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City Letters to Sound Transit

Washington State Legislature

April 28, 2016
Sound Transit Board of Directors
c/o Board Administrator
Sound Transit
401 S. Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104

RE: Need for full Interstate 405 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in ST3

Dear Chairman Constantine & Sound Transit Board Members:
We are writing as the Chair of the House Transportation Committee and as state lawmakers who have been integrally involved with the development of the I-405 Master Plan, the funding of I-405 investments in the Connecting Washington transportation package, and the approval of additional taxing authority for Sound Transit to develop a proposed ST3 package. We’ve recently heard from a number of local elected officials and share their concern that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system proposed in ST3 for the I-405 corridor is inadequate.

We believe that given the dense population of the Eastside (700,000 residents by 2040) and the major employment centers in Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Bothell (550,000 jobs projected by 2040), any BRT system along the I-405 corridor should mirror the quality and dedicated access that comes with Light Rail Transit service. It is critical that the BRT system serving I-405 be center running, serve in-line stations, sync up with express and local bus service, and most importantly is closely coordinated with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and its BRT plans as laid out in the I-405 Master Plan.
Of particular concern, is that the proposed I-405 BRT system does not stop between Bellevue and South Renton, which leaves a significant portion of the Eastside without access to the system. Additionally, the ST3 draft plan has no in-line stops planned north of Kirkland. There should also be enhanced bus service from the BRT stations to ensure riders can get to particular destination points.

With this letter, we urge ST Board members to direct ST staff to work closely with the WSDOT I-405 Team staff, and with Eastside cities, to develop and cost-out a true I-405 BRT system along the corridor, one that can best serve the connectivity needs of the region’s residents and workers and can provide Eastside communities a system worthy of their support at the ballot.
Thank you in advance for your consideration, and for what we hope can be a collaborative effort to build a full and coordinated BRT system along the Interstate 405 corridor.

Washington State Legislature

Chairwoman, Transportation Committee
Washington State House of Representatives
Representative Tana Senn
41st Legislative District
Representative Mia Gregerson
33rd Legislative District
Representative Tina Orwall
33th Legislative District
Senator Karen Keiser
33rd Legislative District
Representative Joan McBride
48th Legislative District
Representative Patty Kuderer
48th Legislative District
Representative Derek Stanford
1st Legislative District
Senator Rosemary McAuliffe
1st Legislative District
Representative Luis Moscoso
1st Legislative District
Representative Steve Bergquist
11th Legislative District
Representative Zack Hudgins
11th Legislative District
Senator Bob Hasegawa
11th Legislative District

April 28, 2016

Sound Transit Board
c/o Board Administrator
Sound Transit
401 S. Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104

Re: I-405 corridor cities joint ST3 comment letter

Dear Chair Constantine and Members of the Board:

The cities of Bellevue, Renton, Bothell, Newcastle, and Clyde Hill and the Town of Beaux Arts Village appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback on the Draft Sound Transit 3 (ST3) System Plan. In the past nine months, through individual city comment letters, as well as through joint city communications, we have stated to the Board our urgent need for high quality transit projects in the I-405 corridor. The following shared comments are in addition to those from our individual jurisdictions.

The Eastside is a vital and growing area, and an integral component of the regional economic engine. Eastside cities are projected to reach nearly 700,000 residents and more than 550,000 jobs by 2040. We are interconnected both geographically and economically, and have many common interests and goals.

Our cities are united in our desire for quality High Capacity Transit (HCT) the length of the I-405 corridor, the transportation spine of `the Eastside. This corridor connects the east to the north and to the south. It carries nearly a million trips of people to job and housing centers throughout the region every day, and the need for additional transit capacity is only growing.
The I-405 corridor needs a HCT investment consistent with that of light rail. Although we appreciate the inclusion of bus service on I-405 in the draft plan, what is described as “I-405 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)” does not qualify as HCT, but rather regional express service with improved headways. Full BRT, as we have requested of the Board in our previous communications, and as envisioned in the I-405 Master Planning effort that was sponsored by Sound Transit and WSDOT, is the equivalent of light rail on rubber tires.

Full BRT will include center-running operations the length of the system and serve in-line stops throughout the I-405 corridor. As described in the draft plan, there are no in-line stops planned north of Kirkland, and perhaps even more concerning, no stops at all between downtown

Bellevue and south Renton. Full BRT will also include branded vehicles with multiple doors for
entry/exit, designed to “dock” with stations to eliminate a step-up onto the bus, and off-board
fare collection. We have seen little evidence of these characteristics of full BRT in the draft plan.

We again ask the Board to work with Sound Transit staff to deliver full BRT in the I-405
corridor, as described in the WSDOT/Sound Transit I-405 Master Plan. We understand that
building a BRT system the equivalent of light rail on rubber tires is costly. To offset these costs
and to maximize taxpayer transportation investments, it is essential that Sound Transit work in close coordination with WSDOT during the continuous build-out of I-405 to capitalize on one another’s efforts. The Board should consider dedicating funds for further study of additional I-
405 system BRT stations to help plan for this coordination and to prepare for ST4. Our
jurisdictions are ready to work with Sound Transit and WSDOT staff to identify the most
expedient locations for stops in every segment of the corridor as planning continues to move

Lastly, for BRT to be successful, there must be a robust bus feeder system in place. Sound
Transit should preserve the 600,000 regional bus service hours outlined in the draft plan
throughout the duration of the ST3 package to ensure a high quality bus network continues to
feed riders to the system. These investments should include adding service to overcrowded and high ridership routes.

ST3 has the potential to create transit connections within the Eastside, and provide connections
between the Eastside and the rest of the region. It is critical that our cities, Sound Transit and
WSDOT work in unison to address the important ties between land use and transportation in the early planning phases of ST3 to realize the maximum potential of this regional investment.
Thank you for considering our comments as we plan for our region’s future mobility.

John Stokes Dennis Law Rich Crispo
Mayor, City of Bellevue Mayor, City of Renton Mayor, City of Newcastle
Andy Rheaume Richard Leider George Martin
Mayor, City of Bothell Mayor, The Town of Mayor, City of Clyde Hill
Beaux Arts Village