February 15, 1999
When the Regional Transit Authority was created with taxpayer dollars, the proposal was for frequent express bus runs between Bellevue and Everett/Lynnwood along I-405, allowing commuters quick and easy connections to other, more local routes, and finally letting King County residents commute to and shop in Lynnwood, Everett, and other Snohomish County areas.
However, one of the RTA's proposals is to skip the NE 160th, Kingsgate (NE 132nd), and Houghton (NE 70th) Park & Rides completely, with the only North King County stop in Bothell (the smallest and least accessible Park & Ride of the group). The second proposal would have express buses stop only at the Kingsgate station. The third, and only logical, proposal allows for stops at all three freeway stations.
The result of the first proposal? Residents of the Eastside between 520 and 522 would have to take a bus into Bellevue to catch an express bus out of Bellevue northbound to Bothell, Lynnwood, or Everett. Residents from Snohomish County who want to transfer to local buses to either Redmond or Kirkland for work or shopping would have to take the bus all the way into Bellevue to catch a "local" back to Redmond (note: the Bellevue/downtown Redmond run will not be an express for at least 3-4 years and typically takes 35-50 minutes).
Major employment, shopping, and residential areas in Kirkland and Redmond would be skipped. There are many other issues, but what the first two proposals amount to is this: Transportation Taxation Without Representation! We (taxpayers of East King County) are paying for the RTA, but under the first two proposals, we would only subsidize Snohomish County bus riders.
Meetings in Bellevue (Feb. 11th) and Bothell (Feb 18th) are being held. "Express" your concern! For more information, visit www.soundtransit.org.
David Kuhns, Kirkland, via e-mail