To my fellow Kirkland residents: Do you remember last Summer and Fall when your mailbox bulged with flyers promoting Sound Transit III? All the phone calls, push polls, and incessant print, radio, and television advertising. All that stopped, abruptly, as soon as they convinced enough (people) to vote “Yes” for new property taxes, higher sales taxes, and the incredibly inflated motor vehicle excise taxes we are experiencing now. They never noted in those election-season ads the true accomplishments of Sound Transit: Highest per-mile construction costs for light rail. Highest per-rider subsidies for Sounder heavy rail. “Sub-Area Equity”, the concept that sold the public on the first phase (second vote) utterly abandoned.
What do we get out of ST-3? A spur line to the South Kirkland P&R “scheduled” to open (remember ST misses many deadlines, some by decades) in 2041! In contrast to all the information they couldn’t wait to provide us during the past election cycle, I had to learn about what Sound Transit has up their sleeve for us in a flyer I picked up at the King Street railroad station. This brochure, called “RIDE” is chock-a-block full of fun details about what Sound Transit will be inflicting upon Eastsiders in the years to come. Did you know that Sound Transit was going to take over both the South Bellevue and Overlake Park-and-Ride lots for five or six years to use as “staging areas” for their work? Rather than buy property they will develop into future parking facilities for commuters and prepare it for temporary use during construction, they commandeer transportation assets we paid for long, long ago.
What do you think happens to our South Kirkland P&R when Overlake and South Bellevue are confiscated? They didn’t number every space for the fun of it. Pay-to-Park is in our future. And what happens with all the commuter parking that clogs side streets along 108th Avenue NE right now? Does that get better, or worse?
The only thing Kirkland gets from Sound Transit is the shaft, but don’t expect most of our City Council, or County Councilmember (Claudia) Balducci, or the delegation from the 48th District in Olympia to do anything about it. They’re all in for higher taxes, and the ridiculously expensive, inefficient, and wholly Seattle-centric “regional” transit system our money is paying for. Wake up fellow Kirklanders!
Bruce Haigh, Kirkland