RapidRide to end with Totem Lake following alternate Redmond proposal

Metro officials say they are moving forward with long-range plan.

The intended north-end terminus for the impending Kirkland-Bellevue-Eastgate RapidRide continues to be Totem Lake after downtown Redmond was briefly considered as an alternative following feedback from the North Eastside Mobility Project (NEMP).

At a July 24 Kirkland City Council meeting, representatives from King County Metro said there were some advantages to the proposed Redmond alignment. But after conducting an internal analysis that was not detailed at the event, it was ultimately concluded that there were not enough advantages to inspire a shift from the preferred Totem Lake Metro Connects terminus.

“While we always welcome input from partner cities, input from the city of Kirkland was not a determining factor in making this decision,” Hannah McIntosh, Metro’s program manager for RapidRide, said in response to a recent article from the Seattle Transit Blog stating that it was a result of pressure. “It was really an internal review of our long-range plan, just to be sure there wasn’t anything we missed. The conclusion was that there wasn’t and that we’re moving forward consistently with our long-range plan.”

McIntosh added that Totem Lake has always been preferred because of the region’s high-ridership corridor with a growing demand, and because it’s a focus of growth for the city of Kirkland.

“Metro worked closely with Kirkland staff during this process and did not state an opinion about which route was preferred,” Kirkland’s city communications manager Kellie Stickney said in an email. “Rather, they used their data-driven process to inform this decision.”

Redmond will be further accessible via the March 2020 service charge, whose Metro 250 route will include Bellevue-Kirkland buses to Redmond. The public had previously expressed that they wanted to see better Kirkland-Redmond connections through NEMP outreach, which was what led Metro to consider Redmond as a potential RapidRide endpoint in the first place.

Metro will hold meetings in the fall to allow the public an opportunity to share suggestions for the Kirkland-Bellevue-Eastgate RapidRide, which is slated to open in March 2025.

“We are really eager to get out and have conversations with folks about the best way to connect downtown Kirkland to Totem Lake,” McIntosh said.

King County Metro and staff will continue to update the city council as the implementation of RapidRide 1027 progresses as well as any other relevant impacts to the North Eastside Mobility Project. There will be additional public outreach in the future. The project, which is estimated to cost about $90 million and which anticipates federal grant applications in 2020, is currently about 50 percent funded.

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