Park & Ride symbolic solution; more bus service is what’s needed

By Scott Hamilton

As Sammamish drivers try to cope with congestion in the city, increasing transit service is often suggested as one solution.

Proponents of the developer STCA plans for the Town Center have, in part, pointed to the possibility of including a park and ride (PNR) in the plans as a reason to lift the building moratorium and let STCA file its applications for development.

Without getting into the pros and cons of the overall STCA plan for the Town Center, inclusion of the PNR at this point is more symbolic than substance. Here’s why. Continue reading “Park & Ride symbolic solution; more bus service is what’s needed”

First candidates emerge for City Council, 45th State Senate seats

City_of_SammamishWe’re only two months into 2017 and already some names are emerging for the November 7 off-year election.

City and County council races occur this year. A special election for the 45th State Senate seat, which includes the north end of Sammamish roughly along a line of SE 8th St., will also be on the ballot.

Sammamish Comment gave a full rundown of the local elections in January. In Sammamish, two City Council Members upended the dynamics of the election when they announced at the Council retreat in January that they would not run for reelection. First-term Council Member Bob Keller and Mayor Don Gerend, who has been on the Council since the first election in 1999, said they will retire at the end of this year.

Continue reading “First candidates emerge for City Council, 45th State Senate seats”

“Voters have forgiven Sound Transit”

Voters have forgiven us for past troubles:” Sound Transit CEO. That’s the headline of a story on MyNorthwest.com.

The CEO is reacting to the latest vote in favor of Sound Transit 3, the $54bn project, $27bn tax plan over the next 25 years.

The CEO needs to take another look.

Continue reading ““Voters have forgiven Sound Transit””

Final Nov. 8 election results; Precinct analysis to come

Final results for the Nov. 8 election, posted last night by King, Pierce and Snohomish counties and Washington State, for the races and propositions affecting Sammamish, show no surprises from initial election night results.

Sammamish Comment called all but a handful of races on election night and the Too Close To Call races within the first week.

The only race that maintained suspense was for the 5th Legislative District State Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mark Mullet and Republican challenger Chad Magendanz. Mullet led by nearly 3,000 votes on election night with a six point spread in the percentages. The Comment called the race for Mullet then, noting that since 1999, final results didn’t waver by more than 1%-2% from election night.

In this case, however, Mullet’s lead shrank as votes were counted to a low of 509 and by less than a one point spread. The race concluded with 515 votes and 0.69% separating the two. Magendanz conceded Nov. 23.

The 5th LD includes the greater Klahanie area within Sammamish.

Sound Transit 3

The $54bn Sound Transit 3 proposal passed by a 54% result, but this was no area-wide mandate for the agency. Pierce County voters thumped the $27bn tax hike, giving only a 44% approval. Snohomish County barely approved the plan, with a 51%-49% result.

King County, largely on the strength of Seattle, approved it by a 57% margin.

Midway through counting, Sammamish was rejecting the plan by a 51% margin.

Certification and Precinct breakdown

Certification of the comes today. King County releases the precinct voting results tomorrow. Sammamish Comment will analyze Sammamish voting in selected races and report later this week.

The full election tally for selected Sammamish races is below.

Continue reading “Final Nov. 8 election results; Precinct analysis to come”

ST3 failing 51.69% to 48.31% in Sammamish after first week of vote count

Analysis of one week’s worth of voting results from Sammamish shows Sound Transit 3 losing here by a 51.69% to 48.30% margin.

Vote counting continues to Nov. 29, when the election results are certified.

Sound Transit 3 is the $54bn mass transit plan that includes $27bn in tax hikes over 25 years.

Sammamish gets reduced bus service out of the plan and a prospective park and ride at the north end.

Continue reading “ST3 failing 51.69% to 48.31% in Sammamish after first week of vote count”

Sound Transit 3: Vote No

Sammamish voters should Vote No on the $54 billion plan for Sound Transit 3. This is a $27 billion tax plan over 25 years.

For this, Sammamish gets degraded bus service and prospectively a new park-and-ride on the North End. The average Sammamish household will pay an estimated $1,100 a year in Sound Transit taxes. With about 20,000 households, this is $550 million over the 25 years. For a park-and-ride. And worse service.

Even more notable–and alarming: no project outlined in ST3 is guaranteed. Not a single one. Voters could approve the $27bn in new taxes and none of these projects is a sure bet. This is why The Comment says the park-and-ride for Sammamish is only “prospective.”

One thing that is not prospective but which is guaranteed: if ST3 passes, citizens in its taxing district, including Sammamish, will have no say at all in future tax packages. ST3 takes away voter approval for future taxes and puts it squarely in an unelected board appointed by elected politicians. Unlike the tax packages for ST1 and ST2, there is no sunset for ST3 taxes.

This is a bad deal in so many ways.

The Comment’s position on ST3 is well known to long-time readers of this column, so this recommendation comes as no surprise.

Continue reading “Sound Transit 3: Vote No”

ST3 opposition is the right move by Sammamish

Valderrama
Deputy Mayor Ramiro Valderrama led the opposition to Sound Transit 3.

The Sammamish City Council’s vote Tuesday night to oppose Sound Transit 3 was the right choice for the City. The vote was 5-2.

ST3 takes bus service away from Sammamish but offers a park-and-ride for the north end, an obvious contradiction. Even the PNR is not a firm offer.

Taxpayers would fork out between $500m-$550m in taxes over 25 years for this.

Issaquah and Redmond get light rail extensions. But the Issaquah light rail goes to downtown Bellevue and south Kirkland, not Seattle. The rail station is projected to be at roughly I-90 and SR900, behind the QFC grocery store (presumably in the I-90 median.) It needs to go to Issaquah Highlands.

If Sammamish residents want to commute to Seattle by light rail, the choices would be to go to the QFC terminal, either by car or bus, then to Bellevue and connect to Seattle; or go to the potential north Park and Ride (if it happens), then to Redmond, through downtown Bellevue and on to Seattle.

Fat chance.

Continue reading “ST3 opposition is the right move by Sammamish”