Updated: Aug 5
Thanks to approximately 450 of our neighbors who attended the August 2 Sound Transit informational meeting at Lake Forest Elementary School! Sound Transit CEO, Julie Timm heard a persuasive message from the many comments from residents. She heard, over and over again, how residents feel the current design is too damaging to the community and urging Sound Transit to explore alternative designs. People were still waiting to speak when the meeting ended after 8:00PM - over a half hour late.
To watch the meeting video, see link at the bottom of this page. Specific comments are cited below followed by index times in the video in parentheses.
Lake Forest Park City council member Lorri Bodi spoke first (30.00) and said that it was unfortunate that we were here tonight at 90% design completion when the Council had unanimously requested a 90 day pause from Sound Transit when the project was only at 60%. In light of that a check-off-the box response of "it's too late" is most concerning. She implored Sound Transit to please pause and consider design changes.
A young LFP resident, 11-year-old Aria, spoke eloquently (36:47) about the negative consequences of the proposed high retaining walls.
Jeff Snedden, CORE co-founder (57:48) asked for a show of hands of how many people saw CORE's flyer and email - most raised their hands.
A resident (1:02:50) described the community value of trees in Lake Forest Park and suggested that perhaps LFP shouldn't grant tree permits to Sound Transit. The value of tree canopy to reduce the increasing risk of heat domes was highlighted in a front-page Seattle Times article "Seattle area heats up as trees continue giving way to concrete, roads".
Another resident (1:05:25) said that her husband is a regular Sound Transit commuter on the 522 but that his issue isn't the time to traverse the LFP segment. Instead, it's the time to negotiate the transfer to light rail - drawing effectively on the point that the time to get from where they are to where they want to go is the most important factor, not the time between segments of a route. She also asked whether Sound Transit had done a heat-map study as Seattle has recently done. The answer was no.
Council member Riddle asked (1:17:30) asked about the noise. Despite Sound Transit using a transit model for noise assessment, the primary noise impact is from vehicle traffic, which has increased since 520 was tolled. How can the city work with Sound Transit to lower the speed limit, implement traffic calming and reduce the roadway footprint?
A long-time resident (1:48:52) asked if there was anything that would cause Sound Transit to abandon their plan for the BAT lane and, if so, what that would be. Julie Timm responded "I don't know" but said that they would look for studies and continue the dialog with us.
Unfortunately, there were several speakers who were not on the video since it cut off before the end of the meeting, including two UW faculty members who made compelling arguments about a more agile and better reviewed design process. Regarding the long-term planning, one said that this project will be a temporary solution, busses were not here 100 years ago and will not be here 100 years in the future.
Read the news coverage from KIRO - Community advocates fight Sound Transit’s plan that removes hundreds of trees
Watch video of the entire meeting (2 hours). Note that citizen comments begin at 27:20.