RapidRide in Bellevue (image: Shane in the City/flickr)

Earlier this year, Metro started planning for the Kirkland-Bellevue-Eastgate RapidRide, set to open in 2025. An early question was where to locate the northern terminus. Metro’s Long Range Plan developed in 2016 includes a representative alignment connecting downtown Kirkland to Totem Lake via Market St. Since then, the North Eastside Mobility Plan (NEMP) outreach revealed a stronger demand for east-west connections. As a result, the March 2020 service change will create a new Metro 250 route with Bellevue-Kirkland buses continuing to Redmond.

Metro’s preliminary analysis appears to have suggested Redmond would be a better end point for RapidRide, a finding consistent with the recent analysis for the North Eastside restructure. After urging from the City of Kirkland, however, they are ending work on the Redmond alternative and focusing only on options serving Totem Lake.

At a meeting of Kirkland’s Transportation Commission last Wednesday, Metro staff conceded there were “some advantages” to the Redmond connection. The materials shared include a list of technical analysis criteria without detailing how any of the alternatives performed. The Redmond endpoint, they said, would be further studied only if it provided “distinct advantages”. In the end, Metro argues that the “overall difference between options is not large enough to warrant shifting from Metro Connects terminus in Totem Lake”.

The upshot is no further staff work on the Redmond RapidRide option. When Metro engages with the community this fall, bus riders will be asked to consider only alternative paths to Totem Lake. Ironically, the intent to avoid duplication with Metro 255 means riders on Market St and Juanita risk losing direct service to Seattle if an overlapping path is chosen.

The representative alignment from the Metro Connects map (Image: Metro)

Kirkland views Totem Lake as the locus of future development in the city, even though transit ridership in the neighborhood remains stubbornly light. The Transportation Commission concluded RapidRide to Totem Lake was preferable because “it provided better connections for the Kirkland community”. Some commissioners were concerned with “equity” implications of more service to Redmond over Totem Lake when Redmond has planned light rail stations.

These are parochial concerns not shared by local bus riders who want access to many places, not just another option for travel to Totem Lake. If one includes I-405 BRT, future bus riders might have three well-served bus routes from downtown Kirkland to Totem Lake.

Kirkland staff analysis in June described three options.

  • Option 1 is the Metro Connections’ representative alignment. RapidRide buses continue north on Market St from downtown Kirkland to Juanita and onwards to Totem Lake via NE 124th St. This would overlap the current Metro 255 route, and Kirkland staff admit it means the 255 would be truncated at downtown Kirkland. That would be wildly unpopular, but the alternative is an extraordinary amount of overlapping service in an area not productive enough to support so many buses.
  • Option 2 would mimic the Metro 250 route recently approved by the County Council, following Central Way and NE 85th from Kirkland to Redmond. It connects Kirkland to all of the NE 85th St corridor, and to fast-growing downtown Redmond. It would connect I-405 BRT with a larger east-west audience, allowing many more riders to access the BRT station with frequent bus service.
  • Option 3 would also connect downtown Kirkland to Totem Lake, but via NE 85th St and 124th Ave NE in the North Rose Hill neighborhood. It would also connect to I-405 BRT at NE 85th, but for a narrower audience than the Redmond option. It would be relatively fast and reliable, as 124th Ave was recently widened. But its main purpose seems to be finding a path to Totem Lake that doesn’t overlap so obviously with 255. With fewer significant destinations, ridership is likely to be lower.

A map in the Kirkland staff analysis (option 1 on page 5) suggests one way out. If RapidRide operates on Market St, Metro 255 could be revised to serve NE 85th St to Redmond.

Similar trade-offs will arise in South Kirkland. The Metro Connects map envisions RapidRide following the current 234/235 pathway on State St and Lakeview to Lake Washington Blvd. This avoids an overlap with Metro 255 service. If the RapidRide shifts to 6th St/108th Ave as some in Kirkland want, Metro 255 will likely shift the other way to serve the State/Lakeview path.

At the suggestion of the City of Bellevue, Metro is also evaluating running buses on 120th Ave in Bel-Red as a higher density corridor than the previously assumed 116th Ave.

A helpful metric for any prospective bus route is land use along the corridor served. Helpfully, Kirkland staff have analyzed this, and it’s not close. Here’s the mix of anticipated land uses along the three alternatives, with Option 2, the Redmond corridor, serving more commercial and higher density residential destinations. The Totem Lake alternatives, 1 & 3, predominantly operate in low density single family neighborhoods.

The decision to reject a Redmond connection before allowing bus riders to have a say is difficult to explain on the merits (which we reviewed in this earlier post). After all, the NEMP outreach heard from thousands of riders, and heard strong demand for improving the east-west connection. It’s scarcely three weeks since Metro recommended, and the County Council approved, continuing Bellevue-Kirkland buses to Redmond in 2020. Already, Metro is taking that option off the table for Bellevue-Kirkland buses after 2025.

The next steps are a briefing to the Kirkland City Council on August 7, with ongoing staff work and public outreach in the Fall. The $90 million project is already about 50% funded and federal grant applications are anticipated in 2020.

Frequent Transit Network in Kirkland in 2024, one year before RapidRide opens. (Map by author)

48 Replies to “Under pressure from Kirkland, Metro to drop proposal for RapidRide to Redmond”

  1. I would take the NEMP outreach numbers with a pinch of salt. About 2000 residential units are currently being built in Totem Lake. Those future residents may have a different take on the Rapidride routing which has not been documented in the NEMP numbers.
    Not saying that Totem Lake is the best option but any decision should not be based on the NEMP numbers.

  2. I’m kinda torn between option 2 and option 3, leaning toward 3. The nice thing about 2 is it is clearly superior in land use. It will be an important connection with Stride as well, and is already getting frequent service. Though it’s weird that it doesn’t go to Bear Creek P&R. The new 250 is planned to be frequent midday up to Bear Creek P&R, and every 30 minutes beyond that on Avondale Road. Separating those routes would simplify service. Big disadvantage is that it’s not a grid route, and it wouldn’t make sense to ride it from end to end (using that as a simple heuristic for straightness) or even from Bellevue to Redmond maybe.

    What I like about 3 is that it’s similar to today’s 235, and with Totem Lake being a growing destination, having direct buses to Seattle and Bellevue is a big plus. It would still connect DT Kirkland to Stride well, with the 250 still available for Redmond-bound riders. The double frequent Stride to DT Kirkland connection will be key. The redundancy with Stride doesn’t really bother me. That actually sounds like a complaint that this RapidRide will be too fast, which seems like a good problem to have. And it’s important to remember that Stride only has a fake downtown Kirkland stop, so RapidRide might take some riders from Stride at Totem Lake by actually taking them where they are going.

  3. Transit ridership at Totem Lake remains stubbornly low because the transit sucks, but the proposed RapidRide doesn’t really fix it.

    Pretty much anywhere you’re trying to fix it’s not helpful. Downtown Kirkland, it’s no improvement over the 255, and still slower than a bicycle ride down the CKC. Downtown Bellevue, the STRIDE down 405 will be much faster. Seattle still requires a 45 minute slog on the 255, just to get to Link at UW station. Downtown Redmond remains unreachable in less than an hour, except for the weekday daytime period. Bothell remains a forced transfer between two Sound Transit routes. At least Microsoft will have a commuter bus in the form of the 225, but RapidRide does nothing to improve this.

    Overall, though, I think the biggest transit weakness for Totem Lake is the lack of an all-day, 7-day-a-week express bus down 405/520 to at least UW station. Seattle is still the activity center of the region, and that’s where people need to be able to get to. The bus doesn’t need to go all the way downtown like the 252 and 257 do, but does need to get through Kirkland in less than 40 minutes. If the only transit option to avoid this is to drive to South Kirkland P&R to catch the same bus that serves your house further down the line, then you need a car to live there. Once you have the car, free parking everywhere means there’s no point in bothering with the bus to get to anywhere except Seattle.

    1. FWIW from Kingsgate PR and north catching a 532/535 and transferring to 550 will routinely beat the 255 to downtown, significantly so if the transfers line up really well. When the 550 was in the tunnel that transfer would beat the 252/257/311 @ times also, especially on bad traffic days. This will only improve once East Link opens.

      1. Yeah, but a bus like the one asdf2 mentioned (Totem Lake to the UW) would likely beat the other combination to get downtown. When Link gets to Bellevue it would probably be a wash for getting downtown, but the bus that asdf2 proposed would be much faster for getting to the UW.

        The basic problem is that the 255 is just too slow for getting from Totem Lake to the UW.

      2. For sure, always wondered if the 255 should/can be split into a 254 & 255. 254 follows express routing outbound to Kingsgate PR and local in bound with the 255 being the reverse. Unfortunately that is not exactly intuitive to casual riders but it would allow things such as riders on 124th’s apartments an express ride to downtown.

      3. The 255 is a basket case. It’s tolerable between downtown Kirkland and Seattle, but north of downtown Kirkland to Seattle takes too much time, as both asdf2 and RossB note. Metro is already truncating it at Totem Lake, so restructuring it at downtown Kirkland makes sense. What we need is (A) something express from Totem Lake to Seattle, and (B) something local from Totem Lake to Market Street and Kirkland. Other routes like the 255 have already been restructured or should be restructured. Saying we should preserve the 255 while not addressing how bad it is between north Kirkland and Seattle amounts to keeping a bad status quo.

    2. Totem Lake has the routes 235, 236, 238, 243, 244, 252, 255, 257, 277, 424, 532, 535 and 930. How does the transit suck?

      1. Just because it has many routes doesn’t mean that they are any good. The 236 & 238 look like a toddler scribbled on a map. You wouldn’t want to ride them for more than a mile. The 311, 252, and 257 are really good *if* they’re running when you need them (they are peak only Seattle expresses) and the 981 is a special Mercer Island school route that only has one trip per day, early in the morning.

      2. That chart shows why population density is only half the picture. The empty space in Totem Lake must be the commercial-only buildings, and that’s where people ride transit to. It’s not a “low-density area”; it’s a failure to count job density as the other end of people’s trips. A low-density area is characterized by a small number of residents and jobs, like 108th south of 68th, or West Lake Sammamish Parkway, or the part of southeast Bellevue where Ride 2 operates.

        Sam is actually making the opposite mistake of King County. He’s saying jobs don’t count toward density and being must-serve by transit. King County’s criteria for regional growth centers is a minimum amount of zoned job capacity. Totem Lake and the other suburban growth centers have a high jobs:housing ratio, which makes them must-serve by Link or other high-capacity transit. Ballard-Fremont and Lake City have a more even balance of housing to jobs, which means they don’t meet the jobs threshold, and that’s why they’re not considered regional growth centers or must-serve by Link. Clearly the criteria need to be revised or Ballard-Fremont and Lake City given an exception, and it should have been done in the 1990s when it could have affected ST1 and ST2 planning. The other problem is, a balance of housing and jobs mean more people can both live and work in the neighborhood, whereas a job-heavy center means everybody has to commute from longer distances. Mistake. Urban villages should be as self-contained as possible, like the tens of thousands of UW students and people who both live and work/school in the U-District and only leave it once or twice a month.

        Mike, Sam Fact Checker.

      3. You have to be careful with statistical data, especially when you are dealing with really big census blocks.

        The census data is a bit out of date, both in terms of the numbers as well as how they draw the census blocks. The census block that includes Totem Lake is huge, and includes the park. If you separate it out into smaller sections, then the area closest to the freeway station would have good population density. The same is true for the other directions as well (although they don’t have the growth). Generally speaking, the apartments and condos are closer to the freeway station. The only exception is the northeast area, but that is (as Mike pointed out) a major employment area.

      4. This is right. To amplify, the part of Totem Lake with real employment density is the hospital area. That’s also the part with a really great direct connection to Bellevue once I-405 BRT opens – direct service at highway speeds in the HOT lane. RapidRide doesn’t add anything for that quadrant.

        The SE quadrant on the other hand is auto dealerships and strip malls.

        Beyond Bellevue connections, watch the commute patterns. In Totem Lake, like most anywhere else in Kirkland, it’s lopsidedly southbound. That’s to say, residents commute out to Seattle, Bellevue & Redmond. Employees commute in from further north. This is an important part of why transit ridership is so poor for residents and workers alike. RapidRide isn’t relevant at all for this market.

      5. It’s worth remembering what’s at the heart of Totem Lake’s transit predicament: infrastructure.

        Totem Lake lacks a basic local street network for local connectivity. Its arterials turn into When we look at density and land-use mixture what we’re saying is, “If you need to get from one place to another, how far are you going to have to go?” In Totem Lake, the answer is often, “Twice as far as the crow flies,” or worse. That’s true for bus stops as well as businesses. Then when it comes to the arterial network, much of it lacks sidewalks and crosswalks, and it’s furthermore warped by the 405 interchange. Streets and sides of streets without sidewalks are not great locations for bus stops! And they’re exceptionally unpleasant to walk! The sum result is that though Totem Lake is mixed-use, though you can choose to live, work, and shop there, it’s hard to find much advantage in doing so.

        It’s not that Kirkland is doing nothing to address this. The Cross-Kirkland Corridor cuts through some of the biggest superblocks and bypasses some of the most unpleasant intersections by grade separation. In time it will provide more cross-connectivity. The extension of NE 120th Street from Slater to 124th Avenue a few years ago also broke up a very large superblock.

        But these sorts of interventions are expensive when done as infill improvements and Totem Lake needs dozens more (maybe hundreds!) to be anything close to “walkable”. Mostly on land that’s privately held, today. And even if Kirkland was to organize local stakeholders around a vision and get land owners to build a hundred connecting paths while it shored up intersections, resulting in a reasonable looking local pedestrian network… the freeway and interchanges and roads connecting to them would still loom large. Totem Lake might still punch under its weight (i.e. its density) in walkability and transit usage even given infrastructure improvements that are unlikely within a generation just because it’s hard for all the sidewalks in the world to outweigh one big freeway.

      6. The city of Kirkland does have plans to improve the walkability of the Totem Lake area from where it is today. The Cross Kirkland trail is getting a bridge over 124th St., facilitating the bypass of what is currently an awful intersection to travel through as a pedestrian. Totem Lake Park is also supposed to be getting many more paths, including paths that connect the trail to the hospitals and neighborhood to the north. There are also plans in the works to extend the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail along the railroad grade to Woodinville, as well as add a connector trail to link up the Cross Kirkland corridor trail with the Sammamish River Trail just north of 124th St. Totem Lake Blvd. itself is also eventually supposed to get bike lanes and wider sidewalks.

        How much this will actually happen remains to be seen, but at least they’re making the right sorts of plans.

        Already, the CKC does make a huge difference. I live in downtown Kirkland and the bulk of my visits to the Totem Lake area today are done walking, jogging, or biking the trail, not by riding the bus.

    3. An intriguing idea may be to do option 1, except send the 255 to Totem Lake via I-405, and keep today’s 248. Actually that sounds like a good compromise between local service a in Kirkland and this “super 311” idea some have been discussing.

      1. So the 255 would serve Kirkland Park and Ride both directions, via the freeway (like the new 544)? That could work. With the currently proposed 255 (or the old one, for that matter) the farther north you go, the less important the one seat ride to the UW becomes. Eventually you just lose rider all together. The bus becomes more important for shorter trips (i. e. trips within Kirkland). That is where RapidRide (presumably with off board payment) starts paying off (when lots of people are getting on and off the bus). It also pays off in minimize transfer time. Under the current plan, someone in Juanita would have a twenty minute slog through Kirkland before they get close to the freeway. Instead they will have to transfer at Totem Lake; but if the transfer is frequent, it might actually be faster.

        Ridership splits after South Kirkland Park and Ride as well. Those along Lakeview have to transfer anyway. Thus there isn’t a huge loss with asking people to transfer, since many will anyway.

        In general I’m not fond of serving the South Kirkland Park and Ride that way, but it makes more sense in the middle of the day then at rush hour. In the middle of the day the detour off the freeway doesn’t take much time. For Totem Lake riders it would be a huge time savings over the current (or proposed bus). If you don’t have enough service hours to provide a direct (freeway only) connection from Totem Lake to the UW, then a route like that makes a lot of sense.

    4. I agree with all of your points, asdf2.

      Here is the other thing that is crazy about the first proposal. Supposedly it is being driven by folks in Totem Lake. Except they get practically nothing out of it. If you are going to Kirkland, the new, frequent 255 is just about as good. If you are going to Bellevue, you will take the express. In contrast, adding an express to the UW would be a huge improvement.

      1. The 540 ranks at the bottom of the productivity metrics because Metro’s own bus network discourages riding it. It’s a 30-minute-frequency bus that largely duplicates a #255 bus that’s running every 10 minutes or better, during the limited hours that the 540 is running at all. The 540 is also notoriously unreliable. At least westbound, it is extremely likely that anyone waiting for the 540 will see the 255 come by first.

        A Totem Lake->UW express would be different. Because it would be so much faster than the 255, people would ride it over the 255, even though it would be less frequent. Right now, there might not be enough demand to justify it, but when Totem Lake is fully re-developed, that is something that could change. And, of course, not all of the ridership would need to come from Totem Lake. Kingsgate and Brickyard P&R’s might pick up some additional ridership, as would the 405/85th St. station further south.

  4. This is one of those situations where the routing decision cannot be done in a vacuum (Showing Link and STRide prominently on the maps is badly needed):

    – Shifting to 120th (the City of Bellevue preference) and Spring District will reduce the travel time to Downtown Redmond to about 8 minutes from there on Link. It also would put Kirkland riders on Link sooner than it would driving through Bellevue city streets.

    – The closer the route stop is to a STRide stop, the more likely that STRide will serve the trip unless it’s local.

    Of the three options, the choice that looks most logical to me is to choose Option 1 with the 120th Spring District configuration. Every option has advantages and disadvantages, but with Link and STRide part of the picture, the decision should be made in a systems context.

  5. So is there no proposal to run the RapidRide along 108th in Kirkland? Running it along the water means no stop at Northwest University or Google, which are two places that could continue to use service.

    Currently there aren’t one seat rides from the rest of the Eastside to Google and this would be a great opportunity to do so (not to mention the fact that Google is renting the office space in Kirkland Urban once that opens up). That said, running RapidRide along 108th would force an additional connection to get to UW and Seattle, as the 255 would have to be moved.

    1. I think all the proposals have all-day bus service along 108th. It just wouldn’t be RapidRide. The street would be served by the 255, which means a direct connection to the UW and 15 minute or better service.

      1. Between 108th vs. State St/Lake Washington Blvd…

        108th has a bit more ridership potential, but it’s mostly in the form of one person per stop, and slows the bus down. Lake Washington Blvd. acts kind of like a hidden express to provide faster service to/from downtown Kirkland and points north, while still providing coverage to people who, once in a blue moon, might need it.

  6. Just how frequent is the proposed RapidRide line? The 255 will be 15 minutes or better most of the day (30 minutes weekend). The 250 is similar. Thus the only area where you would see a major increase in frequency is with option 3 along 124th (which will be served every half hour with the 239).

    This doesn’t seem like a good value. Most of 124th is low density. Density increases (dramatically) as you get close to the freeway, but at that point the 221 kicks in, and you (hopefully) have combined 15 minute service. This also means that the third option would likely result in the least amount of savings. Since this is largely paid for by grant money, that would mean that Metro could do the least with option 3 (in terms of bumping up other routes).

    It seems like the best choice is option 2. I’m not sold on the idea that it is the best route, but it is a lot less disruptive than option 1. It is pretty much a simple case of turning the new 250 into RapidRide.

    The savings from converting the 250 could then be put into an express from Totem Lake to the UW. My guess is that a bus like that use substantially less time than the 250, which means that it is possible it could run every 15 minutes on weekends and into the evening. Service like that seems like it would be way more popular for Totem Lake folks than either of the Totem Lake RapidRide routes. If they are headed to downtown Bellevue, they would take the express. If they are headed to Juanita or downtown Kirkland, the RapidRide would only be marginally better than the 255. Even when the 255 is running infrequently, they would still be able to quickly get to downtown Kirkland via the new 405 BRT and a transfer to the RapidRide (at 85th).

    What to do with a bus like that after it reaches Totem Lake is tough to say. I’ve proposed extending it to Woodinville, but that is only as a way to placate Woodinville riders who are interested in extending the SR 522 that far (like Totem Lake, they would benefit a lot more from an express to the UW). Another option would be to extend it to up to Canyon Park. That would connect to the Swift Green Line (and other buses) and would mean that Snohomish County would be pretty much covered in terms of fast, frequent service to Seattle. (Community Transit could always add to it, like running a bus from Monroe to 195th).

    Both of those buses are ST in nature though. Metro would likely focus on a closer extension. One simple, cheap option is to serve the “Totem Lake Village” area, which by then should have plenty of people. Doing so would reduce the need to bump up service on the buses I mentioned earlier (the 239 and 221). It would mean that all those riders would have a fast ride to the UW, just like folks close to Northgate Way have a fast ride to downtown via the 41. It would also make it much easier to get to downtown Bellevue. It isn’t that long of a walk, but with three buses (one of which would be running every 15 minutes, the other two paired for 15 minute service) it would probably be faster to catch the bus.

    The other alternative would be to head towards Juanita. The tail of the 255 could then be cut in Juanita, or sent the other direction, to add service to the east a few blocks (ending at 93rd, not 98th). Doing so would mean that Totem Lake to various parts of Kirkland would require a two seat ride, but Juanita would get a one fast one seat ride to the UW. Of course if they could afford the overlap it would be ideal. Since Juanita to the south end of Kirkland will also be served by the 230/231, that would not only mean frequent service connecting the two neighborhoods in Kirkland, but yet another way for folks from Totem Lake to get to Kirkland, south of Juanita.

    Regardless, the combination of an express from Totem Lake to the UW would likely be way more popular than either RapidRide extension to Totem Lake. I realize that Metro doesn’t want to talk about what to do with the service savings, but they should, just as they are talking about cutting service with each option. If this included an express from UW to Totem Lake (and beyond) then sending the RapidRide to Redmond would likely be a lot more popular with Kirkland folks.

    1. I agree with all of this. Also, the new 255 will actually be every 15 minutes on weekends as well.

      I’m not sure it’s clear that the new RapidRide is being paid for with grants. If I could get the Totem Lake to UW express out of it, then I’d definitely change my preference from option 3 to option 2. Though I think you’re being very optimistic about travel times to UW. It’s going to be pretty erratic certain parts of the day, especially with 520 construction and backups on the Montlake exit.

      One thing that this express could do is serve the NE 70th Pl freeway station, at the cost of using the express toll lanes for a few fewer miles. This would add significant travel time during peak, but add almost no travel time off-peak,and would bring service to the under-utilized Houghton P&R.

      Though we won’t get any of this if it’s not grant funded, and we’d need to pass some tax increases just to get the lowest service hour RapidRide.

      1. Is the Houghton Freeway Station (not park and ride) out of service? Could that also be used?

      2. The park and ride is served by the 245, 238, & 277 (238 & 277 will be deleted in March 2020). The freeway station next to the park and ride have the 342 and 952, neither of them changing in March.

      3. Not taking advantage of available “free” parking is a major fail. This is on “old Redond Rd” ; not exactly out of the way.

      4. Wouldn’t the new NE 85th freeway stop be located in the center median? I don’t think it would be possible to serve the Houghton freeway station after stopping at 85th.

      5. Upgrading Houghton to a center stop freeway station would be a small fraction of what it’s going to cost to completely rebuild the interchange at NE85th. Service from there to DT Kirkland and DT Redmond while not as direct as NE85th but serves a multitude of destinations (including google) vs NE85th which is a nothing burger. The main reason Houghton P&R is underutilized is because express buses can’t take the time to leave the HOV lanes and stop there.

  7. Sorry if I’m being a little dense here, but I’m having a difficult time figuring out when King County Council will vote on the changes. There are some intriguing changes (particularly the new 544), but I can’t tell if there will be enough time to vote and make the changes by March 2020. The 255 in the evening has become so erratic.

    1. The Metro changes for 2020 are approved. The corresponding ST changes, i.e. the new 544, are expected to be approved soon (IIRC, maybe in August). ST was waiting to see the Metro changes before bringing theirs to the Board.

      I’m not sure the RapidRide plan development requires a County Council approval, though I’d assume the Eastside members will keep tabs on progress.

  8. How about a diamond/star -based design. A route that essentially starts at either Woodinville or Brickyard P&R. It follows only goes along the freeways to Totem Lake 128th, then to what used to be 72nd freeway station. UW Link, turns out back to 520 to Bellevue Transit, from there to Bear Creek, then Bear Creek back to 405 and goes north to Woodinville or Brickyard. This could run longer and allow rapid transit to critical areas where people use the service constantly, and then community-designed routes coordinate. Also it could help rideshare drivers to have better pickup points and routes as people also utilize that form of transportation.

    1. I think that’d better be done as two routes, one from Woodinville-Bellevue (an all-day 237) and another from Redmond via Woodinville to UW Bothell (a straighter 931). I don’t think anyone wanting to go from Redmond to the 405 corridor would be interested in taking the bus via Woodinville.

  9. Thinking about this some more, the notion of planning RapidRide routes 6 years in advance feels suspect. We haven’t even decided what the regular bus routes will look like in 2023 after EastLink opens, yet Metro is trying to plan a 2025 now, just because it’s going to be a RapidRide.

    For trains, planning the routes years in advance is unavoidable, since it takes years to lay down the track. For buses, this is not the case, even if the paint on them says “RapidRide”. 2025 bus route should be planned around the time that East Link and I-405 BRT open up in 2024 – not today, in 2019.

  10. The Bellevue-Kirkland-Redmond triangle connects the three largest cities on the Eastside. If this line doesn’t serve Kirkland-Redmond, then something equivalent should, and that means a RapidRide line with evening frequency. Otherwise you’re neglecting the core of the Eastside to serve part of the periphery. Seattle has the same triangle dynamic: downtown – U-District – Ballard-Fremont. The 44 forms the north side of the triangle and is full-time frequent. Kirkland-Redmond should have the same.

    1. Largest… Kirkland and Redmond’s population combined isn’t even 50% more than Renton.

      In terms of tech, I’m a high paying tech worker in Kent hill. Renton is home to two healthcare companies with leadership and technical roles. It is also home to smaller tech businesses. It also headquarters Mistibushi Air and has smaller office complexes throughout the city.

      The new Southport development has just started leasing last month, and many tenants are interested in hiring all 700,000 square feet. A decision will complete soon, and 9000 new workers need reliable transit in and out of Renton daily along with Renton and nearby residents travelling in and out.

      Not only just tech, but Renton is also diverse in the economy and is home to tens of thousands of blue-collar workers who need better options.

      And no one wants to wait on I-405 to get in and out or to the airport. A rail to Burien is needed, and many users will come increasing ridership. Meanwhile, Issaquah will have barely any of its tiny population riding in their empty trains, because they are so rich they can buy a flying car.

      1. Wrong sub area. Renton isn’t part of the East sub area equity fund. Take up your beef with Federal Way. Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland is a different pot of money.

      2. It should be because most of Renton is East near Issaquah, while the Downtown is only South.

      3. Could-a, would-a, should-a… Not sure why Renton was lumped in with South Sub-area but it would be nigh on impossible to change because of the sub-area equity accounting. It could have been because of Sounder but that’s technically Tukwila not Renton. As far as Link the best hope for Renton would be a branch off in the Rainier Valley that followed MLK all the way to Sunset. Don’t know where it would go from Renton. Terrain makes it very challenging. South is about the only option unless you take back the BNSF ROW (good luck with that). But south duplicates Sounder. Maybe with Link to Tacoma and a Renton to Auburn line South Sounder could be retired?

      4. Too bad Renton’s are smack in front of the lake. It messed up the terrain for the link. But it’s only useful if a Renton-Bellevue line is constructed.

        We can quickly drive to the Tukwila station… And the traffic isn’t hazardous. But a Renton-Auburn line would help me for one, and the people further south. Unfortunately, there are very few people needing it down there… But that isn’t the case up in Renton’s suburban areas. Many people are moving in as Bellevue’s prices are going over the roof. There is plenty of unused land in Kent/Maple Valley to build on, and more will move in over the next decades. If light rail doesn’t cut it, there has to be a different and better solution from Renton to Bellevue. You should drive there on 405 once during peak hours. Lousy traffic on other highways is considered “average” on news headlines down here. It even clogs on the weekends. It is regarded as the state’s worst corridor. Honestly, the BRT idea is good, but sound expensive building even more direct access to their “reliable” future transit center. Excellent location, poor access. The only concern I have is Sound Transits lack of service to Renton, not the light rail honestly.

  11. We’ll see how well a privately funded ferry works when the Southport boat enters service. I can see where a Renton-Bellevue-UW ferry route would be a winner. As you say, the clogged 405 traffic is a sign of extreme demand. As for light rail the only viable route is the one surveyed 100 years ago and I don’t see that being changed back from trail.

    1. No matter how I love the gem of having a ferry here, I don’t think I would ride it. It’s a bit expensive, and I have to drive up to Southport anyways, which means traffic. But, I know some people.. Especially the ones employed at Southport would enjoy the amenity.

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