Petition to stop Sound Transit from cutting down 500 LFP trees gains traction
Wouldn't you rather look at a 16-foot concrete wall along Bothell Way through Kenmore instead Lake Washington? But hey, if you're on the bus, you'll get home a few minutes earlier!
Help us spread the word of what this project will do to Lake Forest Park! Please sign this petition and please take the time yo write your comments to the officials in the message below! The image presented with this petition shows what the end result of tgis project will be, and NOT what the community wants!
Please participate in the upcoming meetings to voice your concerns regarding the effects of this project as it now stands! We DO support transit, we ALSO support the correct usage of tax payer funds for the purpose of these projects. We MUST also consider sound engineerimg designs that are fact based.
Sound Transit plans to construct a 1.2-mile, dedicated eastbound bus lane in Lake Forest Park as part of the 522/NE 145th Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
This ST3 522 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project cuts right through our residential neighborhood, taking some or all property from over 100 homeowners and 500 mature trees, and replacing a tree-lined corridor between our homes with a tall concrete wall the length of 11 football fields! The planned impact is permanent, and devastating. All for a single Northbound BAT lane that is proven not to provide any meaningful gain in transit time by Sount Transit's OWN documentation!.
- We support the region’s transit goals and understand that our small segment is a necessary piece of a much larger project. We’re not asking Sound Transit to stop the project, or to reduce BRT access in our community.
· We’re asking you for design refinements that have a lighter touch through our residential neighborhood and Lake Forest Park, while still allowing the project to move forward.
This can be accomplished by continuing the method from I-5 Rail Station down 145th (jump queue's and prioritized signalling) through our Lake Forest Park Corridor. Taking this approach would dramatically decrease the impact through our City.
· Build smaller-footprint BRT bus stops at 165th as the standard, large industrial design is not the right fit for a less densly populated residential neighborhood.
· Take a foot-by-foot approach to tree conservation that reduces overall impact on tree cover, noise and environment.
· We remain hopeful that this compromise is accepted. This WILL require the Sound Transit Board to take action in directing their staff to refine, and redesign, in partnership with our residents and our City. Please help us with this message!
HISTORY AND TIMELINES:
After reviewing 70+ documents and materials on Sound Transit’s website and via public records request, it is possible to provide more detailed information regarding the SR522/145th BRT project design in Lake Forest Park; its impact on our community and comparisons to the other communities, (Seattle, Shoreline, Kenmore and Bothell) on a fact based basis:
Sound Transit reviewed three alternative design approaches to the Lake Forest Park section of the SR522/145th BRT to add a single North Bound Lane. They were:
a. March 2019:
· Option 1: Refinement 1 Lake Forest Park “Safe Highways” Preferred. This refinement called for a 1.2-mile dedicated eastbound BAT lane running exclusively on the east side of Bothell Way.
· Option 2: Refinement Alignment 2. This refinement would have the eastbound BAT lane run about half the distance on Bothell Way, from NE 155th to just past 41st Street south/south of Brookside Blvd.
b. June 2020: This is when they decided on their "Chosen" option:
· Option 3: Lake Forest Park West Shift. Sound Transit announced it was “considering a shift of roadway widening to the west side of SR 522 to reduce property impacts and ensure more residents can maintain access to their homes.” Formalized in late 2020 and became the design reflected in the 30% and 60% design documents.
After extensive searches and FOIA requests, no documentation explains the decision process or evidence of community interaction, and no financial or other analysis was done concerning the decision to adopt the “West Shift” . Nor was there any disclosed information why this is the best of the three alternatives. A full and complete analysis should have been done to fully examine the three options, including details on each option to show:
· Cost of property acquisitions, including total private properties impacted (the number of partial and full), the total square footage required, and the estimated cost of acquiring the property.
· Cost of construction and time to build.
· Potential reduction of bus transit times.
· The number of tree removals required.
· The need for, extent, and cost of retaining walls required for each design.
In June 2020, Sound Transit decided the “West Shift” design was the best approach, even though they said it would “cost more”, citing the following.
· “Shifting the roadway widening to the west allows more property owners to stay in their homes and minimizes the overall change to the neighborhood.”
· They could avoid as many as “6 full property acquisitions”.
· “Making use of existing right-of-way reduces the need for property purchases.”
· “Widening SR 522 exclusively on the east side of the road between 38th Avenue NE and 41st Avenue NE in Lake Forest Park could cause significant impacts to driveways.”
The “West Shift” design, unsupported with any meaningful analysis comparing the alternatives, was presented to the Sound Transit Board on September 23, 2021. Resolution R2021-07 approving SR522/145th BRT as a "project to be built" based on the "West Shift” was passed unanimously by the Sound Transit Board.
This decision immediately followed the completion of Sound Transit's "Realignment Process," which addressed the $5.8 billion "affordability gap." At the September 23, 2021, Sound Transit Board Meeting, Sound Transit staff estimated the cost of SR522/145th BRT at $544 million. In less than a year, the cost estimate for SR522/145th BRT, increased by 25% to $651 million, with Sound Transit staff warning of the high potential for additional cost increases that project completion was now trending to 2027, a six-month to twelve-month delay.
The Lake Forest City Council has been vocal about their concern and opposition to implementing the "West Shift" and its impact on the City. As a result, the Council passed a resolution asking the Sound Transit Board to pause work on this section for 90 days, asking Sound Transit Staff to analyze other alternatives. At the Sound Transit Board Meeting on January 26, 2023, Sound Transit staff recommended against the pause requested by the Lake Forest Park City Council, arguing it is “critical to keeping HWY522/145th on track in terms of schedule and cost control.” The Sound Transit Board unanimously agreed.
Public Engagement: Sound Transit Community Outreach efforts in Lake Forest Park:
Open Houses/Community Meetings:
· Only 2 Sound Transit SR 522/145th BRT Community Open House Meetings have been held since the “Shift to the West” occurred; one in 2020 and another in 2021. They generated a total of 458 comments (emails, notes on yellow stickies, and written comments); and only 47 people from Lake Forest Park attended the 2021 Open House. Despite Sound Transit Staff assurances during recent meetings, there are no Open Houses or Community meetings scheduled for Lake Forest Park at this time.
· Bernard Van De Kamp, Program Executive, Stride BRT, twice praised the Staff’s outreach efforts in Lake Forest Park at Sound Transit Board Meetings. On December 15, 2022, he stated his Staff had responded to over 550 inquiries from residents and homeowners in Lake Forest Park since January 2020.
· At the January 26, 2023, Board Meeting, he reported 2,100 "interactions with businesses and residents since 2018", conflating legally required interactions regarding property acquisitions with impacted homeowners and businesses with “citizen outreach.”
· Mr. Van De Kamp also cited several meetings held with a private organization, the Lake Forest Park Sheridan Beach Club HOA, confusing those interactions as interactions with the City of Lake Forest Park citizens. The Beach Club is private, does not allow non-members to attend meetings and cannot represent residents of Lake Forest Park beyond their own HOA membership.
SR522/145th BRT Elected Leadership Committee:
· This official organization established by Sound Transit is made up of “elected officials in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Bothell and several members of the Sound Transit Board.” It exists to “review and discuss project information and public input to build consensus in making recommendations to the Sound Transit Board.”
· This Committee has not met since February 22, 2019. Sound Transit’s website Stride S3 bus rapid transit | Stakeholders and partners | Sound Transit lists the members; three of the five members from Cities no longer serve on their respective City Councils, and two of the three Sound Transit Board members listed no longer serve on the Sound Transit Board and there are no meetings currently scheduled. Even though ths data is shown on Sound Transit's website, it is not accurate and falsely gives the impression of Community Engagement efforts.
Show me the Money!
How much is Sound Transit spending in Lake Forest Park to build SR522/145th BRT?
Based on a document received through a public records request (“Phase 1 Refinement Report” dated March 2019 (pg. 5.2) it is possible to make comparisons of cost by City on the SR522/145th BRT for “cost of property acquisition” and “cost of construction and construction management.”
There is a Disproportionate impact on Lake Forest Park:
c. Of the $97mm estimated cost of property acquisitions (adjusted for inflation), 67% is in Lake Forest Park. (Property takes and cost to construct on a steep slope city)
d. Of the $155mm cost of construction and construction management, 50% is in Lake Forest Park.
e. Of the total $464mm cost of construction and property acquisition 55% is in Lake Forest Park.
f. Of the 200 homeowners facing the loss of some or all their property, 56% are in Lake Forest Park.
g. Removal of over 500 Significant and Landmark Trees lining the roadway that provide oxygen and habitate to wildlife and birds.
· Bus Transit Time Savings Build Vs. No Build in 2042 by City for the PM, weekday, 3-hour peak times (rush hour).
Breakout by City, of Sound Transit staff’s forecast of 15.7 minutes faster bus travel time over the 8-mile corridor as a result of SR522/145th BRT
Of the 15.7-minute faster bus transit time, Lake Forest Park’s 2.3 minutes is 15% of the total bus transit time saved.
· 62% of the total bus transit time saved is on the 1.5-mile section from the 145th St section from the Shoreline South Light Rail station to Bothell Way, a section with no BAT Lanes.
· It costs $63mm in Lake Forest Park per minute saved, 2.1 times more than the average for the entire corridor.
· It costs $210mm in Lake Forest Park per mile or roadway 3.6 times more than the average for the corridor.
Conclusion of these findings, all determined by Sound Transit’s own documentation through public record, Sound Transit Website or by FOIA requests:
It should be obvious none of this makes of this makes any fiscal sense. It's time for the Sound Transit Board to reexamine the options for this roadway in Lake Forest Park.
Sound Transit has not properly followed their own rules of community engagement and outreach, nor have they attempted to look at alternative and required cost saving measures.
Don't buy into the Sound Transit Staff's "the sky is falling in” argument. The Sound Transit Board of Directors has a fiduciary responsibility by Executive Order to assure that taxpayer dollars are effectively and efficiently spent, especially so for a governmental institution funded by billions of taxpayer dollars; one that currently has an excessive multibillion dollar “affordability gap”.
It is not an excuse to say to the Citizens of Lake Forest Park “it’s too late to change”, or “your City agreed to it” or “you voted for it” as excuses to justify a failure of the Sound Transit Board to provide effective financial oversight.
It is not too late. There is a far less expensive, quicker to build option that will still provide reduced bus transit time in 2042.
Our ASK stands to examine the less invasive, less impactful, already approved and ‘in use’ alternative:
· We’re asking for design refinements that have a lighter touch through our residential neighborhood and Lake Forest Park, while still allowing the project to move forward.
· Instead of a new (in only one direction by the way) BAT lane, use queue bypass and signal priority as you’ve already designed on this project’s final 1.7 mile stretch to the light rail station from 145th to I-5. Taking this approach would dramatically decrease the impact through our City, would reduce greatly tree loss and property takes.
· Build smaller-footprint BRT stops at 165th. The standard, large industrial design is not the right fit for a residential neighborhood.
· Take a foot-by-foot approach to tree conservation that reduces overall impact on tree cover, noise and environment.
· We remain hopeful there is a solution here. But it requires the Board to take action, in directing their staff to refine, and redesign, in partnership with our residents and our City.
Please help us by contacting the public officials listed below and voicing your opinion to Stop the Deforestation of Lake Forest Park:
Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm firstname.lastname@example.org
Sound Transit CFO John Henry email@example.com
Bernard Van De Kamp firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Executive, ST3
Sound Transit Board of Directors email@example.com
Lake Forest Park Elected Officials:
Lake Forest Park City Council:
Email for All: firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning Director: Steve Bennett: ; email@example.com
Planning Commission: Nick Holland: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Works: Jeffrey Perrigo: email@example.com
Please participate in the important meetings below and voice your comments:
The Sount Transit Sponsored Open House is Wednesday, March 15th, from 3pm - 7pm, at Brookside Elementary. Come and questions about the project!
The CORE of Lake Forest Park Community Meeting is Tuesday, March 7th, from 7pm-8pm at Lake Forest Park Elementary. Come and show your support!