Protests in Lake Forest Park over Sound Transit design for new bus lane through the city

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Protesters rally in front of LFP City Hall
By Diane Hettrick
Photos by Mike Remarcke except as noted

Over 100 people gathered in front of Lake Forest Park City Hall on Thursday, July 13, 2023 in advance of an appearance by a Sound Transit executive at the City Council meeting.

CORE speakers rally the crowd

The protestors, anchored by the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation and a new citizen committee called Citizens Organized to Rethink Expansion (CORE) mobilized in response to Sound Transit's plan to expand Bothell Way through Lake Forest Park to add a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane through the length of the city.

The planned transit lane would require acquisition of private property along Bothell Way, removal of 490 trees alongside the road, and construction of a variable height concrete retaining wall along the west side of the street.

Signs say "A Better Way" "Save Our Trees" "Save our LFP"
Photo by Janet Way

Protesters held signs and chanted "JUST SAY NO to removing 500 trees!"

Protesters move into the council chamber to witness the presentation by Sound Transit

As the meeting was ready to begin, most of the demonstrators filed into the council chamber, filling all the available seats. The overflow went into a conference room where they viewed the meeting on a large screen.

Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm addresses the LFP Council.
Timm joined Sound Transit in September 2022.

They question the need for a dedicated bus lane, saying that it will take years of construction and millions of dollars just to save potentially 15 minutes on the route from Woodinville to the station at 148th.

The crowd overflow watched the meeting from a conference room.

The Stewardship Foundation pointed out that: 

LFP is only a small fraction of the overall Bus Rapid Transit route that links Seattle to Kenmore, Bothell, and beyond. 
Yet the inherent inequity between impacts to our city and our neighbors is stark and undeniable: the small stretch within LFP will bear well over 50% of the project’s environmental and property impacts, and represents 40% of the overall budget. 
Modifications will save time, taxpayer money and reduce impacts to the environment.

Benji made his own sign. Photo by Janet Way

The BRT route turns west onto NE 145th and continues to the 148th Shoreline South Transit Station. Yet no similar modifications are planned for 145th.

CORE wants Sound Transit to change the plan and use the design planned for 145th with queue bypass lane segments and bus transit signal priorities. 

Sound Transit data shows this design on 145th, one that does not use any lengthy dedicated bus lanes, saves up to 60% of the 15.6-minute shorter bus ride from the Shoreline Light Rail station all the way to the Bothell UW Campus, during the weekday afternoon rush hour. 

Applying this design in Lake Forest benefits everyone: It is less costly, takes less time to build, will still provide Bus Riders passing through LFP a faster transit, save money and cause far less devastating impact of the City Of Lake Forest Park.

A sell-out crowd observed the proceedings.

From the Stewardship Foundation:

Along with our City administration, City Council, and other concerned community groups, the Stewardship Foundation requests that Sound Transit adopt design refinements to reduce harm to the environment, limit property takings and better preserve our quality of life.


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