Flyover animation of the I-405 BRT station at NE 85th in Kirkland (credit: Sound Transit/WSDOT)

Last year, Sound Transit and WSDOT shared their design of the three-level I-405 BRT station at NE 85th St in Kirkland. After prolonged negotiations, the City and Sound Transit reached agreement earlier this month on connecting the station area to downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

At a forecast $260 million, NE 85th is one of the most expensive and complex stations in the ST3 system. Ridership forecasts are low. The City of Kirkland estimates 250-300 daily transfers at NE 85th in 2025. Sound Transit estimates fewer than 1,000 riders even by 2040.

Reaching or improving on those low expectations depends on bus and pedestrian/bike connections. The station will not have parking. Even the east edge of downtown Kirkland is separated from the station by 3,000 feet and a 200 foot elevation gain. The ST3 plan addressed this by budgeting another $45 million for bus lanes on NE 85th between the station and 6th St. Subsequent study found those lanes would be ineffective, freeing up funds for improved non-motorized connections instead.

The steep grade made many skeptical that riders would trek uphill to the station by walking or biking alone. The City commissioned a technical study was conducted for a gondola. A funicular was considered for a time. More recently, the City explored a ‘transitway‘. This would have been a bike/ped path parallel to NE 85th, but it would have been engineered to also accommodate autonomous shuttles in the future. The shuttles would require a pathway engineered to support greater weights. It would be not less than 18’ wide so users walking or on bikes could safely pass the autonomous vehicles.

In the end, the agreement settles on a less ambitious set of improvements that will meaningfully improve non-motorized access while realizing savings for Sound Transit. These include:

  • Transit queue jumps in both directions at 6th St and Central Way. With transit signal priority, these deliver most of the speed and reliability improvements that could have been gained with complete bus lanes to the station.
  • A parallel ped/bike connection along NE 85th St at the same grade as the street. At 12′, the path would not be engineered for shuttle vehicles, but would be a direct path from the station area to downtown. This is likely to be a cantilevered structure on the south side of the street.
  • A pedestrian connection through the NW quadrant of the station area to NE 87th St. From there, it’s a short walk on 7th Ave to the Cross-Kirkland Corridor.
  • A drop-off area also in the NW quadrant of the station area.
  • A third eastbound lane on NE 85th east of the station. Sound Transit identified this would be necessary to manage traffic volumes exiting the station area and the highway ramps.
Access improvements near the NE 85th BRT station (image: City of Kirkland)

Whether any shuttle service operates between downtown and the station remains a future decision for Kirkland. Sound Transit will not fund or operate such a service. The drop-off/pickup area facilitates a shuttle stop with access to downtown and the Cross-Kirkland Corridor via 7th Ave. Kirkland envisions an on-demand shuttle, but it seems more likely that fixed route buses on NE 85th will do most of the work of getting riders between downtown and the station.

Some comparatively minor disagreements remain over connections into the neighborhoods around the station. While sidewalks on 85th serve pedestrians arriving along the east-west access, walkways across the WSDOT diamond would ease access from adjacent neighborhoods. Sound Transit agreed earlier this year to advance these through the environmental process, but not to fund them. The agreement this month resolves funding for the NW quadrant. Two other pathways, on the NE and SE quadrants, are candidates for funding in the system access program.

Non-motorized access opportunities to the neighborhoods surrounding the BRT station (image: Sound Transit)

The agreement means a considerable cost saving for Sound Transit over the $45 million outlay envisioned in ST3. A partnering agreement is expected to be approved by the Sound Transit Board as early as next month.

71 Replies to “Kirkland and Sound Transit agree on connections to NE 85th BRT station”

  1. The autonomous shuttle idea is very intriguing. The technology seemed very likely to be widespread by 2024, but I haven’t read much about them these past few years. I think they are a great technology for geographic situations like this — but local bus frequencies may be good enough to not need them.

    1. Ideally, for this case, the frequency of the regular bus would be improved to the point where a special shuttle is not needed. Especially since there are two combined routes here.

      One case where I do think the “shuttle” approach might be more useful is a few stops further north, connecting the 405/522 interchange stop to UW Bothell and downtown Bothell. My idea is that you widen a short section of the Sammamish River trail and run golf-cart-style shuttles down it, similar to what is used to connect the SeaTac airport Link station to the airport terminal.

      Even with a top speed of 15 mph, the route is short enough that the travel time would be quick. Such a shuttle would be totally insulated from car traffic, except for a few blocks on the local streets of downtown Bothell, and would avoid the need to send so many 522 buses to Woodinville, possibly messing up the reliability of the rest of the route. Initially, such a shuttle could be operated with human drivers, but it could eventually be made autonomous in the future. There is also plenty of room alongside the trail to widen it – the only challenging part might be the underpass beneath SR-522 to connect to UW Bothell.

      Then, with 522 BRT not needing to go to Woodinville anymore, just to connect to 405 BRT, it allows for some big changes to the bus network. Now, you can just end every 522 BRT trip at UW Bothell, improving the route’s reliability, replacing Woodinville service with an all-day (every 30 minutes) service on the 311 (truncated to UW Station). This not only provides Woodinville with a much faster ride to Seattle, it would also do the same from Brickyard and Totem Lake. If Totem Lake is where Kirkland wants to channel it’s growth, it’s time for the region’s transit service to grow up and have a ride to Seattle that takes less than hour, that runs more than a very limited set of hours.

  2. This would have been an ideal place for a gondola. The buses go to one point, but where everyone is going is at a different point, and the distance between those two points is relatively short.

    But the bus connections can be made to work well if they really put in the effort. Timed bus departures are key to this, so they should have some sort of layover space, and extend some routes from KTC to here, and time them to NB and SB Stride departures. Just having frequent service randomly placed is not enough, since this is less than a last mile problem, so waiting 10 minutes for a bus to take you such a short distance is a non-starter.

    1. The problem with times departures is how to do it without screwing over people going to Redmond. I don’t think that’s possible without serving both trip purposes with separate buses. Realistically, an untimed connection every 10 minutes is about as good as it will get. The good news is you can always get up and walk if you don’t want to wait.

      1. I’m not necessarily taking about timing the 250 and delaying trips to Redmond, I’m talking about extending some routes that terminate less than a mile away at KTC, and having them layover at this stop (for example, the 245, 230, 231), and time their departure with a little buffer time at KTC so they can afford to wait a few minutes if they’re are delays. Since they mostly run every 30 minutes, you’d just need to extend 2 (230 and 231 are logical, since they interline for 15 minute service through much of Kirkland). Admittedly peak will be trickier, but that can be part of the restructure discussion, if we decide to discuss it. It’ll cost a few more service hours, but I think since there’s already such a high sunk cost in the station, that we should make it worth doing by doing it well.

      2. , I’m talking about extending some routes that terminate less than a mile away at KTC, and having them layover at this stop (for example, the 245, 230, 231), and time their departure with a little buffer time at KTC so they can afford to wait a few minutes if they’re are delays.

        I like that idea — a lot — if you can pull it off. My guess is you can’t actually layover there. That’s because there is literally nothing there. No bathroom, no food, no place to have a smoke — nothing. But a little extra loop around the facilities before or after you layover at the Kirkland Transit Center sounds quite possible. It is only about a mile. There are very few stops between there. Most of the time, riders won’t pull the cord, nor will there be anyone at the bus stop. A bus should be able to go out there — and back — in ten minutes, easy. If implemented in one direction (either coming or going) it wouldn’t cost that much. I think you would make it back in fare revenue.

      3. “My guess is you can’t actually layover there.”

        If Sound Transit thought this thing through (but not through enough to skip the stop entirely), they could have set aside a few million to create an integrated bus layover space for local buses. But it shouldn’t be too hard to acquire some nearby layover space east of the freeway. Again, I think the sunk cost analysis would justify some spending here.

      4. The good news is only a tiny fraction of people in express buses on 405 are trying to get to downtown Kirkland or Redmond.

    2. “The buses go to one point, but where everyone is going is at a different point.” What does that mean? Which points are you talking about?

    1. I see a bus SB at 0:18. I am amused that it shows NB I405 as backed up – which is very normal 6AM to 7 PM all day long.

  3. It seems like it should do OK, based on the latest restructure. The 250 will cut across, connecting Kirkland and Redmond via 85th. The bus will keep going south, towards Lakeview, picking up a few more. The bus is supposed to run every 15 minutes during the day (which isn’t bad). Then you have the 239, which will also connect to downtown Kirkland. On the other side of I-5, it heads up 124th and goes to Totem Lake (and beyond). That offers less from a connecting standpoint. About all it will do is connect a 405 rider to 124th, as otherwise, they would be better off using the Totem Lake stop. It does add frequency to downtown Kirkland, but at only 30 minutes (peak) not a lot. There will likely be a Google Shuttle (or something similar).

    A thousand riders a day sounds about right, if not a bit optimistic. Even if they built a gondola, I doubt it would change the dynamic. The problem is, there just aren’t a lot of people headed to Kirkland from Bellevue. The 234/235 carry about 2,500 a day, combined. That is for a lot more stops, covering a much wider area. Then you have competition from buses like the new 250. Sure, it is slower from downtown Kirkland to the 85th stop, but it covers more places. You aren’t likely to get many people heading south, then catching the 405 BRT, then getting off and heading towards Kirkland. You will get some riders heading towards Redmond. I think the best chance for better ridership is if the 250 (connecting Redmond with Kirkland along 85th) runs a lot more often. But even then, I don’t see this carrying huge numbers.

    But the only reason we are disappointed is because of the enormous cost of this project. I’m not against things of this nature (I’ve argued for lots of freeway improvements) but I think there are plenty of other projects that would likely result in a bigger time savings for a lot more people.

    1. There are definitely a lot of people traveling between Kirkland and Bellevue, the problem is they’re all driving, therefore not showing up in the bus ridership stats.

      Off-peak, the speed of the 234/235 is decent, but peak, it definitely has much to be desired. In addition to the traffic, it also has to contend with stopping at every bus stop. It would expect a bus that just goes straight down the I-405 ETL lanes, without messing around, to be much faster than this – assuming the ETL lanes remain uncongested, the total ride time could be as little as 5-10 minutes, about a 70% reduction relative to the 234/235.

      Of course, you do have to walk further to get to the service (or ride a connecting bus), but the total distance is only a mile, which is just about right for a morning exercise that one should probably be doing anyway. If you look closely at the map, there is actually off-street pathways that cover more than half the distance (they won’t connect until the Kirkland Urban construction is finished). If I were walking, that’s the route I would take.

      The proposed connector path (basically a sidewalk for that stretch of 85th St.) is basically a less-steep alternative for those making the connection on bikes. There’s not much reason to take that path if you’re traveling on foot.

      1. Of course, you do have to walk further to get to the service (or ride a connecting bus), but the total distance is only a mile…

        To where? Seriously, I keep looking for the center of Kirkland, and I can’t find it. Do you mean Google — a classic suburban campus which just so happens to be across the street from ball fields and single family houses on really big lots? Or is it the big condos on the waterfront, with their big open-air parking lots? Or is it further north, where the city hall is, surrounded by fields of green. I mean no disrespect. I think Kirkland is charming. It is a very nice suburb.

        But Kirkland sprawls. The center of Kirkland sprawls. It is like the center of Seattle — which sprawls from South Lake Union to First Hill to Pioneer Square — it is a big area. But unlike downtown Seattle, there is never anywhere that approaches that kind of population or employment density to generate big ridership.

        That means at least a two side ride for everyone. With a “BRT” line that manages to come nowhere close to any of it, it often means a three seat ride. I’m sorry, but no matter how fast that BRT bus is, that doesn’t translate to a lot of riders.

      2. I’m referring to the downtown area within a 2-block radius of the transit center, which is also where most of the density in the area is. One mile gets you to about Marina Park, so much of homes are closer. The office space in the Kirkland Urban building is closer still – about half a mile.

        Interestingly enough, the Google campus is actually also within a mile of the future 405/85th bus stop. It doesn’t seem like it because it’s so much further south. But, the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail runs diagonally, shaving off quite a bit of distance. If you walk the trail, rather than try to walk the streets the way a bus would have to go, it’s about a mile. By contrast, any motor-vehicle route would be fillled with stoplights and traffic, so even if a shuttle existed, the shuttle would take a good 10 minutes + wait time, and that’s if it goes nonstop – if it’s an extension of the 245, as suggested in another comment thread, with a detour to Kirkland Transit Center, it would more like 15-20 minutes. By contrast, walking the entire way down the trail is about 20 minutes, and jogging the trail route is about 10 minutes. A bike or e-scooter could do it in about 5.

        It’s definitely doable. I live near the Google office, and I can definitely see myself using it. Especially on weekends, when the STRIDE bus is running every 15 minutes, while the 234/235 alternative (or the 250 that’s planned to replace it) is running only every 30 minutes.

  4. Dan, and Seattle Transit Blog, this is either ‘way early or same date late for April Fools’ Day, and not in the slightest funny. Most expensive and complex station in the system?

    What I’m seeing is vivid reason to vote against a single additional dime at all for regional transit in Sound Transit’s present service area from here on out. In addition to loss of custody for any parent who’d leave a child to catch the bus there.

    But one positive generational factor. In the same way that thousands of school-kids are now yelling down politicians afraid to pass the gun-control measures they need to save their lives, good chance that Kirkland hospitals are already birthing the voters who starting in twenty years less two will start building an actual city on the deserted sidewalks here depicted.

    For their sake, thanks for a badly-needed wake-up.

    Mark Dublin

  5. I’ve generally been a fan of installing funiculars (or inclined elevators) in our region. As many know, private mini-versions of these exist on Lake Washington today. Portland is considering a system up to their medical center as part of the next light rail corridor: https://trimet.org/swcorridor/pdf/meetings/community/GRC_Presentation_2019-04-10.pdf

    It could work here but ST is apparently not interested in funding one. This is problem because the system could be a great strategy to provide connectivity to several hillside or hilltop areas in Seattle unserved by ST. It may be that an alternative local funding model for them would have to be created. With that in mind, what are the top linkages in King County that a funicular could be productive and strategic?

  6. Seems like a lot of engineering for few riders. Are we sure ST didn’t just get bullied into paying for a rebuild of that interchange?

    1. This was my thought. This is a freeway interchange being funded by transit dollars. This is going to be a horrendous place to wait for a bus, and an even worse place to try and access on foot. What a joke.

    2. Yeah, that was my thought all along. It would probably be worth it if the location happened to be at Kirkland TC, but that’s just way too much for a fake downtown Kirkland stop. It would justify maybe an ETL inline stop, but nothing more than that.

  7. It’s pretty frustrating that adding a lane on 85th is included in the funding but creating non-motorized connections to the surrounding neighborhoods is left up to the Hunger Games of the system access program, especially if Sound Transit is pocketing “considerable cost savings.” I also hope that the ped/bike connection is better connected than it appears in the MS Paint diagram, where it ends unceremoniously at major intersections.

    1. Yes. That middle level for both bus and toll-paying cars with no stop control for pedestrians and bicyclists is especially cruel. Some sort of activated signal for crossers seems needed.

    2. Do buses on 85th stop at the lowest level, or do they go up to the middle level too? I didn’t see any bus stops on 85th in the animation, nor do I see them in the pictures. And if they go up to the middle level, how will that work?

      1. They’re on the middle level – at 0:37 you can see a glimpse of a westbound bus there (there are also benches shown underneath the SB lanes of 405, which look just lovely).

        This isn’t quite as bad as waiting for the Silver Line buses in LA’s system, but it’s not a whole lot better. At least you’re waiting on a different level here rather than right next to the freeway. The (apparently) unsignalized intersections you’ll need to traverse to get between NB/SB stops and EB/WB ones will be a pain in the posterior though.

      2. I’m hoping that the traffic volumes on the middle level will be light enough to make the crossings not too bad.

      3. Maybe the east-west 85th bused should go all the way around the mid-level roundabout and stop at both north and south in-line stops. That way no one transferring needs to cross anything

    3. Hopefully it means that ST earlier said it wouldn’t fund them but that has now been superceded by the cost savings. It may just take the bureaucracy time to connect the dots. I recall there’s also substantial savings in the Bothell alignment, and I think ST indicated where that money would go to although I don’t remember what. Maybe something like that will happen here. Realistically, the money must be spent in East King, and I don’t know of another project that could use it, unless it could accelerate East Link somehow.

      1. I believe most of those cost savings are being used for construction of the Brickyard ETL ramp/station. There were also cost savings in Renton that may be used for that. If enough extra money is found, perhaps we can get an ETL ramp at 195th as well.

    1. It’s a way to mitigate the distance between the station and downtown Kirkland, and the unwalkable state of the freeway interchange which requires jaywalking to get across parts of it. Both of these are necessary to make the station even semi-useful for central Kirkland, the second-largest city in the Eastside. We’re saving a ton of money by not building a new Link guideway between South Kirkland and Lynnwood that could serve downtown Kirkland better and not require modifying the freeway exit.

      1. Bus flyovers and put the buses on a separate “transitway” to the Kirkland transit center might be cheaper and easier? The current plan is an over-engineered monstrosity!

      2. Its not even the second largest city in the Eastside. I bet you live there.

        The animation looks “over-engineered” as BEL explained. Such an un-congested area doesn’t need such complex $200 million projects.

      3. Look at it this way, Mike. If the last few years are any guide, good chance that next equal number of decades will supply the Kirkland Corridor with several million additional taxpayers with both income and intent to add everything that’s so blatantly lacking in this posting.

        As a matter of civil engineering, since all the railroad underpinnings are still in the ground , no reason the grandkids of the most recalcitrant anti-rail homeowners can’t, in effect, provide themselves and their descendants with a streetcar line that’s essentially a horizontal elevator for tired hikers and bikers all the way from Bellevue Transit Center to at least Totem Lake, and maybe Bothell.

        Does UW Civil Engineering Department have anything like a ground transit engineering program? Might be a good future addition to the Bothell campus. Also the whole public school system the entire length of the projected line. And to a whole future of measures to take advantage of of what’s easily a trackside upbringing’s most powerful proclivity.

        Never too late, or too soon, to get started.

        Mark

      4. Millions of people are paying taxes to serve 1000 people. Such a large city, you say?? Build this stuff in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Renton, or Kent. They all have over 100K people.

        These political idiots are dividing our counties into “subgroups” and giving all our money to small cities in the Northern end.

      5. “Its not even the second largest city in the Eastside.”

        i thought Redmond was the second-largest city but when i checked the numbers Kirkland’s population is higher.

        “I bet you live there.”

        Nope.

      6. Belle is/Renton has a higher population and are both under the Eastside fund. Kirkland isn’t even at 90K, and it isn’t dense either like Kent and Renton. Many people live in the area near North Redmond. Dense cities need solutions like this for better ridership.

    2. Agreed. Poor connections to crappy service at a highway interchange with seemingly nothing in the walkshed… not worth the time that planners have spent doing conceptual design to date, let alone the cost of improvements

      1. You’re assuming the areas around the interchange will not be redeveloped. That is an incorrect assumption.

      2. >> You’re assuming the areas around the interchange will not be redeveloped. That is an incorrect assumption.

        Even if they develop it (which I doubt, we are talking about Kirkland), how are people going to reach the bus stop?

  8. Maybe I’m missing something, but if the middle level is mainly for busses, pedestrians, bikes, and express lane highway access, wouldn’t it make sense to have the dropoff zone in the loop part which is much closer to the bus stops? The way it is positioned seems to require multiple additional turns to an out-of-the way residential street to get to and from the dropoff area. Very inefficient. Plus as a rider it’s bad enough to have to wait for a bus anywhere near an expressway, let alone having to walk any significant distance in the vicinity of one (after wasting time and effort getting to the dropoff point) for the “privilege.” This project seems to be way over engineered on the vehicle side and under thought on the non motorized access side. It looks more like a highway project that happens to include some transit, rather than a BRT project.

  9. $260k / daily rider sounds ridiculous, even when spread out over 2 decades. Does ST not evaluate metrics like cost/rider before deciding if a station is worth the investment? Or is this just a calculated play to get enough votes from the suburbs? At that price, it might actually cost less money to give all 1000 daily riders free cars + parking + gas. Construction will also use up lots of resources, so I’m not sure how good it will be for the environment.

    1. WSDOT’s the culprit. They did some arm-twisting and I think threw in a few (far too few, likely) carrots elsewhere, to get ST to foot the bill to rebuild the interchange.

      1. If the cost includes an interchange rebuild, then it seems more reasonable. I wonder how much just the station portion of the project would cost if ST didn’t have to pay for the rebuild.

      2. The interchange must be rebuilt to have the station. The bus can’t just “pull over” in the ET Lanes. There isn’t enough room between the bridges.

        Also, the existing interchange has clover-leaf ramps which are very dangerous for pedestrians to cross. Cars don’t slow down much for them

  10. $260 million to serve fewer than 1000 riders per day? Are we that determined to give Tim Eyman another talking point, another example of transit leaders’ bad judgement?

    Sometimes you have to follow the numbers, especially when they are actual dollars. This is one idea that needs to be abandoned, and pronto.

  11. Sound Transit has become such experts with escalators, like the ones at the University and Broadway Link light rail stations, surely they can put a few in Kirkland.

    The idea of a bicycle/pedestrian path to downtown Kirkland is lunacy. I bet not one Sound Transit engineer or manager can ride a bicycle straight up that hill.

    The best solution would have been to route the buses down to the Eastside Rail corridor and put the station at grade level with the newly rebuilt Park Place Mall.

    But then, these are the same dolts that designed the escalators that are always broken at UW and Broadway rail stations.

    1. With e-bikes or e-scooters, getting up the hill is easy. A bike sharing or scooter sharing system just for going back and forth between downtown and bus stop would help a lot. If you can only park at a designated location on each end, the vehicles will always be there.

      1. OK. I am 67 years old and sometimes have difficulty walking. Where is the ADA access?

        Do you really expect people to ride e-scooters up and down the hill in the rain or at night?

        All this to provide 500 people transit access? Yes. The estimate is 1,000 trips per day. That is 500 people. Sound Transit considers 1 round trip commute as 2 trips.

        What public officials will do with other people’s money….

  12. The agreement means a considerable cost saving for Sound Transit over the $45 million outlay envisioned in ST3.

    If I’m reading this right ST is only chipping in $45M of the $260M total. Meaning $215M is on WSDOT’s tab. There’ll probably be more than 500 HOV plus toll lane users. But it still seems like a huge waste. Substituting roundabouts for the clover leaf merge is going to create gridlock on NE85.

    How can WSDOT justify the expense of tearing down the existing structure and rebuilding something nobody has really asked for when there are so many bridges in the State rated as deficient or worse. Or couldn’t the money be better spent accelerating the fish passage projects that are currently stretched out over decades. This is all stuff that needs to get done but is supposedly constrained by a lack of funds.

    1. No, the ST3 budget was $260 million for the station PLUS $45 million for the bus lanes. All Sound Transit funded.

      The station appears to be coming in at about the $260 million budget based on the design so far. There is no wsdot contribution because this was conceived as a transit project and the original design did not include ETL access for cars. The BRT riders would have gone up to the station via a stairs or elevator from 85th.

      1. Then that’s just plain crazy. Clearly well past time to change the way the ST board is selected. I’ll wager dollars to doughnuts that way more people in private vehicles will use this access point than transit riders. Somehow they’ve got a 1/4 billion to spend on this but no money for Beardsley; go figure.

        The real kick in the pants is that it’s not very difficult to access the HOT lanes to/from 85th in the current configuration.

    2. “Substituting roundabouts for the clover leaf merge is going to create gridlock on NE85.”

      Maybe they should turn the lower level into a double diamond interchange to alleviate some of the NE 85th street congestion.

    3. I have said it at many community meetings. If you really want to up the usage of this interchange and people taking public transit all over the Seattle area you have to provide a park-and-ride structure. I understand the desire to decrease traffic overall and not wanting to build any park-and-ride structure that might encourage continued car use, but you have to be realistic about what people will do and put up with to take public transit. My disabled family member that lives in Norkirk neighborhood of Kirkland will not be walking in the rain to the bus stop to then catch a bus to take them up the hill to wait for another bus. And this person actually loves riding on buses.

      1. While it’s not practical to build a 1/4 billion dollar project based on the needs of one individual, it’s equally stupid to build the project when ~500 people a day might use it. Virtually empty P&R exists at Houghton… just sayin’

      2. Houghton is not close to downtown Kirkland, which is the goal. That’s Houghton’s problem from BRT-stop standpoint: it’s in the middle of nowhere except Metropolitan Market and Google.

        There are other P&Rs along the line.

      3. Rose Hill isn’t close to DT Kirkland either. Hence the connecting bus service required. A bus route that goes from the Kirkland TC past Google to Houghton and then continues into Redmond on Old Redmond route is a much more productive route than NE85th. The only hang up is the section on 6th St/108th Ave which gets very congested during peak hours. A bus lane would be money well spent saving a lot of service hours on the 255. NE 85th is already bumper to bumper traffic and the added intersections are going to make it worse. On both the east and west the hillside is so steep there is nothing along either side of the road.

      4. 85th to 83rd is two blocks. 70th to 83rd is thirteen blocks. That makes a difference when you’re walking.

      5. What make 83rd special? Not getting dropped off in the middle of a freeway makes a difference if you’re walking anywhere.

  13. note that the relevant connections could have been provided at much less cost next to the empty Houghton lot at NE 72nd Street. the topography is more favorable. in Sound Move, ST canceled a NE 85th Street project and used the funds to provide the NE 128th Street center access, Totem Lake TC, a new Kirkland TC, and NE 85th Street pedestrian improvements. route 245 connects Overlake and Kirkland TC via Houghton and Google.

    1. But why? It would need a new overpass and center ramps too which might not be much less expensive. And there is zero prospect you would ever see nearby development because that area is within the Houghton Community Council jurisdiction. The Community Council has veto power over zoning changes and they’re not reluctant to use it to kill any reasonable development.

      Even the 245 gets very little ridership in this area (and should probably be rerouted to serve the developing area on 85th).

      1. One reason is the excess P&R capacity. Half the P&R could be used to develop subsidized housing (as was done at S. Kirkland) without the need to build a huge structured parking project. Old Redmond Rd. has a large number of condo complexes already. Eventually, and if transit were real probably sooner, the Bridle Trails commercial area where Tech City Bowl currently sits will be developed. There’s some other large parcels that are still grazing animals. All of this is much better suited to”good” development that would use transit than the hell hole that is NE 85th.

        ST’s emphasis seems to be on cars; 522/405 and NE85/405. Houghton and Beardsley get nada when that’s where the potential to do something other than “drive everywhere” exists. By standards of the people on this blog, I’m “anti transit”. These projects seem to be pushing a lot of the people who have previously just give ST a pass on every bad idea (and then supported a change) to realize that the system is broken.

      2. it could have two layers rather than three; it might be similar to NE 128th Street. there are already condos nearby. it does not have a full interchange, so there is less traffic slowing local service. both corridors do and should have east-west service. but the powers have decided on NE 85th Street for the center access. the choice will burn up scarce transit funds.

  14. I think it is an insult to have Sound Transit promote this as a bus/bike/pedestrian improvement with essentially no busses or bikes or pedestrians in the video. All I saw was a Texas style interchange with a traffic jam on the upper level. Maybe one shadow of a bus. No picture to show how it works with any modes but cars.

    Someone pointed out it may have been a way to get Sound Transit to fix or improve a section of highway. I might not have thought of that. Good point made.

  15. Yeah this interchange is mainly a highway improvement/HOV access improvement.

    The state should be kicking in a lot of the money for this from all the toll fees they are collecting,

  16. I finally watched the cartoon. What a joke. Watch about 32″ in when a car cuts right in front of another car at the round about and neither one slows yet miss by inches. Yeah, that’s how roundabouts work in Washington…. simulations. I assume to create this cartoon there were inputs regarding traffic volume. Obviously, to anyone who drives this route on a regular basis it wasn’t rooted in reality. There is already a problem with the weave/merge design. And magically, though the use of computer simulation, they’ve solved it with roundabouts.

    Dumb & Dumber. WSDoT lost a lot of talent in the Great Recession. They are not up to game ready status. ST… nobody other than cake sniffers believes they have any expertise in designing roadways. It’s not even a highway improvement!

  17. Kill it with fire. This is theft from the ST budget to support autos. Use the money for real transit.

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