The South Kirkland Park & Ride needs to be expanded, and it is a perfect place for Transit Oriented Development (TOD).
Many may not realize how important buses have become. Metro now has over one hundred million boardings a year, that’s an average of over 50 for every man, woman and child in King County! Buses carry fifty percent of rush hour commuters into downtown Seattle: there would be total gridlock without them! The corresponding number for Bellevue now exceeds 20%. As our population grows, access to an expanding transit system will be an even more essential part of a sustainable future. For this, suburban cities such as ours will continue to need park and ride lots.
The TOD proposed for the South Kirkland Park & Ride will expand access to transit both by providing housing on site, and by significantly increasing the number of existing stalls beyond that needed for the housing. It will provide housing choices, including units that are affordable to lower income people such as retail clerks, teachers, and perhaps some of our own children, who are forced to commute long distances now. Expansion of the existing stalls will relieve overflow parking in the neighborhoods, and loss of access for many potential riders.
With excellent freeway and rail access, and a topography that will support increased density and height, it is difficult to imagine a better location for this type of development.
The City is working through a process to address neighborhood concerns. I hope the focus will not be on minimizing inconvenience and preserving the status quo. It should be about building a future with viable transportation choices for all.