By Ryan McIrvin
Can you imagine getting from Renton to the downtown Bellevue Transit Center in less than 20 minutes? With the crush of traffic that backs up for miles, it’s difficult to envision making it anywhere in that amount of time. However, with voter approval of Sound Transit Proposition 1, there will be new options to speed-up your commute by avoiding congested freeways.
For more than three years, Puget Sound residents, together with transportation planners from Sound Transit explored solutions to relieve commuters from our traffic-choked freeways. During the planning process about 35,000 people weighed-in on the solutions to increase transit capacity in our region.
With Proposition 1, people who live and work in Renton will be better served by bus rapid transit and greater access to light rail. There will be more parking around transit stations. Capital improvements will be made to South Sounder to enhance commuter rail experiences. Plus, pedestrian and bike path improvements along with other capital improvements to better connect people to transit.
As part of this ballot measure, high quality and frequent bus rapid transit service will connect Renton and Newcastle residents and employees all along the I-405 corridor. If you live or work in this corridor, you can get to anywhere you need to go with accessible stations at Northeast 44th Street, the South Renton Transit Center, Burien, Central Kirkland, Brickyard, Bothell, and Canyon Park.
Bus rapid transit service will run every 10 minutes during peak hours, which means you’ll never need a schedule.
Furthermore, the I-405 BRT will connect you to light rail stations Tukwila, d Bellevue, and Lynnwood. Imagine 16-minutes from the NE 44th St station to the Downtown Bellevue light rail station and 19 minutes to the Tukwila International Blvd station.
Light rail and bus rapid transit will connect Eastside residents to jobs at the region’s largest employers, including Boeing, Google, Costco, and T-Mobile. It will connect students to local colleges and universities. It will also provide dependable public transportation to seniors and people with disabilities and will help reduce air pollution and toxic run-off into the Sound.
Proposition 1 also expands capacity on the popular South Sounder with extended platforms to serve 10-car trains, increasing passenger capacity by about 40 percent.
To make all of this happen for Renton and our region, an adult will pay a median cost of $169 more annually or $14 per month. Compare this with the fact that commuters lose $1,500 a year in wasted time and productivity stuck in traffic, according to the most recent Texas A&M study on traffic.
Proposition 1 is accountable by ensuring that taxes raised in your area are used for projects that benefit you. Also, Sound Transit is required by law to roll back most taxes after projects are complete.
Our region is an attractive place to live and work. For our continued prosperity and competitiveness, we must make this investment to connect people to opportunity.
With our region expected to grow by nearly one million people, waiting is not an option,
Proposition 1 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver a full-scale transportation system that serves Renton, East King County and the Puget Sound.
Vote Yes on Sound Transit Proposition 1.