s always packed when I’m on it (a few seats left at best).

      12. Ron,

        SPUI’s are horrible for pedestrians, often requiring three light cycles to cross if one minds the walk lights. They are also serious impediments to the flow of traffic on the arterial being interchanged with the freeway, especially when compared to a no stops cloverleaf.

        Further, a SPUI would embargo HOV ramps there.

        Please don’t hope for a SPUI at NE 85 St.

      13. SPUI’s are horrible for pedestrians… also serious impediments to the flow of traffic on the arterial .. when compared to a no stops cloverleaf.

        Further, a SPUI would embargo HOV ramps there.

        I have to disagree. A cloverleaf has no signalized crossing and as such unlikely to have sidewalks or marked crosswalks (i.e. NE85th today). But the fact is there is virtually zero reason for pedestrian traffic through that intersection and unlikely there ever will be. However, strong bike riders might use it and a SPI is vastly superior to a cloverleaf.

        Also, we are not talking about a no stop cloverleaf at rush hour. We’re comparing a SPI with a clogged arterial that alternates stop and go traffic or has people from the exit trying to merge from almost a dead stop into bumper to bumper traffic that EB is prone to stop suddenly for a light just to the east. I envision that light going away with a SPI. With the remaining lights on NE85th I’m sure it would improve traffic flow even if people felt like they were being held up by the SPI.

        Finally, I don’t buy into the idea that it can’t be done with HOV direct access. NE 85th is four lanes and the exits are a single lane. HOV traffic can be given the green to use the inside lane and the GP traffic can be directed into the right/outside lane using road markings and the Arrow/red-X lights already part of the SPI design. Traffic volume is beyond what a cloverleaf can handle and it’s sure to increase substantially over the next 10-20 years so the choice is SPI or conventional double diamond which is proven to be inferior in capacity and has an even larger footprint than a SPI.

      14. Instead of a SPUI, you build a Sproundabout – a single roundabout centered over the freeway. Way better for bikes and peds, less delay for everyone, and able to handle the same amount of traffic at similar cost.

      15. Things would be easy if NE 85th went over 405. A simple flyer stop like Totem Lake could be built. But the geography precludes it. NE 85th is already massively raised west of 405. It goes over the old ERC which follows the natural grade without you even noticing it’s down there. To the west there would also be huge regrade issues getting the roadway back down. The only way it could be done would be to lower 405 which isn’t an engineering challenge but the expense and disruption of trying to do that and keep the freeway open pretty much precludes it as a viable option.

        DT Kirkland is nestled between the lake and a cliff. That’s one reason it will never be served by rail and why the city has dubbed Totem Lake as it’s “next DT Bellevue”.

  10. Anyone who knows the South Kirkland P&R area knows there is no substantial redevelopment potential. Don’t let your love of trains compromise your judgement.

  11. It feels like we are in the “Christmas last-minute shopping dash” phase of ST3. Can’t we just put “gift certificates” in ST3 rather than rush an unvetted project this expensive that may be a white elephant gift?

  12. This proposal is reminder of why Taxpayer Originated Development at a poorly sited P&R is an albatross the system is doomed to wear around it’s neck forever.

  13. Sound Transit to run their 555 and 556 lines (Issaquah to Northgate) from NE 10th Street up 112th Avenue/108th Avenue to the South Kirkland Park and Ride and then onto 520 instead of their current access up I405 to 520. This would help to increase transit to the TOD and bring people to the Yarrow Bay Business District from Issaquah and North Seattle/Northgate areas. It would also serve to get TOD passengers directly to the Bellevue Transit Center, more direct connection to downtown Bellevue, and southbound passengers on to the east side of 405, without the multi-million dollar cost.

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