Sound Transit, WSDOT invite Kirkland community to celebrate new Totem Lake Freeway Station
On Saturday, April 26, Sound Transit, WSDOT, and the City of Kirkland will host a community celebration to thank the Totem Lake community for their help and patience during construction of the new freeway overpass, bus station, and direct access ramps. The investments will make getting around the Totem Lake neighborhood easier and safer for transit riders and drivers alike.
The community event, featuring free food and beverages from local vendors, will be at the Kingsgate Park-and-Ride from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Artists Christine Bourdette and Vicki Scuri, who created the art featured along the new walkway on 116th Avenue Northeast and on the sides of the new access ramps, will also be on hand to greet community members and discuss their work.
“The project included a prolonged closure along 116th, so this celebration is to thank the community and businesses for their patience over the last several months,” said Sound Transit Boardmember and Kirkland City Councilmember Mary-Alyce Burleigh. “We think the benefits of the project were well worth the effort, and we are really happy to add this project to the regional transportation network, particularly the bus rapid transit system emerging along the I-405 corridor.”
The Totem Lake Freeway Station project created a new I-405 overpass connecting Northeast 128th Street as well as direct access ramps for northbound and southbound HOV lanes on I-405. The new Freeway Station provides a fast, reliable connection for ST Express, Community Transit, and King County Metro buses that no longer must weave across general-purpose lanes to enter and exit the freeway. Transit riders can access the bus bays located on the direct access ramps via the pedestrian walkway from the Kingsgate Park-and-Ride. The future Totem Lake Transit Center, currently being built on the Evergreen Hospital campus and scheduled to open later this year, will be a short walk away.
“Sound Transit and WSDOT continue to work together to provide buses and carpools with a safer, quicker, more reliable trip,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation Dave Dye. “Everyone who travels on I-405 can appreciate the safety and mobility improvements that result when vehicles no longer have to dangerously weave across all lanes of traffic while entering or exiting the freeway.”
The project adds to the network of complete and planned improvements in WSDOT’s I-405 Corridor Program. A new bus rapid transit system with stations and stops like the Totem Lake Freeway Station are a key component of the I-405 master plan developed by WSDOT. I-405 through the Kirkland area moves about 150,000 cars per day, and these improvements will increase the efficiency and safety for all cars and buses in the corridor.
The project also improves local mobility in the Totem Lake neighborhood along with the I-405 improvements. The new overpass connecting Northeast 128th Street is the fourth east-west connector over I-405 in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland. Residents and businesses are now enjoying easier access across I-405, as well as some congestion relief for the other three overpasses in the area.
“We’re looking forward to celebrating the end of major construction on Saturday with the community. The work on 116th is winding down and full access will be restored to the businesses in the area,” said Kirkland Mayor Jim Lauinger. “We are so glad to see these kinds of transportation benefits coming to the Kirkland community and that our vision for smart growth is coming to fruition.”
“This project is truly a community project,” said Kirkland Deputy Mayor Joan McBride. “The work here to improve transit and improve mobility has also given us the opportunity to improve the environment by reconnecting the wetland areas on the east and west sides of 116th, as well as the habitat restoration work in the freeway interchange at 124th Street.”
“All around us here at the site are examples of how much we can accomplish with partnerships. WSDOT, Sound Transit, the city—all of them have pooled resources and planning and put together a project that will have immediate results in this corridor,” said State Representative Larry Springer. “Coming this fall, the partnership between Evergreen Medical Center and Sound Transit for the new transit center will add even more to this community.”
The $82.7 million project broke ground in the summer of 2005, with bus service commencing in November 2007, partial street re-opening in December 2007, and the final touches on 116th Avenue Northeast and I-405 wrapping up this spring. The adjacent Totem Lake Transit Center project at the Evergreen Medical Center campus began construction in the spring of 2007 and is slated for completion later this fall, adding to the convenient transit connections available to commuters in the Totem Lake neighborhood.
The public is encouraged to take transit to the event on Saturday, April 26. The Totem Lake Freeway Station and Kingsgate Park-and-Ride are served by the following bus routes:
ST Express 535
Metro 230, 238, and 255
Visit Sound Transit online at www.soundtransit.org or call 1-888-889-6368 / 1-888-713-6030 TTY for more rider information.
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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.